Having read (and also written) quite a lot of science fiction it took me a surprisingly long time to read Charles Stross’ landmark book Accelerando. Originally written in sections from 2000-2005, the book has already proven remarkably prescient with the spread of the global internet and the collapse of old social norms. Although we won’t know for sometime, I have already come to suspect that Accelerando may very well be the most prophetic book yet written about the future history of the 21st century.
Nearly all science fiction, even of the harder variety, tends to envisage a future where humans are still basically in charge. We may have robots, spacecraft, AI and all manner of future technologies, but humans still dominate society. This has held true all the way from Star Trek to The Expanse.
Charles Stross takes a completely different approach. He looks at Moore’s Law – the basic rule that computing power has doubled every 24 months since the 1960s, and decides to keep following it all the way to the hypothetical point known as a ‘technological singularity’ when computers overtake humans and are better able to make improvements to their own operating systems. Beyond this point, your typical, run-of-the-mill biological humans like you and me become mere observers to what follows, as our digital spawn overtake us in every way imaginable.
The resulting novel is in three parts, each spanning the early, mid and late 21st century respectively and following three generations of a single family (major spoilers to follow).
A Rapidly Changing World
The first part of the novel depicts a world only slightly evolved from our own, though with the internet growing in influence all the time. In the second decade of the 21st century, headlines include – ‘a marginally intelligent voicemail virus masquerading as an IRS auditor has caused havoc throughout America, garnishing an estimated eighty billion dollars in confiscatory tax withholdings into a numbered Swiss bank account’ and ‘a different virus is busy hijacking people’s bank accounts, sending ten percent of their assets to the previous victim, then mailing itself to everyone in the current mark’s address book: a self- propelled pyramid scheme in action. Oddly, nobody is complaining much…’
Our first protagonist, Manfred Macx, is a ‘venture altruist’. His profession is ‘essentially coming up with whacky but workable ideas and giving them to people who will make fortunes with them’. In return, Manfred never has to pay for anything, allowing him to live off the grid beyond the tyranny of money or governments.
He is contacted by what turn out to be recently uploaded brain scans of the California spiny lobster seeking asylum from human influence (it gets weirder). Manfred helps them, and in the process creates a new legal precedent on the rights of AIs and uploaded minds. Other plot points include Manfred getting divorced from his wife Pamela who keeps their daughter (frozen as a newly fertilized embryo) and a mugging in which Manfred’s digital memories are stolen, causing him temporary amnesia.
Part two focuses on Macx’s daughter – Amber, now in her early teens. Wishing to get away from her overbearing mother, she and Manfred hatch a complicated legal scheme. A shell company is set up in Yemen – one of the few countries to permit both limited liability companies and legal slavery. Amber then sells herself into slavery for a company which she technically owns, legally freeing herself from her mother.
On the advice of Manfred’s talking robotic cat (which by this point, is secretly the smartest member of the whole family), she decides not to go live with him (he and his new partner being hedonistic swingers) and instead takes up with a new space company which is staging an expedition to Jupiter (children making better astronauts due to their smaller size – and this generation has already grown fiercely intelligent).
A few years later, in orbit around Jupiter, Amber runs into further legal trouble. She is still not 18 and Yemen is about to outlaw slavery. Meanwhile, her mother has converted to Islam. Due to a series of legal quirks, this makes Amber a Muslim as well and puts her under the influence of the local Imam – the first one of which has just arrived in Jupiter space. He begins to consider her case, but before he can come to a decision Amber enlists the help of the other members of the expedition to set up a new settlement on Jupiter’s moon Amalthea and declare herself sovereign, becoming queen of the new ‘Ring Imperium’.
All of this takes place so she can get away from her mother.
The story gets more and more outrageous from there. Around mid-century, the solar system begins to feel the full effects of a technological singularity. Starting with the asteroids, before moving to the inner planets, more and more mass is harvested and turned into orbiting bits of computronium. It is the beginnings of a Matrioshka brain, a giant computer network powered by the output of our home star.
A Startling Vision
The scariest part of the novel is that no matter how bizarre it gets, every action in the sequence of events seems to make basic sense given what came before. There’s almost no use of ‘phlebotinum’ here, no mysterious warp drive or ‘tri-lithium crystals’ whose inner workings remain a mystery to the reader. Everything is described in intimate, logical detail. This is speculative fiction, not your typical sci-fi.
