Thursday, July 30, 2009

Robots, Love, and Other Apocalypses

Hello, readers.

It's still not Thursday, but we're close.

Here, briefly, are things that are happening, possibly occurring, and irredeemably exciting. In that order.


My car radio began speaking French this afternoon. I don't know why.

Also, Love is a Four Letter Word, a collection of essays written by writers of varying fame in which they discuss those relationships which didn't quite live forever but whose memories never die. It's edited by a man named Michael Taekens and introduced by a man with a different name, Neal Pollack. Titles include, "Exactly Like Liz Phair, Except Older, And With Hypochondria." Famous writers include: Gary Shytengart and Junot Diaz.

Possibly Occurring:

The end of the world. At least, according to those people who believe the Mayan prediction that our current age will end on December 21, 2012. NPR has a story on that here. Apparently, 2012 will see an increase in solar flares and the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. Scientists say they aren't worried. I believed them.

Then I found this New Scientist article called, "Smart Machines: What's The Worst That Could Happen?" In it, we discover that a select group of scientists began teleconferencing in February of 2008 on the maybes of an AI-induced apocalypse (self-aware internet, for example, or smartphones smart enough to pretend they're you). They dismiss the idea of an AI "singularity" (that point at which an unstoppable chain reaction occurs and AI systems began self-manufacturing smarter AI systems and so on and so forth until Keanu Reeves becomes a techno-Jesus), but they do warn of our increasing ability to "creat[e] systems so complex and opaque that we don't understand them." See below for one artist's rendering of what the robot apocalypse will probably look like.

Irredeemably Exciting:

The future of books, . Assuming they don't learn to read themselves, of course.

Happy Wednesday, readers.


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