Roundtable: Colossus The Forbin Project w/ Chris Noessel, Damien Williams, and Jonathon Korman

At the table:

Jonathan Korman: Twitter
Chris Noessel: Twitter | Sci-fi Interfaces
Damien Williams: Twitter | A Future Worth Thinking About

Weirdly prescient and quietly influential

AI portrayal in film. Recognizing 2001: A Space Odyssey. Command and control. Unintended consequences. Personal movie connections and impact decades before Bostrom’s Superintelligence. Game of Thrones??? 70s scifi cynicism.

Benevolent AI dictator

The Cold War and looming climate catastrophe. What are Colossus’ goals? What goals does it think it has?

AI Portrayal

Period conceptions of computing as centralized and institutional. Computing in the era of the first moon landing. The “big board.” Computer scientists a la Mad Men. Colossus as a Golem story. How to take over the world with no subterfuge or tact. Gendering AI.

Realism

Portrayal of telecommunications literally before the invention of networking. Packet switching was first implemented after the novel was written and only just before the film! Computer communication syntax. Computing language. Computer interfaces and code checking.

Getting weird

The books get weird. And weirder! How sometimes books are accidentally way better than their author is capable of.

Paperclip maximization

Colossus as utilitarian “peace maximizer.” Showing the monkeys the gun to get your point across.

Links

Works by Madeline Ashby: Amazon
Person of Interest: Amazon | iTunes | Netflix