UFO Conjecture(s)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Artificial Intelligence in [classic] Science Fiction

My academic pal, Bryan Sentes, who teaches at Dawson College in Montreal, doesn’t take kindly to his friends and others who are enchanted or afraid of the current splurge in conjectures about Artificial Intelligence.

Yet, the great and not-so-great Sci-Fi writers have been enraptured by the idea of AI and here is a list of those brilliant writers from The Science Fiction Encyclopedia edited by Peter Nicholls [Doubleday, Garden City, NY, 1979], Pages 133-134, under the Computers rubric. There are more under Robots and Machines:

Edward Page Mitchell’s The Ablest Man in the World [1879]
Edmond Hamilton’s The Mental Giants [1928]
John W. Campbell’s The Mental Horde [1930]
Miles J. Breuer’s Paradise and Iron [1930]
Don A, Stewart’s The Machine [1935]
Isaac Asimov’s The Evitable Conflict [1950]
Francis G. Rayer’s Tomorrow Sometimes Comes [1951]
Arthur C, Clarke’s The Nine Billion Names of God [1953]
Frederic Brown’s Answer [1954]
Isaac Asimov’s The Last Question [1956]
Pierre Boulle’s The Man Who Hated Machines [1957]
Mark Clifton and Frank Riley’s The Forever Machine [1957]
Philip K. Dick’s Vulcan’s Hammer [1960]
Dino Buzzati’s Larger than Life [1960]
Michael Frayn’s The Tin Men [1965]
Gordon R. Dickson’s Computers Don’t Argue [1965]
Frank Herbert’s Destination: Void [1966]
Robert Escarpit’s The Novel Computer [1966]
Olof Johannesson’s The Great Computer [1966]
D. F. Jones’ Colossus [1966]
Robert Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress [1966]
Harlan Ellison’s I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream [1967]
Martin Caidin’s The God Machine [1968]
Robert Silverberg’s Going Down Smooth [1968]
Charles Harness’ The Ring of Ritornel [1968]
Ira Levin’s This Perfect Day [1970]
D. G. Compton’s The Steel Crocodile [1970]
R.A. Lafferty’s Arrive at Easterwine [1971]
David Gerrold’s When Harlie was One [1972]
James Blish’s Midsummer Century [1972]
Isaac Asmov’s The Life and Times of Multivac [1975]
John Brunner’s The Shockwave Rider [1975]
Chris Boyce Catchworld [1975]
Frederik Poul’s Man Plus [1976]
Algis Budrys’ Michaelmas [1977]

Two anthologies are noted:

Science Fiction Thinking Machines [1954], edited by Groff Conklin
Computers, Computers, Computers: In Fiction and in Verse [1977], edited by D. Van Tassel

N.B. Italic listings above are stories in pulp magazines and Bold Face indicates books

The date of The Encyclopedia … doesn’t allow for all the books and stories published after 1979, which are ample.

Not to heed the prescience of Sci-Fi writers (as above) or the concerns of extant notables (Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, Nick Bostrom, Ray Kurzweil, et al) about the evolution of AI (Artificial Intelligence) or Thinking Machines seems short-sighted to me, but I know, my buddy, Bryan is absorbed by the Germanic Romanticists of the 18/19th Centuries, so I forgive him his disdain of the AI barrage here and all over the place.


A book recommendation from NASA scientist Larry L....

Our friend, NASA scientist Larry L, left this comment, the other day, at my post "UFOs and Time":

"I am slowly picking my way through The Physics of Stargates by Enrico Rodrigo and can heartily recommend this book to you or anyone who is interested in understanding what modern physics says about all the questions you raise, and more. Enrico is a Caltech Physics graduate, who earned his PhD in Physics under John Archibald Wheeler. Wheeler, in turn was the graduate student who was deemed smart enough to be Einstein's student at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton and went on to pioneer the wormhole concept. This book is a systematic attempt to deal with the questions that are raised by the existence or non-existence of wormholes, including the various different varieties of time machines. The book is densely packed with ideas but is non-mathematical specifically to be accessible to those who never took the higher math courses which constitute the natural language of--for instance--General Relativity. Because it is so densely packed and I haven't finished it yet, It's impossible to summarize it here in a few sentences; I simply recommend it for your consideration if you want to take your conjecture to the next level."

The book just came today, from Amazon, and it's a killer, one I recommend to readers here, who have a tendency to intellectualize and also have a penchant for mathematics.

I'll be providing excerpts, from the book, and commentary, upcoming

Thank you, Larry, for the suggestion...