Monday, March 31, 2014

"Obsolescence" with a Capital Zero

One of Vernor Vinge's many books

“The news has been turning into science fiction for a while now. TVs that watch the watcher, growing tiny kidneys, 3D printing, the car of tomorrow, Amazon's fleet of delivery drones – so many news stories now 'sound like science fiction' that the term returns 1,290,000 search results on Google.
    The pace of technological innovation is accelerating so quickly that it's possible to perform this test in reverse. Google an imaginary idea from science fiction and you'll almost certainly find scientists researching the possibility. Warp drive? The Multiverse? A space elevator to the stars? Maybe I can formulate this as Walter's law – 'Any idea described in sci-fi will on a long enough timescale be made real by science.'
     The most radical prediction of science fiction is the technological singularity. As author and mathematician Vernor Vinge put it in his 1993 essay The Coming Technological Singularity, 'Within 30 years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended.'"
— Damien Walter, The Guardian
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