Tuesday, August 26, 2014

ECHOPRAXIA, Peter Watt's sequel to BLINDSIGHT

One of my all-time favorite cogsci-fi novels, Peter Watt's Blindsight (previously here and here) has a sequel now. It's Echopraxia, and this review makes it sound pretty terrific.

I'm stoked! Anyone else read it?

Explanation of the title from the review:

As for zombies, they are simply people whose higher thought processes have been turned off. This is done either by surgery, or as a side-effect of bioengineered viral plagues. Zombies function autonomically, without conscious awareness. Their mental apparatus is “reduced to fight/flight/fuck” basic responses. They make great soldiers and sex slaves, because they follow orders unquestioningly. They are in fact subject to the malady that gives the novel its title:  “echopraxia”  is the condition in which a person compulsively imitates someone else’s actions and behavior. When they are not under hierarchical control, they simply imitate one another, and go on rampages like in the movies.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Sci-Fi Author Roger Williams at SpaceTimeMind

One of the projects I've been highly absorbed in lately is the new podcast and video series, SpaceTimeMind, that I'm co-hosting with Richard Brown. There's a lot of overlap in themes between SpaceTimeMind and the Alternate Minds project. See, for instance, our 5th episode, Transhumanism and Existentialism. Especially pertinent is our latest installment, our interview with Roger Williams, author of The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect (discussed previously here and here).

Monday, January 6, 2014

Searching the Internet for evidence of time travelers

Wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey.
Two physicists from Michigan Technological University, Robert J Nemiroff and Teresa Wilson, have written an article, Searching the Internet for evidence of time travelers.

Time travel has captured the public imagination for much of the past century, but little has been done to actually search for time travelers. Here, three implementations of Internet searches for time travelers are described, all seeking a prescient mention of information not previously available. The first search covered prescient content placed on the Internet, highlighted by a comprehensive search for specific terms in tweets on Twitter. The second search examined prescient inquiries submitted to a search engine, highlighted by a comprehensive search for specific search terms submitted to a popular astronomy web site. The third search involved a request for a direct Internet communication, either by email or tweet, pre-dating to the time of the inquiry. Given practical verifiability concerns, only time travelers from the future were investigated. No time travelers were discovered. Although these negative results do not disprove time travel, given the great reach of the Internet, this search is perhaps the most comprehensive to date.

(ht: Maureen Eckert)


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