Lem at Amazon

Stanislaw Lem at Amazon

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I understand
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The slogan of this work was "to catch up and outrun Nature". I even considered a subtitle "plagiarisms and creations"...

Summa technologiae written in 1963 was not a novel, but a collection of diverse texts- not necessarily prophecies. The landscapes of the future enclosed in Summa can be compared to a guide for mountain climbing in the Alps. The author of the guide does not claim that every climber must reach all peaks - just as a person in a restaurant is not required to order all dishes. I did not write about what would happen but about what could happen, since I obviously had no influence on future development of technology. Apart from prognoses such as biotechnology of the 21st century, cloning etc., I invented two different trends that indeed are currently present that - at the time of my writing - were only products of my imagination. These include virtual reality ( I called it phantomatics; Virtual reality corresponds to the doctrine of bishop Berkeley's esse est percipi) and the evolution of technology from macroobjects with macrodimensions (cars, tanks, planes) to miniature objects called today molectronics - i.e. devices, including weapons, built from individual atoms, just as today the building blocks of houses are bricks. In one of later prognoses this micro-miniaturization led to the invention of "ingenious sand" that scientists today call "smart dust". Obviously, at that time this expression did not exist. In Summa I omitted two issues:

- the answer to the question whether and to what extent the capital would be willing to invest large sums in biotechnology

- ethical aspects of our future choices since I did not want to deal with the methods employed by future biotechnology to fulfill the human penchant for evil. The fictitious hero of Summa is a Constructor, a perfectly rational being. I was wrong in the assumption that we would soon create artificial intelligence. Summa appeared in many languages, but not in English.