The Nine Billion Names of God

(via Slashdot)

Another person I’ve always been impressed with is Arthur C. Clarke. The reason being that he’s proven himself time and again to be the most prescient futurist science fiction has ever offered. Reading his stories from the 1950’s doesn’t feel like science fiction, because so much of what he included, in effect, happened. Aside from a few details and things like names, dates, and the occasional alien contact, much of what he wrote as science fiction in the 50’s could work as 21st century fiction.

One shining example of this is a short story of his titled The Nine Billion Names of God, originally published in 1953. Then read The Nine Billion Names of God, by Kathy Kachelries, published in 2005. Both are thought provoking stories (and short, if you’re worried about spending a lot of time on them), and there’s a reason they share the same title. It’s remarkable to me how what Clarke wrote in the 50’s resonates with what’s happening today – and it makes you really sit back and wonder if Google is going to drive the singularity, turning the internet into a single strong AI… and if we really are that far away from knowing the answer to life, the universe, and everything (to plug another prescient author in this area).

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