Not The Singularity: New Blog, Old Bloggers

Longtime blogger Steve Hynd has launched a new group blog called Not The Singularity.

Many longtime bloggers well to my left, with Steve Hynd and Kathy Kattenburg best known to me, have launched a new group blog called Not The Singularity. According to its manifesto:

Not The Singularity is a group blog, a partnership between authors who will seek to bring you the best commentary they can about range of subjects – literature, music, politics, foreign affairs, art, technology news and more. We promise we won’t dumb things down, but we also promise not to write in such densely academic pseudo-prose that you cripple your thinky-thing trying to understand what we’re driving at. We’ll be informative, stay classy and more than a little snarky, and we won’t pull our punches. Our politics will lean leftward, because “from each according to their means, to each according to their needs” seems to us to be the logical next step from “for the good of the greatest number”. We promise we’ll have fun writing so you have fun reading. There, that’s the mission statement.

So why “Not The Singularity”? Well, for one thing we couldn’t resist the geeky pun – it is a group blog, there’s more than one of us! For a second, we’re a bit skeptical about this whole “singularity” business in any case. The idea is that technological innovation transforms the human race, but fans of the notion never seem to deal with the fact that huge chunks of humanity don’t have drinkable water, never mind somewhere to plug their smartphone in to recharge. As William Gibson says, “the future is already here but it is unevenly distributed”. In other words, the singularity is a notion from rich elites and for rich elites, a have-and-have-not society which would further polarize humanity into a relatively few technology-rich Eloi and a vast underclass of Morlocks. That’s not nice, and it isn’t progressive thinking. As progressives we’d like to help find solutions to the world’s problems that help all of humanity first and foremost, rather than pursue an elitist fantasy, a “Rapture Of The Nerds”. If we can do that while fuelling our own geeky interest in gaming or politics, so much the better.

Steve has been around the blogosphere as long as I can remember, first at the old Newshoggers site and more recently as editor of The Agonist, where he took over from Sean-Paul Kelley a year ago. The combination of technical woes, declining ad revenues, and breakdown in negotiations ended the most recent venture.

Best of luck to Steve, Kathy, and the gang at their new digs.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. john personna says:

    I am reading The Quantum Thef, hey very good post post singularity novel.

    (‘Hey’ for ‘a’ voice acquisition error left for your amusement.)

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    I haven’t seen an article about it lately but my recollection is that traffic to political blogs, generally, has fallen off and, particularly, to Left Blogosphere blogs. I’d appreciate an update on this topic from someone who’s better informed than I.

  3. Kathy Kattenburg says:

    James, thank you so much. This is very kind and thoughtful of you, and I appreciate the personal mention.

  4. john personna says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    This is going to be one of the most boring political years ever. Sure, Obama supporters can continue to do victory laps. That has to bore even them at some point. Republicans have split between those few who want to change/deny-change and those who just want to hibernate for 4 years.

    I imagine a huge demographic out there looking for new hobbies.

  5. James Joyner says:

    @Dave Schuler: I haven’t seen a lot of data but the best I can gather is that most of the traffic has gravitated to a handful of corporate sites and a lot of the small tail traffic has moved off to Twitter. Blogging was a huge fad in 2003-5 or so but it’s been damn hard to break through for those starting after that without a big name coming in. Certainly, those wanting to do InstaPundit-style aggregation and linking may as well do it on Twitter or Reddit.

    I wouldn’t be shocked if the Left-o-sphere were in particular decline. When I was starting out a decade ago, the Right, and particular its libertarian wing, was dominating the blogs. Kos and others who built communities quickly capitalized on the red hot heat aimed at the Bush administration and that side dominated for years. But Obama has been deflating for die-hard progressives, having governed mostly as a pragmatist rather than an ideologue.

  6. Ben Wolf says:

    @Kathy Kattenburg: I agree regarding the ” Singularity”. Kurzweil and his acolytes curiously fail to include politics and economics in their analyses.

  7. john personna says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    Kurzweil hardly owns the singularity, and while there are various dumb visions, there are some smart ones.

    The best short answer (hat tip Vernor Vinge) is that any bet against a singularity-like event is a bet against AI itself.

    Why? Moore’s law.

    Computers get faster and better, and so any computer that matched human intelligence would soon outpace it. From there on out you can work your fictions … but it will be a strange world.

  8. Ron Beasley says:

    @Dave Schuler: I think that part of the decline in readership is a decline in writership. I have been a blogger for years but I’m just not inspired anymore. I don’t do twitter but I find it easier to comment on blogs like this. I was a blogger at the old Newshoggers and traffic declined because we quit posting. I reincarnated my old blog, Middle Earth Journal, but I post little.

  9. Erik Berls says:

    The manifesto’s misunderstanding of Eloi/Morlock (upper/under) is reflective of their misapplication tof the haves/have-nots. It’s actually more reflective of how they view the two classes they ascribe to society.

    In the book, the Morlocks, despite being underground, had the tech. The Eloi were food.