Hangout on Air: Ramez Naam discusses Nexus, Crux, and The Infinite Resource

Yesterday I participated in a London Futurists Hangout on Air with Ramez Naam, Randal Koene, Michell Zappa (part time), and organizer David Wood. We discussed Ramez’ awesome techno thrillers NEXUS and CRUX.

In NEXUS, in 2040, neuroscientists build a software layer on top of the drinkable, neuroactive, and very illegal street drug Nexus. The software permits programming the nanobots in Nexus, capable of wireless communications with other Nexus nodes in the same or another brain, to permit telepathic communications and the fusion of individual minds in group minds. A few months after that, as CRUX begins, Nexus’ hardware specs and software have been open sourced by hackers despite the vain attempts of the world governments to control its spread, and there are millions of users of Nexus 5, growing fast. Meanwhile in China, in a high-security vault under Beijing, the first human upload lives in a quantum supercomputer. Ramez says that the adventures of the first human upload and the other characters will continue in the third and last book in the trilogy, APEX, to be published later this year.

The discussion focused on:

  • The science behind the fiction: which elements are strongly grounded in current research, and which elements are more speculative?
  • The philosophy behind the fiction: how should people be responding to the deeply challenging questions that are raised by new technology?

Viewers of the live broadcast on Google+ were able to vote in real time on questions to the panelists. The top questions were answered live.

Watch the video below: