Other Titles > Neuropath

Is a Neuropath future inevitable and/or unavoidable?

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--- Quote from: Beardfisher King on April 27, 2017, 02:15:03 pm ---I find what I could stand to read of Neuropath and Crash Space extremely disturbing and unnerving. Don't like reading them. At all.

--- End quote ---

--- Quote from: CondYoke on April 27, 2017, 07:24:00 pm ---I think that's his point- we don't want to face our future, but here it is!

--- End quote ---
I get that, but I disagree that our future is inevitably headed in that direction. :)

Define inevitable.

Do you mean that no matter what we try to do, individually or collectively,  that Neuropath and Crash Space will happen?
I don't think so.

But, if you mean simply that if the science and technology as well as current trends continue unchecked and  unhindered, those are potential realities? I absolutely think so.

Francis Buck:

--- Quote from: Wilshire on April 28, 2017, 12:34:55 am ---Define inevitable.

Do you mean that no matter what we try to do, individually or collectively,  that Neuropath and Crash Space will happen?
I don't think so.

But, if you mean simply that if the science and technology as well as current trends continue unchecked and  unhindered, those are potential realities? I absolutely think so.

--- End quote ---

Agreed, particularly the last bit.

At this stage, I personally view most of Bakker's fiction as warnings of the negative (usually disastrous) consequences of the Information Age/Anthropocene or Transhumanist/Dataist movement - whatever we call "this era happening right now" - rather than declarations of the inevitable. In other words, he writes cautionary tales regarding these topics and issues.

Quoting directly from Wikipedia because I'm lazy:

--- Quote ---Like horror fiction, generally the cautionary tale exhibits an ambivalent attitude towards social taboos. The narrator of a cautionary tale is momentarily excused from the ordinary demands of etiquette that discourages the use of gruesome or disgusting imagery because the tale serves to reinforce some other social taboo.

Cautionary tales are also frequently utilised to spread awareness of moral issues, and for this reason are often told to children to make them conform to rules that either protect them or are for their own safety.

--- End quote ---

Obviously Bakker is writing such tales for adults more than children, and the theme of "unknown unknowns" that runs through his work makes such categorization a bit more nuanced. But, I think one can approach his stories the way one might approach, say, 1984 by George Orwell. It's meant to be taken quite seriously, but not to the degree that we literally prepare for an actual political-entity-organization-thing called Big Brother, just something (or things) similar to it.

Thus, we today should be prepared, to the extent of our ability, for people/beings/entities like a Neuropath, or a Kellhus, and be aware of the potential disasters from technologies like those seen in Crash Space.

As for my own personal view on where reality will take us, for whatever that's worth, I generally fall somewhere in the middle. I don't really think our entire society as we know it will rapidly collapse in an apocalyptic fashion within the next, whatever, 20 years (I admit it feels weird saying this in a post-Trump Administration America, but my larger-scale view of things has not really changed that dramatically). Instead I lean more toward it being a perceptually gradual shift for most of the world, albeit one that is lightning fast by historical standards.

That being said, if I were to bet a million dollars, I'd suggest that by the end of the 21st century a significant portion of the world's population will look back at humanity as we are now and realize they are no longer the same animal -- and unfortunately I don't see that process being a perfectly smooth progression for people in general. Persecution and bigotry are not so easily solved, especially the latter. It seems very likely that under such circumstances, a considerable chunk of the population will be "left behind", for lack of a less loaded phrase, and I would imagine that group will include those both willingly and unwillingly, depending on the context. And that may well be for the better. Who can say?

That is, after-all, what makes this point in history uniquely challenging. No one knows how information technologies will alter our society even five years from now. We can make educated guesses, and probably get a decent idea, at least for now. But make no mistake, once/if we find ourselves co-existing with entities possessing an intelligence even moderately superior to our own, all bets are off. It is, quite literally, impossible to comprehend the nature of such things

*I only omit TSA from the rest of RSB's oeuvre because it's just so damn huge and covers so many topics and issues, many of which are older than God. Which is not to discredit the more speculative elements; I actually think one of the bigger "under-sung" achievements of the series is, IMO, the virtually unparalleled depiction of what a greater-than-human-intellect such as a Dunyain might actually be like.

The series basically ruined superhuman intelligences in other fiction for me, at least any that try to "get inside the head" of such a thing. 

ETA: Actually, I'll amend that last statement -- Peter Watts deserves a mention for his portrayal of creatures smarter (by large or small margin) than humans. His approach is different and he certainly hasn't been spending 30 years writing a character like Kellhus, but he's definitely circling around a similar array of ideas, and he does it with more finesse than basically any other non-RSB author I've personally read.

My thoughts:

Books like 1984 and Herbert’s stuff are not meant to be future telling/warnings/clairvoyant, but preventative medicine for humanity. Because 1984 has entered our general awareness, now it likely won’t happen. Herbert “warns” of the dangers of artificial intelligence so now that we’ve read his stuff, the effort in creating free willed artificial consciousness without a plug will be approached with greater caution ( if such a thing is even possible – note Void Ship “stumbles” on creating such a thing, nodding to evolution’s greatest gifts: circumstance, error and the “motivation” of the living to thwart terrifying/threatening circumstances – remember it’s the same people trying to come up with AI in each iteration, but one group finally succeeds regardless of operating in same circumstances of the previous attempts ). That and the potential callousness of "using" clones as tools and not treating them as "real" people ( another attempt to ward against a potential future evil ).

Not sure Neuropath fits the bill as either foretelling a frightening future or as deterrence – more like how mad it could be for us to discover “there’s nothing at the bottom of the bag” – I take it as story on how that revelation could impact the scientists who initially discover the truth of that ( Neuropath suggests they could go mad ). Could be a warning, though – better keep a close eye on those pursuing this study perhaps?

In reference to Trump … here’s holding up a glass to America’s checks and balances government caging that crazy rooster haired fucker … ( read: hoping! ).

Your “middle” prediction is interesting – take it that’s how you’re explaining your take that the future will likely not be sewn per any one person’s vision? If so, then I’d agree. This is one of the best contributions of SciFi – the ability to measure our imaginations of the future. We still haven’t made it past the moon ( as 2001 would have us believe ), but our advancements in digital technology has surpassed all visions ( compare Alien with Prometheus ) and simply networking the planet has yielded a surprising present day ( even Dan Simmons had to “update” how his AI in his Hyperion story was created, nice break for him as he didn’t go into as of yet in the first book ).

I guess you’re right, no way of knowing how we’ll “react” to a “higher” intelligence, but more so due to the improbability that there are out there ( or at least within walking distance in the cosmos ). But if it did happen, think of the "superior" alien intellect visiting Earth - the movie Arrival did a decent job of addressing the complexity of such an interaction, let alone allowing the alien to manipulate us.

Regarding your "superior intellect" point, a message of the book is to be wary of those you perceive as being more intelligent than yourself … could be you’re just looking at them from the wrong angle or you're mistaking the "foreign" as superior; lack of understanding or differences in capabilities does not denote better or worse ( someone "smarter" than you may not have as good judgement or can perform under stress as yourself ). So consider not letting the works you mention “ruin” stories about “super human intellect” … it’s still something new waiting to be discovered.

If it's not then we're all failures.


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