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[The Culture] Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Communism

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  • WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    Hm, now that I've reread Player of Games maybe I'll relisten to Hydrogen Sonata

  • WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    Also, tangentially Culture related, but the SpaceX drone ship A Shortfall of Gravitas will be in operation soon.

    CptHamiltonMonwynBrody
  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. normal (not weird)Registered User regular
    I hate the SpaceX using Banks's work thing so much

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  • WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    I hate the SpaceX using Banks's work thing so much

    I have very different feelings about SpaceX (or at least the people who work there) than I do Musk, but yeah the man is Veppers.

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  • redxredx I(x)=2(x)+1 whole numbersRegistered User regular
    Winky wrote: »
    I hate the SpaceX using Banks's work thing so much

    I have very different feelings about SpaceX (or at least the people who work there) than I do Musk, but yeah the man is Veppers.

    Musk probably quotes Fight Club more frequently than Veppers.

    This machine kills threads.
  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. normal (not weird)Registered User regular
    A Severe Lack of Suck My Dick Elon

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  • mrondeaumrondeau Montréal, CanadaRegistered User regular
    A Severe Lack of Suck My Dick Elon

    The Failing Almost As Hard At Basic Literacy As Elon Musk Thinking The Culture Series Does Not Spend A Few Books Insulting Him And All His Ideals.

    Unlike the Mistake Not..., it insists on always using the full name.

    autono-wally, erotibot300BlackDragon480
  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    I honestly don't believe Musk has ever read a Culture novel. I don't pay attention to him so maybe he's waxed poetic about his deep love for Azad or something but, really, I think someone high-ish up at SpaceX told him about the awesome ship names and he gave it the thumbs-up. I mean, you don't need to know anything about the books to think "A Shortfall of Gravitas" or "Of Course I Still Love You" are amusing names.

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  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    If SpaceX stuff is named after something from The Culture, it's probably because most of their scientists and engineers are avid sci-fi fans

    The ever-needs-repeating mantra: Elon Musk has never designed anything except a proprietary charging port so competitors and tesla aren't compatible.

    I know everyone here knows that but I've made it a habit to repeat it to everyone

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  • daveNYCdaveNYC Why universe hate Waspinator? Registered User regular
    Neuralink calls their brain-computer interface thingie a Neural Lace, so chances are he's a fan.

    Frankly I'm just disappointed that they went with an existing Gravitas name, that specific gag isn't great for a drone ship. Gravitas and Buoyancy In Equal Measure would be my preferred choice.

    Shut up, Mr. Burton! You were not brought upon this world to get it!
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  • zagdrobzagdrob Registered User regular
    I honestly don't believe Musk has ever read a Culture novel. I don't pay attention to him so maybe he's waxed poetic about his deep love for Azad or something but, really, I think someone high-ish up at SpaceX told him about the awesome ship names and he gave it the thumbs-up. I mean, you don't need to know anything about the books to think "A Shortfall of Gravitas" or "Of Course I Still Love You" are amusing names.

    I think he probably has read them and even loves them. They are good books at even a superficial level and great when you start really thinking about what deeper story is being told. But I'm pretty sure the deeper points sailed completely over his head - kinda like the bros who are all in on Tyler Durden or Paul Ryan being a huge RATM fan.

    All he thinks is 'cool tech and god-like AIs'. Not the actual implications of that tech, or the satements Banks is making on the value of lives, or that this seeming libertarian utopia is only possible because of the benevolence of that technology.

    But yes, Musk is as close to a real-world Veppers as you would ever be able to get.

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  • WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    Some choice quotes from Banks
    Libertarianism. A simple-minded right-wing ideology ideally suited to those unable or unwilling to see past their own sociopathic self-regard.
    JR: Many critics and reviewers have claimed that the Culture represents the American Libertarian ideal. Given that this is clearly not the case, how do you characterise the politics of the Culture?

