Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Sci-Fi Prophecy Becoming Reality

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #16
    Or maybe not becoming ....

    35 years ago, Isaac Asimov was asked by the Star to predict the world of 2019. Here is what he wrote

    By Isaac AsimovSpecial to The Star
    Thu., Dec. 27, 2018

    Originally published Dec. 31, 1983
    lf we look into the world as it may be at the end of another generation, let’s say 2019 — that’s 35 years from now, the same number of years since 1949 when George Orwell’s 1984 was first published — three considerations must dominate our thoughts:
    ...
    https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2...-he-wrote.html
    Whiskey for my men, and beer for my horses.
    TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
    Bock's First Law of History: The Past shapes the Present, which forms the Future. *

    Comment


    • #17
      He was dead wrong about space. Given that automation was already underway when he wrote the article, that wasn't a big leap forward either.

      The article wasn't clear, though: what did he think we would be mining on the Moon?
      Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

      Comment


      • #18
        Asimov tried to predict using dead reckoning techniques which means that you plot historical progress and then extrapolate the line forward adjusting for an increased rate of progress. This works only if in future we will be dong what we did in the past only better, faster etc So Asimov has mankind moving in the past from manual labour to using machines and then automated machinery and in the future computer controlled machines but all to make stuff. But today we are increasingly using computers not so much to produce stuff as to provide services and experiences including information, education, communication and entertainment. The Japanese are looking to robotics to provide social care for the old and infirm and who knows perhaps in this way the domestic servant may return - perhaps the self driving car is the chauffeurs return? It is being suggested that some societies are approaching peak stuff so although manufacturing will improve there may be limits.

        Space has become crucial to the modern world but again to provide services and information rather than a source of stuff. Navigation has been transformed through the use of satellite carried systems and GPS will be vital to automated vehicles. Improved Earth observation systems are increasingly used for resource management. Weather satellites are commonplace. Space based RADAR in combination with AI is being looked at for earthquake and tsunami warning.

        Asimov thought than Lunar based mining and manufacture would be essential to building Earth orbiting platforms as it would avoid lugging huge amounts of materials up out of Earth's gravity well but miniaturisation and improved computer power has meant that we don't need huge manned platforms. There is still a case for Moon mining but for those scarce and very expensive metals known as rare earths which are vital for advanced electronics and battery technologies. If this is done it will probably be by autonomous mining machines.

        BTW the earliest SF mention of autonomous machinery I have come across is in Kipling's As Easy as ABC written in 1912 but set in 2150 in which the protagonists have a conversation with a country girl who is sitting on the farm porch with a communicator to give orders to the farm machinery busy brining in the harvest.
        Last edited by MarkV; 31 Dec 18, 11:12.
        Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
        Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

        Comment


        • #19
          Those computers that you speak of are in everything we sue, including our cars, washing machines and refrigerators. We are, if anything, fatally over-dependent on computers for our very lives. Imagine what a massive EMP from a solar flare would do to the world right now. It would shut us down completely, and most humans have lost the ability, or never learned it to begin with, to support themselves.

          Where is the world headed? Towards total technological dependence and ultimately thereafter extinction. Maybe some lost tribe deep in the amazon will remain, but they won;t even be aware of the passing of seven billion "more technologically advanced" humans.
          Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
            Those computers that you speak of are in everything we sue, including our cars, washing machines and refrigerators. We are, if anything, fatally over-dependent on computers for our very lives. Imagine what a massive EMP from a solar flare would do to the world right now. It would shut us down completely, and most humans have lost the ability, or never learned it to begin with, to support themselves.

            Where is the world headed? Towards total technological dependence and ultimately thereafter extinction. Maybe some lost tribe deep in the amazon will remain, but they won;t even be aware of the passing of seven billion "more technologically advanced" humans.
            Balderdash. A nuclear EMP device exploded in the upper atmosphere but within the magnetosphere might be able to knock stuff out over a wide area but if we are into a nuclear exchange then computer failures is the least of our worries. A solar flare powerful enough to overwhelm the protection of the magnetosphere to that extent would kill us all anyway. Satellites are designed and engineered so as to be able to be resilient to normal flares so that they may shut down but be able to come back later. A flare can cause significant disruption but not be a doomsday event.
            Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
            Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

