David Brin, a physicist and Hugo and Nebula award-winning science fiction writer, wrote the prescient 1997 nonfiction book, The Transparent Society, which won the Freedom of Speech Award of the American Library Association. He’s written a new essay revisiting the themes of that book and discusses how the ideas presented in The Transparent Society relate to his new essay and to the world today. The government continues to increase its ability to look in on citizens, creating an Orwellian-like society that people may find alarming. According to Brin, reciprocal accountability, which is the ability for people to look back at the government and hold it accountable, is key to minimizing undesirable effects and behaviors. Brin goes on to discuss the benefits of a more pragmatic approach to transparency as opposed to immediate and radical transparency like WikiLeaks.
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Surprisingly Free’s 100th Episode — This is the 100th episode of Surprisingly Free! One hundred episodes is quite a milestone, and we thought we’d celebrate it with a selection of some of the best clips from our last 99 shows, featuring some incredible thinkers and doers at the intersection of technology, policy and economics. You’ll hear clips on Wikileaks, criminal hacking, censorship, online porn, and robotics, just to name a few topics. We hope you enjoy this episode and continue to listen for the next 100 episodes!
It’s not too "out there" to suggest that contemporary science fiction writers are to the cyberspace era what Charles Dickens and Elizabeth Gaskell were to the Industrial Revolution: Commentators on the impact of technology on society and human nature. Their novels, like the novels by certain science fiction writers, ultimately changed the way people looked at everything from labor to the environment.
Science fiction author David Brin has explored these and other themes in Earth, Sundiver, The Postman and many other books. He speaks in this episode of Podium about the ideas that have shaped his imaginative life — and shares his belief that science fiction has the power to forestall the worst of humanity’s doomsday scenarios.