jack_ryder

Beware the Creeper!

Iain's life as a psychotic crimefighter


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jack_ryder

Loncon 3 - Second Day

We had a slow start to the morning and managed to get to ExCel in time for the 11 o'clock sessions.

My first panel was:

British Comics: Influences and Influencers

with Hannah Berry, Ed Fortune, Bryan Talbot, Megan Waples and Tony Ballantyne

Despite his reluctance to take centre stage, this was pretty much Bryan Talbot's show as he had a vast knowledge of the history of British Comics. As I've found with a few of the panels, the most interesting point emerged towards the end of the session - that whilst newsagent distributors had pretty much killed off the weekly comic, graphic novels are thriving - heading up bestseller lists, being nominated for major literary awards and having sales climb year after year. Certainly it's something I'd noticed two years ago, that locally produced graphic novels were much easier to find in bookstores than they would be back in Australia. I found out after the panel that Talbot had a signing on later that afternoon, so I made sure I picked up a couple of his books after finally tracking down the Forbidden Planet stand in the Dealer's Room.

The Future of Boardgames

With JR Johansson, Bill Fawcett, Tom Lehmann, Klause Morgensen, someone from the Game Pit Podcast (I didn't catch the name) and Steve Jackson.

From my point of view this was a star-studded panel, with boardgame royalty such as Tom Lehmann (Race for the Galaxy) and Steve Jackson (Munchkin, Ogre, Car Wars, Gurps, etc, etc.) The room was packed so I couldn't get a clear view of the speakers and the panel itself covered a lot of ground I was already familiar with; the use of mobile devices in boardgames, the replacement or combination of physical components with virtual ones. Lehmann made some interesting points about dealing with the dominant player issue in coop games and work he was doing with the CDC and other US government agencies in creating games for educational purposes. I must check if there's a panel or discussion where he goes into this work in detail. It was gratifying to see that boardgames are now a real presence but I was annoyed by Bill Fawcett's (ex TSR and now Mayfair Games) geek triumphalism. The "We Won" meme can die a lonely and ugly death as far as I'm concerned.

Lunch, and then the first panel I missed because it was full by the time I got there - Missing - Believed Wiped.

I had nothing better to do, then to go to the fan village and try out some of this real ale that the Brits are obsessed with. And I found myself talking to people. I met a guy wearing a similar Dredd shirt to myself and his friend turned out to write articles about comics from the 70s and 80s. I met up with a Norwegian who had returned home after some time in Brisbane. I was finally starting to feel not only comfortable at the con, but confident in just striking up conversations with strangers. Those who know me would think it odd that that is an issue for me but I do find it difficult to make small talk most of the time. Not today, however, not at a SF con.

Bryan Talbot signed the books I'd bought and we had a bit of a chat about Australia - he had been to Brisbane at the behest of the Writer's Festival (I imagine it was Kate Eltham's work - though I couldn't remember her name at the time.) So starstruck was I, I couldn't even remember to ask him about the portrait he did of Ramsey Campbell, as Tor from Plan Nine from Outer Space. Still, there's probably another chance later in the con.

The final panel today was:

A Singularity for the Rest of Use

with Russell Blackford, Ibrahim Abbas, Lettie Prell, Hannu Rajaniemi and M Darusha Wehm

Russell is an an acquaintance of ours. murasaki_1966 is a friend of Jenny, his wife. This seemed like a good panel to wind up the day with, especially as I find the idea of the Singularity fairly contentious. The discussion dipped and curved around different definitions of the Singularity (most of the panel seemed to think of it as a utopian event but I'm not convinced that's a foregone conclusion), trans and post humanism. And uploading the mind, something Ibrahim Abbas was fairly positive about, though he also thought there was an indispensible spiritual element involved. M Darusha brought up the recent findings in the illusion of free will (recent experiments have demonstrated that we actually respond to decisions before being conscious of making them) and what that would mean. There was a lot of stuff to go over and I'd rather the initial premises being investigated in more detail - though Russell did give the audience a chance to discuss any debateable terminology before they got into the swing of things.

My suspicion is that a kind of singularity has already occurred and it's post human, specifically the global capitalist system (which I don't think is exactly the right word for it but I'm working from a limited theoretical tool set) so my question is - how would we detect and protect ourselves from a potential sentience that bears the same relationship to us, as we do to bees (to use a really clumsy metaphor.)

And on that sleep disturbing note - to bed.

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This video (15m) relates somewhat:

Humans Need Not Apply

http://youtu.be/7Pq-S557XQU

Edited at 2014-08-16 10:42 am (UTC)

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