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Tagged with “book:author=david brin” (4) activity chart

  1. The power of positive sci-fi

    For a couple of generations, it’s been a truism that good science fiction is grim science fiction. Technology is out of control, democracy is failing, the environment ruined. Think Hunger Games, Minority Report, The Matrix, and Blade Runner, all the way back to 1984. But science fiction writer and astrophysicist David Brin believes we’ve gotten too fond of these bummers. “It’s so easy to make money with a tale that says: ‘Civilization is garbage. Our institutions never will be helpful. Your neighbors are all useless sheep,’” he laments. “’Now enjoy a couple of characters running around shooting things and having adventures in the middle of a dystopia.’”

    Dystopias are bad? That’s heresy for science fiction. But a few people are starting to agree with him, like Neal Stephenson, the author of Cryptonomicon and Snow Crash. A few years ago, Stephenson was on a panel discussion with Arizona State University President Michael Crow, and Stephenson started complaining that there were no big scientific projects to inspire people these days. Crow shot back, “You’re the ones slacking off!” In Crow’s view, it was the writers who weren’t pulling their weight, supplying the motivating visions for science and technology.

    From that discussion, Crow and Stephenson have collaborated on The Center for Science and the Imagination at ASU. And Stephenson founded a group called Project Hieroglyph, which recruits science fiction authors to write more optimistically about the future. “I guess I had never given science fiction writers enough credit of being leaders of innovation,” Stephenson says. The writers who contribute to Project Hieroglyph don’t have to consult with scientists or engineers, but doing so “shows they’re on the right track.” Stephenson says. Only three rules: no hyperspace, no holocausts and no hackers. Coming from Stephenson, the bard of hackers, that’s quite a challenge.

    http://www.studio360.org/story/power-of-positive-sci-fi/

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  2. The Partially Examined Life: Sci-Fi and Philiosophy with David Brin

    Discussing David Brin’s novel Existence (2012) with the author.

    What’s the point of thinking? Brin sees the future as a pressing threat, and Existence speculates that the reason we don’t see evidence of life on other planets is that no species survives its technological adolescence. The solution? We need to be smarter than our parents and work to give our kids the tools to be smarter than we are. In the book, the ultimate hope comes from a concerted effort to develop and diversify the coalition of Earth’s intelligent life, to make “humanity” encompass more than just the biological humans that we currently are.

    In our present political difficulties, Brin sees the solution as positive-sum games: institutions like science and markets that (are supposed to) result in everybody benefiting overall. We need to keep elites (whether corporate or governmental) from screwing these games up, and to use technology to foster reciprocal accountability. The government is illicitly spying on people? Spy back and call them out when power is abused! Instead of vainly trying to hold back technology, just make sure that it’s not restricted to elites, that there can be effective debate re. its uses.

    The point of thinking for Brin is to “be a good ancestor.” Philosophy and science fiction can help through thought experiments that visualize the outcomes of our ideas and can help in developing scientific theories. Philosophy’s most Brin-approved task is to promote the critical argumentation needed for reciprocal accountability. The “examined life” is not just for navel-gazers, but for societies prone to catastrophic mistakes.

    http://www.partiallyexaminedlife.com/2014/03/26/ep90-david-brin/

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  3. Why David Brin Hates Yoda, Loves Radical Transparency

    The best-selling author and futurist doesn’t mince words when it comes to his disdain for Star Wars’ wizened guru (or for George Lucas, creator of the "horrible little oven mitt"). Find out what he thinks about capitalism, autism, SETI’s brilliant but misguided search for extraterrestrial life and other hot topics in the latest edition of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast.

    http://www.wired.com/underwire/2012/08/geeks-guide-david-brin/

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  4. Science fiction can save the world. For real.

    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.

    http://domino.research.ibm.com/comm/research.nsf/pages/d.compsci.podium.david.brin.html

    —Huffduffed by adactio