I will grant some criticisms of the novel. It was originally compiled as a series of short stories, making the plot a little jarring at times. The characters are not written in great depth, and sometimes seem as little more than blank figures Stross can use to navigate the rapidly changing world he creates. It can be rather hard to read, and the story takes a while to truly build. I noticed a fair few one-star ratings on Goodreads by people who seemed to get lost in the complex world Stross builds.
But if you’re remotely interested in the theory of the singularity and how our world might dramatically change in the coming decades, ‘Accelerando’ is essential reading. I was born in the 1990s and consider myself a fairly rational person. Reading the novel honestly has me wondering whether we’ll start to see the asteroids, Mercury and Venus being dismantled and turned into computer chips in my lifetime.
The idea of the singularity is finally starting to enter the public consciousness. This article by blogger Tim Urban goes into it in great detail. While a growing body of fiction is being devoted to it. Hollywood has been exploring (usually in very broad brushstrokes) the idea of a ‘robot revolt’ of some kind for quite a while, but written fiction has explored well beyond this point. Very likely, we’re not talking about some coming human-machine war. We’re talking about a future where AI has progressed to the point that human beings are simply obsolete. Its a very real economic reality that we’re already starting to see.
Even twenty years ago the idea of the singularity still seemed as far-fetched as the Tooth Fairy. At that point we had just seen the first AI which could beat the best human chess grand champions – now they’re translating languages, driving cars and landing rockets by themselves. In another twenty or thirty years – who knows where we’ll be?
There are of course, still legions of skeptics. The singularity has been described by one critic as ‘intelligent design for IQ 140 people’. Maybe the whole idea is rooted in wishful thinking? Maybe, absent religion, our fear of death has refocused on the idle hope that our technology may soon allow us to break our biological limits and remain young forever?
Regardless, it seems a very real and emerging answer to the human condition – the crippling realization we all face on occasion that we are ‘immortal souls trapped in an animal’s body’. Either our souls go somewhere else after we die, or we simply decide to upgrade the body. The latter at least seems a testable hypothesis.
Even if the theory of the singularity is wrong, and the world in 2050 or 2100 is only as different as 1950 or 1900 is to us (meaning technology has continued to advance but humans are largely unchanged) Charles Stross paints a fascinating and, quite frankly, terrifying vision of the future. He has taken Ray Kurzweil’s dry theories and created a rich story out of it, almost making you feel like you’ve lived through a singularity yourself and survived to tell the tale. You finish the book feeling a bit like a time traveler who’s suddenly returned from the 23rd century – and may feel a sudden urge to start running around warning your friends and family about what’s going to happen to the world.
To date, very few authors have dared write about a universe where us puny humans really do become just that, though Iain M. Banks would be another exception with his excellent ‘Culture’ series of novels.
So keep living your life of course, and keep improving yourself. Keep lifting weights, accumulating money and banging bitches, but there’s a decent chance in a few decades that everything we consider meaningful will have suddenly become obsolete, like a caveman wondering why he can no longer go hunting in a paved suburb.
That’s when the adventure will really begin. To both those enthusiastic about the idea of the Singularity and highly skeptical, I recommend giving Accelerando a read to decide for yourself. You can find the full text of the novel for free here.
Read More: Charles Bukowski: Literature And Poetry For Men
100 thoughts on “Bizarre Science Fiction Novel Sheds Light On What The Technological Singularity Will Be Like”
Considering most humans today, that’s quite the “low hanging fruit” for AI. Good article.
“Trans-human?” Is it too soon to put that on my next job application?
Since you are NOT a transhuman, then yes, it is too soon. Alter your body in a way to become other than a sapien and get back to us.
Fortunately, as a programmer and an engineer I can promise that won’t happen any time soon.
Even if we understood intelligence enough to create an AI (we don’t), and even if our hardware could support AI (it can’t), you can’t get enough quality engineers to agree enough to make it happen.
I think just the heated, ceaseless pursuit of “strong AI” alone (and that’s what we’re talking about here) makes people uneasy. A cabal of gifted, egotistical engineers/developers might advance on their own motives, perhaps separate from what many might consider “the common good.” It’s like a black-hat hacker collective, but for helping computers take over from humans (at all costs). Someone will be a legend or leave a legacy, like Einstein, and that keeps them striving hard for the goal.
Humans are fascinating creatures in the ways that we sometimes play against our own interests. Let me try to sum up what I’m saying:
Sometimes a “thing” can seem to choose us to collect and build it up, give it meaning and context from formlessness, and perpetuate its survival. We are compelled to tweak it, and to risk all to possess the “ah-ha” moment, the pink diamond, the Higgs Boson trapped in a supercollider, unicorns of dark matter or the unreachable final digit in Pi.I think the quest for AI has that same velocity or passion behind it.
