Diamond Age

book by Neal Stephenson, ISBN:0553380966

Diamond Age had some great sections involving Raising Kids and Artificial Intelligence, but I found the ending a bit messy...

(here are some edited excerpts regarding Raising Kids)...

M: Now, I know perfectly well that only the very finest engineers make it to Bespoke. Suppose you tell me how an aficionado of Romantic poets made it into such a position... So, you are not one of those who followed the straight and narrow path to Engineering... And your colleagues at Bespoke?

H: I would say, that, as compared with other departments, a relatively large proportion of Bespoke engineers have had - well, for lack of a better way of describing it, interesting lives. (InterestingNess)

M: And what makes one man's life more interesting than another's?

H: In general, I should say that we find unpredictable or novel things more interesting.

M: How many of these children are destined to lead interesting lives?

M: Have we resolved (the internal contradictions that characterized the Victorian era) in a way that will ensure that all of those children down there live interesting lives?

M: The Bespoke engineers had led interesting lives. Which implies that in order to raise a generation of children who can reach their full potential, we must find a way to make their lives interesting. Do you think our schools do that?

(and a bit later)

He (H) wanted Fiona to grow up with some equity of her own. Starting your own company and making it successful was the only way. Hackworth had thought about it from time to time, but he hadn't done it. The difference (between the employee Bespoke engineers and the Equity Lords) lay in personality, not in native intelligence... He couldn't stop thinking of Fiona's future. How could he inculcate her with the nobleman's (M) emotional stance - the pluck to take risks with her life, to found a company, perhaps found several of them even after the first efforts had failed?

M couldn't prevent his gradndaughter from attending the very schools for which he had lost all respect. But why not give her a gift that would supply the ingredient missing in those schools?

H: But what is that ingredient?

M: I don't exactly know, but as a starting point, I would like you to go home and ponder the meaning of the word Subversive. (leading to Young Ladys Illustrated Primer)

And here's a Two Economies reference..

"Why do the Atlantans have such a big clave?"

"Well, each phyle has a different way, and some ways are better suited to making money than others, so some have a lot of territory and others don't."

"What do you mean, a different way?"

"To make money, you have to work hard - to live your life a certain way. The Atlantans all live that way, it's part of their culture. The Nipponese too. So the Nipponese and the Atlantans have as much money as all the other phyles put together."

"Why aren't you an Atlantan?"

"Because I don't want to live that way. All the people in Dovetail like to make beautiful things. To us, the things that the Atlantans do - dressing up in these kinds of clothes, spending years and years in school - are irrelevant. Those pursuits wouldn't help us make beautiful things, you see. I'd rather just wear my Blue Jeans and make paper."

"But the M.C. can make paper", Nell said.

"Not the kind that the Atlantans like."

"But you make money from your paper only because the Atlantans make money from working hard," Nell said. (OPM)

Information Technology has freed Culture-s from the necessity of owning particular bits of land in order to propagate; now we can live anywhere (Nations-Lite). The Common Economic Protocol specifies how this is to be arranged.

H: CryptNet's true desire is the Seed - a technology that, in their diabolical scheme, will one day supplant the Feed, upon which our society and many others are founded. Protocol, to us, has brought prosperity and peace - to CryptNet, however, it is a contemptible system of oppression. They believe that information has an almost mystical power of free flow and self-replication, as water seeks its own level or sparks fly upward - and lacking any Moral code, they confuse inevitability with Right. It is their view that one day, instead of (Nano-Tech) Feeds terminating in Matter Compiler-s, we will have Seeds that, sown on the earth, will sprout up into houses, hamburgers, space shits, and books - that the Seed will develop inevitably from the Feed, and that upon it will be founded a more highly evolved society.

Of course, it can't be allowed - the Feed is not a system of control and oppression, as Crypt Net would maintain. It is the only way order can be maintained in a modern society - if everyone possessed a Seed, anyone could produce weapons whose destructive power rivalled that of Elizabethan nuclear weapons. (FourGW)

(later) X: You are afraid to give the Seed to your people because they can use it to make weapons, viruses, drugs of their own design, and destroy order. You enforce order through control of the Feed. But in the Celestial Kingdom we are disciplines, we revere authority, we have order within our own minds, and hence the family is orderly, the village is orderly, the State is orderly.

These were rice paddies before they were parking lots. As the Master said, "Let the producers be many and the consumers few" (DIY). When the Feed came in from Atlantis, from Nippon, we no longer had to plant, because the rice now came from the Matter Compiler. It was the destruction of our society. Under the Western ti, wealth comes not from Virtue but from CleverNess. So the filial relationships became deranged. (see Outlier-s on rice Culture)

Edited: |

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