A book by Isaac Asimov
James Patrick Hogan (27 June 1941 – 12 July 2010) was a British science fiction author. Biography Hogan was born in London, England. He was raised in the Portobello Road area on the west side of London. After leaving … see full wiki
What was your first impression?
The very first time I started reading this I got the impression that the blurbs on the outside were misleading. It seemed to be more about space than computers. But James P. Hogan knew science and technology from multiple angles. This story demonstrates how the cyber-tech affects our possible future society from multiple angles.
The story starts with an accident on the Moon caused by a smart-alek computer handling a job in an unexpected manner which nearly caused multiple fatalities. This gets lots of people excited because if the global computer system starts solving problems in unexpected ways that have adverse side effects like getting lots of people killed then the system could be more trouble than it is worth. But the world has gotten too complex to manage without it. So either the system must be pulled or it must be upgraded. But if the current system has demonstrated unexpected complications of the potentially lethal kind how can any upgrade be trusted?
Perform an isolated Turing Test. Test it where no great harm can be done. Of course the unexpected happens and near chaos ensues. But the humans prepared for that too. Never trust a paranoid human.
Stupid Humans!!! Kill 'em all. Let the bubble sort 'em out.
What's the bottom line?
I admit I'm prejudiced. I don't really believe in Artificial Intelligence. Although these transistorized monstrosties are not intelligent now there is no way of predicting what will be done with more transistors in less space in ten year, 50 years, 200 years. So the POSSIBILITY of true Artificial Intelligence cannot be dismissed out of mere prejudice. Humanity has to make decisions about coping with cyber-Frankenstein no matter what form it takes. This story actually contains enough action and excitement to possibly even make a decent movie. Move over Terminator II!
This is a HARD Science fiction novel. Plenty of people say they like sci-fi but don't like science. So if you can't take the HARD stuff this may not be for you.
But some of the book is out there for free, so take a peek.
This is curious:
I guess you could call this a cyberspace novel with real space.
But the ultimate bottom line is we are creating some kind of cybernetic society. At the moment it is in a rather silly social-cyber-consumerism phase, but how long will that last? What do grade school kids need with things more powerful than dual-core netbooks with 250 gigabyte drives? We may not have Artificial Intelligence soon but we do have cyber-crap flying everywhere. I wonder how confusing it must be to be 10 year olds now. Nobody could even explain electricity to me when I was 10.
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