Monday, August 10, 2009

Hugo Award Winner: Kress's Erdmann Nexus

Nancy Kress's novella "The Erdmann Nexus" won a Hugo yesterday. It's basis is a combination of the philosophical and scientific concept of emergence in complex systems along with a bit of neuroscience. In particular she uses the fact that activity in the brain changes when people go into deep meditative states as an indication that humanity could develop a group mind that goes beyond basic human consciousness. It's not a new science fictional idea, and not surprisingly the story has significant religious and mystical themes. I didn't find the story that interesting, other than Kress's inclusion of some recent science.

Read The Erdmann Nexus.

Image: fMRI data for expert meditators. From Brefczynski-Lewis JA et al. "Neural correlates of attentional expertise in long-term meditation practitioners". Proc Natl Acad Sci USA (2007) 104: 11483–8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0606552104
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