Book 14 for 2016: The Dark Forest

Busy times these past few weeks, what with my son’s eye surgery and
kitchen renovations underway, I have found myself knocked out of my
regular routines, and often out of my regular bed. This has meant
less chance for reading, but like all true book addicts know, you
can read anywhere. So while I haven’t been posting, rest assured I
have been reading.

And this is what I finished reading last week, the middle book in
Liu Cixin’ Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy: The Dark Forest.
Getting into Liu’s previous book I wasn’t even aware that this
constituted the start of a trilogy, but once I had made it to the
end I was thrilled to hear that here were two more installments on
the way (Now I just have to wait till September for the finale to
be released in English; damn my monoglottism!). This is one of those cool science fiction stories where they come
up with an initial premise that seems like a basic and simple to
begin with, but as the author slowly teases out all the
consequences that you hadn’t quite thought of, they end up building
a fascinating and complex world that really draws you

Can’t wait to see how the trilogy pans out!
#AlwaysTimeToRead #ChineseSciFi

Book 12 for 2016: Superintelligence

Book 12 for 2016: Superintelligence
I have had this book waiting in my kindle all year, but it seems so daunting being written by a philosopher, and tackling some heady issues. Thus I had been picking some easier reads instead of delving in.
I have to say though, I do like the grand nature of the issue being tackled. Sure it may sound like science fiction, but if we are indeed working towards artificial intelligence, even a little, then this is clearly an issue, and a possible threat, that we need to be devoting our time to understanding.
So while the book itself may not solve any of the problems it elucidates, indeed many of these problems may never even come to be true, it is nevertheless a worthwhile undertaking simply to try and wrap our heads around the idea of Superintelligence, and how it will impact humanity.
It reminds me of one of my favourite Bertrand Russell quotes, where the philosopher explains why he thinks philosophy is a worthwhile pursuit. It’s worth reading, despite it being one of the largest sentences I can recall reading (it has two semicolons!):
“Philosophy is to be studied, not for the sake of any definite answers to its questions since no definite answers can, as a rule, be known to be true, but rather for the sake of the questions themselves; because these questions enlarge our conception of what is possible, enrich our intellectual imagination and diminish the dogmatic assurance which closes the mind against speculation; but above all because, through the greatness of the universe which philosophy contemplates, the mind also is rendered great, and becomes capable of that union with the universe which constitutes its highest good.” – Bertrand Russell, Problems of Philosophy
#2016inbooks #Superintelligence #ElonMuskWillSaveUs #bertrandrussell from Instagram: