May 15, 2016

POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAYS: Preaching The Ephemeral the panel discussions of the most recent World Science Fiction Convention in Spokane, August 2015, I will jump off, jump on, rail against, and shamelessly agree with the BRIEF DESCRIPTION given in the pdf copy of the Program Guide. This is event #3852. (I’m tired of talking about the methodology writers employ to help us slip into an alternate reality. I’ll come back to it.) The link is provided below…

The Wired Brain

Science is making surprisingly fast progress at interfacing electronics with the human brain, allowing men and women to send sights, sounds, and touch in and out of their minds, to computers, and perhaps to each other. Ramez Naam, author of Nexus, gives a whirlwind tour of the frontier of the ultimate Human Computer Interface, and how it will change all of us. Ramez Naam

In my opinion, this is the “dream” of psychic powers given respectability by technology. In this case, mental telepathy. Oh, and the claim that such-and-such will “change all of us”.

Just like the WWW was going to change all of us – and all it did was give us new ways to disrespect each other ( and another toy to distract us while we’re supposed to be doing something else ( ).

While our technology rushes on, it seems that scientists, engineers, and sales reps excitedly announce how “everything is about to change”, and while THAT might be true, evolutionists will tell you that WE are not changing – not in the 200 or so years technology has had to mess with us. (

I’m not an Amish writer – I have a laptop, a cellphone, 260 surveillance cameras in the school I work in, a Facebook and Twitter account, and at least three email addresses – personal, professional, and work. I have a chip in my debit card, a chip in my cat and a programmable thermostat in my house.

However, speaking as an individual Homo sapiens, I have not appreciably changed from my 100,000 year old ancestors ( For some reason, however, science fiction writers and other technophiles regularly shout that “we’re going to change any technological development now!!!!!”

Ah yes, The Singularity cometh! By definition…OH!...there are about twenty definitions of the word/event/song/concept:’m pretty sure though, that a “wired brain” would fall into the futurological definition here as explored by SF writer Vernor Vinge (“The term was popularized by mathematician, computer scientist and science fiction author Vernor Vinge, who argues that artificial intelligence, human biological enhancement, or brain–computer interfaces could be possible causes of the singularity”, BTW – I’m a Vinge fan – I have been ever since I read “Marooned In Realtime” serialized in the May-August 1986 issues of ANALOG Science Fiction & Fact. Even so, I don’t buy the whole “singularity” idea.

At any rate, I’ve talked about the “psi” thing before: and while I won’t stop reading SF that includes telepathy, teleportation, et al, I wonder at the power it has over the SF community. Is it realistic – I suppose you can argue it’s just as realistic as FTL (faster than light) travel, antigravity (now called “gravity modification” AND the subject of a short story I’ve written), and aliens – and possible?

None of these “technologies” are anything but a collection of vague scraps and tidbits of research. Ideas expanding on them at this time are subject to endless speculation in order to tease out any way, shape, or form that the thing might support a future in which a “science” might be developed into something more than a wispy, ephemeral dream.

I’m just not buying that technology will SHASAM! us –or our descendants – into some Homo sapiens techologica; and the louder the preacher preaches, they say, the more afraid they are that they’re WRONG…

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