What I’m reading…

Well I’m gonna start this sucker off with a post about what I’m reading. Last night I finished Rainbow’s End by Vernor Vinge.

Vinge is something of a futurist with a pretty good track record of predicting the evolution of our world via technology. Rainbow’s End tells the story of Robert Gu, a once great poet stricken by Alzheimer’s, who is brought back in a world dominated by wearable computers and social networking on steroids. Some of the themes presented in the book are pretty standard fare for near-future SciFi: The evolution of education, fuzzy reality via computer generated overlays, artificial intelligence, etc. One particular concept that really got me thinking was the elevation of what we are currently calling crowdsourcing. In the story virtually everything from school assignments to intelligence analysis to manufacturing are all facilitated through the use of large numbers of disparate (both geographically and demographically) individuals and companies. “Answer Boards” are used for almost all but the most obscure research and loose affiliations between companies and individuals coalesce to complete a project and just as quickly dissolve when the project is finished. All financial interactions take place via a micro-royalty system backed up by Certificate Authorities. All in all an intriguing subject that got me reading about crowdsourcing in depth.

Next on my reading list is Sun of Suns by Karl Schroeder. This one is SciFi set in a steampunk universe so I’m pretty excited about it. I know I’m a late comer to the steampunk party but coming across some references to the culture really got me thinking about the nature of scientific advancement and how various technologies could have developed differently from the way they have. I’ve heard nothing but good reviews for Sun of Suns so it should be a good read.

That’s all for now, thanks for your time.


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