I would gladly listen to Tim Pabon's reading again any time, Drexler is out of the question, though.
Drexler spends very much of the book bemoaning and complaining about the failure and misuse by Government Bureaucracy that supposedly caused his original fostering of Nano-Technology to fail.Because the term was 'usurped' by marketing and media hype he has now restyled Nanotechnology as "Atomically Precise Manufacturing " (which is the same day-dream, with very different marketing).
In this book Drexler complains at length about the hype that amateur enthusiasts and the media heaped on his first vision of Nanotechnology, deriding their nightmare visions of the 'Gray Goo' problem, and the "wild" fantasies of Blood-bourne robots that were supposed to fix cancer and other health problems. Somehow he denies (and also somehow forgets) that these very ideas were discussed and promoted in his book "Engines of Creation". If I recall correctly, Chapter 2 discussed small robots that could repair our cells and "even reverse aging", perhaps even defeating old age and death. The gray goo problem of nanotech run amok was discussed extensively in "Engines" to encourage pre-emptive oversight and guidance. Drexler now blames his enthusiastic followers for these fantasies and nightmares, dissociating himself entirely from them - which is considerably disingenuous of him.
And finally, despite his strident attempts to make APM sound plausible and reasonable, his own repeated notes of caution, hesitation and "maybe" statements make his arguments unconvincing.
This seems to be just an attempt to make one last bit of money out of Nanotechnology.
While Tim Pabon has the occasional pronunciation difficulty with some technical and scientific terms, his reading is clear and consistent, and never befuddled, despite the complexity of Drexler's language and technical jargon. Excellent job.
I was angered by Drexler's blaming his enthusiastic followers for concepts and ideas he created himself (and now denies creating). I was disappointed in the overall tone of this fairly feeble attempt to describe the same old thing a different way.
At one time I believed in the possibility of Nanotechnology or Atomically Precise Manufacturing (call it what you will), but based on this and the "where's my Jetpack" lack of development in 30 years, I will not be holding my breath during my lifetime, nor expect any Blood-bourne robots to resurrect me (which Drexler himself suggested in Engines of Creation, but now claims were over-enthusiastic fantasies by "amateurs"). Very bad.
I will not be buying any more books by this Author. Ray Kurzweil's "Singularitarianism" is an obsession that seems to have driven him past the point of reason. Repeated use of the words "Inevitable" and "exponential", when he's describing the highly speculative and purely imaginary, leave the listener in a stupor of disbelief: that someone this intelligent could be so convinced of an idea and concept that is patently full of Daydreaming and Wishful Thinking, is simply mind-boggling.
Kurzweil seriously believes our knowledge and technology obey a (fictitious) law of 'accelerating returns' and are approaching the point of Exponential increase. In this he is denying the obvious point that REAL things cannot and do not behave exponentially - whatever curve-fitting analyses one conducts (although if you torture your data long enough it will say anything to make you stop).
ALL real things have speed and replication limits. Things with inertia (including thought, knowledge and ideas, all of which have a kind of inertia) CANNOT increase exponentially.
I also did not enjoy George Wilson's narration because his dry-sounding voice and occasional pronunciation quirks make anything but a short piece a little difficult to listen to. One has the tendency to stop listening to the information in order to repeat and make fun with a weird pronunciation or two every now and then: such as the many many times you hear him say "assem-bully" instead of assembly - just one example. However because of him I now can do a pretty good impression of Walter Cronkite, a voice to which his is quite similar.
The Singularity Is Near has not turned me away from other books in the genre. Any good, intelligently written but OBJECTIVE book on the topics of technology and future prognostication will still be sought after by me. I will simply be more careful to avoid glassy-eyed, immature, wishful thinkers.
George Wilson's narration: I did not enjoy this LONG narration by George Wilson, but something short would not be out of the question.
On the up side, The Singularity Is Near does contain an abundance of news concerning technology and research, and is informative as such. It simply fails in the child-like enthusiasm of the Author for his own unrealistic opinions.
The single most offensive idea Kurzweil relates (aside from the total obliviousness to the immorality of some of the animal-based research he gushes about) is that Artificially Intelligent beings that will eventually arise, according to his thinking, will "of course" not be a threat to humanity because they will "revere us as their honored forebears".
