Thursday, May 9, 2013

I Wish Vernor Vinge Weren't So Freaking Smart

Some of you may remember how I've hyped Doc Vinge in the past. The man who predicted the Singularity (which allowed Ray Kurzweil to become king of the celebrinerds) and got to cyberspace before Gibson.

Well, my favorite Vinge work is A Deepness in the Sky, which contains half a dozen mind-blowing concepts, some of them utterly terrifying. One of the creepiest is the "Larsen localizers," the great-great-grandchildren of RFID chips: dust mote-sized computers that individually contain a tiny bit of sensing and processing power, but together form into an immensely powerful network that can monitor virtually everything that happens in the localizers' covered area. This leads to "ubiquitous law enforcement" - tyrannies that make Big Brother look like Ron Paul.

Well, guess who's working on Larsen localizers now, 14 years after ADITS came out? Just about everybody. Here's the original announcement.

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