[ExI] "traditional (Kurzweilian) progress"

Damien Broderick thespike at satx.rr.com
Fri Jun 1 16:19:57 UTC 2007

At 07:04 AM 6/1/2007 -0700, Jeffrey Herrlich wrote:

>I wasn't aware that Vinge had been involved for so
>long (I thought '93 was his debut)

He foreshadowed the Singularity in his fiction in the early 1980s, 
but actually posited it (and dramatized its advent) *using that term* 
in a remarkable sf novel, MAROONED IN REALTIME, in 1986. He and 
others subsequently tracked back both the idea of exponential 
technological change to von Neumann, Good, and others--in THE SPIKE, 
which lists these predecessors, I cite an over-excited 1961 article 
by G. Harry Stine--but Vinge's vivid and iconic representation of the 
Singularity was the seed around which subsequent arguments developed.

Here's a minor throwaway image from that novel:

"They were famous pictures: Death on a Bicycle, Death Visits the 
Amusement Park.... They'd been a fad in the 2050s, at the time of the 
longevity breakthrough, when people realized that but for accidents 
and violence, they could live forever. Death was suddenly a pleasant 
old man, freed from his longtime burden. He rolled awkwardly along on 
his first bicycle ride, his scythe sticking up like a flag. Children 
ran beside him, smiling and laughing."
                    (Vernor Vinge, Marooned in Realtime)

Damien Broderick

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