Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Today Rudy Rucker solicits reader comments for a story he's working on:

So suppose we have a superintelligent web of tiny machines with an enormous net RAM and flop, with tons of data, and with smart agents living inside it. The Web, in other words, but more so. And now suppose that we plug into it and get smarter. How will this feel?

My comment:

I think communing with your future Web would almost certainly be a psychedelic experience. If rapprochement with the Web is via nano-arphids, then it might make sense to augment your brain with arphids of its own; these could serve as "ambassadors" to the invasive Web arphids. Maybe the act of ingesting nanobots could be a sort of mystical rite.

I don't know what sort of society you're imagining, but it could be really pastoral and the inhabitants might know next to nothing about technology -- after all, if the Web is superhumanly intelligent, it could take care of itself without human assistance.


JEFM said...

I'm not sure the human mind is ready for so much knowledge. Personally, I think the individual could end up having some sort of nervous breakdown, suffer from "information overload" or enter some state of psycosis ... (psicosis?, not sure how's written in the language of Shakespeare.)

It could also be that once out, the human commits suicide, based on a simple premise: He saw it all, now "momma can tuck him into bed and put him to sleep" - 1920's baseball commentator voice- and there is no need for him to continue.

Just my ideas at the moment.

Dominus said...

I wonder what the rate of evolution in a computer intelligence would be. The potential for such a sytem to grow out of our control would be immense.

I, Superintelligent Web? Let's hope we come up with a few addendums to the three laws before we get that far...

W.M. Bear said...

Suppose you upload yourself but don't destroy the original. Now there are TWO copies of you floating around in the world! The possibilities are mind-buggering!

Parrish Baker said...

Ursula K. LeGuin's "Always Coming Home" had an independent robotoic internet existing mostly apart from humanity. It allowed them whatever information they wanted, without restriction, but since the pastoral society couldn't afford to build, say, B2 bombers, most of it was useless to them. Agricultural tips, however, were quite useful.

W.M. Bear said...

p.b. -- Yes, and one of the great scenes from her novel occurs when a group of macho-posturing guys use downloaded plans to actually build an operational tank in which they proudly and militaristically tool around the landscape until the thing finally drives into a hole and gets stuck for good.