10 05 2007

I finally bitted the bullet and bought the last 2 remaining books in the rifter’s trilogy by Peter Watts (yes, i know, that’s 4 books in total, but due to some weird stuff with the publisher, the last book had to be split in 2…).

Here is my short review: “AWESOME”

This book has everything a book needs to have (including the usual paper, words and a cover): Action, drama, suspense and the best examples of madmen i’ve seen so far in my life. The villain is great, you will never know who he is until you are very late (part of the suspense), and the best thing of all: he is biologically unable to have a conscience (in the sense of having guilt for doing something wrong). His superpower? he can correlate data from a million sources at a time and kill a hundred to save a million… serving the “Greater Good”.

And on the Good Side? The Meltdown Madonna and Ken Lubin… Ken is one hell of a character, he is even scarier than Jukka Sarasti from Blindsight. He is a psycopath, of the serial killing sort, until he was put under the Guilt Trip and brought to serve the corporate elite of the time by “cleaning” security breaches. He develops his own rules for when to kill people and when not to. He’s strong, yet weak as he begins to find was to circumvent his own rules in order to satisfy his need: leaving loose ends so he can then “clean them”. What happens when you free someone like this from having anything remotely close to a “Consciousness of what is good or bad?”

We monkeys humans are guilt driven individuals. You want someone to do something he doesn’t want to? make him/her feel guilty and watch. Examples? ask any girlfriend you have ever had… or your wife.

What happens if you could modify the chemicals that interact with your brain and make you think that you think you are feeling guilty about something?

That’s what the Guilt Trip does, it sends chemicals into your brain whenever it detects that you are thinking about doing something that would not benefit The Purpose and makes you deviate from that, thus making big decisions like killing some to save many a breeze to take.

— Begin Rant —

Maybe we could inject something like that into the brains of our back-stabing, money-hungry, stupid directing monkeys politicians for a change . Imagine a world where politicians were really there for serving the people, not just themselves and the other people with money. Maybe we could be actually developing new technology or proving important stuff, instead of teaching children that Creationism is some kind of science…

— End Rant —

What happens when you remove the ability to feel guilt? Do all things like moral and ethics go with it?



15 01 2007

Just finished reading “Maelstrom” by Peter Watts. I just have to say that this book, one has to admire the level of detail Peter Watts goes into describing such hot topics as the evolution of Artificial Systems.

In this book we have a series of wildlife on the Interweb (called the Maelstrom on those times) that upon finding out that some specific kind of contents give them free and secure access (secure as in not being deleted) to move around Maelstrom. So, the seek everything there is to know about The Concept, and in order to be able to make a living continue using it they start generating information about The Concept. They don’t know what it is, they know that using it is beneficial for them… they don’t care. Wildlife in the Maelstrom doesn’t cooperate, they just survive, but thanks to The Concept they somehow start cooperating between themselves, start developing specialiced kinds of wildlife.

So, the wildlife decide that in order to survive, they have to somehow help The Concept in the real world so it never goes out of fashion. There is the small, non-important detail of The Concept spreading ╬▓ehemoth through the world, and ╬▓ehemoth contaminating large expanses of the world and the Firestorm following in their wake (every spot with an outbreak gets burned to hell in order to maintain the quarantine by the authorities). But it’s not their problem.

Eventually these disorganized large quantities of wildlife evolves and becomes Anemone, a group of specialized systems that function together and liked the name. They also are still convinced (as the Smart gels in the Starfish) that simple is good and complex is bad.

The improtant thing about this is that… doesn’t this remind you of something like… biological systems evolution with a way too fast clock-rate? I just can’t wait the day we get computers systems that can evolve themselves without us hacking intervening in it.

My next book in queue is: Behemoth: B-Max, need to see how this ends.