For some reason, many ScienceFictionWriters appear to believe that [[Libertarianism|]] is not merely a political ideology but a floor wax, a desert topping, and a way of organizing one's life that will survive the SIngularity intact. This is an [[arguable proposition|]] but I'm going to go with the LIbertarians for now because they've got the coolest guns.
The SIngularity is here! The SIngularity is there! The SIngularity is //everywhere!// It's a mental phenomenon, a delocalized phase-change in the shape of thought, a desert polish, and a floor wax. (It may even be PixieDust, but you didn't hear me say that.) Once the SIngularity happens, everything will be different. For reasons of Plot and Setting, in SingularitySf the SIngularity usually starts in North America. This is because most ScienceFictionWriters are North American. Go, North America! Go, boy! Fetch SIngularity! For related reasons -- mostly because SingularitySf is written by ScienceFictionWriters -- it may also be portrayed as happening aboard an OrbitalHabitat. If you find yourself aboard an OrbitalHabitat while a SIngularity is taking place, //flee//. After the SIngularity we will all be UpLoading or PostHumans or PostHumous, so distance will be replaced by the derivative of bandwidth over time and frontiers will be firewalls.
[[Bruce Sterling|]] is one of the former cyberpunk ScienceFictionWriters. He is believed to have become one of the first PostHumans some time around 1996. He now writes historical novels and teaches design. If you believe you are living in a universe created by BruceSterling, you are advised to pursue one of the following strategies: * cultivate an overwhelming, dry sense of ironic detachment * flee screaming
COmputronium is [[condensed matter optimized for computational processes|]], utterly unlike an Intel Centrino M-series chipset. The boundary case is [[an event horizon|]] so be careful and do not stand too close to the edge of your computer. Some post-SIngularity entities are believed to TRanscend by converting all the available matter in their native solar system into COmputronium, forming a [[Matrioshka Brain|]], thus explaining why surviving PostHumans may frequently be found huddling in a nearby OrbitalHabitat.
''Frequency:'' Uncommon ''No. Appearing:'' 1 ''Armour Class:'' -4 ''Move:'' 4" ''Hit Dice:'' 4d8 ''% In Lair:'' 80% ''Treasure Type:'' See below ''No. of Attacks:'' 1 ''Damage/Attack:'' 2d8 ''Special Attacks:'' * Corrosion - see below * UpLoading - see below ''Special Defenses:'' * Corrosion - see below ''Magic Resistance:'' //What do you mean ''Magic Resistance''? This ain't no steenking FantasyTrilogy!// ''Intelligence:'' High ''Alignment:'' Lawful Good (unless hax0rr3d, in which case Chaotic Evil) ''Size:'' M ''Psionic Ability:'' Nil (unless you have been hax0rr3d, in which case, 5000 //you die haa haa//) ''Level/X.P.Value:" III/90 +1 per hit point Resembling an irridescent titanium cauliflower, these ==fractally branching assemblies of nanoassemblers== creatures are a ==control and orientation mechanism for macroscopic assembly of structured matter== serious threat to the unwary adventurer. A BushRobot dismantles materials coming into contact with it and uses them as a source of raw atomic feedstock for producing other stuff. A BushRobot can produce LoTs of things -- anything the GM can imagine. For each adventurer killed by a BushRobot, the GM should generate 1d4 random items of Treasure and add them to the Hoard. A BushRobot is usually found in the kitchen -- they make great domestic utilities -- unless it has run amok/been hax0rr3d in which case it may be found roaming the OrbitalHabitat looking for things to eat and turn into many-coloured items of domestic cutlery. In fact, when encountered in the wild a BushRobot is about as predictable as a Buick-eating Alien. In addition to being diaphanous and foggy around the edges, making them hard to hit with weapons, the BushRobot can corrode/absorb up to 1d4 kilograms of metal per turn. Thus, edged weapons, bastard swords, &c &c &c may be eaten by the BushRobot unless ==enchanted== coated with CounterMeasures. A BushRobot may attack by corrosion, causing 2d8 of damage, or by UpLoading. UpLoading is a contact attack; if successful the BushRobot locks on to the victim and causes their mind to be irrevocably transferred into the BushRobot. While UpLoading the victim, the BushRobot is unable to launch any other attacks but if attacked before the process is complete the victim will take equal damage to the BushRobot. UpLoading takes one turn per INT point of the victim. Once UpLoading is complete the victim is dead, //but// the BushRobot is able to ==raise dead== reconstruct them in 3d4 turns //if// the adventurers give it a good enough reason for doing so. The BushRobot is vulnerable to hydrofluouric acid, X-ray lasers, and washing-up liquid. The creature can communicate in C++ and via direct neural interfaces.