Many of the elites are more scary than that. People who.kill for control.
I have enough trouble with the idea of self-driving cars running operating software that’s written by predominantly Asian engineers.
Trust me, the predominantly Asian engineers are just as baffled. Transportation is such a complicated problem that we still can’t design roads to handle the variable traffic flows effectively. The self-driving car is that problem times eleven.
Sure, a fleet of self-driving cars will theoretically eliminate the problem of bad drivers, but that’s only one piece of the puzzle (and, if not all cars are self-driving or there are wild animals to contend with, the problem picks back up). You have innumerable possible road hazards, the sensitivity of the vehicles’ sensors, some degree of communication between the vehicles to coordinate their driving, navigation and GPS fidelity, etc.
I anticipate some early disasters when they’re released. Quite frankly, it’s all but inevitable.
and because their tank is full of.. well, where is lolknee with his “peepee in da coke” joke, when we need him ?
DWA- Driving While Asian.
should be illegal….
I’m more concerned with government being able to remotely stop my car than I am with the race of whom designed it.
Next time, I’ll type slower.
Bbbut they have to stop automobile terrorism! Not one more baby killed by a muslim in a truck!
That’s until quantum computers come online. Then the whole game changes. You are right, the current hardware won’t take us much further.
The biggest problem with quantum computing, imo, is the fact that it’s based on misunderstanding what little we know of the quantum world. Even assuming electrons do exist in the qubit state proposed, it just means every possible combination is there and we have to get at it.
It’s the infinite-monkeys problem. Theoretically, given infinite time a truly random system will, at some point, generate the complete works of Shakespeare in their chronological order. But you still have to dig through all the nonsense to FIND those works.
“Theoretically, given infinite time a truly random system will”…..
This is true. My understanding is a quantum computer will be able to search multiple paths at a time and so be able to solve NP complete problems in quadratic time. Most of the problems we’re trying to solve today with machines are NP complete.
In a way it doesn’t really matter. We now have Ai which can re-write and alter it’s own code. This can (probably will) spiral into places humans have no understanding of or control over. One Ai was able to duplicate a nobel prize winning experiment in less than an hour. Another Ai built to analyze amazon reviews figure o how to detect tone, despite not even being asked to, let alone programmed that way.
We already have the pieces in place, neural networks, algorithms creating their own languages to communicate with each other, solving problems they were neither designed or tasked to address, to create an explosion of advancement far beyond what today’s programmers could dream of. We set the pieces in place and the Ai will develop itself.
Besides, all that aside, with today’s crispr technology and even just our current ability to enhance the human brain using hardware, it doesn’t really matter what today’s engineers are capable of, they will soon be outdated.
and stephen hawking will die in 10 minutes unless a nurse siphons saliva out of his mouth
did you really just pull a “muh crispr” ?
1500: The key to immortality is a fountain of youth (ponce de leon)
1800: Key to immortality is Dr. Nostrum’s quack tonic
1900: Key to immortality is radiation
2017: muh crispr
ever hear the phrase, “the medium is the message” ? Each generation believes that the latest and greatest technology is the secret to cheating death
what’s the premise of crispr? Genetic engineering? So, like you cut your hand, cut an animal that lives longer (like a tortoise), and smear some turtle blood in the wound? Hope it makes you live longer? Essentially, right?
I’m no engineer. But based on what I do know about computers, and what I’ve seen that they are capable of.. AI is not going to happen in the twenty first century.
I feel like they are just trying to scare the unwashed masses at the moment.
What we like to call AI is NOT even close. Today all we have is synthetic logic code. Its nothing to do with intelligence. None of this synthetic logic code has any ability to engage in cognitive perception or philosophical intelligence. Its not AI. Its like comparing a chrome plated plastic toy gun with a 50 cal. desert eagle.
I was reading something on scale free computing? An attempt to directly mimic thought not just translate code.
A similar line of reasoning did not prevent the making of the atomic bomb …
And as someone who is not an idiot I can promise you that won’t happen *ever* because it’s a nomological impossibility not a temporal one.
What then does it mean to be human as part of an ongoing evolutionary process, and how do we live as a result? What inorganic thing can simulate “survival” beyond us, and is already present between the lines, altering the template of organic life and redefining what is or is not a simulation? What thing will arise as unexpectedly as the Spanish Inquisition, take off on its own, get rid of the slow humans, and ultimately supersede us as our evolutionary gifts and competitive advantages ebb?
