Into The Electric Cloud of Unknowing…

Ok, so about five years ago or so I had this “great idea” for a sort of sci-fi novel set in the not-so-distant-future. It was around the time when things like Facebook and smartphones were starting to catch on, and in the midst of all of that I started envisioning a type of dystopian scenario that looked something like this….

The “story” opens with floating over scenes of steamy rainforests and majestic mountain peaks. Soothing music plays in the background. A person is heard snoring… Then, the serene imagery is suddenly interrupted by the beeping of an alarm clock. Suddenly, a little alarm clock icon pops up, and the relaxing dream sequence of floating over nature blips away. The person opens their eyes, stares at the ceiling, and their field of vision comes alive with a cacophony of digital readouts. An email inbox pops up on the left. A weather report emerges on the right. A news anchor starts reading their morning report in a video feed in another corner. News bytes and random information scroll across the bottom of the “screen”. But the screen is not a screen, it is the person’s own view. The figure crawls out of bed and mumbles “start coffee”, and the coffee machine in the next room starts to percolate. He answers emails, makes a few phone calls, checks on his latest order from Amazon, all without lifting a finger. His eyes and voice do all the “clicking”. The desktop is in his own head…

I was so mesmerized by this chilling idea of everyone walking around, not with smartphones in their pockets, but smartphones in their heads! How much further into the technological abyss would that take our society? Can you imagine being able to walk down the street, get directions for anywhere or anything, keep track of the locations of all your “friends” simultaneously, make purchases without touching your wallet, or even be able to google search anyone you came across simply by looking at them and using some facial-recognition app?

It’s a good thing I never got too serious about writing the book, because in reality Ray Kurzweil had conceived of the idea, along with so much more, far before I ever did, and he wasn’t thinking in terms of writing amateur science fiction…

I finally got around to watching the documentary “Transcendent Man” the other day, and it really helped me to get a much fuller appreciation of what his vision about things like “The Singularity” is all about, not to mention that it really blows your mind that the guy who is making all these bold, fantastic projections is now working for Google, and has in fact been given the resources to try and actually create “AI”! Anyways, the documentary is something I would recommend to anyone who is alive right now and has ever used a computer.

Here is a video of Kurzweil being interviewed about what he’s up to at Google:

and here are some interesting vids about “Google glass” and “augmented reality”:

Finally, a preview of another documentary called “The Singularity”: