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Archive for the 'Science Fiction' Category

Venor Vinge profiled in NY Times

Posted by RichardTerra on August 2nd, 2001

from the proficient-prognosticators dept.
A profile of computer scientist and noted science fiction author Vernor Vinge appeared in the New York Times ("A Scientist's Art: Computer Fiction", by K. Hafner, 2 August 2001): "Vernor Vinge, a computer scientist at San Diego State University, was one of the first not only to understand the power of computer networks but also to paint elaborate scenarios about their effects on society. He has long argued that machine intelligence will someday soon outstrip human intelligence." Vinge also developed and popularized the concept of a technological singularity — the lower slopes of which many now believe we are climbing.

Note: Access to the NYT website is free, but may require registration.

Spielberg readies AI, the movie.

Posted by RichardTerra on May 14th, 2001

Mark Gubrud writes "Steven Spielberg plans to release a new movie about Artificial Intelligence, AI as a summer blockbuster starting in June. The movie's official website gives a few clues to what the plot is about, but if there is an official synopsis, I did not find it. There are pointers to related sites which appear to be put-ups, allegedly the homepages of pro- and anti-AI groups, including an "anti-robot militia" which revels in homemade high-tech weaponry to be used in the destruction of "non-human sentients."

[Editor's note: Spielberg's movie is apparently the result of his taking over the project for a movie about AI which the late Stanley Kubrick (the director of 2001: A space odyssey) had been working on for some years.]

Mark adds "While researching about the AI movie, I came across the very useful website AI Topics from the American Association for Artificial Intelligence. There is a subpage on the movie, plus many links to other high-quality resources on artificial intelligence and related topics."

Read more for additional comments . . .

Fictional polymaths debate destructive nanotech

Posted by Christine Peterson on December 25th, 2000

from the that's-a-long-time-from-now dept.
Found by The essay The World in 2050 by Yale lecturer Nick Bostrom features an imaginary dialogue, set in 2050 and broadcast in virtual reality, in which three polymaths debate various issues, especially risk of destructive nanotechnology. The discussion closes with: "We need greater-than-human intelligence to build defenses against nano-attacks. We would not reduce the danger by slowing down; on the contrary, that would make the risks even bigger. The best we can do is to press onward with all possible speed, using as much foresight as we can muster, and hope that there is an other side that we can get to."

Nanotechnologists inspired by … science fiction

Posted by Christine Peterson on August 7th, 2000

from the okay-who-talked dept.
Our secret is out: what some of us knew but didn't talk much about, except quietly among ourselves. German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reveals the influence science fiction has had on nanotechnologists and other high-tech researchers: "I was a dyed-in-the-wool Trekkie," says Freitas. And those who want to get an idea of what is currently going on in the twilight zone between science, fantasy and politics must take such confessions seriously. Just as the German archeologist Heinrich Schliemann's generation was obsessed with Homer, so all the great sci-fi epics, especially those on celluloid, have left their mark on these 40-something scientists. And they now have the education and — thanks to the new economy — the enormous financial resources they need to pursue their version of reality. Er, some of us have the financial resources.

Vernor Vinge to speak at Foresight Gathering

Posted by Christine Peterson on July 31st, 2000

from the here-comes-Singularity dept.
Vernor Vinge, author of some of the best — many would say THE best — novels on highly advanced coming technologies, will speak at the Sept 8-10 Foresight Gathering. It was Vernor who came up with the term Singularity; come hear about it from the man himself. The good news is that Vernor has stopped teaching in order to write full-time, so we should be seeing more work from him. You need to read his writing whether you like sf or not: books such as his are some of the most useful future scenarios around.