In Praise of Slavery

Something in the air these days. Everyone’s talking about robots. Both the European Robotics Research Network and the South Korean government are noodling around with charters for the ethical treatment of intelligent robots. The Nov. 16 Robotics issue of Science contains pieces on everything from nanotube muscles to neural nets (sf scribe Rob Sawyer also […]

Posted in: AI/robotics by Peter Watts 15 Comments

Euthenising the Universe

This quirky and disturbing preprint (by a couple of astrophysicists with impeccable credentials) has been doing the rounds over the past week or so, and if I’m reading the commentaries right it’s taking the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum physics to its logical conclusion — specifically, that whole Schrodinger’s Cat thing that says nothing actually exists […]

Posted in: astronomy/cosmology by Peter Watts 16 Comments

The End of Art

This whole stem-cell breakthrough is certainly worth keeping track of, but not here because you know about it already; it’s all over other sites far more popular than mine. Ditto the hilarious perspective on WoW which serves as the subject of today’s visual aid, starring characters which many of us must know (albeit in roles […]

Why Animé Might Not Be the Best Medium for Blindsight…

Courtesy of Che Gilson, who brought you last month’s Manga’ld Theseus crew, a somewhat-less-than-fearsome interpretation of the once-scary aliens in Blindsight. (Personally, I’d have liked the “weapons” illo more if the board had had a nail through it.) The existential dilemma of a nonsentient intelligence giving rise to a thought-bubble is left as an exercise […]

Posted in: blindsight by Peter Watts 12 Comments

Profiles of the Future

Got the pdf from Nature for “Repeating the Past” yesterday; it’s scheduled for the Nov 29th issue, for those of you with access to academic libraries. I would post the whole story here, but I think the contract gives Nature dibs on first publication. So instead I’m showing you the official illustration, since the contract […]

Posted in: writing news by Peter Watts 4 Comments

You’ll Never Be Rid Of Me Now

I was contacted a while back by a fellow named Nicholas Bennett, who had built a little java program for reading e-books off of cellphone displays. He’d already ported a few hundred public domain titles onto this website for free download (including 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea), and was hunting more recent, Creative Commons releases. […]

Posted in: writing news by Peter Watts 12 Comments

Brittle Imaginings

Pursuant to Remedial Gigerology’s digression into scrambler/ophiuroid relationships, here’s my impression of one, cobbled together from pieces of the other. Consider it a belated Hallowe’en treat: And what the hell: seeing as how we’re on the subject of my favorite holiday, here are a couple of blasts from the past. Even casual visitors will have […]

Posted in: blindsight, misc by Peter Watts 12 Comments