Jul 28 2009

Accelerando Versus Suzumiya: Applying Transhumanism to Haruhi

noyuuutsu0505lgI just finished Accelerando by Charles Stross (2005), an incredible book that delves into the fascinating world of trans and post humans, uploaded and branched identities, self-assembling nanomachines and supersentient AI. And amidst that Transhumanist tour de force, one character kept coming to mind. Major Kusanagi (Ghost in the Shell)? Haru and Aoi (Real Drive: Senno Chosashitsu)? Deunan and Hitomi (Appleseed)? Maybe Priss (Bubblegun Crisis)? No, Yuki actually. Haruhi and Yuuki to be specific.

gits-sac23

I’m deliberately steering clear of all the recent controversy being stirred up by Yamakan and the Endless Eights. Instead I want to focus on a tantalizing convergence in Science fiction between transhumanism and the Haruhi universe. I’m going to focus on the light novels (2003-present), since it is pretty apparent that the current season of Haruhi will only go so far into the Haruhi storyline.

One key tenet of transhumanism is the idea that humans are reaching a point where the ever accelerating pace of technological innovation will give us godlike powers in the very near future. Through autoevolution, humans will enter a transhuman stage, where we will augment our abilities through the use of internal and external computing and cybernetic devices, at some point possibly uploading our brains into vast cloud computing networks until we reach such an advanced state of consciousness/existence that we will no longer be human. In essence, we will become “post-human.”

suzumiya-haruhi-2009-08-17

These posthumans it is speculated will have such augmented processing ability as to be able to create and simulate physical and mental processes so completely as to be able to experience all possible realities simultaneously and in parallel. However, such posthumans may still live in parallel with the transhumans, and even the humans 1.0 that spawned their existence. In order to have any meaningful conversation with such posthumans, it may be necessary to create entites spawned off of the main intelligence that has processing facilities similar to those that they try to communicate with. Since the manipulation of matter can be done through the manipulation of data, the rapid assembly and disassembly of physical reality to suit their whims are simple. Time and space may have very little meaning to such beings.

Sound familiar?

The similarty of some key transhuman concepts to Haruhi Suzumiya no Yuuutsu is pretty strong. The comparisons between the Unified Data Entity as a posthuman-like superintelligence, Yuki as a constructed posthuman to human interface and Haruhi as possibly the first transhuman, or perhaps more uniquely, a transhuman without external augmentation with the subconscious abilities of matter reorganization is very strong. This is made even more amazing by the general lack of transhuman literature in the Yuuki 100 book list (at least among the English titles). Since transhumanism is Shirow’s favorite topic, I also kind of assume that there might be Japanese literature that deals with it. Still…interesting.

noyuuutsu0502lg

So, what about the other way around? While Stross drops in more than a few anime references, I don’t think that the Accelerando storyline (which diverges quite a bit from the Yuki/Unified Data Entity problem of data entropy) is similar enough. Amazingly, I actually think it is simply literary coincidence.

Still, the convergence between the two is kind of amusing.

Oh and without giving too much plot for either book away…lets think about Aineko and Shamisen (Kyon’s cat)…just scary, isn’t it? But this is from the same guy that sees similarities between Spice and Wolf and Mabinogi, so it might just be me.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Accelerando Versus Suzumiya: Applying Transhumanism to Haruhi”

  1. Kumakunon 29 Jul 2009 at 4:07 pm

    Well, I just found my next book. And the first book not involving the Meiji Restoration that I will have read since March (discounting those books I have read related to work). I actually had a cyberpunk / bionic man flashback the other day–saw a news story about some Japanese group that had built a robotic mechanism for pitching and hitting a baseball that could outperform humans. (Heh, but what they didn’t tell us is that they only tested the PeeWee Baseball Leagues!) :-)

  2. stationmasteron 29 Jul 2009 at 8:41 pm

    You are going to laugh at me, but I’m working on an alternative history universe..and I messed with Meiji Japan…I should get your input on the matter.

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply