Monday, February 16, 2009

Short quote(s): guessing

Wherein David Brin's Earth and Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game demonstrate anonymous commentators becoming influential through internet-like forums -- newsgroups blogs whatever


Sci-Fi: What's it really about?:
  • " Donald Rumsfeld was right," states Stross. "That is to say, his point about the known unknowns and unknown unknowns nailed the problem of predicting the future spot-on. We can point to extrapolations of current technological and social trends, but we can't extrapolate on the basis of stuff that hasn't been discovered yet. For example: In 1962 it was possible, just about, to see the future of integrated circuitry (and even, if you were very far-sighted, to glimpse Moore's Law and its implications), but the CD player was right out of the picture-solid-state lasers lay at least a decade in the future."

  • You're obliged to predict not just the automobile but the traffic jam and the stranglehold on gas prices. Nobody invents anything unless there is at least the illusion of a profit.

    The only science fiction movie that did this right, according to Niven, was the 1983 film Brainstorm, in which, according to Niven, "a valid technology was followed from its inception to its limits."

  • "The standard advice is to be aggressive in your predictions; there's this notion that the future always comes faster than you think it will," suggests Sawyer.

    "But, actually, I think a lot of us underestimated social inertia," he adds. "Most of us predicted a secular 21st century, and it's anything but that. The world is like a person: It doesn't change as it gets older. Rather, it simply becomes more obviously what it always was. People always liked having phones and portable music, but most people never wanted to lug a camera, or an ebook reader or a PDA around. The future is adding functionality to those things we've already admitted into our lives, not trying to convince people they need new categories of things; the iPhone-the all-in-one device that is, first and foremost, something familiar -- is the correct paradigm."

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