Thursday, 11 August 2016

Scientific Speculations Incorporated Into Poul Anderson's Works

Poul Anderson, "Wellspring of Dreams," see here.

Freeman Dyson worked on an Orion project which was reflected in Anderson's Orion Shall Rise and Niven's & Pournelle's Footfall.

Dyson foresaw the greening of the universe: Anderson's Harvest Of Stars.

Hans Moravec:

virtual reality;
a fractally dendritic robotic "bush" (!);
human personalities transferred to computer matrices with robotic bodies;
self-improving AI's surpassing and succeeding humanity.

These ideas are variously in Harvest Of Stars, The Boat Of A Million Years and Genesis. Anderson comments:

"It seems unlikely to me that humankind will either go gently into that dark night or settle down as parasites on the machines." (p. 243)

Needless to say, his novels cover both human extinction because of AI's and human independence of AI's.

Tipler demonstrated FTL and time travel compatible with relativity: The Avatar by Anderson and a short story by Niven.

Barrow and Tipler argued that intelligence might be unique to Earth: Harvest Of Stars and Genesis.

To be continued.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I agree, in GENESIS and the HARVEST OF STARS books we see mankind becoming, in the former, the pampered parasites of the AI. The latter shows us humanity eventually shaking off the smothering cocoon of luxurious uselessness and striking off into the universe at large.

While some of the most daring and best works of Poul Anderson, written in his old age when creative powers are waning for most of us, speculates about AIs, I think some caution is called for. That is, while Anderson was willing to speculate about such things, he remained skeptical AIs of the kind we saw in the books I cited would ever be practical.

Btw, I think you meant "...go gently into that dark NIGHT," not "knight."


Paul Shackley said...

"...dark knight..." I am a Batman fan! (The price of accuracy is eternal vigilance.)

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Ha! I'm more a fan of Sir Dominic Flandry, a knight of the Terran Empire.

And, yes, I've seen Batman referred to as the "Dark Knight."