The Sword and Laser discussion

From Singularity into La-La Land?

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message 1: by Sanjiv (last edited Jul 15, 2011 02:32PM) (new)

Sanjiv | 21 comments Though this might not be the technical definition, I heard someone discuss a singularity scenario in which robots consumed the mass of the earth, essentially replacing the earth with a swarm of flying robots. And these robots were the physical medium that maintained a single internet, where the remnants of humankind resided in a virtual space. Or maybe not, my memory may be flawed. As it turns out I'm still heavily influenced by BlindSight, what with the unconscious autonomations and the virtual after lives.

So what is this singularity business? Will we approach it be as more and more of us upload our minds into virutal space? Normally our sense of self is influenced by the interaction between our environment and our biochemical make up. How will we define ourselves in the singularity once both these things are gone?

As people's identities become slightly more flexible, I wonder if the virutal world might end up resembling fantasy realms? With dragons and gods forming from our unconscious archetypes (anyone know Forbidden Planet?), and dwarves or elves froming from people who define themselves by various cultural traits.

It may turn out I'm sabotaging my own thread, but the underlying question that keeps buggin me is how a fantasy world might ever come to be. A Hundred Thouseand Kingdoms, for example, seemed sensible enough. But a Dungeons and Dragons world? How do we get dragons and dwarves and elves? A Second Life style virtual world--where people might pretend to be elve--isn't compelling enough of a creation story (for me).

A side question: How do we maintain our sanity in the singularity scenario as discussed above?

message 2: by aldenoneil (last edited Jul 15, 2011 03:35PM) (new)

aldenoneil | 1000 comments The book I always think of is The Dancers at the End of Time. The characters are trans-human, but still possess physical bodies. Instead of control of virtual worlds, they wield rings that grant them ultimate power in the real one. Essentially, they can create the world, their bodies, their personalities, based on their moods. Many of them recreate historical environments (or their best approximation), or completely fantastical ones like you mentioned.

In the end, it's the same result by different means. It's a great exploration of what humans do when they cease to be human. In this case: become decadent idiots.

message 3: by Colin (new)

Colin | 278 comments Well, you'd need a great magical cataclysm that reawakens all the old powers, and would soon discover that small groups of the population have had recessive elf, dwarf, orc, and troll DNA all along and needed the MagicalCataclysm to wake everything back up, causing massive physical changes in those unlucky sods, turning them 'back' into elves, dwarves, orcs and trolls. You'd then probably end up discovering that all the old myths and fairytales were true, and that a giant red dragon forms a giant megacorporation and takes over the world until he is assassinated by a elite spec-ops unit of elf and human magic assassins with heavy weapons and such. While the world still reels from the return of magic, and the legal process involved in redistributing the estate of the dragon to the proper shareholders, the world turns into a not-quite cyberpunky version of our world, with a lame version of the 'interwebs' that William Gibson showed us in the Sprawl trilogy.


message 4: by aldenoneil (new)

aldenoneil | 1000 comments Colin wrote: "Turning them 'back' into elves, dwarves, orcs and trolls. "

I've always been attracted to elvish women.

I imagine I'd be one of the "lucky" few who remains a boring ol' hume.

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