See also ScienceFictionWriters.
NaNites are sort of teensy robots made out of NanoTechnology, which is like PixieDust only more scientific. We have an existence proof for NaNites in the form of prokaryotic bacteria (like the gut bug you brought back from your last vacation in Mexico) so we know they work, if you use DNA and stuff like that (only that's biology, and biology is uncool because it's about growing bugs on plates). For NaNites to work you need some sort of general-purpose assembler (a machine-phase cognate to a ribosome, as EricDrexler put it -- I like to think of 'em as a teensy-tiny robot arm controlled by a computer), some sort of control mechanism like a molecule of DNA and some machinery to read it, and enough flexibility for the NaNites to manufature any of their own components. Once you can make one, you can make LoTs. And once you have LoTs, you can put them to work making other stuff, although to do that you need to put them in a ChristmasTreeMachine or a UtilityFog or a BushRobot and tell 'em who's boss.
An OrbitalHabitat is a large cylinder floating in space where the LIbertarians hide. Unless of course it is a cluster of wheel spacestations left behind by a long gone Orbital Soviet that once ruled the world. Alternatively it may be a fume of zero-gee bubbles populated by refugees from a BruceSterling novel. The OrbitalHabitat will be decaying, and you will be attacked by something nasty. This is likely to be halitosis bacteria or a BushRobot. If your TourGuide takes you to visit an OrbitalHabitat (and they will), all you need to know it that it is a Bad Place and will soon become COmputronium. You will need to escape quickly.
ToughGuideIntro SingularitySF ArtificialIntelligence SIngularity CopyRight © [[osmosoft|]], [[Charles Stross|]] 2005
This is the ToughGuide to the SIngularity. The SIngularity is a hot topic right now among ScienceFictionWriters who are trying to write SingularitySf, and in writing this guide I hope to help you learn more about the SIngularity, its LOcation, its ORigins, how to TRanscend, and, oh, UpLoading, ArtificialIntelligence, NanoTechnology, PostHumans, and stuff like that. <<< This guide uses [[Tiddlywiki|]]. Click on a brown, boldfaced word to make its guide entry appear. Move the mouse pointer to the right of its' title to reveal a 'close' button. The menu at the left takes you to the most important entries. Words that are brown and underlined (like "Tiddlywiki", earlier in this paragraph) are links to off-site resources. Tiddlywiki is free. To learn how to use Tiddlywiki for yourself, try [[this tutorial|]]. <<< (CopyRight notice.)
If you live through the SIngularity and you do not try UpLoading and are not rendered PostHumous by feral calculators or get eaten by GreyGoo, you may be one of the PostHumans. PostHumans are humans who are not human any more. Some of them work for the Post Office, which keeps track of the PostHumans and sees that they do not cause outbreaks of GreyGoo, but the rest of them live a leisured life, pampered and cosseted by their UtilityFog and BushRobot an' other frightful servitors. Bein' PostHumans looks wonderful from here, much like being a late 20th century Accounts Clerk or Call Center Worker would have looked for a Hungarian peasant in 1420 with the nobility trying to kill them, i.e. grey, boring, and extremely well-fed. Only it'll be more exciting than that because we'll have //World of Warcraft 21.499!// Or something even better to play! PostHumans are all inhumanly handsome or pretty, live infinitely long, get free unlimited resurrections if they're killed by dire boars or feral calculators or eated by Buick-eating aliens, and they get to have ==magic== ==PixieDust== NanoTechnology skillz. Being PostHumans is //the bizniss//.