    IB: Really? I had no idea. Obviously I haven't read the output of the relevant critics and reviewers. Let's be clear: unless I have profoundly misunderstood its position, I pretty much despise American Libertarianism. Have these people seriously looked at the problems of the world and thought, 'Hmm, what we need here is a bit more selfishness'? . . . I beg to differ. This is not say that Libertarianism can't represent a progressive force, in the right circumstances, and I don't doubt there will be significant areas where I would agree with Libertarianism. But, really; which bit of not having private property, and the absence of money in the Culture novels, have these people missed? The Culture is hippy commies with hyper-weapons and a deep distrust of both Marketolatry and Greedism. One rests one's case.

    http://strangehorizons.com/non-fiction/articles/a-few-questions-about-the-culture-an-interview-with-iain-banks/

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  • That_GuyThat_Guy I don't wanna be that guy Registered User regular
    A lot of people exclusively associate being able to do whatever you want, whenever you want, for any reason you want with libertarianism. That idea has never been exclusive to one particular ideology. In fact, being able to do whatever you want is pretty much the end goal of most major ideologies. Capitalism's stated goal is to create such abundant excess of goods and services that they are trivially cheap and anyone can afford whatever they want because everyone is effectively rich. Communism's goal is for the worker's personal productive output can be applied wherever and however the worker sees fit. Effectively allowing them to do whatever, whenever. Socialism's goal is for the state to create a worker's paradise where the economy is orchestrated to such a fine degree that a single worker is basically given what they will need to live a happy healthy life. Hell, even Fascism what's to create a paradise of groupthink where nobody wants to do anything that is outside the power or laws of the ruling class.

    I don't know if I would personally consider the culture to be communist. It's certainly egalitarian. There are elements of socialism, communism, and even a touch of fascism but it's none of them persay. I'd argue that The Culture is a Geniocracy or rule buy the smartest. It just so happens that the smartest people are all hyper intelligent 5 dimensional computers who can anticipate and influence the actions of every person in their empire.

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  • WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    edited June 4
    The Culture is post-scarcity anarcho-socialism/anarcho-communism, and is described explicitly so.

    EDIT: It actually is libertarian, in the original sense of the word. You would describe it as Left Libertarian today, but in American politics the term Libertarian has been almost entirely co-opted by the right. Likewise with how anarchism is co-opted by anarcho-capitalism, which is complete and utter nonsense.

    Winky on
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  • Typhoid MannyTyphoid Manny Registered User regular
    That_Guy wrote: »
    A lot of people exclusively associate being able to do whatever you want, whenever you want, for any reason you want with libertarianism. That idea has never been exclusive to one particular ideology. In fact, being able to do whatever you want is pretty much the end goal of most major ideologies. Capitalism's stated goal is to create such abundant excess of goods and services that they are trivially cheap and anyone can afford whatever they want because everyone is effectively rich. Communism's goal is for the worker's personal productive output can be applied wherever and however the worker sees fit. Effectively allowing them to do whatever, whenever. Socialism's goal is for the state to create a worker's paradise where the economy is orchestrated to such a fine degree that a single worker is basically given what they will need to live a happy healthy life. Hell, even Fascism what's to create a paradise of groupthink where nobody wants to do anything that is outside the power or laws of the ruling class.

    I don't know if I would personally consider the culture to be communist. It's certainly egalitarian. There are elements of socialism, communism, and even a touch of fascism but it's none of them persay. I'd argue that The Culture is a Geniocracy or rule buy the smartest. It just so happens that the smartest people are all hyper intelligent 5 dimensional computers who can anticipate and influence the actions of every person in their empire.

    i would dispute your definitions of socialism and communism, neither really line up particularly well with left-wing theory or real-world attempts

    also, minor state of the art spoiler
    sma explicitly says that the culture is what we benighted earthlings would consider communist

    from each according to his ability, to each according to his need
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  • SolarSolar Registered User regular
    The culture is pretty obviously a post scarcity anarchist society. There's barely any hierarchy, no laws, direct democracy and complete personal freedom

  • DarkPrimusDarkPrimus Registered User regular
    Oh there's absolutely a hierarchy. The Minds are in charge.

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  • SolarSolar Registered User regular
    Soooort of but also like, you don't have to actually do what they say. If a Mind says "DarkPrimus go do this" you can say "nah I'm alright" and the Mind can't like, make you do it. The Minds can't force you to do anything. Well they could. But they don't.

