The Singularity

the IEEE
Spectrum has a Special Report on the Singularity up on their site.  Wikipedia has a handy basic definition of technological singularity:

The technological singularity is a hypothesised (sic) point in the future variously characterized by the technological creation of self-improving intelligence, unprecedentedly rapid technological progress, or some combination of the two

A vague definition that only scratches the surface of the varied theories and ideas behind the Singularity, but suitable as an introduction.  Popular films like The Matrix and The Terminator series reveal some dangers of the Singularity while Richard K. Morgan’s Takeshi Kovacs’ novels (Altered Carbon, etc.) focus on the immortality aspect of human consciousness transformed into something resembling a software program housed in hardware (i.e. our body).

In truth, at least as I see it, the concept (or theory if you prefer) is a weird intersecting of disparate sciences and philosophies that is fused into something that almost resembles religion; or spirituality at the very lest.  Viable or not it makes for interesting discussion and even more interesting fiction.

Addendum: I cast magic missile on the darkness

Since I had a family get together this weekend I took the opportunity of a long drive to listen to Ricker’s forementioned Penny Arcade/PVP/Wizards of the Coast podcast.  For fans any of the three contributing parties it certainly worth a listen.  For those of us from the D&D crowd it is almost like listening in to one of your own sessions, calling up fond memories of games and campaigns past.  At the same time fans of Penny Arcade and PVP will find the trademark humor of both comics present and accounted for.

The podcast manages to give you a sampling of some of the changes WotC has made in the game without going into intense details.   While at the same time reinforcing that the way you play the game has changed not at all.  Having worked some ways through Keep on the Shadowfell (the adventure used here, though modified from the recommended 5 players to 3, and seemingly shortened) I can attest that Wizards has managed to hone combat to a razor fine edge that makes even 1st level characters, formally fodder for wayward kobolds, a blast to play.  That’s all I have to say on 4e for now, expect more post June 6th, when I’ve had a chance to really sink my teeth into everything.  Needless to say if you’re interested in D&D, Penny Arcade, or PVP it is definitely worth a listen.

If you’re too lazy to subscribe (you’ll miss out on panels depicted some of the action) check out these instructions here:

  1. Go to http://www.apple.com/podcasting/
  2. Download iTunes version 6
  3. Launch iTunes.
  4. From the dropdown menus, select Advanced — Subscribe to Podcast
  5. When prompted for a URL, enter http://www.wizards.com/dnd/rsspodcast.xml and click OK

For the not-quite-lazy sign-ups for Gleemax (the WotC forum community and by extension the D&D website) are here. Once signed up you can check out the excerpts archive to view the 4e contents WotC has revealed to date on their site.