Sunday, December 18, 2005

Sunday odds and ends

I was going to post something about the 'singularity'. This is the idea, associated with Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil amongst others, that super-intelligent AIs will emerge around 2030 and will positively feedback their own evolution until the rate of technology change goes through the roof and humanity transcends or something.

On reflection, this idea seems so self-evidently ludicrous that it is hardly worth an essay. Some intellectuals reify and project 'intelligence' in a similar way to which Guardians reify a martinet in the sky and Idealists sense an oceanic entity of empathy and compassion underpinning all of Nature [the irreverent Artisans are too busy having fun].

I, for one, will be amazed if we have something by 2030 which can operate in polite society without running down its battery and which can avoid scratching the furniture. We can always hope.

I have finally drafted a section on grid computing for the book. Since I am now working full-time on a client project, my time for word-production has been severly circumscribed. I have a couple of reviews to write (Personality in Adulthood, and The Rule of Three: Surviving and Thriving in Competitive Markets) which will serve to remind me of their contents, and that will add further material for the book. Then something additional on casual gaming (typically older ladies playing bejewelled) which complements the hardcore World of Warcraft crowd.

As I write this, BBC Radio 3's Bach Christmas is playing over my Internet connection. In a childlike fashion, I am looking forwards to my Christmas present from my younger son, the book by James Gaines with the wonderful title: 'Evening in the Palace of Reason: Bach Meets Frederick the Great in the Age of Enlightenment'. My elder son was asked to get a CD recording of 'the well-tempered clavier', but has apparently forgotten...

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