Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

Toro interviews RJS

by Rob - January 19th, 2010.
Filed under: Interviews.

“Unlike James Cameron, Sawyer seems to believe in the positive possibility of artificial intelligence, but that was just one of the subjects we touched on in this very involved conversation.”

Check out the full interview.

Visit The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

8 Responses to Toro interviews RJS

  1. I liked the interview, Rob. I do have one comment though.

    “There are all sorts of useless people on Earth, we don’t round them up, we just let them become lawyers.”

    You don’t particularly like lawyers, do you?

  2. I like my lawyer …

  3. What a great interview — great job. As an aside, I would've liked if you would've touched on why Skynet decided to make sexy liquid-metal Terminators!

  4. In the article, you have listed competitiveness as a negative aspect of our nature.

    I wouldn’t be as harsh on it as that. Competitiveness is the main driving force behind our human economy. Without competitiveness, we would have significantly less technological progress, science, creativeness, and almost no one will go to work. Without competitiveness you, Rob, wouldn’t have put so much effort writing and promoting your wonderful novels.

    Without competitiveness, our human ancestors won’t have survive. (They would have been outcompete by other life forms.)

    In a scarce free environment – without competitiveness, most people will be as creative and productive as H. G. Wells’ Eloi.

    Having said that, I’m not saying that there aren’t some negative and destructive aspects to competitiveness, (such as wars, or other forms of violent crimes.)

  5. Hi, Ron. Obviously, I was making a point about competitiveness being part of our negative side — and, to make your point, you managed to leave out all the bad things competitiveness has been responsible for (including the recent economic collapse). :)

    We may well live in a post-scarcity economy with practical immortality by the end of this century, and I don't think that means we're doomed to be like the Eloi. :)

  6. And, Ron, I think you do me a disservice when you say I write because of competitiveness; indeed, you've been my writing student — if I were so competitive, why do I spend so much time helping, rather than hindering, my putative competition?

    The reason I chose writing as a profession is that it is not zero-sum. I can be totally thrilled for your success, because it takes nothing away from mine.

  7. Rob,

    The point I was trying to convey is that competitiveness has both good and bad aspects. (It can be a constructive driving force behind progress, but it can also be destructive.)

    In my opinion, any conscious intelligence, (human, alien or artificial,) should aspire to channel competitiveness to constructive, synergetic forms, instead of trying to eliminate it altogether.

    I know you were sincere when you said you’re totally thrilled at my success (Or shall I say, my future success, as I’m not successful yet). I thank you for that.

    I’m well aware competitiveness is not your only motivation. Nevertheless, I hope WAKE will outcompete others in the coming Aurora Award. (By the way, I plan to nominate it because it’s a good book.)

  8. competitiveness is positive to a certain extent. Where that line is drawn is a bit more difficult. If too much time is spent leveling the playing field the incentive for each person to try to get ahead is lessened. However, with too little the gaps between the lower class, the middle class, the rich, and the ultra-rich will only grow exponentially.

    With regards to helping other authors, I'm grateful. I've read a lot of good tips and tricks and dos and don'ts over the years. Honestly, another author could potentially enter your niche, but no one will have exactly the same style, plotting, or ideas. The execution will always remain different. Even if I purposely tried to emulate Rob or GRRM or someone else, it wouldn't work, because it isn't ME.
    Again, thanks for the help.

    And speaking of AI, I always found Isaac Asimov's short stories where the robots always followed the 3 rules but he still found a way of cleverly bending them to create some kind of mystery or logic puzzle.

Leave a Reply