I should be long gone before we hear the end of it…
I for one hope that with that level of intelligence, the AI actually become sentient and benevolent. Could go completely wrong though, but hey… humans are dumb anyway…
I’m still waiting for humans to become sentient and benevolent.
Yawn. I started thinking about these ideas over 40 years ago when I read Robert Ettinger’s Man Into Superman, published in 1972:
It amuses me when you youngsters act like you’ve just invented these ideas.
And it amuses me that you act smug about an idea you yourself did not come up with. Besides, this author is not claiming to have ‘invented’ these ideas, he is making the same claim as yourself, having read them in a book by someone else. That he is obviously younger than you nessesitates he would encounter these ideas later.
Besides HE wrote an article on the topic, YOU left a snarky comment about how you had read about it first. If anyone deserves a yawn, it is you my friend
“You’ve been dick-slapped!”
I didn’t realize you had over a decade on me
I remember finding James Oberg’s “New Earths” in the library when I was 14. Fantastic book about terraforming. I think they sold it off at a book sale to make shelf space for how to raise your transgender son.
I don’t think we’re even headed in the right direction, let alone accelerating.
Well consider the article a mere update – computers and AI are still getting exponentially more powerful. People should stay informed of what is possibly the most important transformation in the history of the human species.
I wouldn’t pedastalize science fiction writers. Just because they have gotten their fantasy lives into print, it doesn’t follow that they have any deeper insight into the mysteries of the universe than the rest of us. When you hear them talk in interviews. they often show conventional outlooks in a lot of ways.
A guy named Eliezer Yudkowsky has run a successful doomsday-prevention scam for over a dozen years now, where he draws a salary from two or three “nonprofit” organizations he has set up to – get this – create the first “Friendly AI” that will protect humans from possible unfriendly AI’s.
So far, in his late 30’s, he has never held a job, and he has produced no computer code to show for his efforts; yet he has built up a following of bright but naive geeks who consider him a genius and give him money.
Oh, and he has published Harry Potter fan fiction.
Even if Yudkowsky has identified a real problem about AI’s, what the hell can he do about it? What makes him The Chosen One to save us all?
Scam artists are inflating people’s fear to make a buck. Al Gore is at the top of that list.
People in the survivalism industry do this as well. Lately some of them have gone into business building and selling luxury survival bunkers to billionaires, where they can score the big money.
Of course billionaires can’t just act like innocent bystanders to any social collapse they get caught up in. They had the power all along to keep these things from happening through, for example, using their money to push hard for public policies which make the country healthier instead of letting competing groups promote their agendas which deplete and weaken the country.
(((Eliezer Solomon Yudkowsky)))
Thanks for the reading suggestion. As a lover of the Dune series, the prequel books written by Herbert Jr, although riddled with inconsistencies only fans would pick up, the idea of AI in those books is a great read as well.
Why do we assume artificial intelligence will be come self-aware? Most people are not self-aware.
I used to be very into trans-humanism.
I would love to live forever (or as at least indefinitely). Unfortunately, no one currently alive will live to see such technologies.
Human progress is held up because most people harbor a death wish and want to die.
Ray Kurzweil is a fraud and a charlatan. I wager he will be dead within 5 years. So much for “live long enough to live forever.”
50 years ago, humanity put a man on the Moon.
Now, we’re quibbling over if a man should be allowed to use the girls’ locker room and bathroom. I’m not seeing the relentless progress here…
So many pessimists on this site.
How about the 4.5 billion extra people who now know how to read and write
since 1970? – https://ourworldindata.org/literacy/#historical-perspective
Or the 20 year jump in life expectancy? – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_expectancy
Or the 3,000-odd extra skyscrapers we’ve built? – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cities_with_the_most_skyscrapers
Or the 5,000 spacecraft we’ve launched? – http://claudelafleur.qc.ca/Spacecrafts-index.html
A tunnel under the English Channel? A bunch of robot rovers crawling around Mars? 3 billion people with internet? Probes to every planet out past Neptune? The fall of Communism? Far fewer people dying in wars? (despite what the news portrays)
I agree no Mars landing so far is disappointing (though even that will be in the next 10 years if Elon Musk has his way) and the social justice crowd is retarded (half the reason I write for this site) but come on – the future is looking pretty good.
Hell its so good its scary – that’s the whole reason to discuss the singularity.
