Re: White Mars by Aldiss and Penrose

Bryan Moss (
Thu, 28 Oct 1999 12:29:21 +0100

Anders Sandberg wrote:

> > White Mars
> > Brian Aldiss, Roger Penrose
> I wonder if it is another _Turing Option_ (in which I
> actually liked the parts where Minsky nearly lectures the
> reader about the society of mind, but found the actual
> plot utterly uninteresting).

It might go a little something like this,

Tom Jeffreys surveyed the sight of the accident. Metallic debris lay strewn across the library floor like so many failed analogies.

"The book, where is it?"

The librarian lead Tom to Ground Zero, lying in a crater a single robot, it's head exploded, clutching a copy of the Complete Works of Kurt Godel.

"Hadn't you been told not to let the robots in here?"

The young librarian did not reply.

"The Emperors New Mind is required reading in school, how could you have possibly not known?"

"I'm sorry mister," the librarian replied, "I ain't never been to school".

Quite how this ignorant fool became a librarian was beyond Tom Jeffreys. Despite his initial urge to beat the boy within an inch of his life, he resisted, but that was Tom's way, his manner was less severe than well controlled, whatever that meant.

"Let me tell you a story young librarian," Tom pulled up a chair, "Over the past few decades, electronic computer technology has made enormous strides. Moreover, there can be little doubt that in the decades to follow, there will be further great advances in speed, capacity and logical design. The computers of today may be made to seem as sluggish and primitive as the mechanical calculators of yesteryear now appear to us. There is something almost frightening about the pace of development. Already computers are able to perform numerous tasks that had previously been the exclusive province of human thinking, with a speed and accuracy which far outstrip anything that a human being can achieve [and so on for 600 pages]"

Or perhaps not...