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 The second volume of Arc continues with an issue that wants
to peel back the futuristic shine.



So we bettered ourselves, had us a couple of revolutions -
agricultural, industrial - and then before we knew it our inventions had raised
the seas and fried the atmosphere, reshuffled our knowledge and commodified our
pleasures; they even stole our privacy. Our lives are good, but not fair at all
- and signs are we’re coming to a stormy end.



Our masters tell us they’ll figure things out. With
predictions and scenarios, models and forecasts, they’ll find a way through the
coming storms and shortages.



But what if they can’t? What if it’s all moonshine, and
they’re just slapping on chromewash to cover their panic and powerlessness?



In Chromewash original stories scratch and scuff the
oh-so-shiny prediction business. Ned Beauman plays the markets, Jane Rogers
puts a market price on identity, Tim Maughan games the art market, and Matthew
De Abaitua wonders what happens when creatives get destructive.



Also
in this issue, Joanna Kavenna learns to mistrust Al Gore’s first-person plural,
and M. John Harrison examines the special weapons and tactics of English
Heritage. Medical ethicist Peter Hajek’s modest proposal tackles an ageing
planet; Adam Rothstein spins a ghost story out of vapourware; Marek Kohn
decides that the past has a future, too; and Brendan Byrne recalls the moment
modern statecraft went cyberpunk.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Arc
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Published on
Apr 22, 2014
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Pages
177
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Science Fiction / Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic
Fiction / Science Fiction / Collections & Anthologies
Fiction / Science Fiction / General
Social Science / Future Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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The Guardian's Pick for Best Science Fiction Book of the Year!

A timely and uncanny portrait of a world in the wake of fake news, diminished privacy, and a total shutdown of the Internet

BEFORE: In Bristol’s center lies the Croft, a digital no-man’s-land cut off from the surveillance, Big Data dependence, and corporate-sponsored, globally hegemonic aspirations that have overrun the rest of the world. Ten years in, it’s become a center of creative counterculture. But it’s fraying at the edges, radicalizing from inside. How will it fare when its chief architect, Rushdi Mannan, takes off to meet his boyfriend in New York City—now the apotheosis of the new techno-utopian global metropolis?

AFTER: An act of anonymous cyberterrorism has permanently switched off the Internet. Global trade, travel, and communication have collapsed. The luxuries that characterized modern life are scarce. In the Croft, Mary—who has visions of people presumed dead—is sought out by grieving families seeking connections to lost ones. But does Mary have a gift or is she just hustling to stay alive? Like Grids, who runs the Croft’s black market like personal turf. Or like Tyrone, who hoards music (culled from cassettes, the only medium to survive the crash) and tattered sneakers like treasure.

The world of Infinite Detail is a small step shy of our own: utterly dependent on technology, constantly brokering autonomy and privacy for comfort and convenience. With Infinite Detail, Tim Maughan makes the hitherto-unimaginable come true: the End of the Internet, the End of the World as We Know It.

Official U.S. edition with full color illustrations throughout.

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Yuval Noah Harari, author of the critically-acclaimed New York Times bestseller and international phenomenon Sapiens, returns with an equally original, compelling, and provocative book, turning his focus toward humanity’s future, and our quest to upgrade humans into gods.

Over the past century humankind has managed to do the impossible and rein in famine, plague, and war. This may seem hard to accept, but, as Harari explains in his trademark style—thorough, yet riveting—famine, plague and war have been transformed from incomprehensible and uncontrollable forces of nature into manageable challenges. For the first time ever, more people die from eating too much than from eating too little; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, terrorists and criminals put together. The average American is a thousand times more likely to die from binging at McDonalds than from being blown up by Al Qaeda.

What then will replace famine, plague, and war at the top of the human agenda? As the self-made gods of planet earth, what destinies will we set ourselves, and which quests will we undertake? Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century—from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo Deus.

With the same insight and clarity that made Sapiens an international hit and a New York Times bestseller, Harari maps out our future.

The human brain has some capabilities that the brains of other animals lack. It is to these distinctive capabilities that our species owes its dominant position. Other animals have stronger muscles or sharper claws, but we have cleverer brains. If machine brains one day come to surpass human brains in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could become very powerful. As the fate of the gorillas now depends more on us humans than on the gorillas themselves, so the fate of our species then would come to depend on the actions of the machine superintelligence. But we have one advantage: we get to make the first move. Will it be possible to construct a seed AI or otherwise to engineer initial conditions so as to make an intelligence explosion survivable? How could one achieve a controlled detonation? To get closer to an answer to this question, we must make our way through a fascinating landscape of topics and considerations. Read the book and learn about oracles, genies, singletons; about boxing methods, tripwires, and mind crime; about humanity's cosmic endowment and differential technological development; indirect normativity, instrumental convergence, whole brain emulation and technology couplings; Malthusian economics and dystopian evolution; artificial intelligence, and biological cognitive enhancement, and collective intelligence. This profoundly ambitious and original book picks its way carefully through a vast tract of forbiddingly difficult intellectual terrain. Yet the writing is so lucid that it somehow makes it all seem easy. After an utterly engrossing journey that takes us to the frontiers of thinking about the human condition and the future of intelligent life, we find in Nick Bostrom's work nothing less than a reconceptualization of the essential task of our time.
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