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Ruling out the singularity Some of you might assume that, as the author of books like "Singularity Sky" and "Accelerando", I attribute this to an impending technological singularity, to our development of self-improving artificial intelligence and mind uploading and the whole wish-list of transhumanist aspirations promoted by the likes of Ray Kurzweil. I think transhumanism is a warmed-over Christian heresy.

While its adherents tend to be vehement atheists, they can't quite escape from the history that gave rise to our current western civilization.

And therein lies the problem: it's the 1% of unknown unknowns that throws off all calculations.

As it happens, airliners today slower than they were in the 1970s, and don't get me started about Nazis.

And once you start probing the nether regions of transhumanist thought and run into concepts like Roko's Basilisk—by the way, any of you who didn't know about the Basilisk before are now doomed to an eternity in AI hell—you realize they've mangled it to match some of the nastiest ideas in Presybterian Protestantism.

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck.

Or rather, I write science fiction, much of it about our near future, which has in recent years become ridiculously hard to predict.

Our species, Homo Sapiens Sapiens, is roughly three hundred thousand years old.

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Let that sink in for a moment: for 99.9% of human existence, the future was static.

Science fiction is written by people embedded within a society with expectations and political assumptions that bias us towards looking at the shiny surface of new technologies rather than asking how human beings will use them, and to taking narratives of progress at face value rather than asking what hidden agenda they serve.

In this talk, author Charles Stross will give a rambling, discursive, and angry tour of what went wrong with the 21st century, why we didn't see it coming, where we can expect it to go next, and a few suggestions for what to do about it if we don't like it. I'm Charlie Stross, and it's my job to tell lies for money.

Simply put, 90% of the next decade's stuff is already here today. Automobiles have a design life of about a decade, so half the cars on the road will probably still be around in 2027. there will be new faces, aged ten and under, and some older people will have died, but most adults will still be around, albeit older and grayer.

This is the 90% of the near future that's already here.

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  1. Boy, I really touched a nerve this week when I asked you guys about “Stupid Shit Other People Say.” So many Switzerland friends out there. So many dunderheaded in-laws.

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