    Minds are citizens... citizens who have jobs of immense responsibility sure (jobs literally only they can possibly do), but citizens. And everyone agrees that Minds are so damn smart that having them run all the day to day systems just obviously makes sense. The Minds aren't actually in charge; it's a genuine direct democracy. They voted on the Idirian war and the Minds all got one vote each just like everyone else. It's not an entirely equal society in that Minds are way smarter than humans but humans in the Culture aren't misanthropic jealous types and don't really care, it doesn't invalidate their own existence and they are essentially free to do as they see fit, and besides some humans are smarter and others and so what? They don't care about that either.

    In the sense that is a society in which hierarchy is minimised, democracy is direct etc it is an anarchist society, a pretty classic post-scarcity concept anarchist society even. You might argue that the Culture is fundamentally not made up of a society and economic system which actually has any relevance to any of our own because no human society is post-scarcity and that's a far point, but it's an anarchist society. It's not capitalist (ownership doesn't exist) and it's not communist (the state doesn't exist, really, and indeed can't own anything or plan the economy because... ownership doesn't exist and there is no economy), but it is anarchist.

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  • DarkPrimusDarkPrimus Registered User regular
    I don't entirely agree with your assessment but agree with more of it than not.

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  • Smaug6Smaug6 Registered User regular
    If SpaceX stuff is named after something from The Culture, it's probably because most of their scientists and engineers are avid sci-fi fans

    The ever-needs-repeating mantra: Elon Musk has never designed anything except a proprietary charging port so competitors and tesla aren't compatible.

    I know everyone here knows that but I've made it a habit to repeat it to everyone

    Gives me hope that any ai that's being designed at tesla or SpaceX is by culture fans and not musk like entities

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  • WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    It's also the case that the Minds are all accountable to each other. The main reason that a single Mind cannot simply do whatever it wants with the humans who it takes care of is because there are millions of other Minds who would intervene if they caught a whiff of the fact that another Mind was doing something that seriously imposed upon a human's freedom in a way that went against the moral standards of the Culture at large. There's more of a laxness towards this as you radiate out towards the edges and towards what is considered the Culture "Ulterior" and with Minds who are eccentrics, but there's always push and pull towards what the Culture considers its own higher ideals, as determined by the larger agreement of Culture citizens as a whole (in which, at least on ethical questions, human opinions are deemed just as valuable as Minds' opinions), and the whole point of Contact and SC is that Minds are always working to try to raise the standards of autonomy of sentient individuals both inside and outside of the Culture and their own immediate spheres of influence.

    For instance, if a Mind decided to slap drone you, you could easily go to another Mind and have the slap drone removed. However, you would have to go pretty far out into the fringes of the Culture to find a Mind who would be willing to do it if you are broadly seen as legitimately needing a slap drone. You could try to change broad opinion about your own actions and go on a political campaign, and Minds would even encourage that you do this if you really disagreed with having the slap drone put on you (as in Surface Detail), but it would ultimately be up to you finding individuals within the Culture who agreed with you and your plight on ethical grounds.

    Part of why this system is assumed to work is that I don't think Banks sees ethics as something that is arbitrary, but rather something that people can actually arrive at good solutions for by broad agreement and understanding. There is still a lot of variance between different Minds and a large diversity of ethical opinions still to be found within the Culture, but the reason it works is because there are at least some baseline principles that all people who really consider themselves part of the Culture are striving towards (most importantly, maximizing the ability to make choices for oneself for all individuals).

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  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. normal (not weird)Registered User regular
    edited June 6
    The minds are really only in charge to the degree in which they get to say what they do with their bodies and people just happen to live in them. I think "there are instances in which one person's will overrides another" doesn't necessarily constitute hierarchy on its own.

    Styrofoam Sammich on
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  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    The minds are really only in charge to the degree in which they get to say what they do with their bodies and people just happen to live in them. I think "there are instances in which one person's will overrides another" doesn't necessarily constitute hierarchy on its own.

    Well also, Culture citizens tend to live inside the bodies of Minds and being respectful to them is just good manners.

