Thursday, July 16, 2009

Accelerando


I just finished reading Accelerando by Charles Stross today. My two word mini review is: Wow, damn. Slightly longer: I'd have to rank this up there with Sterling's Schismatrix, Stephenson's Snow Crash, Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep, and Egan's Diaspora as far mind-bending idea-saturation goes. This is a depiction of a post-singularity/post-human future thoroughly informed by contemporary experience with internet and related technologies. Stross also demonstrates quite a bit of familiarity with philosophy of mind, especially Dennett's (the Dennettian notions of zimboes and Cartesian theaters get put to work). (There's quite a bit of Clark/Chalmers extended mind stuff, too.)

It will take me a while to fully digest all of Stross's ideas relevant to the Alternate Minds project, (e.g. his treatment of group minds and virtual minds) but I'm especially impressed right now with his depiction of transcendent intelligences and the threat they pose to the enhanced-but-still-human post-humans (and the development of what Stross calls "cognitive anti-bodies" and what I call "anti-minds").

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