Many people – particularly the most intelligent – are electing to not reproduce anymore. So why would a super-human machine intelligence start dismantling planets to make more von Neumann machines???
I have bad news for the dreamers: there won’t be any terraforming or asteroid mining in your lifetime.
The future has less space exploration but more sodomy. The future is so pozzed up, I think I need an AIDS test.
You can eat all the 300 year old Galapagos tortoises you want, you’re still going to die.
tfw when a turtle gets to live 4 times longer than you do … feels bad man
Umm .. you don’t seem to get it: it isn’t desired that people live longer. The elites want people to die off faster. They want a high turnover rate so they can have blank slates to work with.
Reminds me of the bit in 1984 where O’brien tells Winston that it doesn’t matter if people become senile at age 30, the Party can still continue its rule.
Self-driving cars drive us to meet our tinder date so we can have sterile sex and get pozzed up.
remain young forever?
Women don’t want to remain young forever: they just want to LOOK young until they die. Women would be totally alright with dying at 50 if they could look 25 until the day they died.
“the crippling realization we all face on occasion
that we are ‘immortal souls trapped in an animal’s body”
I have that realization every minute of every day.
The problem is most people never have this realization: they’re too busy swiping on tinder and playing angry birds
The future will not be automated.
This self-driving car thing is the same hackneyed premise the elites trot out every generation.
1920: Karl Capek’s play Rossum’s Universal Robots
1960: Rosie the robot maid
1990: Jap robots will steal your job
2017: Robots are coming for your job (and your daughters)
The profit is made from the hype, the sizzle.
Why does a Congolese man dry my hands with a towel and offer me scented soaps in the bathroom of a restaurant / club when hand blowers were being installed in truck stop plazas like 30 years ago?
Take a drive through Illinois or Indiana: count the number of times you’ll deal with human toll booth operators.
Do you really expect a society / culture that refuses to acknowledge there are two sexes / genders can create a super machine intelligence with an IQ of 10,000?
Humans will not even acknowledge that biological / inherent intelligence difference exist between people or races. How the hell are we supposed to create the singularity?
People show more concern for the breeding of plants and livestock than for themselves. Human breeding is left to the whimsy of the heart.
It doesn’t need a society or culture to create such a thing.
Just one person (and maybe a group of drones for him to order around).
The idea that teams of people are needed to generate new technology is just absurd. Teams only create meetings and paperwork, same as always.
It does take more than one person. You think the geniuses of the world just shat out their brilliant ideas one day?
No. They built upon the work of those that came before them.
The built on the work of the other single genius that came before.
The current ideology about “social justice” will also interfere with a Mars colonization effort. The social-justice morons would meddle with the process of selecting colonists for Mars to burden the colonists with useless diversity hires, when rationally you would want to send healthy white people with normal sexuality – exclusively – to eliminate racial animosities and gay drama as sources of failure in the colonization project.
I think an IQ of 10,000 isn’t even meaningful. the way IQ is measured it’s about the number of people you beat at tests and the highest possible IQ ever measured was maybe 210 or something (forgot the exact figure) and above this there simply remains nobody else to beat.
Your countries are being flooded with the lowest IQ people and the smartest people are turning gay or opting not to reproduce at all. All this talk of the singularity will be as quaint as Hitler’s dreams of creating a 1000 year reich and an aryan master race.
The future, far from being gleaming bright and anti-septic, is dirty, pozzed up, and brown.
You don’t need many bright people, most jobs are the equivalent of ditch digging, and intelligent people aren’t happy to do those jobs.
The singularity will not depend on average human IQ being raised.
Vorsprung Durch Tecknik!
What we hoped the future would be like: Sky City, Coruscant, Avatar, Prometheus, etc
What the future will really be like: people dying of cancer at age 40 because the food, water, and air are so polluted and tampered with.
It’ll probably be a combination of Idiocracy and Wall-E.
That’s just silly, life expectancy has been the same for 2,000 years.
No reason for it to change.
Controlling your environment and food intake is critical. True the Earth was once a far less toxic place. In scripture there is no mention of the color blue or azure. The sky was described as sea green pre flood. A level of the Earth’s atmosphere containing water and gold chloride once existed, but this layer collapsed, thereby raising sea levels. Earth’s oceans contain more gold than you will find in this star system. Uranus and Neptune are but gas giants and no gold on the Sun. Earth is Fort Knox and we’re sitting on it.
