I read an essay in the Chronicle about apocalyptic thinking that solidified some ideas that I have been unable to organize in my mind. The gist is that Apocalyptic thinking is really just egotism. For example, take when Harold Camping predicted the world would end. That was more narcissistic than anything else. I feel some tension when I make that judgment: although I laugh at his conceit, I still love dystopian fiction. That makes me a little narcissistic, too.
Several months ago, I said I was starting in on Ray Kurzweil’s new book (How to Create a Mind). I had many deadlines and needed something motivational (I still have many deadlines and would like another motivational book, actually). I read it and I enjoyed it. Kurzweil is a leader in the AI field but more of a technology cheerleader outside of that field. For my purposes, that is fine. I just need some Grand Vision sometimes.