Altered Carbon : The AI management union

Recently, Netflix launched a new series called "Altered Carbon". This has been long time coming since the publishing of the first Takeshi Kovacs sci-fi mystery "Altered Carbon".

I was lucky to have heard about it nearly a decade back from some of my sci-fi loving friends and was hooked to the series instantly (there are a couple of other books in the series).

The universe created by Richard Morgan is absolutely brilliant. The concept of a stack is something that I see as a future possibility. This is a device that fits into the spine as seen in the image below, which records the state of your consciousness.


The book was a compressed view of world, but the Netflix series has taken it to the next level. The consulting work and significant additions to the storyline by Richard Morgan shows. Some of the dramatization is a less sci-fi in my opinion, when you consider the standards set by a (in the present) narrative like Mr. Robot (which I am a big fan of).

There are a quite a few concepts which are taken from modern computer science applications. The concepts of virtual machines, remote firmware upgrades, database backups (incremental) and many others have been well explained well into the stack future.

The interesting side story is that of the AI hotel and its owner/manger. A smart contract/program called Poe is the manager, and is the part of a union. The narrative of how the other programs have evolved out of running hotels is not clear to me, but fascinating to think about.

As pointed out in Chaos Conf (C3) in the brilliant talk "Dude, I broke the future" we are surrounded by slow AI (Corporations), which may well be getting faster with significant levels of automation.

The parallels can already be drawn, a 100-year company literally has a stack which can be put in many sleeves. We can define the stack as the core values, tenents or principles (ref. Ray Dalio). The sleeve can be any corporate stucture it chooses to be in.


  4. - C3 video about Slow AI