Tag Archives: Singularity

A Fly in the Heart of an Apple

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A Fly in the Heart of an Apple
A celibate, like the fly in the heart of an apple, dwells in a perpetual sweetness, but sits alone, and is confined and dies in singularity. – Jeremy Taylor

I read in the New York Times where Google’s anthropomorph Sergey Brin inhabited a machine and mingled with the students at Singularity U. – which is a pricey course in the tech and the culture of its namesake, into which I first (belatedly!) got suckered through Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, a heady dose of just a hint of Cory Doctorow’s pure awesome.

The Singularity is a period after which Moore’s Law–where the time it takes for technology to double its power–becomes so incredibly exponential that the world is thrown into a state of perpetual doubling, second-by-second, drip-dripping innovation. A point in time where the definition blurs – the shady distinction between what is Man and Machine.

It’s all very pseudo-fanatical: an almost-religion concocted out of a die-hard belief in the *good* in technology and a back-issue copy of Asimov’s.

I should have been put-off by the dollar signs. A nine-day run at Singularity U. can put an enthusiast back $25K, which sounds like good fare for a scientologist. Unfortunately, I am an unabashed fanboy, so between Google and Doctorow and Vannevar Bush and, honestly, back-issues of Asimov’s, I am increasingly caught-up and cultish …

— and fascinated with the humanity in what would be not all that definably human. Reverse engineer the machine-functional brain and you can digitize consciousness, back it up, distribute copies willy-nilly and not only contain–as Whitman told us–but BE multitudes. Outside of the technological and astronomical singularities, the Singularity of Being is irredeemably blasted.

Here is where the real science fiction comes around: I am incapable of fathoming that I would really have anything to say with myself; rather, unless there is a cohesive network infrastructure with an external sysadmin-on-high, once a “me” is booted-up from some common backup, our paths d i v e r g e.

— speculatively,

Michael.

In the singularity, the “cure for death” is a series of digital backups …

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Ported from S-is-For-Somewhere.
Down & Out in the Magic Kingdom

Down & Out in the Magic Kingdom

On Wednesday I [legitimately] finished Cory Doctorow’s Down & Out in the Magic Kingdom (available in loads of downloadable formats [free]) – read as an etext on my ipod touch. I’d argued before my uncertainty that the broadly sermonized smell and weight of a book-proper was all it was cracked-up to be, but now I’ve first-hand experience. Honestly, I am not too voracious a reader; I’m easily distracted by my own projects and bright lights, so reading’s always been a thrill of convenience during the inbetweens in my day. So, it took me a couple weeks to swipe through it, but that’s with the ability to adapt my random-reading to my random-taste, sifting between maybe seventeen novels (most from the public domain) I carry around – in my pocket.

Down & Out made me rehash machine functionalism, which I was briefed-on during an Intro. Philosophy course, and the haunting potential that we could digitally replicate human consciousness. Doctorow’s “cure for death” is a series of digital backups coupled with tissue restoration; in the Singularity, death means having lost a day, a week, a year-at-most – but an hour-long data-dump will bring you up to speed. Flashbake —


Etc.: I’m still half-diligently working toward a Glimmer Train deadline, and I’ve almost finished drafting an article for the Bradford Telegraph re: the future of book banning. I’ll throw-it up here in a jiffy. I am writing a reflection paper on As We May Think, and — even though I tend to totally rush through those — I think I may start web-publishing my gradwork as it comes around.


Kristen loved Lisa See’s Peony in Love, so I am going to smother her with Snow Flower & the Secret Fan (which I loved, re: “nu shu” secret phonetic writing developed by women) in an hour or so. — and googling those, I had no idea Lisa See had written so many novels.