Life after Computers

We are so wedded as a culture now to computers and digital devices of all sorts that it seems virtually impossible for most people to imagine a life without them. Perhaps it is easier for me because I belong to a generation that grew up with nothing but typewriters and landlines. But even for me it’s a stretch to imagine a post-digital society connected telepathically rather than electronically, where sharing data is merely a thought (not a even a keystroke) away. Most science fiction I’ve seen envisions advanced AI and AI/human interfaces or AI vs. human warfare (like the Terminator series), but not a universe that has evolved beyond computer-based entities. Gaia’s Web charts a path to such a future. Can you imagine yourself living that way? The forthcoming sequel Gaia’s Mind will begin to explore this new territory.

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3 comments on “Life after Computers
  1. David Savage says:

    Steve, I sent you an email, but it bounced because it said your mailbox is full, so I’ll paste my email here.

    Hi Steve,

    Last year I read Canadian science fiction author Robert J Sawyer’s multiple award-winning trilogy WWW:Wake, Watch, Wonder about some remarkable developments in science and technology and about the Internet becoming conscious and taking care of humanity (in a good sense). Nearly every reference to a technology or a company in the series that I googled actually exists.

    I saw the ad for Gaia’s Web on the back cover of Asimov’s April/May 2013 issue, researched the book and you, and ordered the book. So far I’ve read pages 3-23, the first section.

    It’s funny how indignant I feel about how the fictitious characters should know and act better about some things. In this section there were several depictions that I found jarring. I bought the book for its promise of a synthesis of wonderful new ideas about how we can solve our pressing global problems, so I will as much as possible disregard what I believe to be flaws in the presentation of them through the characters and finish reading the book, but nonetheless…

    Daryl’s presentation to the committee included a statement about the desecration of sacred Navajo lands. Why would he mention that in his presentation to a scientific committee? It seems out of place. And there’s no explanation of his connection with or why he cares about Navajo lands, unless it’s explained later in the story.

    Also in his presentation to the committee he shows a video of the clear-cut Amazon rainforest, yet a few pages later he’s eating a steak in a diner. He should know that the main reason the rainforests are being clear-cut is to raise corn and soy to feed to cows that are killed for human consumption and to graze the cattle. He should also know that the main cause of global warming (according to a United Nations report in 2006) and a major cause of worldwide air, water, and land pollution, and a cause of worldwide food and water shortages is the industry of factory farmed animals. Therefore, he should be a vegan, as I have been since 2001.

    Why would Samantha hide from Daryl that she still has a sexual attraction to Martin and why would Martin hide his attraction to Samantha from Daryl? Besides being married, Samantha and Martin are best friends. Martin and Daryl are good friends. They should all know about and embrace polyamory.

    Daryl climbs the tower in the desert and all of a sudden brings out a rattle and does some shamanic work. This was jarring. There’s no explanation about his connection to shamanism, unless it comes later in the story. If he is a shaman he should be aware of Samantha’s feelings for Martin and Martin’s for Samantha. It seems that Daryl is a shaman only because you studied shamanism.

    Why didn’t Martin use the word “fractal” in his description of “self-similarity?”

    Here are two developments that might interest you.

    Ray Kurzweil, who, among other endeavors created Singularity University, has joined Google as Director of Engineering to continue his work on AI:

    Val Brown in Vancouver has created a neurofeedback system that is based on chaos theory and nonlinear dynamical systems:

    I have had a long-time interest in and study of states of consciousness, zen, other nonduality teachings, and shamanism. I look forward to learning how you include those in the story.

    David Savage
    Vienna, VA – music video about veganism. Click “21 videos” to see more.

  2. Jose Ricardo says:

    I can’t imagine it. In fact, I probably won’t live to experience it. Just saying.

    • Steve Proskauer says:

      Jose Ricardo, if your grandpa can experience it in his mind, chances are you might experience it during your life. Things have changed increasingly fast in the last fifty years and the speed of change just keeps increasing. When I was in college, we had only typewriters and carbon paper, no word processors or printers. All telephones were landlines. Can you even imagine that? If I made too many mistakes on a paper i was writing for a class, I had to type the whole page again. Seriously.

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