neil / tags / sci-fi

Tagged with “sci-fi” (15)

  1. Psychohistory: Isaac Asimov and guiding the future

    100 years on from Isaac Asimov’s birth, Matthew Sweet looks at one of the bigger ideas contained in some of his 500 books; Psychohistory.

    The idea, from Asimov’s Foundation series, was that rather like the behaviour of a gas could be reduced to statistical probabilities of the behaviour of billions of molecules, so the history of billions of human beings across the fictional galactic empire could be predicted through a few laws he called ‘Psychohistory’.

    The idea inspired many to think that social sciences and economics can really be reduced to some sort of idealized set of physics principles, making future events completely predictable. It and similar ideas are still breeding enthusiasm for such things as data science, AI, machine learning, and arguably even the recent job advert by Downing Street advisor Dominic Cummings for more ‘Super-Talented Wierdos’ to work for government. But how do we see what is real and what is not, what is Sci-Fi and what is hype, what is reasonable and what is desirable, in the gaps between innovation and inspiration, restraint and responsibility?

    Jack Stilgoe of University College London has a new book out ‘Who’s Driving Innovation?’. Science and Tech journalist Gemma Milne’s forthcoming book is called ‘Smoke and Mirrors: How hype obscures the future and How to see past it’. Una McCormack is an expert on science fiction writing at Anglia Ruskin University, and Alexander Boxer is a data scientist who’s new book ‘Scheme of Heaven’ makes the case that we have much to learn about human efforts to deduce the future from observable events by looking at the history of Astrology, its aims and techniques.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p080lvrb

    —Huffduffed by neil

  2. BBC Radio 4 - Great Lives, Series 26, Philip K Dick

    Michael Sheen champions Philip K Dick who has had an influence on his production of Hamlet

    Actor Michael Sheen (Frost/Nixon; The Queen; Midnight in Paris) explores the life of Philip K. Dick with Matthew Parris, and explains why he had such a big influence on his recent production of Hamlet.

    Michael first discovered Philip K. Dick through the film Bladerunner, and moved onto his short stories which got him thinking about science-fiction in a new way. Whilst reading about philosophy, quantum physics, and comparative mythology, it struck him how Dick was intuitively weaving narratives around all the most interesting elements that these fields were throwing up.

    He talks about Philip K. Dick’s innate interest in multiples realities, and how they overlap with Sheen’s own family experiences of mental health issues. In fact the more he found out about him, the more he was drawn to this enigmatic writer.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b017wyyc

    —Huffduffed by neil

  3. Ursula Le Guin & Margaret Atwood - Literary Arts

    Ursula Le Guin begins her lecture with Margaret Atwood by saying, “I emailed Margaret about six weeks or so ago and said, ‘What are we going to talk about?’ and she replied, ‘I expect we will talk about 1) What is fiction?; 2) What is science fiction?; 3) The ones who walk away from Omelas—where do they go?; 4) Is the human race doomed?; 5) Anything else that strikes our fancy.’” The two women proceed to examine these questions and talk through their answers. They delve into their writing processes and motives, creating many humorous analogies for the act of writing, whether they connect it to naked chickens, salted slugs, or dark boudoirs.

    Margaret Atwood is a poet, novelist, short story writer, essayist, and environmental activist. She has written over 40 books and is best known for her fiction, including The Blind Assassin, which won the Man-Booker Prize in 2000. Atwood has used her public profile to advocate for human rights, the environment, and the welfare of writers. She has been president of PEN International and helped found the Writer’s Trust of Canada. As a public intellectual, Atwood is known as a brilliant thinker on a huge range of subjects who has a wry and ironic sense of humor and who is willing to call out platitudes and other forms of lazy thinking.

