RE: Wednesday's chatlog

From: Damien Broderick (
Date: Sun Mar 10 2002 - 06:03:57 MST

At 09:52 PM 3/9/02 -0700, Ben wrote:

>"The Spike"
>was a quick read and, frankly, contained very very little that was new to
>me. Which is hardly surprising

Yep. Not much to shock those in this corner. But of course it's intended as
the 21st century equivalent of Arthur Clarke's PROFILES OF THE FUTURE, as
he notes, recommending it, in his latest edition. And I gather that was
what was being discussed in the Wednesday chat--the need for something
fairly comprehensive, well written, accessible, and *available already*.

> I will
>recommend it to friends/colleagues/acquaintances who are *not* already
>neck-deep into techno-futurism...

Thanks, Ben. That's a large part of the intended audience.

>One peripheral comment: To me, the term "The Spike" just doesn't have the
>*zing* of the term "The Singularity."
>I predict the "Spike" term will not catch on.

Very possibly, especially with Ray Kurzweil's forthcoming book using the
term `Singularity' in the title. I don't care; inventing new terms is easy,
conveying the singularity perspective is what counts. I devised `the Spike'
as slightly less of a mouthful, easier to spell, and because I figured
people might lock on to the image of that spikish exponential curve. Is it
a competitive meme-handle? Well, it's already been used as an episode title
and recurring motif in one TV series on accelerating technologies and their
implications (in Australia last year, and presumably will appear sooner or
later on whatever Yank TV channel does animals and medicine and science). A
sociologist of science here has written national newspaper articles on `the
Two Spikes' (the singularity versus over-population and other doom
scenarios). Has the term `Singularity' managed that yet? (Obviously it has
in James Hughes' `Changesurfer' radio show; how about other media?)

Damien Broderick

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