Tag Archives: Singularity

Why hippos windmill their tails

So, I was at Orbital 2008 all this weekend, over which I managed to have lots of fun and hang out with lots of cool people.

However, most other people will probably remember my presence best for moderating the soon-to-be-infamous “Sex and the Singularity” panel at midday today, which ended up being as degenerate as you might have imagined. Here’s me sat next to Charlie Stross in full pontificatory flow:

Charlie Stross on Singularity

[Image by mesmerising.]

Charlie is doubtless explaining a tangential point regarding a certain hippo parasite which you will remember if you were present. If you weren’t there, trust me – you don’t want to hear it.

I may possibly talk more about Eastercon when I am less exhausted. Suffice to say I had a great time. Fandom FTW.

Interview: Ken MacLeod on science fiction, writing, politics and more

Science fiction blogosphere habitues have probably already my SF Site interview with Ken MacLeod regarding his forthcoming novel The Execution Channel. I am pleased to tell you that there was lots of peripheral material left over, and that I have just published that material here on VCTB.

Ken’s a fascinating interviewee with lots of interests, and we covered a lot of ground. He discusses his friendship with fellow Scots science fiction legend, Iain M. Banks; their differing routes to publication; his reading and writing habits; transhumanism; the singularity; the future of publishing … and, of course, a little bit of politics! Here’s a little teaser for you, but as it’s stored on a static page, you’ll need to click through on the excerpt to read the whole thing:


You’ve mentioned before that you think life extension is a realistic possibility within the next handful of decades; how far would you go to extend your own life-span? And how much sympathy do you have with the transhumanist movement?

“So far, the only proven life-span extension method is calorie restriction, which I understand works in rats, and I haven’t gone for that. In matters of speculative medicine I have no intention of being an early adopter. It’s like the old joke: how many extropians does it take to change a light-bulb? None, they sit in the dark and wait for the technology to improve.”


Metaverse terrorism

You materialise outside your house of impossible architecture, and find to your astonishment that it’s raining. It’s raining boxes. Small featureless cubes, decorated with frantically scrolling computer code, babbling pseudo-biblical gibberish as they cascade onto the landscape around you. Continue reading Metaverse terrorism