The Life Sausage

A while back I was trying to explain “quality of life” to the pones[1]— why sometimes it’s okay to die young, why sometimes a long life can be the most terrible of fates. I invented a simple graphic to help make the point, and was rather surprised at its utility. Imagine time along the x-axis: […]

Posted in: eulogy by Peter Watts 63 Comments

Banana’s Dead.

Three hours ago he was purring on my pillow.  Now he’s in a box.  I’ll probably never know what happened in between, except that it must have been agony. I have to go dig a hole.  More later.

Posted in: misc by Peter Watts 47 Comments

The Constraints of Time, The Limits of Reason

  As a postscript to my previous entry — and as a case study to the current one — I spent a little while over this weekend doodling the outlines of a fake nature documentary riffing off the old “Hinterland: Who’s Who” vignettes that used to run on CBC.  Mine was called “Internet:  Who’s Who”.  […]

Posted in: rant, scilitics, sociobiology by Peter Watts 352 Comments

In Vicarious Defense of R. Scott Bakker

For a while, a few years back, I thought I might have an evil twin. I kept running into people at cons who’d met him: Man, he coulda been your clone, they’d say. He’s tall and gangly and kinda sardonic — smaller in the nose, maybe — he’s writing this book about the neurological impossibility […]

Posted in: Uncategorized by Peter Watts 342 Comments

Pursuant to Last Post’s Comment Thread about Machine Suffering…

… as chance would have it, here’s an excerpt from a list of interview questions I’m currently working through from ActuSF in France: You raise the question of artificial intelligence, with the “intelligent frosts”, and quote in appendix both the works of Masuo Aizawa and Charles Thorpe on neuronal networks. Do you believe that in […]

Posted in: AI/robotics, interviews by Peter Watts 36 Comments

Black & White

A couple of minor announcements before we get started: First, a quick shout-out for the benefit of the SciFi subReddit admins: Yes, I am both who I claim to be and who this circuitos dude claims I am (even though I don’t Twit); and yes, if there’s sufficient interest I’d be happy to do a […]

Posted in: legal, scilitics by Peter Watts 86 Comments

The Anal Truth

These are the lies they tell you. First, that the flavor is vanilla.  It’s not. It smells like vanilla when you rip open the pouch — makes you think hmmm, like Nestle’s Instant Breakfast, this won’t be so bad — but the moment you mix it with water all sweet pretence disappears.  You’re chugging something […]

Posted in: misc, public interface by Peter Watts 43 Comments