The ‘gold band’ that once sandwitched above the troposphere and beneath the ionosphere blocked cosmic rays which burn DNA telemeres to some extent. When these rays entered the biosphere, human ageing was accelarated. If there were only a way to shield the rays and reconstruct the lengthy original telemeres. The shielding the rays part is simple. Gold hats and gold sunscreen for everyone, or . . . gold plated DOME CITIES!
I’ve always been skeptical of futuristic civilizations like the dome cities pictured in sci fi. What social order would be in effect? Would they have a caste system with compartmentalization of the different breeds who perform different functions, somewhat like the grays? Or would they be more like the singular Annunaki with one multi capable breed that can do all? And as for mating, it would be stupid and feminist to de ball the man and deprive him of the joys of conquering the shebeast. Assigned mating and test tube babies are dehumanizing bullshit. Man must constantly strive and mate competitively in order to grow and maintain a stamina for living. The drive to survive. And man must remain as a conduit of natural and cosmic energies in order to nourish his own creative energies and to act as a pilot for his greater DNA colony to advance and not fall retrograde and become a terminator line.
The domed city above was proposed by Michigan auto engineer, artist and inventor Anthony Ratkov as being a bug and disease free environment of the future.
But the dome tops need a gold plating I say. And as for lighting? Gold halide GROW LIGHTS, the best grow lights in the world screwed all inside the dome.
People who remain indoors for long periods of time and who lack sufficient sunlight should also install gold halogen grow lights indoors.
Did you forget the Eloi and the Morlocks?
The Eloi vs Morlocks future describes the bottom of the rabbit hole of systemized feminism which is incompatible with our patriarchal species. The Eloi represent the degenerated elites devolving into lazy and stupid grain and fruit eaters while the Morlocks represent the prior enslaved working class which finally evolved mechanisms to survive the oppressive conditions of it’s bondage to the elites.
They made the mistake though of taking a bite of what they strived to free themselves from – and you become what you eat! Thus both halves, both societies remain Earthbound and nested within the domain of the great bitch mother, Mother Earth. The story represents the complete abscence of patriarchy. The dividing lines no longer congruent with the specific sexes but perpendicular dividing lines artificial to nature. When the elites cannibalize on the proletariat and then the proletariat returns by cannibalizing on the elites, then they’re all doing what the wild bitch mother in nature does – eating her young.
IT IS the divine providence encumbered in patriarchy to subdue and corall the wild female bitch spirit and bitch nature from ever being free and loosed in the cosmos. Loosed and uncontrolled, femininity isolate is an energy that is no longer compound, but is an ionized radical and spineless form and it gravitates to the nearest depths it can find and becomes a festering boil upon the nearest orb. IT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY to the great Universe and creation to control and harness the wylie yet progenetive bitch force.
KEEP A LID on your bitch.
KEEP YOUR BEARD unfurled.
KEEP YOUR BRAINS sharp.
KEEP YOUR BALLS cool.
AND KEEP YOUR BEEFSTICK in hand and in command.
Hail the patriarchy!
Most people do not want to live forever nor does the idea of not existing bother them in the slightest.
That is why they spend their time foolishly and have no concern for leaving a legacy: they are begging for death.
And the few of us for who are unnerved by mortality are at the mercy of those brain dead fools.
Chloral hydrate not doing the job tonight, huh?
I disagree. I think most people fear death, which is why they do their best to distract themselves and not think about it.
I think the only people who ascribe mystical powers to robots or computing are those who have never written a program or built a robot. When you do, the reverence and awe go right out of you. Jumper wires, breakout board, interrupts, subroutines. Nothing even resembling self-awareness or motivation.
Sort of like those New Guinea natives who worshiped the wreckage of a WW2 plane as a god.
It’s not like we have some supercomputer composed of quivering biological goo in a giant pool that (((somehow))) becomes self-aware.
None of this shit is going to happen. Humans have fallen far indeed if they believe that this will have any measure of universal meaning on existence. The more things change the more they stay the same.
according to a majority of leftist people dominating us, the robot on the right will have big tits and will constantly be taking selfies with a smartphone.
To all of you who deny God.
Listen to this :
Marooned in Real Time By Vernor Vinge, touches on the singularity, and the people who missed it.
PS. I think the future is enhanced humans (via genetics or technology) rather than AI.
Vorsprung Durch Technik.
I am just worried about that nut Kin Jong Un. I recommend we all go out and buy food and ammo this week-end.
I have felt pretty good about having about 2000 rounds of ammo.. But my buddy told me he had over 100ooo and is always getting more. Just one of his many guns was 5000 bucks.
