Nordic Track Book Club Review: The Spike

More good reading on the Nordic Track. “The Spike”, by Damian Broderick, focuses on the impending convergence of a handful of rapidly developing technologies like nanotechnology, biotechnology, networking, and Artificial Intelligence, which when combined, transcend our culture and our human existence in ways we cannot imagine. It is this vertical spike in the progress chart of a number of technologies happening around us today for which the book was named.  

This is a very dense book because the author works hard to realistically describe the possibilities in these technologies in ways we will accept as plausible, with exhaustive references, and he describes both their wonderous and frightening-as-hell prospects. Just to think on this topic seriously for the time required to read the book will influence my perspective for some time to come. Thinking about the various aspects of nanotechnology (minting, assemblers at the atomic level, chunking, etc.), prospects of extending the human mind or even consciousness through uploading, neural replication, or AI, the concept of transhumans who are part computer–wild! 

An important concept in the book was that once the spike starts to take off, we have no idea what the future beyond the spike will hold. None. We have no concept of how these converged technologies will enable still other possibilities that most of us have never considered.


As the author points out, just because we may have supercomputers the size of iPods does not in itself produce a spiking effect of accelerated technological growth and cultural change. It is the convergence of the iPod-sized supercomputer with super-intelligence or AI that moves us to the spike.


Good reviews by Amazon readers on the product page if you’re interested.



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A long time developer, I was an early adopter of Linux in the mid-90's for a few years until I entered corporate environments and worked with Microsoft technologies like ASP, then .NET. In 2008 I released Sueetie, an Online Community Platform built in .NET. In late 2012 I returned to my Linux roots and locked in on Java development. Much of my work is available on GitHub.