Wednesday, February 25, 2004

I just read a pretty good short-story by Tad Williams in which the Internet achieves sentience and assumes control of the world. While I don't think this is likely to happen anytime soon, comparisons to Earth's telecommunications net and the synaptic structure of the human brain have not gone unremarked by scientists and sociologists. I read an interesting, pre-Internet book called "The Global Brain" that forecasted something like Williams' scenario. And in David Brin's "Earth," a near-future Internet achieves self-awareness and becomes Gaia, the digital personification of Lovelock's famous hypothesis.





In William Gibson's "Idoru," there's a passing reference to a religious sect that prophecies some paradigm-busting change when the amount of human nervous tissue reaches some critical threshold. Again, the same sort of lofty hope that an emergent property will seize control of our psycho-evolutionary reigns sometime in the not-too-distant future.

Is it just me, or is the so-called "Singularity" predicted by hardcore Extropians basically a jargonized version of the "Rapture" awaited by Christian Fundamentalists?

IN CASE OF SINGULARITY, THIS CAR WILL BE MANNED BY A CYBORG

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