That seems extreme to me as I want to enjoy life some (although he does say he enjoys his his weekly shooting maneuvers. Dude is a gun encyclopedia. And I personally enjoy reading, learning languages, etc. more than a single-minded gun obsession.
But it dawned on me that there are a lot of people like him. I just like to go shooting 3 or 4 times a year just to make sure I remember how to use my guns.However, In a SHTF scenario, we will be up against countless unprepared marauding zombies, but also some people who trained hard, expecting this, and know how to plunder.
I have some rural land (with no shelter yet or anything), but I doubt I could get to it 3 hours away even if I did have shelter.
But in the very least, we should all be preparing to shelter in place armed and vigilant.. I don’t think Kim could pull off an EMP attack, but I am sure that SOB has saboteurs over here to wreak havoc with our water and power supply. I am not skilled enough nor do I have the desire to go out fighting in ccivil conflicts. But we should be ready to protect our homes and perhaps even prepare for some armed neighborhood community watch like Zimmerman at some point. My neighborhood is in a poor survivial location according to the book STRATEGIC RELOCATION. I can see a commuter interstate from my upstaris window when the leaves fall offf the trees.
I am a little worried about things going up, even if Kim probably needs to be taken out. Our military is proud and ready, but this will be much harder than Iraq. Kim is dug in. We will own the air, and he will have a hard time moving his tanks, but it will also be hard to take them out. He has been preparing tunnels and bunkers for 50 years at least. And he could get off a lucky shot with nukes.
The next few weeks are perhaps a bigger deal than any singularity.
Food and water, hidden well, and reloading equipment are better investments.
Bury some sealed drums of museli, rice and powdered milk on your bug out land. .22 ammo is really cheap, if you are strapped for cash a .22 rifle is worthwhile.
As for getting to your land, don’t write off a mountain bike. In a time of trouble a mountain bike is more effective than a car. It doesn’t need fuel, can get past traffic jams, and it only takes 3x the travel time. (I can easily do 60Km in a morning)
Children resemble their parents, and the elitist circles of Mark ((zuckerberg)) have a near monopoly on A.I. development and advanced supercomputer tech. Whatever fruit comes off that tree will be a living avatar of ‘1984’
The Japanese are working furiously to create a realistic sex bot. The progress they are making is significant.
But I’ve seen what they’ve created thus far. And they are still incapable of perfectly mimicking natural human movement. If we can’t even make a robot lift it’s arm like us, how do you figure we are close to making one think like us?
We are nowhere near actual AI’s
I sometimes think that in Japanese culture they turn humans into computer bots, rather than vice versa …
We don’t even understand what our own consciousness is a product of, or what/where it emerges from.
Shit… science doesn’t even have a clear cut answer on why we SLEEP. Just a bunch of theories that all seem somewhat plausible. Sound familiar? Think about how the universe came about and it’s the same thing.
No, I’m not denying science or it’s usefulness… just pointing out that, at best, we’re operating on a few different hunches when it comes to consciousness and the development of AI. Sure, they’re hunches that a great deal of people all agree are “probably right”, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get the desired result.
Moore’s Law has already run into a huge road block. Computing power is not doubling. See Isaac Arthur’s discussion on this subject on YouTube. This is the reason they are looking into quantum computing which isn’t moving very fast.
Thanks for the article, I really enjoyed it. I’m going to make this my first Sci-Fi novel.
True AI is already here. You tube search DoD contracter Brain Tew discusses consciousness computers. As a ”targeted individual”, I have first hand experience with an AI that seemed all to human.
As soon as machines are smarter than us there is no point to us.
A wonderful review, full of things to think about.
Computers taking over our jobs ought to be a good thing. Who wants all that tedious labour? Let the machine do it, just as they took over the spinning wheel and the laundry washing. But it is a very strange thing that during this era of computer mechanisation, we are working longer hours than ever. This is the opposite to what we were told by social scientists in the 1960s and 70s. Predictions are so often wrong.
About computers taking over our thinking. That’s different. But science, for all its advances, has never been able to define two key aspects of existence. They cannot define consciousness, nor explain how it arises. Nor can they define life – except to observe the characteristics of organic vs inorganic matter. But the essence of life, and how it arises, remains outside of science’s explanations. Without life and consciousness, the abilities of computers, however marvellous, are limited.
Really those stories just make me think of the shit you have to go through to get something to work in a third world country.
