In 1989, Star Trek: The Next Generation, the second major iteration of the durable televised Star Trek science fiction franchise, introduced a terrifying new villain called “the Borg.” An unhallowed melding of a humanlike life form with cybernetic technology, the individual members of the Borg were born, raised, lived, and presumably died entirely surrounded by technological innovations. There was no such thing as “natural childbirth” for them, they were cloned mechanically, nurtured in artificial wombs, and raised to maturity in pods. An implacable collective intelligence, they mercilessly converted any creatures they encountered into extensions of themselves, cannibalizing their planets for raw materials, and sucking other intelligent lifeforms into the inescapable machine.
For this month’s episode, we discuss Isaac Asimov’s famous short story that (repeatedly) asks the question: Can we find a way to reverse entropy?
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The Philosophical Fiction group, featuring Nathan Hanks, Daniel Cole, Cezary Baraniecki, Laura Davis, and Mary Ricci, in conversation on the short story by Isaac Asimov, “The Last Question.”
“The Second Renaissance” is a must watch for Sci-fi and philosophy nerds alike. It’s the perfect gateway drug for discussions of human intelligence, ego, historic recurrence, phenomenology, and a dozen other philosophical topics that are not hurt by their inclusion in a robot war.
The dinner guests assume that their alternate selves are somehow very different from their “actual” selves. But why?
More on David Brin’s novel Existence, plus Nick Bostrom’s essay “Why I Want to Be a Posthuman When I Grow Up” (2006). With guest Brian Casey.
Continuing discussion of David Brin’s novel Existence (without him) and adding Nick Bostrom’s essay “Why I Want to Be a Posthuman When I Grow Up” (2006). Are our present human capabilities sufficient for meeting the challenges our civilization will face? Should we devote our technology to artificially enhancing our abilities, or would that be a crime against nature, a God-play that would probably lead to disaster? With guest Brian Casey.
End song: “Waygo” from The MayTricks (1992).
Discussing David Brin’s novel Existence (2012) with the author. Also with guest Brian Casey.
Listen to Mark’s Precognition framing our discussion now. We talked on the evening of Tuesday 2/25 with David Brin, one of our most philosophical science fiction authors, whose most recent novel Existence (2012) certainly has a philosophical sounding name. But no, it’s not about ontology, about Being, or about existentialism, but about our continued existence as a species on the Continue Reading …
For your weekend podcast-listening pleasure, a friend of the podcast pointed me to the most recent episode of the Rationally Speaking podcast in which the hosts take up science fiction and chew on what kinds of philosophical insight might garnered from such speculative fiction. (Beware those who, like Seth, abhor the thought experiment!) In the words of the podcasters themselves: Continue Reading …