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  • redxredx I(x)=2(x)+1 whole numbersRegistered User regular
    Of course if a Mind were to violate one of the few hard and fast rules, and read people's minds and torture them to death, they'd mostly just be a socoal pariah. I guess, to some extent, those people being outside the culture and not great beings helps.

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  • WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    edited June 7
    redx wrote: »
    Of course if a Mind were to violate one of the few hard and fast rules, and read people's minds and torture them to death, they'd mostly just be a socoal pariah. I guess, to some extent, those people being outside the culture and not great beings helps.

    Minds would take an extremely different stance against Grey Area if it weren't doing what it was doing explicitly to the perpetrators of genocides. The Culture pretty explicitly deals in utilitarian morality. What Grey Area does is horrifying and extreme, and reflects poorly on the rest of the Culture to all the other societies they interact with and probably makes Contact's life harder than it needs to be, but the Minds don't go out of their way to stop it because broadly it is not doing more harm than it is good. It's just doing much more harm, and in a much more gruesome way, than it strictly needs to.

    Edit: Grey Area, not Grey Matter. Freudian slip given it's nickname.

    Winky on
  • tbloxhamtbloxham Registered User regular
    edited June 7
    If SpaceX stuff is named after something from The Culture, it's probably because most of their scientists and engineers are avid sci-fi fans

    The ever-needs-repeating mantra: Elon Musk has never designed anything except a proprietary charging port so competitors and tesla aren't compatible.

    I know everyone here knows that but I've made it a habit to repeat it to everyone

    Elon Musk may believe he designed a charging port for a Tesla, I can tell you with absolute certainty that he did not, because Elon Musk has never designed a part nor tested one.

    tbloxham on
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  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    tbloxham wrote: »
    If SpaceX stuff is named after something from The Culture, it's probably because most of their scientists and engineers are avid sci-fi fans

    The ever-needs-repeating mantra: Elon Musk has never designed anything except a proprietary charging port so competitors and tesla aren't compatible.

    I know everyone here knows that but I've made it a habit to repeat it to everyone

    Elon Musk may believe he designed a charging port for a Tesla, I can tell you with absolute certainty that he did not, because Elon Musk has never designed a part nor tested one.

    I'd belive he drew a picture of a port layout. Anything beyond that I doubt.

    PSN,Steam,Live | CptHamiltonian
    override367
  • zagdrobzagdrob Registered User regular
    edited June 7
    tbloxham wrote: »
    If SpaceX stuff is named after something from The Culture, it's probably because most of their scientists and engineers are avid sci-fi fans

    The ever-needs-repeating mantra: Elon Musk has never designed anything except a proprietary charging port so competitors and tesla aren't compatible.

    I know everyone here knows that but I've made it a habit to repeat it to everyone

    Elon Musk may believe he designed a charging port for a Tesla, I can tell you with absolute certainty that he did not, because Elon Musk has never designed a part nor tested one.

    I'd belive he drew a picture of a port layout. Anything beyond that I doubt.

    I'd believe he told his engineering team to design a proprietary charging port and then took credit for being the one who came up with the idea. Because based on the accounts I've heard from people who worked at Tesla / SpaceX, his work typically follows the below pattern:
    1. Musk shows up where people are already working on or fixing something.
    2. Musk gains an incomplete or superficial understanding of the problem / issue.
    3. Musk cuts off any further detail or explanation and directs people to fix the problem, at best telling them to keep doing what they are doing with a higher priority. Typically his input is counterproductive like telling people to work on some aspect of the issue that shouldn't be prioritized or directing people to do things outside their skillset or someone else's responsibility.
    4. Musk gets distracted and fucks off to the next shiny thing in his life after a short time.
    5. Everyone goes back to doing what they were doing before he showed up and fixes the problem.
    6. Musk gets high on Rogan or something and claims he's the brilliant mind who solved the problem by putting in 36 hour shifts or some bullshit.

    The quickest way to deprogram a Musk cultist is to have them meet / work for him. He's basically every terrible boss and credit taking asshole but does have some level of charisma. He's just very fortunate to have (mostly) incredibly gifted and competent people working for him, but his problem solving is a very Trumpian 'I solved the problem by telling people to solve the problem'.

