General Exception

Attention Kurzweil Singularity Overmind Nanomachine Google

Well, when the business pages of the The New York Times are full of stories about transhumanism and Ray Kurzweil’s visions of our futures inside the Singularity, that means, I suppose, either that the world is finally ready to embrace my novels (which are full of singularity (“overmind”) stuff, not to mention nanomachines, lampoons of transhumanism, and vaguely Kurweillish techno-utopian evil villains ) or that my time has come and gone without my even noticing it (I guess I shoulda had a television so I could watch “Fringe”, sigh). I suppose if I ever were to get this site fixed I could find out if people were still interested in buying books from me. Note to self: get off ass, dammit!

In other news (which I found via the Kurzweil AI net), the military is working on some “local overmind” (“augmented reality”) technology, not unlike that used by The Eternals in the great Jack Kirby comic books of the late 70’s — of which I have a nearly complete set someplace, in proper comic-book bags. Wonder if it’s worth anything?


1. “In addition, groups of Eternals, as few as three at a time, can initiate a transformation into a gestalt being called the Uni-Mind, a vastly powerful psionic entity that contains the totality of the powers and abilities of all the beings that comprise it.” — Wikipedia

Posted in "A Republic, if you can keep it", Memology, My Thoughts Exactly, Wetware | Also tagged , , , , | 6 Comments (Comments closed)

My Thoughts Exactly

Building the Overmind, one pizza at a time

This little simulation is as distressing as it is amusing.

Which, I realize I’m delinquent in commenting on the three-card monte in which Bush & Pointdexter play “now you see it, now you don’t” with Total Information Awareness, but weariness forfends. Don’t worry however. Soon enough John of Wetmachine will make such a blog post about the all-compassing info-maw as to shake the Moloch/Overmind/Military-Industrial-Prison-WarInfotainment Complex to its very foundation!

Posted in I Fear These Things, My Thoughts Exactly | Also tagged , | 2 Comments (Comments closed)

My Thoughts Exactly

Register here to claim your phony “freedom”

The registered traveler program, in which people surrender a bit of themselves into the maw of the Overmind in exchange for some bogus promise of “security” is so obviously bad that I’m not going to belabor it here. Here’s an artilcle that pricks the surface of why this program is stupid and dangerous — and asks the question, how long will it remain “voluntary”?

One of the things that’s always puzzled me about the Transportaion Security Agency is why people — good guys and bad guys alike, evidently– consider mass transportation the default target for attack. If bad guys started blowing up shopping malls would we then have to create a Shopping Security Agency and have our retninas scanned before being allowed to shop?

Like John Gilmore, I think that the TSA has a lot more to do with conditioning people to surrender privacy and freedom of movement to The Authorities than it does with increasing our safety. I distrust, emphatically distrust, the TSA and all its ilk, but I’m willing to admit that there may be some benefit derived from it to counterbalance the incipient totalitarianism it presages and prepares the way for, like John the Baptist making smooth the way for the One Who Was to Come. But as for the Registered Traveler program in particular, I say it’s spinach, and I say the hell with it.

Posted in I Fear These Things, My Thoughts Exactly | Also tagged , | 1 Comment (Comments closed)

My Thoughts Exactly

Sunday profundities

I went to a wedding last Saturday. The bride (a native of North Carolina) and the groom (a long-time resident of Massachusetts) met in an online discussion group. I had met & had become friends with the groom through a different online group. Before and after the wedding, Dear Wife Betty and I stayed at the home of another friend, whom I also had met through an online discussion group. And at the wedding reception were other friends that I knew from Kuro5hin (or the K5 spinoff site HuSi). As a technoskeptic with strong technoparanoidish tendencies I find it odd that so many of my best friends are people that I met online, and I also note with raised eyebrow that the bride and groom, who were married in an ultra-traditional High Spook Episcopalian mass, are both introverted people. One is a fifty year old astrophysicist and the other is a thirty year old (former) instructor of English. It’s hard to imagine they would have found each other had it not been for teh Intarweb.

Some other time I will write about the notion of community as it relates to “online community.” I used to think that this subject was played out enough that there was little new to say about it. I’ve changed my mind about that, so Stay Tuned, as Harold says.

Read More »

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Inventing the Future

Inventing the Future: connectivity and freedom

My dear friend John, whose generosity and interests drive this site, has said something in comment to this entry, which I just have to call him on:

“The more everything ties together the more we are open for invasion. But the Paris Hiltons of the world seem to embrace the great borgification, the assimilation into the overmind, in which notions such as autonomy and privacy are not so much quaint as incomprehensible.”

Whoa, there buddy! You’re going to have to explain why tying stuff together makes it more open to invasion. Ever try to invade a strawberry thicket? There’s good design and bad design (with respect to various desirable or undesirable effects), but I see no reason that a good interconnected design is any more pervious then a bunch of isolated stuff. In fact, in my admittedly limited understanding of military and tech. security history, the concepts of “defense in depth” and “divide and conquer” suggest to me that interconnected stuff (if done right) may be inherently safer.

Besides, I’m touchy-feely enough that I just plain like the idea of interconnectedness (done right) being not only safer, but freer and more open and enabling, not more oppressive. Croquet architect David Smith just attended the International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism and Security in Madrid. They have produced a document that begins to articulate how I happen to feel. It is called The Infrastructure of Democracy.

I had a conversation with someone at the University here about architecting Croquet – or a class of Croquet applications – so that the infrastructure can be centrally controlled. By the University, by a consortium of universities or what have you. “This is wrong,” I thought. If you design it so that the whole thing – the very infrastructure — can be controlled by you, then it will be controlled, but not by you. Either Croquet will be a success or it won’t, and if it is a success, then the Elephant in the Hallway, Microsoft, will come along and control their version. Or some government, or terrorists, or whatever bad guys haunt your anxiety closet.

I’ve recently learned from some folks in the tech security community that security is weakened when you rely on prohibiting that which you cannot prevent. Systems fail, so design your system to fail gracefully. Connectivity is abused, so design your systems to respond to it. Openness and interconnectivity are powerful tools for dealing with the attacks we cannot prevent.

Posted in General, Inventing the Future | Also tagged , , | 3 Comments (Comments closed)
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