Posted by: crudbasher | October 21, 2011

Scifi Authors Talk About The Future Of Computers

(cc) fotografo amateur mexicano


I love science fiction. (also teen vampire romance novels j/k) I would imagine that most of the innovative people making technology grew up reading scifi. It gives us a chance to glimpse a possible future, both as inspiration and sometimes as a warning. Kevin J. Anderson is a prolific and sucessful writer and wrote this blog piece where he asked some of the most famous scifi authors to speculate on the future of computers. The results are fascinating. What is most remarkable to me is that almost all of them set their ideas within a 20 year timeframe.

So much change, so quickly. It will reshape our society like few other times in history.

Thinking about how any of these ideas will change education almost gives me a headache!


  • Great ideas of the future of computers

    tags: technology scifi authors futurist nell

    • As a science fiction writer, I am often asked about the genre’s track record in predicting the future, and certainly SF has had some great successes.
    • Over the past century a lot of science fiction has been published, showcasing a lot of wild ideas, and if you sit enough authors at enough typewriters or word processors, somebody is bound to get a few things right. Science fiction’s greater influence, though, goes beyond whether or not the authors can make a good guess.
    • Rather than predicting the future, the SF genre is much better at inspiring the future.
    • I asked several of my SF writer colleagues to turn on their imaginations, let their ideas flow, and sound off on any aspect of where they thought the future of computing might go. Maybe they’ll inspire new technologies we will all be using in a few years.
    • since computers are here to stay, I think the next few generations of computer programmers/designers are going to go overboard making them easier to use, even for us Old Guys who hate and fear them.
    • I truly do not think we’ll develop a fully self-aware AI, at least not in any way that we find meaningful. And let me conclude by saying that I passionately hope we don’t.
    • Forget artificial intelligence. The future of computing is artificial consciousness, and it will be here within 20 years, and maybe much sooner than that.
    • I’m not worried about the advent of artificial consciousness, though. Our rapacious character is a result of our bloody nature-red-in-tooth-and-claw evolutionary heritage of survival of the fittest in an economy of scarcity. Thinking—and feeling—machines won’t be burdened with billions of years of Darwinian nastiness driving them and they won’t think in terms of win-lose but rather of win-win, because their natural environment is one of endless bounty, of unlimited copying of whatever resource one might desire. In the end, we may finally learn compassion and altruism from our machine children. And that day can’t arrive soon enough.
    • He foresees both dangers and innovations:
    • We ourselves will be wired, with devices and embedded sensors taking in data and giving it out—a two way street.


      A big issue will arise: capturing your sensorium—the volume your artificial sensors “feel:” embedded emitters and chips in architecture, workplaces, vehicles, etc. All these can be hijacked to spam or extract information. Shopping malls will surely treasure customer background data and pay a price to get it.

    • Some decades ago, I suggested that Dattoos (computers laid on the skin like tattoos) would be a major step in both fashion and computing. Now those items are in development.
    • I see the future of computing as growing from the intersection of convenience and connectivity. Implanted sensors—perhaps inscribed as visible, invisible or mutable tattoos—provide a sense of our bodies in space and read nerve impulses. We become keyboards, where gestures akin to Aslan allow us to remotely access information streams and control devices. We’ll be able to move through a space, almost like Jedi using the Force, to turn things on, shut them off, launch productivity programs and glean information. We will become the avatarization of Clarke’s Law—cybersorcerers walking through worlds we can change with a glance.
    • The future of computing? . . . Mobile devices will continue to grow in importance, while large desktops will become the sole province of those who need heavy-duty processing power, such as musicians, filmmakers, and scientific researchers.
    • Retinal displays will be available for those willing to risk surgery—glasses for the rest of us. Many computers will be built into the clothes we wear, and even airbrushed onto or tattooed into our skin in flexible matrixes that will derive power from the heat, motion, and electrical charge of our bodies.
    • Ultimately, I have no doubt we’ll end up with computers implanted in our brains, constantly feeding us information from the net, including all of those vitally important LOLcat videos.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.


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