New Book Explains the Singularity – and Everything Else

Transcendence: The Disinformation Encyclopedia of Transhumanism and the Singularity

It’s described as “mind-stretching and entertaining” — a new book which explains the brain-boggling possibilities of “an international movement” called transhumanism. With science and technology, the movement suggests we can overcome all our human limitations — those so-called “natural” limits which technology melts away. But the most amazing part is that “Some of this is happening now,” the book’s page on Amazon explains. “Some of it is still in the minds of dreamers” — but all of it is absolutely fascinating.

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The complete title for the new book is Transcendence: The Disinformation Encyclopedia of Transhumanism and the Singularity. And to write the book, Jay Cornell teamed with R.U. Sirius, who co-founded one of the most influential magazines about cyberculture, Mondo 2000. Walter Isaacson, who wrote that best-selling biography of Steve Jobs, called it “without doubt the most delightful guide to the radical future.” And after reading the book, one Silicon Valley forecaster (who teaches at Stanford) pronounced that “The future is weird, very weird!”

Super robots? They’re in here, along with more information about exciting tech topics like artificial intelligence and nanotechnology. They discuss virtual reality — and the creation of entire virtual worlds, in a free-wheeling encyclopedia whose entries cover everything from memory-editing drugs to cloning and “designer babies” to something called cyborg feminism. Author Mark Leyner described the book as “fascinating, ridiculously fun to read, and good for you!”

But my favorite review came from Andrei Codrescu, a humorist who contributes essays on NPR’s radio show All Things Considered. “Being of the same energy field as myself, I now throw a sack full of gold dust into the arena and dare anyone to be either funnier or smarter than this R. U. Sirius.” That’s the thing — this book is funny and entertaining, even while it’s tantalizing your brain with its lively and provocative insights into the shape of things to come. There’s even entries about Michael Jackson, sexbots, warbots, and the Mormon Transhumanist Foundation. And of course, there’s also some stunning information about what people are already doing now with 3D printing technology.

I loved reading Amazon’s selection of blurbs about the book, which described it as ” a hilarious breath of fresh air” or “A delicious funcyclopedia… deceptively light treatment of mind-blowing technologies…” But the thing that impressed me most was where those reviews were coming from. No less of an authority than my favorite science fiction web site, io9, called the book “Witty, snide, and incredibly informative.” And one of the writers at promised the book “will put your mind on fire.”

We live in interesting times now — but aren’t you curious what’s coming next?

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