by Charles Stross
2006, 415 pg
“There is an intrinsic unknowability about the technological singularity. Most writers leave it safely offstage or invent reasons why it doesn’t happen. Not Charles Stross. Accelerando lives up to its name, and is the most unflinching look into radical optimism I’ve seen.” – Vernor Vinge
During winter break I finally read Accelerando. I say “finally” because this book was first recommended to me in 2009 at the (now defunct) Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute transhumanism club. Accelerando is notable as being perhaps the first novel to have a storyline which traverses directly through a technological singularity.
Everyone knows what Moore’s law is – processors become cheaper, exponentially. There are a multitude of more precise formulations. Moore’s original formulation was very precise – it stated that the density of transistors achievable with the lowest cost transistor doubles every two years. A few years later he revised the doubling time to every 18 months. Personally, I prefer Ray Kurzweil’s formulation – the computational power (measured in calculations per second) available for $1000 doubles every ~2 years. The two versions are nearly identical, but using calculations per second per $1000 also takes into account how well the transistors are used (layout) and driven (clockspeed).