            Comment


            • #21
              Following link-excerpt isn't exactly Sci-Fi, but is a prophecy related item. Comes from NewYorker which only gives about four f
              "free" views a month unless you subscribe, so to spare some of you using one of yours, I'm copy-paste most of the main points here;

              What 2018 Looked Like Fifty Years Ago

              A book of technology predictions makes distressing reading at the end of a year that, a golden anniversary ago, looked positively thrilling.
              ...
              Prophecy is a mug’s game. But then, lately, most of us are mugs. 2018 was a banner year for the art of prediction, which is not to say the science, because there really is no science of prediction. Predictive algorithms start out as historians: they study historical data to detect patterns. Then they become prophets: they devise mathematical formulas that explain the pattern, test the formulas against historical data withheld for the purpose, and use the formulas to make predictions about the future. That’s why Amazon, Google, Facebook, and everyone else are collecting your data to feed to their algorithms: they want to turn your past into your future.
              ...
              ...“Toward the Year 2018” was edited by Emmanuel G. Mesthene, ...
              ...
              Two things are true about “Toward the Year 2018.” First, most of the machines that people expected would be invented have, in fact, been invented. Second, most of those machines have had consequences wildly different from those anticipated in 1968. It’s bad manners to look at past predictions to see if they’ve come true. Still, if history is any guide, today’s futurists have very little credibility. An algorithm would say the same.

              Carlos R. DeCarlo, the director of automation research at I.B.M., covered computers in the book, predicting that, in 2018, “machines will do more of man’s work, but will force man to think more logically.” DeCarlo was consistently half right. He correctly anticipated miniature computers (“very small, portable storage units”), but wrongly predicted the coming of a universal language (“very likely a modified and expanded form of English”). One thing he got terribly wrong: he expressed tragically unfounded confidence that “the political and social institutions of the United States will remain flexible enough to ingest the fruits of science and technology without basic damage to its value systems.”

              Reporting on the future of communication, J. R. Pierce, from Bell Labs, explained that “the Bell System is committed to the provision of a Picturephone service commercially in the early 1970s,” and that, by 2018, face-to-face communication across long distances would be available everywhere: “The transmission of pictures and texts and the distant manipulation of computers and other machines will be added to the transmission of the human voice on a scale that will eventually approach the universality of telephony.” True! “What all this will do to the world I cannot guess,” Pierce admitted, with becoming modesty. “It seems bound to affect us all.”

              Sharp-eyed observers in 1968 were already concerned about the warming of the oceans and the changing of the climate, but the atmospheric-science contributor to “Toward the Year 2018,” Thomas F. Malone, was excited by new technologies that would allow scientists to take control of the earth’s weather and climate. Malone served as the chairman of the Committee on Atmospheric Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences, which, in 1966, had issued a report endorsing “a long-range program of weather control and climate modification,” to be implemented by way of manipulating fog, cloud-seeding, and the “suppression of lightning.” He thought “the probability of success in broad climate modification is likely to exceed 50 percent by the year 2018.” Standing in the way of this objective, he warned, were political obstacles—the international coöperation required for a global climate-change program—and the possibility that, before such a thing could be fully executed, “large-scale climate modification will be effected inadvertently,” because, he had to admit, it appeared that the climate was already changing all on its own. “Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere since 1900 has caused surface temperatures to rise 0.2 degrees C,” he acknowledged, hastening to reassure his readers that, while global temperatures could conceivably keep rising all the way to 2018, there was only “a small probability that these effects will not be tolerable.”

              The only real doomsayer was the demographer Philip M. Hauser. He calculated that, by 2018, the world’s population would reach 9.7 billion (he was two billion over), with the steepest growth in Asia and Latin America, and the slowest in Europe. Also, that the distance between the rich and the poor, and between wealthy nations and poor nations, would widen. “Given the present outlook, only the faithful who believe in miracles from heaven, the optimistic who anticipate superwonders from science, the parochial fortunate who think they can continue to exist on islands of affluence in a sea of world poverty, and the naïve who anticipate nothing can look to the future with equanimity,” Hauser concluded.

