I’ve recently finished a pretty decent book recommended by a co-worker, Accelerando, by Charles Stross. It’s a SciFi book about the impending singularity and how humanity has to adapt to the changing world around them. For about the first half of the book I didn’t care all that much for it. I felt like the author was a decent author but he spent a lot of time bashing the United States and Capitalism, not a sure way to win my heart. But as the book goes on this tones down and I started liking it much more.
One of the more intriguing questions of the book is what it means to be human. It’s asked throughout the book but is never directly addressed. For example, in the book humanity has figured out how to completely map the human brain into a computer (the book assumes that if you could do this you would capture the essence of a human) or into other bodies (like animals or whatever). At one point the main character spends a number of years as a flock of pigeons (no, not one pigon, but a whole flock) as an experiment in collective consciousness. IF that’s not challenging traditional ideas of what it means to be human I don’t know what is.
Overall the book is worth the read and presents many challenging philosophical questions and the possible outcomes of the current technological race we are competing in. I’d recommend reading it. If you want to order it you can get your copy from amazon here.