Idoru by William Gibson

This is the second book of The Bridge, a newer trilogy by Gibson which reintroduces many of his earlier ideas within the context of the new technologies that had come out since the Sprawl Trilogy.

Idoru by William GibsonOne of my favorite pieces of this story is the concept of “nodal points,” “emergent systems of history,” “the shapes from which history emerges,” in “vast floes of undifferentiated data”; “he palps nodes of potentiality, strung along lines that are histories of the happened becoming the not-yet.”

Laney’s node-spotter function [from Idoru] is some sort of metaphor for whatever it is that I actually do. There are bits of the literal future right here, right now, if you know how to look for them. Although I can’t tell you how; it’s a non-rational process. — William Gibson, August 1999

Another cool idea is the idea that when artificial intelligence does evolve, it may happen in a way that is not intentional and not clear right away.

I also liked the way Gibson described the system which inadvertently gave rise to AI,

-the result of an array of elaborate constructs that we refer to as ‘desiring machines.” … “Not in any literal sense,” Kuwayama continued, “but please envision aggregates of subjective desire. It was decided that the modular array would ideally constitute an architecture of articulated longing

Of course the titular character was also fascinating. There are of course now nearly identical entities in the real world, particularly in Japan as Gibson predicted.

Lastly, the idea of the walled city strikes me as in many ways identical to things like distributed organizations, distributed finance, cryptocurrencies more broadly, etc.

And they were out of his room, fast-forward through the maze of Hak Nam, up twisted stairwells and through corridors, the strange, compacted world flickering past. “What is this place? A communal site, right? But what are you so worried about? Why’s it all a secret?” “Walled City is of the net, but not on it. There are no laws here, only agreements.” “You can’t be on the net and not be on the net,” Chia said, as they shot up a final flight of stairs. “Distributed processing,” he said. “Interstitial, It began with a shared killfile-“