Tuesday, August 25, 2015


A couple of weeks ago I finished reading "Aurora", by Kim Stanley Robinson. Somehow KSR seems to have become scifi's Elder Statesman. In addition to his Mars novels and his "Science in the Capital" series about climate change, I really liked his prior novel "2312", blogged here. That one was the closest to Ian M. Banks' Culture of anything I can remember recently. I was hoping for more of that - I need the vision of a post-scarcity, anarchist, socialist utopia to keep me going!

This novel is a generation-ship story. There is a complex computer program that maybe approaches AI levels. I think it was in the discussion of this that KSR brings up several times various cognitive errors:

ease of representation, probability blindness, overconfidence, and anchoring.

Even those aware of the existence of these genetically inherited cognitive errors cannot seem to avoid making them.

Very interesting stuff, I would have liked to have seen it explored in more depth.

The plot has several interesting twists - and probably some bad news for the concept of exploring other planets. It is a great read, I don't think KSR can create anything else. We just need to get him pointed back at post-scarcity, anarchist, socialist utopias!

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