Novacene: The Coming Age of Hyperintelligence

Novacene: The Coming Age of Hyperintelligence

by James Lovelock


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The originator of the Gaia theory offers the vision of a future epoch in which humans and artificial intelligence together will help the Earth survive.

James Lovelock, creator of the Gaia hypothesis and the greatest environmental thinker of our time, has produced an astounding new theory about future of life on Earth. He argues that the Anthropocene—the age in which humans acquired planetary-scale technologies—is, after 300 years, coming to an end. A new age—the Novacene—has already begun.

In the Novacene, new beings will emerge from existing artificial intelligence systems. They will think 10,000 times faster than we do and they will regard us as we now regard plants. But this will not be the cruel, violent machine takeover of the planet imagined by science fiction. These hyperintelligent beings will be as dependent on the health of the planet as we are. They will need the planetary cooling system of Gaia to defend them from the increasing heat of the sun as much as we do. And Gaia depends on organic life. We will be partners in this project.

It is crucial, Lovelock argues, that the intelligence of Earth survives and prospers. He does not think there are intelligent aliens, so we are the only beings capable of understanding the cosmos. Perhaps, he speculates, the Novacene could even be the beginning of a process that will finally lead to intelligence suffusing the entire cosmos. At the age of 100, James Lovelock has produced the most important and compelling work of his life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262539517
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 11/10/2020
Series: Mit Press
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 291,063
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

James Lovelock is the originator of the Gaia hypothesis (now Gaia theory). His many books on the subject include Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth, The Revenge of Gaia, The Vanishing Face of Gaia, and A Rough Ride to the Future. The author of more than 200 scientific papers, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1974.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Part 1 The Knowing Cosmos

1 We Are Alone 3

2 The Edge of Extinction 6

3 Learning to Think 14

4 Why We Are Here 23

5 The New Knowers 29

Part 2 The Age of Fire

6 Thomas Newcomen 33

7 A New Age 37

8 Acceleration 41

9 War 45

10 Cities 50

11 The World is Too Much With Us … 54

12 The Heat Threat 57

13 Good or Bad? 67

14 A Shout of Joy 74

Part 3 Into the Novacene

15 AlphaGo 79

16 Engineering the New Age 81

17 The Bit 87

18 Beyond Human 90

19 Talking to the Spheres 96

20 All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace 104

21 Thinking Weapons 112

22 Our Place in Their World 118

23 The Conscious Cosmos 121

Envoi 124

Index 131

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