Tuesday, September 15

The Book No One Read

"I remember well the first time my certainty of a bright future evaporated, when my confidence in the panacea of technological progress was shaken. It was in 2007, on a warm September evening in San Francisco, where I was relaxing in a cheap motel room after two days covering The Singularity Summit, an annual gathering of scientists, technologists, and entrepreneurs discussing the future obsolescence of human beings. ... Returning to my motel room exhausted each night, I unwound by reading excerpts from an old book, Summa Technologiae. The late Polish author Stanislaw Lem had written it in the early 1960s, setting himself the lofty goal of forging a secular counterpart to the 13th-century Summa Theologica, Thomas Aquinas’s landmark compendium exploring the foundations and limits of Christian theology. Where Aquinas argued for the certainty of a Creator, an immortal soul, and eternal salvation as based on scripture, Lem concerned himself with the uncertain future of intelligence and technology throughout the universe, guided by the tenets of modern science. ..."

2011 June: Stanisław Lem, 2012 May: Solaris - Andrei Tarkovsky (1972)