Google’s Nexus and Ramez Naam’s Nexus


Nexus is about the upcoming singularity.

Nexus / Ramez Naam

When Google came out with the Nexus One smartphone, a lot of people out there referred it back to the movie Blade Runner and its humanoid robot Nexus-6 models. Since then, Google expanded its line of Nexus to include newer versions as well as tablets of varying sizes. In this day and age, people are glued to their smartphones (I know I am) – they have become an extension of ourselves.

Recently, Amazon suggested I read a book: Nexus, by Ramez Naam.

As with most of Amazon’s suggestions, I had no choice but to accept – they are that good in knowing what I like. The book deals with the upcoming singularity – what it means to upgrade humans with computing capabilities. The plot is around Nexus – a drug of sorts, which is essentially nanobots that connect with the brain and allow “near field communication” between people. A few scientists find a way to port an open source operating system to it and add some real uses to the system.

The science fiction parts of this book is rather close to reality and the trajectory our current technology is taking, but the interesting parts of this book deals with questions around oppression, digital divide, freedom and ethics.

To me, it connected well with a lot of challenges I see today:

  • What happens to industries when they go open source?
  • Is there any point in fighting for our privacy or is it already lost?
  • Should or shouldn’t we delve into human cloning?
  • How should we treat augmented humans?

If you love science fiction as much as I do, I highly recommend this book. And if you have some more time to spare, then there’s a list of some other science fiction book series I enjoyed.


Lennie says:
April 5, 2013

I think I’ll try to answer the first (easier?) question.

“What happens to industries when they go open source?”

The software becomes a commodity, differentiators/added value is not in the core software but the hardware you use it with (usually with open source software drives hardware cost down to commodity too) or delivery of quality services or other software around it. Hopefully interoperability between players. Possibly standardization around the same APIs/protocols. The lowers the barrier of entry for those that want to join the open source groups, but increases the barrier of entry of the non-open source players.

I suggest you keep a close eye on OpenStack, Amazon and the other players. I have a feeling it might start to play out sooner than WebRTC. Codecwars around VP8 and implementation availability are what is keeping WebRTC from taking off I’m afraid.

I’m not sure Android is the best example of this situation, or maybe there is still a lot to play out.

Yossi Cohen says:
April 6, 2013

Try old man’s war and ghost brigade if you like BTBC (brain-to-Brain communication). Ghost brigade even has a virus implanted into soldiers via the brain port

    Tsahi Levent-Levi says:
    April 6, 2013


    Thanks for the tip. Only problem is, that besides John Scalzi’s latest book (The Human Division), I’ve read all of his work and enjoyed it immensly.

    The main difference is that Ramez Naam’s work talks about the here and now – a decade or two into the future, while John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War universe is … a different universe.

Nexus – Ramez Naam Review | Reflections says:
May 20, 2013

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