What if, as more than one science fiction story has imagined, the sheer size and complexity of the World Wide Web made it become self-aware. And what if, contrary to most of those stories, it was wonderful in every sense of the word. What if it meant world peace, freedom, and humanity at long last growing up.
That’s the vision Robert J. Sawyer presents in his WWW trilogy, which consists of Wake (2009), Watch (2010), and Wonder (2011). It’s the tale of a young woman blind from birth who gains sight, a bonobo-chimpanzee hybrid who makes a choice, and an emergent machine-based superintelligence who wants to serve man.
And not, it (or rather he) adds, in the cookbook sense.
It’s been a few minutes since the last Wednesday Wow post, and I’ve got two recent videos that definitely made me go “Wow!”
I have a third that is cute and interesting as well as a fourth that’s kind of math-y but lighthearted and certainly relevant (and which will introduce you to Benford’s Law if you haven’t heard of it).
The first video involves a tragic disaster that occurred on the first of this month down in Puerto Rico when the Arecibo radio astronomy telescope collapsed.
I hadn’t planned to post today, but cool things I want to memoize and share continue to accumulate (it’s worse than having to dust — that I can ignore). I already had one Holy Cow! item paired with a So Cool! item, plus another little piece of beko mochi beauty to share.
Then this morning I read an OMG, Yes!! article about actress Michelle Gomez, and then a really touching piece by musician Rosanne Cash. Lastly (technically firstly, as it was the first item added), I have a cute bit of AI research to make you smile.
So once more unto the breach, dear friends,…
It’s time for another Friday news dump from my list of links. (Actually a folder of emails sent from my iPad, where I do the news reading, to my laptop, where I write my blog posts.)
The intent, originally, is to write a full post about them — which I sometimes do — but often, if the urge to bang out a post right away isn’t there, the email with that link ends up sitting in the folder. The longer they sit, the less likely I am to post about them.
So occasionally I open the cage and let some of them return to the wild…
I have a growing list of links to articles that catch my eye, things I’d like to post about (for whatever reason). But there’s a tension between posts based on lists of links or draft posts or idea files versus posts based on what I’m currently thinking about.
I seem to feel the latter isn’t enough, that I need a reserve for “lean times” — which never happen. More and more, I post when something strikes me as worth the effort. The “idea pile” seems almost like homework.
Anyway, here are some things that recently caught my eye.
On the one hand, a main theme here is theories of consciousness. On the other hand, it’s been almost eight years blogging, and I’ve covered my views pretty well in numerous posts and comment threads. Our understanding of consciousness currently seems stuck pending new discoveries, either in answering hard questions, or in providing entirely new paths.
A while back I determined to step away from debates (even blogs) that center on topics with no resolution. Religion is a big one, but theories of mind is another. Your view depends on your axioms. Unless (or until) science provides objective answers, everyone is just guessing.
But it’s been three-and-a-half years, and, well,… I have some notes…
It turned out to be a lot more work than I expected, but I managed to take and write up notes for all ten episodes of Westworld, season one. And I’m really glad I did. Paying that much attention really cleared things up for me; I actually think I understand most of what happened. (Or, at least, I have an understanding! Might not actually jibe with Nolan & Joy.)
And these notes make a nice reference that I may tweak if I find errors or vagueness. Bonus, the notes generated a look into the script Dolores follows and also let me write the Westworld chronological timeline, so I don’t begrudge the work at all.
But now I have questions. As always: Serious Series Spoilers! You’ve been warned! (Repeatedly.)
These are my notes for Bicameral Mind, episode ten (the finale!) of Westworld, season one. As with all these “notes” posts: Serious Series Spoilers! Do not read unless you’ve seen season one!
The season two premiere dropped last Sunday, and it seems worth the wait! The second season looks to be just as enthralling as the first one. It’s interesting to read the various reviews (which often say as much about the reviewer as they do about the reviewed). Some loved the puzzle-box aspect of season one and miss it in the new season; others are relieved there’s less of that and more action. A few seemed disappointed the show didn’t live up to their personal expectations.
I loved it, and I’m so looking forward to watching the story unfold over the next nine weeks! Meanwhile, the exciting finale of season one—
These are my notes for The Well-Tempered Clavier, episode nine of Westworld, season one. As with all these “notes” posts: Serious Series Spoilers! Do not read unless you’ve seen season one!
These last episodes are so full and complex that even a mere outline makes for a long post! So while this may be bare bones and really sketchy, it’ll still be long!
One very neat thing that’s happened is that, despite all the times I’ve watched the series, it’s only watching carefully and taking notes that has really clarified the storyline for me. I feel that I understand what happened a lot better than I have until now. (Which is good considering we jump into season two tomorrow. Whoo Hoo! The wait is over!)
These are my notes for Trace Decay, episode eight of Westworld, season one. As with all these “notes” posts: Serious Series Spoilers! Do not read unless you’ve seen season one!
The pace is definitely picking up in the later episodes as much of what has been set up is paying off (but much is left still unexplained).
Because the second season premiere is so close, these notes are getting fairly skeletal, but I’m still finding the idea of even an outline useful, so I’m still hanging in there (and even as an outline, this episode made for a long post).