Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Meet the new boss

One of the more interesting questions in science fiction is what the next iteration of humanity will be. One answer is built around the notion of the Singularity, which Vernor Vinge explains here. Essentially, this human created machine intelligence arises from our technology. Some stories like the Terminator movies assume that humanity will be the enemy. In others, humanity is given the option of joining the new intelligence, or the new intelligence is an evolution of humanity. In still others, like Charles Stross's Iron Sunrise, the Singularity spawns a God-like new intelligence that toys with humanity for its own reasons. Further reinforcing the God allusion is the name of the new intelligence, the Eschaton. You needn't be interested in this sort of thing to like Stross's book, which is great so far, but this sort of speculation is one of the reasons I like science fiction so much. It used to be that novels asked great questions of society, and science fiction is one of the few genres that seems interested in the question of where society is going.

The Singularity is Near is a newish book on the subject if you want a nonfiction look at the subject.

1 comment:

Brack said...

Dan Simmons' "Hyperion" series is also a good one on this theme.