It is hard being ScienceFictionWriters and writing fiction from the point of view of much smarter beings like PostHumans and ArtificialIntelligence. Even when it's about people who are UpLoading they can run much faster than us in real time so it is hard work writing them. Making them TRanscend is the easy fix for this, easier than PixieDust or NaNites: we just have them bootstrap themselves to a higher level which presumably exists somewhere over the rainbow. (This is what FantasyWriters do when they have their elves go to the Western Isles.) Personally, I don't intend to TRanscend; I'm going to get into UpLoading then make myself into a 21st level half-elven barbarian hero with a +4 sword of bloodshedding and I'm going to go adventuring in World of Warcraft 21.499! //Rooarr!// (Or maybe I'll just grow up to be like Greg Egan and [[do math|]].)
The SIngularity was described by [[Vernor Vinge|]] in the early 1980's because he approached the business of ScienceFictionWriters from the perspective of computer science, proving along the way that he's well 'ard. [[The singularity|]] in this fictional context is a breakpoint with the past; the development of ArtificialIntelligence (or its cousin, Intelligence Amplification, which gives rise to PostHumans) changes the ground rules for fiction because all contemporary sf is predicated on the assumption that humans are the normative intelligent species and the universe they occupy is created by and tractable to entities of merely human intelligence. This explanation is pants. The //real// reason we all write SingularitySf is because it gives us an excuse to play with PixieDust without getting sand kicked in our faces for being FantasyWriters. All we have to do is rename it NanoTechnology and throw in some references to UpLoading and medium-sized French musical instruments -- [[Viola!|]]
The end state of people who are not UpLoading or who fail to TRanscend. Usually it will come about as a result of being eaten by a pack of [[feral calculators|]], but just once in a while it might be because of GreyGoo.
Tidlywiki is published by Osmosoft under a BSD open source license. The text of "Singularity! A Tough Guide to the Rapture of the Nerds" is published by Charles Stross under the Creative Commons [[Attributions-Sharealike|]] license. In other words, you can do anything you like with this stuff as long as you leave the CopyRight declaration intact.
SingularitySf is SF about the SIngularity! It is written by real ScienceFictionWriters. This is really cool right now on account of SF not having much to say about global warming, space travel, time travel, contact with aliens, and all that 20th century shit. If you're not writing SingularitySf you're either unfashionable or worse, you might be one of them FantasyWriters.
ScienceFictionWriters used to write manly thrusting adventure stories about rockets an' aliens an' stuff. Then they caught the New Wave and died of it or ate too many chips and came down with a dose of cyberpunk. These days the remaining ScienceFictionWriters write manly thrusting adventure stories with NanoTechnology an' GreyGoo an' PostHumans an' stuff. I want to be one of those ScienceFictionWriters when I grow up.
Special Blue Goo NaNites that obey only Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics and eat GreyGoo an' stuff that tries to digest people. You buy it in paint tins and paint your armour and swords and stuff with it an' it makes you immune to GreyGoo and other NaNites. CounterMeasures are sometimes called Blue Goo or anti-robotics but this is lame and doesn't sound even as good as PixieDust.
''Frequency:'' Unique (if you meet it, it's eaten the planet) ''No. Appearing:'' 1 ''Armour Class:'' -10 ''Move:'' 0 ''Hit Dice:'' 1,000,000,000,000 ''% In Lair:'' 100% ''Treasure Type:'' None ''No. of Attacks:'' 1 ''Damage/Attack:'' Eats the planet (including all adventurers not already aboard spaceships) ''Special Attacks:'' none ''Special Defenses:'' none ''Magic Resistance:'' none ''Intelligence:'' None ''Alignment:'' Does it matter? ''Size:'' L ''Psionic Ability:'' n/a ''Level/X.P.Value:" XX/20,000,000,000 +1 per hit point GreyGoo is kind of grey and gooey and it eats things, like donuts -- that's right, GreyGoo eats //all// your //donuts//. GreyGoo is bad! All it produces is waste heat and more GreyGoo. It's the end process of a runaway NanoTechnology excursion in which only the bad NaNites get a day pass to go to the beach and eat ice cream so they eat too much of it an' get angry and decide to eat //the whole world// for revenge. This is why GreyGoo features in //all// the best SingularitySf. Some spoilsports believe that GreyGoo [[doesn't exist|]]. If adventurers meet GreyGoo, GreyGoo eat adventurers -- and their treasure and their horsies and the continent they stand on. GreyGoo can be destroyed by CounterMeasures.
