Science fiction author Vernor Vinge, interviewed by Reason magazine in May 2007:
Reason: You dedicate Rainbows End “to the Internet-based cognitive tools that are changing our lives—Wikipedia, Google, eBay, and the others of their kind, now and in the future.” What’s the story behind this dedication?
Vinge: I regard the current Internet as a test bed for the cognitive coordination of people and databases and computers. Tools such as Google, eBay, and Wikipedia are—I hope—harbingers of much more spectacular developments.
RicMac: That was 7 years ago and, as usual, Vinge’s foresight was razor sharp. The cutting edge of the 2014 era is machine learning technology, such as IBM’s Watson and the many AI startups that Google has acquired recently. These developments are enabling a more advanced version of what Vinge called “the cognitive coordination of people and databases and computers.” We haven’t reached spectacular yet, but it’s heading in that direction…