Quote note (#296)

From Cixin Liu’s latest (and perhaps greatest), p.129:

When the deterrent is the complete destruction of the deterrer and the deteree, the system is said to be in a state of ultimate deterrence. […] Compared to other types of deterrence, ultimate deterrence is distinguished by the fact that, should deterrence fail, carrying out the threat would be of no benefit to the deterrer. [..] Thus, the key to the success of ultimate deterrence is the belief by the deteree that the threat will almost certainly be carried out if the deteree thwart’s the deterrer’s goals …

Hence the drive to mechanization of commitments. Trust evo-psych and cultural tradition passes the torch to game-competent machines.

ADDED: Who could he possibly be talking about (p.284)?

Of course, without exception, these “anti-intellect” organizations wanted to maintain the intelligence of their own members, arguing that they had the responsibility to be the last of the intelligent people so they could complete the creation of a society of low-intelligence humans and direct its operation.

October 23, 2016admin 10 Comments »


10 Responses to this entry

  • Dick Wagner Says:

    @Admin, you said back in 2013 that “In China, the mix of intrusive cathedralism and (exquisitely) stubborn anti-cathedralism is completely mind-melting” (reaction-points-2) – does this scifi novel circumvent Cathedralism? That seems like the job of scifi, though it’s not always called “Cathedralism”. Does China have its own kind of Cathedral? Are you going to write a Chinese version of UR?


    admin Reply:

    “Are you going to write a Chinese version of UR?” — That, sadly, lies far beyond my competence. Cixin Liu is utterly fascinating in relation to your questions, though (as also in many other respects).


    Erebus Reply:

    >”Does China have its own kind of Cathedral?”

    No. If China had a Cathedral, Xi Jinping’s daughter wouldn’t have gone to Harvard.

    China has its own media and academic institutions — but they’re not connected to each other at the hip. And although the official Chinese media is powerful and influential, it’s not respected. In fact, it’s openly disdained more often than not, a legacy of its recent history as a heavy-handed Party mouthpiece.

    For their part, Chinese institutes of higher education aren’t afforded that much prestige, and they’re not that influential, nor do they tend to involve themselves in political or social matters. In most cases, they resemble nothing so much as large high schools. They also tend to focus on educating their students in subjects like chemistry, engineering, physics… which have fallen out of fashion in the West, where business administration and “liberal arts” are, by a wide margin, the two most popular degree programs.

    Sadly, the Cathedral has done a great job at promoting its “brand,” to the extent that most wealthy Chinese would much rather send their children to Harvard, Yale, or even UC Davis, as opposed to sending them to even the most highly regarded Chinese schools.

    Power in China resides with the State, not with the media, which is essentially an official arm of the government, nor with the institutes of higher education, which are both weak and subservient.

    …All that out of the way, Cixin Liu’s last book was terrific. Broad-scope, universe-spanning sci-fi, which brought to mind classics like Tao Zero, and, in many respects, outdid them.


    Aristocles Invictvs Reply:

    I always enjoy your posts, if you started a blog yourself I would be the first to follow.


    Erebus Reply:

    Thanks very much for the kind words. The feeling is mutual, by the way. As for a blog… maybe one of these days.

    G. Eiríksson Reply:

    >>”Does China have its own kind of Cathedral?”
    >No. If China had a Cathedral, Xi Jinping’s daughter wouldn’t have gone to Harvard.

    Isn´t it precisely because China (is starting to have) its own Cathedral by now that she—and others of her sociopolitical ‘class’—have gone to Harvard?


    Posted on October 23rd, 2016 at 11:19 pm Reply | Quote
  • Uriel Alexis Says:

    automated political chicken. a dream nightmare indeed.

    but, should that ultimate deterrence mean the end of all (known) intelligence, wouldn’t going all the way mean a vastly worst outcome than, maybe, having one of the sides (even the most intelligence-optimized one) destroyed? isn’t intelligence auto-cultivation already a complicity with the enemy?


    Posted on October 24th, 2016 at 12:38 pm Reply | Quote
  • Homemaster Says:

    I’m re-reading the series now that I got Deaths End. The politics are fascinating throughout.


    Posted on October 24th, 2016 at 7:35 pm Reply | Quote
  • SVErshov Says:

    “Every cell in the brain contains all the genetic information necessary to reconstruct his body.”
    (not sure about page number)

    wrong statement, only cells in brain germinal zones like SVZ sub ventrical zone,contains double set of chromosomes and can devide and differentiate into somatic cells, glial, astrocites, neurones.

    great author, but weak in neurobiology and quantum physics. interesting ideas developed in this regard by Stuart Hameroff.


    Posted on October 26th, 2016 at 5:36 pm Reply | Quote
  • Phil Sandifer Says:

    Ha. Unsurprisingly, I thought of you often while reading this book.


    Posted on October 27th, 2016 at 5:49 pm Reply | Quote

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