In the 2002 movie Minority Report, the main character walks through a store where artificial intelligence customer service devices greet him by name, ask how he liked recent purchases, and suggest other products—long before that became a reality. And, as Peper pointed out, the Kindle was built to spec from a fictional product in Neal Stephenson’s sci-fi novel The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer. “In fact,” he said, “the original program for Kindle was called Fiona after the character who used it in the book.”
“Borges was one of the most influential writers for both science fiction writers and computer scientists,” [Peper] said. “Even though his stories were written in the 1930s and 40s, they prefigure many of the weird contradictions that the internet has presented to us both psychologically and sociologically.”
Borges’ stories, Peper said, “are so mind-bending they’re like yoga for your brain. I get super weirded out reading his stories. They read like a puzzle, which makes them super useful for people working on really difficult problems.”
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