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Vernor Vinge: We Can Surpass the Wildest Dreams of Optimism

Today my guest on Singularity 1 on 1 is Vernor Vinge — the very person who coined the technological singularity as a term.

Currently Vernor Vinge is putting the final touches on the sequel to A Fire Upon the Deep. The new book is titled The Children of the Sky and is already available for pre-order on Amazon, though it is not expected to ship until October 2011.

Despite his busy schedule Prof. Vinge still managed to give us over an hour of his time and during our conversation I ask him to discuss issues such as: his childhood and early interest in science fiction; his desire to make sense of the universe; his definition of the technological singularity and the story behind the term; his now classic 1993 NASA paper; his favorite science fiction books and authors; major milestones on the way towards the singularity and our chances to survive such an unprecedented event.

As always you can listen to or download the audio file above and don’t hesitate to let me know what you think!

Who is Vernor Vinge?

Arguably the second most recognized singularitarian, Vernor Vinge spent most of his life in San Diego, California where he taught mathematics and computer science at San Diego State University for over thirty years and where he still lives today.

After retiring from teaching Vernor became widely sought as a public speaker and presenter for business, science, science fiction and general audiences. He has won Hugo Awards for several of his books such as: A Fire Upon The Deep(1992), A Deepness in the Sky(1999) and for the novella Fast Times at Fairmont High(2001).

Known for his rigorous hard-science approach Vinge first became an iconic figure both among cybernetic scientists and sci fi fans with the publication of his 1981 novella True Names, widely considered to be the visionary work behind the internet revolution. Later he gained even more public attention for his coining the term, writing and presenting about the technological singularity.

For a collection of videos of Vernor Vinge see his profile page on SingularitySymposium.com

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