Monday, December 24, 2007

I never write all these thoughts down but I gotta start somewhere

The past few months I've taken an active interest in sci-fi and fantasy. They can both be great escapism and be interesting morally and philosophically and sci-fi (or at least hard (doesn't break the known laws of physics) sci-fi) can inspire events of the future. Anyway, I have a few problems with the way both are generally presented.

  • No matter how diabolical the (non-superintilligent) individual, he cannot threaten the security of a galaxy spanning civilisation capable of light speed travel. It's nothing personal, but they won't give you all the codes just cos you seem like a decent chap.
  • As we get smarter we know more
    about
    other
    animals not less, so a superintelligence will not lead to the sudden incomprehension and hence indifference to human suffering.
  • Claiming that cloning, life extension, disease cures AI will lead to the apocalypse is not deep. Just like denouncing the war in Iraq or George Bush doesn't make you an astute political commentator.
  • The ability to do (basically costless) magic should lead to an (very great) increase in living standards.
  • Fantasy is supposed to be all about invention and imagination, so why are there such familiar themes and why are elves, witches wizards etc so flippin common?

This post will probably be the first in a continuing series.

1 comment:

Tracy Leigh said...

One can hardly tell the difference between science-fiction or fantasy novel by reading the back. The same epic themes of evil, aging civilisations, war between man & machine, man and alien, etc. are always told.

That's why I really liked Spirited Away, because of its unusual characters (radish spirit, river spirit, nameless black monster) that it presented, and the unexpected transformation of many of the evil characters.