Recent Activity Seabed Constructor, the vessel operated by Ocean Infinity to scan the seabed in search of MH, is returning to port in Fremantle, Western Australia, to refuel, change crews, and resupply. Constructor is completing the second of three or four swings, each swing lasting about six weeks. After that, the extended search area along the 7th arc would require scanning about 46, sq km to reach north to around 29S latitude if the width of the search was 25 NM on either side of the 7th arc.
This is the text of my keynote speech at the 34th Chaos Communication Congress in Leipzig, December You can also watch it on YouTube, but it runs to about 45 minutes. As a working science fiction novelist, I take a professional interest in how we get predictions about the future wrong, and why, so that I can avoid repeating the same mistakes.
Science fiction is written by people embedded within a society with expectations and political assumptions that bias us towards looking at the shiny surface of new technologies rather than asking how human beings will use them, and to taking narratives of progress at face value rather than asking what hidden agenda they serve.
Or rather, I write science fiction, much of it about our near future, which has in recent years become ridiculously hard to predict. Our species, Homo Sapiens Sapiens, is roughly three hundred thousand years old.
Recent discoveries pushed back the date of our earliest remains that far, we may be even older. For all but the last three centuries of that span, predicting the future was easy: Let that sink in for a moment: As an eminent computer scientist once remarked, computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about building telescopes.
The same can be said of my field of work, written science fiction. Scifi is seldom about science—and even more rarely about predicting the future. How to predict the near future When I write a near-future work of fiction, one set, say, a decade hence, there used to be a recipe that worked eerily well.
Buildings are designed to last many years. Automobiles have a design life of about a decade, so half the cars on the road will probably still be around in And therein lies the problem: Nobody in was expecting a Nazi revival inright?
Only this time round Germans get to be the good guys. But unfortunately the ratios have changed. Ruling out the singularity Some of you might assume that, as the author of books like "Singularity Sky" and "Accelerando", I attribute this to an impending technological singularity, to our development of self-improving artificial intelligence and mind uploading and the whole wish-list of transhumanist aspirations promoted by the likes of Ray Kurzweil.
I think transhumanism is a warmed-over Christian heresy. Many of you are familiar with design patterns, an approach to software engineering that focusses on abstraction and simplification in order to promote reusable code.
When you look at the AI singularity as a narrative, and identify the numerous places in the story where the phrase " Towards a better model for the future As my fellow SF author Ken MacLeod likes to say, the secret weapon of science fiction is history. History, loosely speaking, is the written record of what and how people did things in past times—times that have slipped out of our personal memories.
We science fiction writers tend to treat history as a giant toy chest to raid whenever we feel like telling a story.
But history is useful for so much more than that. I only remember the s with the eyes of a year old. My father, who died last year aged 93, just about remembered the s. But westerners tend to pay little attention to cautionary tales told by ninety-somethings.
We modern, change-obsessed humans tend to repeat our biggest social mistakes when they slip out of living memory, which means they recur on a time scale of seventy to a hundred years. History gives us the perspective to see what went wrong in the past, and to look for patterns, and check whether those patterns apply to the present and near future.
And looking in particular at the history of the past years—the age of increasingly rapid change—one glaringly obvious deviation from the norm of the preceding three thousand centuries—is the development of Artificial Intelligence, which happened no earlier than and no later than What lessons from the history of the company can we draw that tell us about the likely behaviour of the type of artificial intelligence we are all interested in today?
Old, slow AI Let me crib from Wikipedia for a moment: In the late 18th century, Stewart Kydthe author of the first treatise on corporate law in English, defined a corporation as: Subsequently, the law was extended to limit the liability of individual shareholders in event of business failure, and both Germany and the United States added their own unique extensions to what we see today as the doctrine of corporate personhood.
Of course, there were plenty of other things happening between the sixteenth and twenty-first centuries that changed the shape of the world we live in. This in turn broke the long term cap on economic growth of around 0.
But this is a technocentric congress, so I want to frame this talk in terms of AI, which we all like to think we understand. They have goals, and operate in pursuit of these goals.
And they have a natural life cycle. Corporations are cannibals; they consume one another.An interest group is an organization whose members share common concerns, and try to influence government policies that impact those concerns.
The environment and the personal characteristics of learners play an important role in their academic success. The school personnel, members of the families and communities provide help and support to students for the quality of their academic performance.
When it comes to essay writing, an in-depth research is a big deal.
Our experienced writers are professional in many fields of knowledge so that they can assist you with virtually any academic task. We deliver papers of different types: essays, theses, book reviews, case studies, etc. Here's Nick Skillicorn introducing the upcoming, online Innovation and Creativity Summit I am happy to announce that I will be one of the 45 presenters.
@DennisW. Yes thanks a much-ado-about-nothing, which I described just as “curious” on the JW site immediately after the ATSB deletion. Subsequently it was explained as per your quote’s final paragraph.
This piece has received more comments than any other I have written, + and counting. It first appeared 2 years ago, but rarely a week goes by without someone asserting one or more of the following in the comments sections.