Kim Stanley Robinson Discusses Utopia, The Singularity and Transhumanism

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Adam Ford recently interviewed science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson, discussion a number of topics including Utopia, the Singularity and transhumanism.

Science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson doesn't think we will ever see a technological Singularity.

"I think it is a metaphor only," Robinson told Adam Ford in an interview.  "I think that you have to postulate too many 'ifs' coming right to have that powerful of a machine intelligence be able to self-evolve."

For Robinson, it is putting the cart in front of the horse.  Even if machines become recursively self-improving, he thinks they are likely to just ignore us and move on, leaving humans in their animal state.  Robinson likens this scenario to Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End.

Interestingly, Robinson in the interview presents himself as a bit of a neo-Luddite in terms of transhumanism.  He seems content with present 'augmentations' of eye glasses, cars and trains.  "I think it is a little weird, greedy and ungrateful," he says.  "We don't need more."

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Robinson is an American science fiction writer, best known for his award-winning Mars trilogy. Robinson's work has been labeled by reviewers as literary science fiction. Robinson describes himself as a backpacker but not a mountain climber, though mountain climbing appears in several of his fiction works, notably Antarctica, the Mars Trilogy, "Green Mars" (a short story found in The Martians), the Science in the Capital series beginning with Forty Signs of Rain, and Escape from Kathmandu.

Robinson was an instructor at the Clarion Workshop in 2009. In 2010, Robinson was guest of honor at the 68th World Science Fiction Convention, held in Melbourne, Australia. In April 2011, Robinson presented at the second annual Rethinking Capitalism conference, held at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Among other points made, his talk addressed the cyclical nature of capitalism. Robinson's novels have won eleven major science fiction awards, and have been nominated on twenty-nine occasions.

Kim Stanley Robinson

SOURCE  Adam Ford

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