So I’d gotten the idea into my head that it might help explain some of my queer philosophy to provide something of a list of the cultural and scientific works around which I’ve formed my more unusual opinions.
Without any further ado, here’s a shortlist to catch up on when trying to understand Craig and his curious view of the world.
- The Age of Intelligent Machines (1992)
- The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence (2000)
- The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology (2006)
These three titles by renowned inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil make as good a starting place as any. I’ve always been something of a forward-looking person, and these thorough musings on the deeper meaning of Moore’s Law, the internet age and what they imply for the future of the species set me off on a tack towards futures studies in my early college days. My enthusiasm for that line of schooling was only brought up short by the imposition of other texts recommended to me by Peter Bishop of the University of Houston, notably:
Also, strategic foresight isn’t exactly the most lucrative sector of employment when one lacks corporate contacts or managerial aspirations. So I turned my education towards the development of more practical skills and left off futurism as a hobby to be indulged as a layman. Certainly, I’ve never lost my wide-eyed wonder at what possibilities the future might hold for our kind, and the extensive Science Fiction section of my reading list bears this out. Indeed, my preferred subgenre is near-future science fiction. Charles Stross’ works:
are an exemplar of the form. Many of the technologies or themes alluded to through these books have either already come to pass, or ought to surprise no-one if they did. Beyond those works set in the next century, I’d most highly recommend Ian M. Banks “The Culture” series. These three being exemplars of the type:
The allusions to American foreign policy and the ethics of meddling in the affairs of sovereign states scattered throughout the series led me to seek further context from our own history. Public schooling in this country being what it is, I found there were lots of gaps to fill in, and finally got around to reading:
Frankly, this book put a lot of the outrage and despondency I’d experienced protesting with Occupy back in 2011 in proper context for me for the first time. Subsequently, I’ve given up on any hope that the political difficulties in these United States are, or ever have been, soluble. Civic ennui notwithstanding, I haven’t given up my reading in that field either, tackling work from boringly studious economics research:
To radical brainstorming on how the nature of employer-employee relations might evolve:
This is by no means an exhaustive list of my reading, as to produce such a list would require far more time than my lunch break allows. It does, however, capture enough of the spirit of my textual habit that one could easily grok my weirder extropian ideals in their context.