    Edit - not chat, but I'll still leave it here...

    zagdrob on
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  • MvrckMvrck Registered User regular
    Finished Matter tonight, I actually thoroughly enjoyed it, but Jesus, I thought the ending to Weapons was brutal...

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  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. normal (not weird)Registered User regular
    Matter ends on a hopeful note!

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  • mrondeaumrondeau Montréal, CanadaRegistered User regular
    edited June 12
    Matter ends on a hopeful note!
    For the one that survived

    mrondeau on
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  • swphreakswphreak Registered User regular
    The Culture universe is definitely one of my favorites.

    The biggest moment from the books that I remember the most clearly is the Chairmaker. Got a big “holy shit” from me when I read it.

    Are they still trying to make a show or movie out of this? I feel like CG animated (like clone wars) would be better than trying to do live action and a bunch of special effects.

  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    I should go back back and reread all of these.

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  • DiplominatorDiplominator Hardcore Porg Registered User regular
    swphreak wrote: »
    The Culture universe is definitely one of my favorites.

    The biggest moment from the books that I remember the most clearly is the Chairmaker. Got a big “holy shit” from me when I read it.

    Are they still trying to make a show or movie out of this? I feel like CG animated (like clone wars) would be better than trying to do live action and a bunch of special effects.

    Sorta like Love, Death & Robots?

    Honestly that would be a good name for half the Culture books, too.

    autono-wally, erotibot300swphreakoverride367
  • WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    mrondeau wrote: »
    Matter ends on a hopeful note!
    For the one that survived

    Something that can be applied to most Culture novels

  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    Winky wrote: »
    mrondeau wrote: »
    Matter ends on a hopeful note!
    For the one that survived

    Something that can be applied to most Culture novels

    Depends on if subliming counts as "surviving".

    Nod. Get treat. PSN: Quippish
  • WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    Winky wrote: »
    mrondeau wrote: »
    Matter ends on a hopeful note!
    For the one that survived

    Something that can be applied to most Culture novels

    Depends on if subliming counts as "surviving".
    If this is arguing Vyr didn't have a good ending, I would argue it was more or less the ending she wanted!

    tynic
  • mrondeaumrondeau Montréal, CanadaRegistered User regular
    Winky wrote: »
    Winky wrote: »
    mrondeau wrote: »
    Matter ends on a hopeful note!
    For the one that survived

    Something that can be applied to most Culture novels

    Depends on if subliming counts as "surviving".
    If this is arguing Vyr didn't have a good ending, I would argue it was more or less the ending she wanted!
    Vyr 100% had a good ending.

    override367
  • TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    edited June 16
    swphreak wrote: »
    The Culture universe is definitely one of my favorites.

    The biggest moment from the books that I remember the most clearly is the Chairmaker. Got a big “holy shit” from me when I read it.

    Are they still trying to make a show or movie out of this? I feel like CG animated (like clone wars) would be better than trying to do live action and a bunch of special effects.

    Not anymore, they were but Bank's estate pulled the plug on Amazon's Consider Phlebas. Also I can't believe it's been 8 years since he died, I had to check that it wasn't the year before last.
    The adaptation of the Scottish author’s sci-fi books was announced in 2018, when Amazon Prime Video acquired the global rights to a TV version of Consider Phlebas, the first Culture novel. The author’s estate was set to serve as executive producer, but in a statement to the Guardian on Wednesday, it said the “timing wasn’t quite right” for it to go ahead.

    “The interest and devotion that Iain’s work continues to inspire is a testament to the enduring relevance of his ideas and imagination,” said Banks’s estate. “The estate is hugely grateful for all the care and creative energy that went into the early stages of the project.”

    Tastyfish on
  • The Zombie PenguinThe Zombie Penguin Eternal Hungry Corpse Registered User regular
    I'm kinda glad - I really struggle to see how an adaptation could be good in our current capitalistic hellscape.

    That said, I think if you were doing an adaptation it would be better to start with a version of Look to Windward - since then you can establish what the culture actually is from the inside, and the shape of it, as well as how it responds to threats. Stuff like Consider phlebas is going to have more impact when you contrast it's external perspective on things

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