People keep suggesting that I can’t possibly present myself as an expert on the future if I’m not familiar with their favorite science fiction (sf). I say that sf mostly pursues other purposes and rarely tries much to present realistic futures. But I figure should illustrate my claim with concrete examples from time to time. Which brings us to
Evaluating a work of fiction *as entertainment*, is a different exercise, than comparing it to realistic forecasts of the future. Star Wars is "fun", but also unrealistic "fantasy" at the same time. Evaluating the Bible as a guide to literal scientific truth is different than evaluating it as literature.
Commonwealth also implausibly assumes superintelligent and very powerful AIs, who strangely have very little interest in, and only occasional contact with, human affairs.
Spot on! Altered Carbon is a socialist morality play with sciencey-sounding props made to fit the narrative of envy, the driving force of socialism.
Hated the book and won't watch the movies.
The stacks are like a hard drive, you still need a processor for the mind to be awake and thinking. But you're right, VR should be workable. Maybe the computing power is too expensive to have billions of stacks plugged in.
In the TV show Poe wasn't involved at first, yet the VR was going.
I did review Lockstep: http://www.overcomingbias.c...Yes I must limit the flood somehow, via em-related sf and highly regarded sf. I read the Commonwealth Saga, which awkwardly assumes one can store mental states artificially but need brains to run such states, and that this situation continues for many centuries.
"People keep suggesting that I can’t possibly present myself as an expert on the future if I’m not familiar with their favorite science fiction (sf). I say that sf mostly pursues other purposes and rarely tries much to present realistic futures. "
I fully accept that SF is usually not trying to present realistic futures. And I understand you picked Altered Carbon because the stacks fit directly into your em scenario. But Altered Carbon is not good scifi.
And by publishing one review you have opened the floodgates...
I would love to read your analysis of the society in Pandora's Star by Peter F Hamilton.
And what about the Lockstep (Karl Schroeder)?
I think it was actually Poe (the AI hotel) who was providing the virtual environment. But we don't know how Poe can afford it, or even how it can afford to stay open as "nobody stays at AI hotels anymore ".
Speaking of carbon ... one reason (among others) you have no credibility as an "expert on the future" is that you ignore the reality of global warming that will prevent your fantasies from coming about.
The TV series clearly has stacks being used to run a person who lives in virtual reality, using no human brain. But I don't remember if that was in the books or not.
I haven't seen the series, and it's a while since I read the books, but isn't the implication here that the stacks are only a backup medium? If you still need a meat brain for actual cogitation - not implausibly - then most of the wilder extrapolations vanish.
Doesn't explain the AIs of course...
>It is made more to be a morality play, to help you feel righteous indignation at those...rich folks who think they can just live forever by working hard and saving their money over centuries.
Oh, Robin, your words warm my icy heart. Also yes, most fiction is written by the economically illiterate to play to the gut-level prejudices of themselves and their readers. Have you ever been tempted to write SF? David D. Friedman is already one of my favorite fantasy authors (for Salamander, not Harald), maybe I can also have an economist as one of my favorite SF authors...
Sure. Well, the whole book + sequels + the whole series seems more than enough to me, but I do admire your commitment to suffering through all of it just so you could criticize it fairly. I'm reminded of (among others) a James Bond tidbit from the movie, You Only Live Twice: "Bond: (while unzipping Helga's dress) The things I do for England."
You are assuming that isn't the reason he had few resources. There are a lot of unknowns here, the difference between an external connection and an embodiment, what level of experience it provides, what network is provided, etc.
Did growth die, or was it killed? The former seems more likely as frontiers would be under less control. Once growth dies, there may be little value in ems and more cost than benefit to others than themselves.
Hi Robin. I really enjoyed this post, and other posts you have done on these lines. I would be very interested if you could write a long essay (maybe even an academic paper; or even a book!) detailing the ways in which you think through the structure of different future societies, preferably with many examples. Age of Em is fantastic, but it's an extremely detailed analysis of one scenario. I realize that at a certain level your technique is really just "apply our best social science", but that's like the time I was told in a philosophy class "rely more on arguments and less on intuition". It's good advice, but one also needs to see how it's done.
An unemployed guy with few resources was still able to keep his daughter in VR full time.