Wednesday 2011-03-30

Blind Sight online novel by Peter Watts

Vampires, AIs, Alien hordes. All packed together with a better than average grasp of evolution, although it gets a little 'i am making a point'y towards the end.

That's the choice we have. We can be utterly useless, or we can try and compete against the vampires and the constructs and the AIs. And perhaps you could tell me how to do that without turning into an utter freak.

Imagine the economics of a world with better-than-human AI. In order to get there, we probably transitioned through a period where AI serviced fine for a great deal of current human tasks. Watts supposes that a lot of people will just quit / stop competing and just upload their brain.

I figure that since a lot of tasks will get very cheap very fast, we'll see lots more deception and fraud. Our current legal systems rely on having someone complain to initiate legal proceedings. What happens when bots trawl through Facebook pages looking for targets least likely to complain and tailor attacks accordingly?

A sea of tortured faces, rotating in slow orbits around my vampire commander.
"My God, what is this?"
"Statistics." Sarasti seemed focused on a flayed Asian child. "Rorschach's growth allometry over a two-week period."
"They're faces"
He nodded, turning his attention to a woman with no eyes. "Skull diameter scales to total mass. Mandible length scales to EM transparency at one Angstrom. One hundred thirteen facial dimensions, each presenting a different variable. Principle-component combinations present as multifeature aspect ratios." He turned to face me, his naked gleaming eyes just slightly sidecast. "You'd be surprised how much gray matter is dedicated to the analysis of facial imagery. Shame to waste it on anything as counterintuitive as residual plots or contingency tables."