We talk to him about the Singularity — and how it may come from the superhuman "ensemble behavior" of ordinary humans with powerful computers linked via the Internet rather than through the development of superhuman artificial intelligence — about signposts indicating how we’re doing, about humanity’s prospects for utopia or extinction, and related minor issues. We also discussed writing science fiction (the secret, he says, is "brain parasitism," taking advantage of readers’ smarts), whether college is becoming obsolete, mind uploading, and the joys (or lack thereof) of virtual-reality sex, a question that perplexes Helen.
Also huffduffed as…
Today my guest on Singularity 1 on 1 is Vernor Vinge — the very person who coined the technological singularity as a term.
Currently Vernor Vinge is putting the final touches on the sequel to A Fire Upon the Deep. The new book is titled The Children of the Sky and is already available for pre-order on Amazon, though it is not expected to ship until October 2011.
Despite his busy schedule Prof. Vinge still managed to give us over an hour of his time and during our conversation I ask him to discuss issues such as: his childhood and early interest in science fiction; his desire to make sense of the universe; his definition of the technological singularity and the story behind the term; his now classic 1993 NASA paper; his favorite science fiction books and authors; major milestones on the way towards the singularity and our chances to survive such an unprecedented event.
Today I had the fortune to chat with another living legend - Vernor Vinge (pronounced “vin-jee” as in, he explained off air, “stingy”). While VV may not have the public profile of a William Gibson or Neal Stephenson, in geek circles no SF author carries more respect. Why is it so?
His latest novel, RAINBOWS END, is a masterpiece of near-future Sci-Fi which explores the world circa 2025. Marc Andreessen called it “the clearest and most plausible extrapolation of modern technology trends forward to the year 2025 that you can imagine.”
Vernor Vinge introduces the concept of the Singularity and explains why he believes it will happen before 2030.
All Singularity Summit 2008 recordings: http://singinst.org/media/singularitysummit2008