Viruses can cure anything!

I recently finished reading Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001 series. I read 2001 and 2010 years and years ago, but never read the other two. A year or two ago I decided I should get around to reading them, and also re-reading the first two since it had been so long. After a couple used bookstore trips, I eventually found all four of them and they’ve sat on my bookshelf in the queue until a few weeks ago when I started on them. I finished the last book, 3001, last week and honestly wasn’t real impressed. The first two were good, just as I remembered them. Things started slowing down in the third, and by the fourth it seemed he was really reaching. The second two aren’t bad, by any means, but you really won’t miss much if you skip them.

Now I’m reading Globalhead, a collection of short stories by Bruce Sterling. I still can’t decide how much I like Sterling’s stuff. I read Distraction a few months ago and wasn’t real impressed. The Difference Engine, co-written with William Gibson, wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. Globalhead seems decent so far, but short stories are a totally different form of writing than novels.

I like stories about technology (AI, robots, etc) running amok as much as anyone, but I don’t particularly care for the way they seem to cater to the Luddite in a lot of people. Two huge movie trilogies, the Matrix and the Terminator, show the world paying the price for creating advanced artificial intelligence. It won’t be too much longer before things like this begin to become reality (at least on some scale), and I wonder what the backlash is going to be like. People already resist our current technology every day, I can’t imagine what these same people will be like when they have to come to terms with the existence of real AI.

But hey, we’ll all be ok as long as we keep a supply of viruses on hand. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from bad science fiction, it’s that you can write a virus to take down anything. It worked in Independence Day, and it worked in an old X-Files episode we watched last night (Ghost in the Machine, season one). At least one other X-Files episode, the one William Gibson wrote in season five, featured someone trying to take down an AI with a virus (although to Gibson’s credit, he didn’t succeed). This also goes for Clarke’s 3001, unfortunately (no, they don’t kill HAL with a virus, but I won’t give away any more than that).


penance_ says:

In Star Trek, The Next Generation they take down the Borg with a Virus, also, actually it was a infinite answer math problem, but it acted like a virus and closed up the Borg shop for good (or so they tought)…