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   Spike, The, by Damien Broderick  
  Nonfiction, first publication in February 2001 , latest edition in February 2002
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    Buy Spike, The by Damien Broderick
       Additional Information  
      If we are to believe the projections outlined in Damien Broderick's The Spike, the acceleration of change is increasing so sharply that the future is not just unknowable but unrecognizable. Dr. Broderick pulls together his vast learning to expand on Vernor Vinge's notion of the technological Singularity and to share with us his necessarily clouded vision of a posthuman future. Writing with a rare enthusiasm unmuted by years of dystopian fiction and news reports, Broderick peels back the layers of jargon enshrouding recent advances in nanotech, biotech, and all the other tech that's daring us to keep up.

    It's hard for the reader to avoid feeling swept up in the rush of novelty, and that of course is the author's point. As we learn to modify even our deepest natures, how can we ever hope to maintain intellectual distance from our technology? Forewarned is forearmed, and Broderick hopes that awareness of the maelstrom will keep us from drowning; this might be the best cure for post-millennial despair. In any case, not everyone believes that the world of 2050 will be incomprehensible to those of us who lived through part of the 20th century. Will the curve spike, as Broderick suggests, or will it plateau? We should know in relatively little time, as we find ourselves either downloaded into space-traveling robots or watching the latest incarnation of holographic Star Trek.

    Source: Rob Lightner,

    The rate at which technology is changing our world--not just on a global level like space travel and instant worldwide communications but on the level of what we choose to wear, where we live, and what we eat--is staggeringly fast and getting faster all the time. The rate of change has become so fast that a concept that started off sounding like science fiction has become a widely expected outcome in the near future - a singularity referred to as The Spike.

    At that point of singularity, the cumulative changes on all fronts will affect the existence of humanity as a species and cause a leap of evolution into a new state of being.

    On the other side of that divide, intelligence will be freed from the constraints of the flesh; machines will achieve a level of intelligence in excess of our own and boundless in its ultimate potential; engineering will take place at the level of molecular reconstruction, which will allow everything from food to building materials to be assembled as needed from microscopic components rather than grown or manufactured; we'll all become effectively immortal by either digitizing and uploading our minds into organic machines or by transforming our bodies into illness-free, undecaying exemplars of permanent health and vitality.

    The results of all these changes will be unimaginable social dislocation, a complete restructuring of human society and a great leap forward into a dazzlingly transcendent future that even SF writers have been too timid to imagine.

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