Ramez Naam

Ramez Naam

  • Posted The Ultimate Tech Frontier: Your Brain to Charlie's Diary

    Ramez Naam is the author of 5 books, including the award-winning Nexus trilogy of sci-fi novels. Follow him on twitter: @ramez. A shorter version of this article first appeared at TechCrunch.

    The final frontier of digital technology is integrating into your own brain. DARPA wants to go there. Scientists want to go there. Entrepreneurs want to go there. And increasingly, it looks like it's possible.

    You've probably read bits and pieces about brain implants and prostheses. Let me give you the big picture.

    Neural implants could accomplish things no external interface could: Virtual and augmented reality with all 5 senses (or more); augmentation of human memory, attention, and learning speed; even multi-sense telepathy -- sharing what we see, hear, touch, and even perhaps what we think and feel with others.

    Arkady flicked the virtual layer back on. Lightning sparkled around the dancers on stage again, electricity flashed from the DJ booth, silver waves crashed onto the beach. A wind that wasn't real blew against his neck. And up there, he could see the dragon flapping its wings, turning, coming around for another pass. He could feel the air move, just like he'd felt the heat of the dragon's breath before.

    - Adapted from Crux, book 2 of the Nexus Trilogy.

  • Posted Can We Avoid a Surveillance State Dystopia? to Charlie's Diary
    NSA Headquarters Yes. Yes we can. The last year has brought with it the revelations of massive government-run domestic spying machineries in the US and UK. On the horizon is more technology that will make it even easier for governments to monitor and track everything that citizens do. Yet I'm convinced that, if we're sufficiently motivated and sufficiently clever, the future can be one of more freedom rather than less.
  • Posted Publishing - We're All On the Same Side to Charlie's Diary
    There's a lot of talk about self-publishing vs. traditional publishing right now, and some of it gets a bit heated. I posted some thoughts on this, to the extent that both traditional and self-publishing have strengths, and that as authors, we're all on the same side, over on my own blog. I'm going to leave the post there, so no one can mistakenly ascribe my words to Charlie. And I'll be back tomorrow with a more substantial post. Read: Publishing - We're All On the Same Side
  • Posted Can We Merge Minds and Machines? to Charlie's Diary
    In my science fiction novels, Nexus and Crux, I write about technology ('Nexus') that makes it possible to send information in and out of human brains, making it possible for humans to share what they're seeing, hearing, feeling, and even thinking with one another; and also for human minds to exchange data with computers. While that's science fiction, the early versions of this technology are real. We've send video signals into the brains of blind people, audio into the brains of the deaf, touch into the brains of the paralyzed. We've pulled what people are seeing, their desired movements, and more out of the brains of others. In animals we've gone farther, boosting memory and pattern matching skills, and linking the minds of two animals even thousands of miles apart. I gave a recent TEDx talk on linking human brains about the science in this area, and where I see it going. You can watch the video below.
  • Posted A Rebuttal of 'The Singularity is Further Than it Appears' to Charlie's Diary
    My friend and fellow science fiction author William Hertling disagrees with me that the Singularity is further than it appears. Will has spent some time thinking about this, since he's written three fantastic near-future novels about a world going through an AI Singularity. He's written a rebuttal to my The Singularity is Further Than it Appears post. Here's his rebuttal: The Singularity is Still Closer Than It Appears.
  • Posted Why AIs Won't Ascend in the Blink of an Eye - Some Math to Charlie's Diary
    In my previous post on why the Singularity is Further Than it Appears, I argued that creating more advanced minds is very likely a problem of non-linear complexity. That is to say, creating a mind of intelligence 2 is probably...
  • Posted The Singularity Is Further Than It Appears to Charlie's Diary
    Time The Year We Become Immortal.jpgAre we headed for a Singularity? Is it imminent? I write relatively near-future science fiction that features neural implants, brain-to-brain communication, and uploaded brains. I also teach at a place called Singularity University. So people naturally assume that I believe in the notion of a Singularity and that one is on the horizon, perhaps in my lifetime. I think it's more complex than that, however, and depends in part on one's definition of the word. The word Singularity has gone through something of a shift in definition over the last few years, weakening its meaning. But regardless of which definition you use, there are good reasons to think that it's not on the immediate horizon.
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