GOD-LIKE – a 500-Year History of Artificial Intelligence
In the year 1600 a monk is burned at the stake for claiming to have built a device that will allow him to know all things.
350 years later, having witnessed ‘Trinity’ – the first test of the atomic bomb – America’s leading scientist outlines a memory machine that will help end war on earth.
25 years in the making, an ex-soldier finally unveils this ‘machine for augmenting human intellect’, dazzling as he stands ‘Zeus-like, dealing lightning with both hands.’
AI is both stunningly new and rooted in ancient desires. As we finally welcome this ‘god-like’ technology amongst us, what can learn from the myths and monsters of the past about how to survive alongside our greatest ever invention?
Coming March 15th. Pre-order here.
‘A beautiful meditation on flight, memory and meaning in a world still struggling to come to terms with the loss of the Most High’ – Simon Critchley, Han Jonas Professor of Philosophy, The New School, New York.
Drawing on a huge cast of characters from the Montgolfier brothers to Renaissance artists, Hells Angels, astronauts, The Beatles, Gonzo journalists and dreaming hippies, GETTING HIGH is a wild trip into the ancient dream of flight, soaring through shamanic ritual, enlightenment science and punching a hole in what we think the 1960s was all about.
Skilfully linking ancient history, the story of the 1960s and his own battles with the yearning to ‘get high,’ this is an important and timely book with an urgent message about religion, the promises of technology, and our need to keep our feet on the ground.
Buy Getting High here, and watch the talk I gave at TEDx Exeter on it below.
MUTINY! Why We Love Pirates, and How They Can Save Us
‘Startlingly original, subtle and substantive, written in a prose that is as lyrical as it is lucid’ – Third Way Magazine
‘Brilliantly riffs and mashes across literary genres’ – Simon Nash
‘A stimulating, entertaining, and ultimately profound meditation on what pirates can teach us about living in the real world’ – Dr Gladys Ganiel
Somali fishermen, costumed children, digital hackers…Pirates surround us, and their skull and crossed bones motif is plastered on everything from skateboards to executive ties to feeding bottles for babies.
Why have we become so fascinated by violent mutineers who lived over 200 years ago?
In this ‘dazzling and highly original book,’ I explore the central place of piracy in history and culture and, calling on a huge cast of outlaws, from Blackbeard to Luke Skywalker, Odysseus and Peter Pan, chases our pirate obsession through film and literature, and on into the deepest realms of our beliefs.
Buy MUTINY! here.
Also by me…
Magic, super-powers, contact with the beyond – digging down beneath these stories uncovers an extraordinary pattern: it is only in the renunciation of such ‘potent arts’ that a hero’s true humanity is revealed. Journeying from Shakespeare’s plays through novels and films and deep into the human condition, After Magic presents a startling challenge to a world still tied up with toxic religion to discover what lies in a life lived beyond the infinite demand of ‘super-nature.’
Buy After Magic here.
Drawing on poetry, philosophy and radical theology, this accessible and highly original work prompts us to reconsider the key question: ‘what kind of selves do we need to be in order to live in harmony with others?’
Buy Other here.
The Complex Christ
Published in the US as Signs of Emergence.
The Kindle edition contains a new foreword explaining how this work – released over 20 years ago – sits with my subsequent move away from orthodox belief and the idea of the transcendent, a journey I explore in great depth in Getting High.