    Ursula K. Le Guin sold her first story over 50 years ago and has been writing and publishing ever since. Tackling various modes, including realistic fiction, science fiction, high fantasy, children’s literature, screenplays, and essays, her work has challenged traditional understandings of gender roles, politics, race, and identity. She is best known for her fantasy series Earthsea and her science fiction novel The Left Hand of Darkness. She has influenced several generations of writers, including Junot Díaz, Kelly Link, David Mitchell, and Jonathan Lethem. Throughout her career, she has continuously met criticism with courage, causing one critic to note, “It’s been hard for reviewers to cope with Le Guin. She’s often seemed like a writer without a critical context. But that may just mean that the context is still to come.” Among her many honors, Le Guin has received a National Book Award and, most recently, The National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

    If we knew everything ahead of time, we wouldn’t write the book. It would be paint by numbers and there wouldn’t be any discoveries.” – Margaret Atwood

    “Rereading a book is much better than reading it. A good book reread is better than a good book read.” – Ursula Le Guin

    “All doors are doors to the future, if you go into them.” – Margaret Atwood

    https://literary-arts.org/archive/ursula-le-guin-margaret-atwood/

    —Huffduffed by neil

  4. The Literary Imagination: Jonathan Lethem and Kim Stanley Robinson on the influence of Philip K. Dick - UCTV - University of California Television

    University of California Television provides informational, educational, and enrichment television programming to the public and draws upon the vast intellectual, scientific, and creative talents of the University of California.

    http://www.uctv.tv/shows/The-Literary-Imagination-Jonathan-Lethem-and-Kim-Stanley-Robinson-on-the-influence-of-Philip-K-Dick-25439

    —Huffduffed by neil

  5. The Future of the Future

    How does the accelerating pace of technology change the way we think about the future?

    It’s said that science fiction writers now spend more time telling stories about today than about tomorrow, because the potential of existing technology to change our world is so rich that there is no need to imagine the future - it’s already here. Does this mean the future is dead? Or that we are experiencing a profound shift in our understanding of what the future means to us, how it arrives, and what forces will shape it?

    Presenters Timandra Harkness and Leo Johnson explore how our evolving understanding of time and the potential of technological change are transforming the way we think about the future.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08nqc4j

    —Huffduffed by neil

  6. Here’s What Sci-Fi Can Teach Us About Fascism | WIRED

    Want to understand the appeal of fascist regimes? Watch/read science fiction.

    AUTHOR BRUCE STERLING is best known for his futuristic science fiction, but he’s equally comfortable writing about the past. His new novella Pirate Utopia is an alternate history set just after World War I, and takes place in the real-life city of Fiume (now Rijeka), which experienced a brief period as an independent state run by artists and revolutionaries.

    https://www.wired.com/2017/01/geeks-guide-bruce-sterling/

    —Huffduffed by neil

  7. Ep 38: The Future of Science Fiction, Part 3: Charles Stross

    In this thought-provoking episode we tackle the future of AI, the singularity, racism in science fiction, space opera, and so much more. An interview with Charles Stross. Music: Kevin MacLeod. Blind Panels is the inclusive geek podcast. It’s created by Comics Empower, the comic book store for the blind and the visually impaired. Check it out: ComicsEmpower.com

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    Original video: https://soundcloud.com/user-817263528/ep-38-the-future-of-science-fiction-part-3charles-stross
    Downloaded by http://huffduff-video.snarfed.org/ on Wed, 24 Aug 2016 15:47:52 GMT Available for 30 days after download

    —Huffduffed by neil

  8. Midnight in Karachi Episode 57: Margaret Atwood | Tor.com

    Welcome back to Midnight in Karachi, a weekly podcast about writers, publishers, editors, illustrators, their books and the worlds they create, hosted by Mahvesh Murad.

    The podcast returns this week with an interview with Margaret Atwood, in which she talks with Mahvesh about monsters, myths, wise old women, wicked witches, why everyone isn’t collectively freaking out about climate change and the potentials of eating cloned celebrity flesh.

    http://www.tor.com/2016/08/04/midnight-in-karachi-episode-57-margaret-atwood/

    —Huffduffed by neil

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