Down the Wikipedia rabbit hole

I am making a sporadic effort to learn about the so-called Singularity and now find myself digging into transhumanism (a topic first introduced to me by smartypants freelance writer/renegade science nut Fred Hapgood) and following tangents off to extropy and consilience. Will blog more about those topics later – it’s interesting stuff.

But at the moment I’m struck by the similarity of this experience to my first reading about cryptography. And then symmetric key algorithms. And then block ciphers and hashes and hash crackers and rainbow tables.

Fun to wander into a subject about which you know little or nothing, discovering that every definition contains several more unfamiliar terms, and following these hyperlink chains around the Web. Or simply around the Wikipedia echo chamber.

Though cryptography in particular can make your head hurt in a jiffy. I assume that’s the aftereffect of lighting up cobwebby corners of my brain. We soft science majors are such lightweights!


7 thoughts on “Down the Wikipedia rabbit hole

  1. One way of thinking about the issues in human extension is
    walk through the question of just how long it would take for you
    to make any specific enhancement truly yours. For instance,
    lots of people — or so they tell me — would like to have a tail.
    You might be one.

    But simply getting a physical tail, even one seamlessly integrated
    into your nervous system, would be just one percent of the journey. You would then have to figure out how to decode the incredibly
    complex proprioceptive and haptic information the tail would be
    sending to your brain, how to use it, what would be socially OK and what would not, and so on. Until you had climbed this immense learning curve the tail would not be “yours” — it would someone else’s, only
    one that had somehow been grafted onto your body, and that would
    not be the same thing at all.

  2. Fred! As always you’re much more interesting than Wikipedia.

    (Fred tells me Wikipedia is as good a place as any to start reading about transhumanism.)

    Some chessplayers seem to want direct cognitive access to a chess engine – chipped into their brain. Actually the sporting implications of your example are also daunting. How do you control Little League and Pop Warner for extensions and enhancements?

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