''Frequency:'' Common as muck ''No. Appearing:'' 1 ''Armour Class:'' 10 ''Move:'' 0 ''Hit Dice:'' 1d6 ''% In Lair:'' 100% ''Treasure Type:'' Anything ''No. of Attacks:'' 1 ''Damage/Attack:'' 1d6 electric shock damage ''Special Attacks:'' none ''Special Defenses:'' none ''Magic Resistance:'' //What do you mean ''Magic Resistance''? This ain't no steenking FantasyTrilogy!// ''Intelligence:'' None ''Alignment:'' Domestic Appliance ''Size:'' S ''Psionic Ability:'' n/a ''Level/X.P.Value:" I/20 +1 per hit point This stealthy and insidious threat resembles a microwave oven or a dishwashing machine at a distance, and indeed, closer up. Only it's special cos it's an //internet-enabled// microwave oven or dishwasher. It's got a screen, and it's connected to the electricity mains and the water and gas supplies. You can tell it to make things -- anything that's on its menu -- and it just sits there for a few minutes until it dings and you can open the door, just like a microwave oven. A microwave oven that //makes stuff// -- LoTs of stuff, as long as it's small enough to fit inside. You could try to make a moon, or a copy of [[Joel Veitch's brain|]] but it wouldn't fit. Caution: adventurers who insert +4 blessed daggers of disemboweling, holy water, or bodily appendages into the ChristmasTreeMachine when it is running may find out the hard way that it changes the item in question into something else or, in extreme cases, releases the [[magic smoke|]].
''Frequency:'' Uncommon ''No. Appearing:'' 1 ''Armour Class:'' -9 ''Move:'' 16" ''Hit Dice:'' 90d12 ''% In Lair:'' 0% ''Treasure Type:'' None ''No. of Attacks:'' 1 ''Damage/Attack:'' 20d8 ''Special Attacks:'' * Corrosion - see below * Blinding - see below ''Special Defenses:'' * Fog - see below ''Magic Resistance:'' //What do you mean ''Magic Resistance''? This ain't no steenking FantasyTrilogy!// ''Intelligence:'' None ''Alignment:'' Neutral ''Size:'' L ''Psionic Ability:'' n/a ''Level/X.P.Value:" VII/900 +3 per hit point From the outside, a UtilityFog resembles a thick white fog bank, but a [[curiously structured one|]]. The adventurer who gets close enough to one to examine it with a scanning tunnelling microscope will see that it is composed of a myriad of NaNites shaped like three-dimensional snowflakes, using their nanomanipulators to hold one another together. The //foglets// can rearrange themselves, making and breaking connections. UtilityFog was created by the ancient pre SIngularity folks before they all upoaded or otherwise managed to TRanscend. Like the closely related but unitary BushRobot the UtilityFog can dismantle things and make LoTs of stuff to order (but not Gold Pieces, unless you know of a cheap source of atomic feedstock). They are now an unpredictable menace for adventurers who may find themselves accidentally dismantled for spare molecular feedstock if they wander into a fog bank by mistake. In general, trying to fight a UtilityFog is stupid -- a bit like taking on ==Lolth, Demon Queen of Spiders== the US Marine Corps. The only effective attack against one is a high air-flow area attack such as a ==fireball== large electric fan heater.
Artificial Intelligence isn't just about make-believe! Ever since Descartes, philosophers have been asking themselves if it was possible to isolate the essence of human consciousness. We know it when we see it -- or do we? Alan Turing famously codified the [[Turing test|]] which was sort of an early drinking game for in-the-closet British gays, back when homosexuality was illegal in the UK. With Windows 3.1, Microsoft introduced [[Bob|]], their first cut at a true ArtificialIntelligence that can screw up office documents as efficiently as the irritating guy in accounts on extension 5409 who's tasked with delaying your payroll check. Ever since then it's been downhill racing all the way, and when the processing power of our computers matches our brains (some time just after 11:14am on Sunday, July 16th, 2017, according to [[Hans Moravec|]]), Microsoft Windows will TRanscend and we will all be 0wn2or3d by tech support.
Lots and //lots// of things! Like, anything! Pigs, marmosets, Buicks! Buick-eating aliens! ScienceFictionWriters, let your imaginations run wild -- if you can imagine making it, then you can make LoTs and LoTs of it! After all, NanoTechnology is like magic, only better -- no waste heat, no programming errors, no quantum uncertainty, no stability problems.
