[FoRK] Douglas Adams: Is there an Artificial God?

Luis Villa <luis at tieguy.org> on Fri Jul 13 09:27:15 PDT 2007

On 7/13/07, Jeff Bone <jbone at place.org> wrote:
> On Jul 13, 2007, at 9:15 AM, Matt Crawford wrote:
> >>  3. computation -- seeing that little tiny things can add up to make
> >> complex things
> >>
> >>  Someone asks from the audience, "What's the 4th age of sand?"
> >>
> >>  He notes: greater and greater interconnection, many-many
> >> communication.
> >
> > Related reading: _Rainbows_End_, by Vernor Vinge.  As always, he
> > extrapolates more plausibly and yet more excitingly than other SF
> > writers.
> Hmm, I do love Vinge, but I can't agree that his detailed
> extrapolations are any more (or even as) plausible than / as other SF
> writers in that same vein.  He seems to make bold and provocative
> "large inferences" but the gritty minutia and the path from here to
> there just isn't his strong suit...  (For example:  despite all the
> trappings of very High Technology --- localizers, interstellar
> travel, FTL galaxy-scale data networking, etc. --- his characters
> continue to be largely human-scale intelligences, with the occasional
> Big Bad AI.  Yet he doesn't convincingly explore why this is the case
> or how interstellar society functions w/o there being massive deltas
> in relative individual power levels.

Read some of the more near-future Vinge (mostly short-stories, though
Rainbows End certainly qualifies). It is much more plausible than his
far-future stuff; more plausible than any other near-term fiction I've
read in a while.


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