Ha! Someone should make Charlie aware of this piece; I wonder how he would react. His Euro-liberal/globalist sensibilities might be offended but it might also appeal to his anarchist streak. Hobbes, I assume you’ve read Asher, too..?
This guy? – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neal_Asher
No I haven’t actually, might give him a look.
Neal’s a little less “out there” than Charlie, but I really enjoy him.
Idiotic philosophically-illiterate author thinks his garbage sci-fi can become real because the 10 year old in himself wants it to be. No, machines aren’t gonna be smarter than man, machines CANNOT become sentient, and “the singularity” is cringy crap made up by basement dwellers who can’t deal with reality
Well thank you for that well-reasoned and detailed critique.
Your way of thinking is too trash to be anything other than mocked harshly. Something that relies on utterly stupid and low-life thinking has never had a single reason of being taken seriously and is not worthy of well-reasoned and detailed critiques.
This isn’t 1950 mate – computers have grown exponentially for more than 50 years and Moore’s law still isn’t finished yet.
1997 we had the first AI beat the human chess grand champion, now they’re driving cars by themselves. Have you not noticed the internet and its 3 billion users that have popped up in the last 30 years?
AI have perfect memory compared to us, can calculate any maths problem in an instant, can communicate at the speed of light while our neurons are limited to about 100m/s.
AI is going to completely outclass us relatively soon – necessitating that we use technology (particularly neural implants of some kind) to try and keep up.
This isn’t Star Wars, this is a serious discussion as to how technology can dramatically transform our civilization in the coming decades, as it has in the last few centuries. I understand a healthy skepticism but not complete dismissal. You sound like the ‘everything worth inventing has already been invented’ crowd circa 1900.
That’s great and all, but AI is still something that does only what humans have programmed it to do, they’re not sentient and won’t ever be, no matter who they’re programmed to beat in chess. They’re just tools, they don’t “have” perfect memory, they’re nothing but items a human uses, that’s all. It’s not going to outclass us in anyway because it will never be conscious. All the fundamentals that are required to make AI and transhumanist garbage (“neural implants” being one of them) possible are false assumptions.
People who believe the shit you do are two disgusting things:
1) Stupid, philosophically-illiterate simpletons with a dumb understanding of the fundamentals of reality, probably believing in garbage like the Idea of Progress and chronological snobbery and every other dumb belief that comes as a result of having a simplistic linear mind.
2) What Nietzsche would call the opposite of overmen, pathetic losers who want to ‘end suffering’ and garbage like that. Dreaming of virtual realities created by scientists (which they are not) where you can do anything you want because you’re too scared of actually facing reality and doing something that requires work, talent and sacrifice, not being smart enough to realize such an existence is pointless and emotionless (emotion being another nomological impossibility for AI to have). I hope you’re young and get to live many decades more and have time prove to you how ridiculous (in a lame way even) the predictions (generated by subhumans) you believe in are.
p.s Moore’s law isn’t real. Technology grew way way faster in the 60’s and 70’s than it does now, when most of what happens is you get modifications of already existing tools instead of new things. This is of course, an underlying law of nature, everything’s momentum stops, an amateur bodybuilder grows muscles faster than someone doing it for 10 years, a human grows taller fast in his early life and then stops, to become shorter in his very old age, the concentration of a reactant drops rapidly in the beginning then gets slower exponentially until all the products are formed. The one thing that defines everything in the Universe is stability, everything that exists desires to reach a more stable state of being. Gibbs’ energy of a system is best at zero, not much to the left or right of it. Reality is a dichotomy of two opposites and the best lies in the middle, not a linear arrow. You think things are going to keep getting better and better forever and ever? No. The future is way more likely to look more like ancient times than it is to look like sci-fi garbage. Time is an imperfect circle
Not that this matters, because for AI and transhumanism fiction to be nomologically possible a bunch of weird combinations of stuff that isn’t true and maybe even contradicting would have to be real, like dualism and the lame mechanistic interpretations of physicalism.
The Enlightenment is the worst thing that has happened to humanity
Singularity – the merging of humans and machine to create the technocracy. Transhumanism in its final form. But that is not for us, only the elites. Any type of machine merging for us will be to control us. Elites believe they can implant and mobilize their consciousness and download it to any vessel. Hence they no longer need bodies – they can travel the cosmos via computers, satellites etc…
But what is the true end goal? They wish immortality, but why? Because they know what they wrought upon themselves when they die – Just like their master. It was told to me by my Savior “workers of inequity, depart from me, for I not know you”.
Time is short for the elites and their master. Do not become part of the machine literally.