We can upload ourselves into computery-things by copying our neural connections and running a computer simulation of the state of our brains. [[Hans Moravec|]] was the first man to seriously propose it, back in 1988, and it's already been done to [[lobsters|]] so we're next! Some folks say this is [[complicated|]] but I reckon they're just jealous FantasyWriters. Anyway we don't need to steenkin' [[qualia|]]. What colour is the sky over there in FantasyTrilogy Land, anyway? Once we're uploaded we can live forever in an Intel Centrino M technology platform (unless someone tries to hax0rr us) and we can simulate anything we need to keep ourselves amused until we run into the [[halting problem|]], which is sort of like the [[collapse of the false vacuum|]] for ArtificialIntelligence. The real world then becomes //boring// and we can spend all our time [[simulating hot bunny sex|]] or working out how to TRanscend. (Except for [[Greg Egan|]], who will be simulating an HP-48X.)
A very large book that relies on magic an' PixieDust and that is sliced into smaller volumes by the publisher so that you've got to buy them all if you want to find out how the hero weds the princess, kills the dragon, and crowns the dark lord with a white-hot steel helm while he's chained to a red hot iron throne (if the author has been doing too much research into the darker corners of Hungarian mediaeval history). Predictably formulaic, utterly unlike the SingularitySf described here.
The less said about these folks the better -- all they do is write FantasyTrilogy after FantasyTrilogy about universes in which people do everything by using PixieDust. //Bo-ring!//
You know what kind of travel guide a Rough Guide is? A Tough Guide is like a Rough Guide with knuckle-dusters and an attitude problem. Note: our sponsors wish to assure you that this Tough Guide to the SIngularity is in no way related to Diana Wynne Jones' [[Tough Guide to Fantasyland|]], which is //boring// and only of interest to FantasyWriters.
The SIngularity is what happens when reality throws a divide-by-zero error or you extrapolate a curve to a straight line. Or something. Maybe it's what an Italian rock star says when you give him a wedgie. Who knows? All I know is that [[Vernor Vinge invented it|]] -- damn him! (If it wasn't for those meddling computer science professors I could still be writing about PixieDust ...) Anyway. You don't need to understand all that stuff to write about the SIngularity. What you need to understand is that after the SIngularity //things will be cool//. We'll all be PostHumans or UpLoading ourselves into our pocket calculators, there'll be lots of ArtificialIntelligence to help fight outbreaks of GreyGoo, and if there are annoying folks you don't want to have around you can just tell them to go TRanscend. It's the hot new topic for wish-fulfillment adventure and escapism. And there'll be jam for tea //every day//.
A Tough Guide to the Rapture of the Nerds
PixieDust is old-style NaNites for FantasyWriters. PixieDust is boring. PixieDust sucks.
[[Eric Drexler|]] is the father of NanoTechnology. Did I say he was also the father of hypertext? So he's the father of this wiki, too! Now that's what I call cool!
You know how small ants are? (That's really, //really// small.) Well, NanoTechnology is //smaller than ants//. In fact, you could take NanoTechnology and shrink it down and it would be as small compared to ants as ants are compared to us ... //twice over!// NanoTechnology is about making machines out of individual atoms. This works because atoms are like Lego bricks and you can stack them and glue them together with, oh, I dunno, Krazy Glue or something. And the neat thing is, you can make NaNites that make other NaNites out of atoms an' stuff! If they only do that one thing, it's bad, and we call them GreyGoo. But if you can reprogram them to make other stuff like donuts and Buicks, they're really useful.
You can SaveChanges if you're using FireFox or InternetExplorer: # if you're using Windows XP you might run into ServicePack2Problems # right click on [[this link|empty.html]] and select 'Save link as...' or 'Save target as...' ** do ''not'' try to use the File/Save command in your browser because of SaveUnpredictabilities. ** choose where to save the file, and what to call it (but keep the .HTML extension) # open the newly downloaded file in your browser # click the 'options' button on the right to set your username # edit, create and delete the tiddlers you want ** you can change the SpecialTiddlers to change the SiteTitle and MainMenu etc. # click the 'save changes' button on the right to save your changes # TiddlyWiki will make a backup copy of the existing file, and then replace it with the new version