The phrase "vacuously obtuse denialism" comes to mind: Kurzweil has, and offers, no proof or logical argument for this statement. He does say we will simply program AIs to be this way, without a single hint of HOW this can be done, and within a few paragraphs he also says AIs will reprogram themselves at will in order to self-improve. (What, then, is to prevent them from over-riding or deleting "reverence for old biology" from their makeup?? The question is never brought to light).
Even though I do not believe an indpendent, self aware AI will NECESSARILY be a threat, I do not see any reason to believe they will "revere us" either. To adopt childlike innocence based on hopeful/wishful thinking is simply offensive in a grownup, and stupefyingly, gob-smackingly hideous when one sees it in an intelligent man like Kurzweil.
Deutsch makes a lot of clear-seeming argument for his point, that Explanation (specifically the ability of Humans to form *good* explanations) is Cosmically Significant.
I would not recommend it to anyone because it is a very long, repetitive series of claims for his main point, which he never actually substantiates - it is a tremendously long statement that He, David Deutsch, thinks this idea is true....but the authority for his point(s) are not in the logic of his argument.....Quite disappointing.
There are no 'scenes' in this book.....why is this a question??
I would not recommend this book, as it does not result in any clearer understanding of what women want than the average man already has - at least, if I am 'average'.
No. However I thought the narration excellent on this one.
I was especially moved by the relation of a couple of stories about women who, while know what the 'wished' for, were and are hampered by society's mores (although what they wished for seems to me to be quite harmless, our Victorian attitudes make it socially risky for women to express themselves).
I found it disappointing that, while the question "What Do Women Want" is a long-time urgent one for everybody, a book that purports to tell us the answer left me with the exact same understanding, and questions, as I already had. Apparently there is a good reason why nobody knows.
I listen almost exclusively to non-fiction, expository works. This Course ranks quite high in quality, listenability and interest, in spite of being about Economics.
I think the most memorable thing is the speaking ability of Professor Salemi - he is able, through voice and inflection alone, to convey his powerful interest in his subject, and this makes the listener eager to hear what he has to say.
As with all D.MacCulloch's work, it is thorough, well-written and scholarly.
The revelation that Silence and silent prayer caused some schism in the early Christian church was new to me, and of great historic interest. Alternately, the least interesting feature of the book turned out to be it's greater bulk in the form of the many, many descriptions and reasons for 'dark silence': the Christian church(es) remaining mum on their own and others' ill-doings.
Dixon is, with Grover Gardner, one of the best Narrators in the business. His command of language, crisp & clean pronunciation, and his ability to subtly reveal the humor in a work make him one of my two favorites.(Gardner being the other).
I had no extreme reaction beyond the wish for more emphasis on my specialist interest which I mention below.
I had been hoping for more emphasis on Monastic Silence and Mystical Silence, rather than the many larger elucidations of the 'silence' around the treatment of Women, Child Abuse, Homosexuality and Holocaust.Commentary on Monastic Silence is all too short.
Yes. I will listen several times. Well done production, fascinating topic, and the truth about String Theory...what more could anyone ask?
Right from the start, Smolin identifies they 'Trouble with Physics'. Anyone really interested in Physics could not resist hearing this refreshing and un-biased viewpoint.
Walter Dixon's reading is always clear and clean - his command of reading in technical subjects is exemplary.
I was not aware of the extent to which the 'Monster' of String Theory had invaded all of Physics research, apparently to the exclusion of any actual Critical thought. Quite alarming, actually.
Many thanks to Doctor Smolin for writing a REAL Physics book for people who have wanted to know the true state of Physics for years. The last book I thought was as valuable was Gary Zukav's 'Dancing Wu Li Masters'.Other popular Physics books, these days, promote String Theory almost exclusively, and usually without even a nod to the glossing over required to swallow String Theory itself, the very limited likelihood that these problems can be overcome, and the additional Foundational Problems of the Theories-Behind-the-Theory (Quantum Theory, for instance, which, while a very successful, functional tool, cannot be applied to extensive or complex systems, and which relies on many unexplained features such as 'quantum jitters' as Brian Greene calls them, and the Uncertainty Principle - which is not explained, but has an "is because it is" acceptance among Quantum Theorists). Lee Smolin's book speaks *directly* about the 5 main Problems that Physics needs to address to get back on track and become consistent (and Scientific) again.
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