              But the most prescient contributor to “Toward the Year 2018” was the M.I.T. political scientist Ithiel de Sola Pool, whose research interests included social networks and computer simulation. “By 2018 it will be cheaper to store information in a computer bank than on paper,” Pool wrote. “Tax returns, social security records, census forms, military records, perhaps a criminal record, hospital rec-ords, security clearance files, school transcripts . . . bank statements, credit ratings, job records,” and more would, by 2018, be stored on computers that could communicate with one another over a vast international network. You could find out anything about anyone, without ever leaving your desk. “By 2018 the researcher sitting at his console will be able to compile a cross-tabulation of consumer purchases (from store records) by people of low IQ (from school records) who have an unemployed member of the family (from social security records). That is, he will have the technological capability to do this. Will he have the legal right?” Pool declined to answer that question. “This is not the place to speculate how society will achieve a balance between its desire for knowledge and its desire for privacy,” he insisted.
              ...
              https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2...ifty-years-ago
              Whiskey for my men, and beer for my horses.
              TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
              Bock's First Law of History: The Past shapes the Present, which forms the Future. *

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by MarkV View Post

                Balderdash. A nuclear EMP device exploded in the upper atmosphere but within the magnetosphere might be able to knock stuff out over a wide area but if we are into a nuclear exchange then computer failures is the least of our worries. A solar flare powerful enough to overwhelm the protection of the magnetosphere to that extent would kill us all anyway. Satellites are designed and engineered so as to be able to be resilient to normal flares so that they may shut down but be able to come back later. A flare can cause significant disruption but not be a doomsday event.
                Wrong. Look up the effects of a massive solar flare, if you haven't been around long enough to experience one yourself. We had a few in the past that disrupted things considerably. It's all about a colossal number of free ions and electrons swamping us, and our current system (and I include electric "current") is precarious at best, prey to a cascade of failures if any one part goes down. We have already experienced that numerous times just from major storms.

                I can screw up your wrist watch simply by carrying a magnet around in my pocket. Imagine what a source like the Sun can do. The sun, after all, is a continuous nuclear explosion countless orders of magnitude greater in every way than anything we have ever detonated here on Earth.

                The problem with your argument is your POV: if it hasn't happened yet, it never will. Tell that to the dinosaurs, who never expected an asteroid to destroy the surface of Earth because in the millions of years of their existence it had never happened to them before.

                The entire cosmos operates on the Murphy Principle. If it can, it will, and at the absolute worst possible time. Guaranteed.
                Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post

                  Wrong. Look up the effects of a massive solar flare, if you haven't been around long enough to experience one yourself. We had a few in the past that disrupted things considerably. It's all about a colossal number of free ions and electrons swamping us, and our current system (and I include electric "current") is precarious at best, prey to a cascade of failures if any one part goes down. We have already experienced that numerous times just from major storms.

                  I can screw up your wrist watch simply by carrying a magnet around in my pocket. Imagine what a source like the Sun can do. The sun, after all, is a continuous nuclear explosion countless orders of magnitude greater in every way than anything we have ever detonated here on Earth.

                  The problem with your argument is your POV: if it hasn't happened yet, it never will. Tell that to the dinosaurs, who never expected an asteroid to destroy the surface of Earth because in the millions of years of their existence it had never happened to them before.

                  The entire cosmos operates on the Murphy Principle. If it can, it will, and at the absolute worst possible time. Guaranteed.
                  We have had flares that disrupted things as I said in my post but they did not wipe out our electronic based infrastructure. The biggest problem was with the power system as the big long overhead transmission lines pick up a significant charge and overloads result and if we are still reliant on copper wires for communications that could be problematic but the world is moving to fibre. You're displaying a 19th century mind set for example the old mechanical watches could be upset by magnets (well the cheap one could) and a really big flare could bring down the telegraph system for a while ( as one did) but we are moving to different technologies that we can protect and the magnetosphere does a lot anyway. As I said one powerful enough to knock everything out [permanently would do so much other kinds of damage it would probably wipe us out anyway. It could happen, there is evidence on the Moon of an ancient flare so powerful that it melted rocks. Read Larry Nivens short story Inconstant Moon to get an idea of what a really bad flare could do. However like an asteroid strike we currently have no way of protecting against this but its no reason to be a Luddite
                  Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                  Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Here Are 15 Wild Sci-Fi Predictions About Future Technology That Actually Came True

                    https://www.sciencealert.com/these-1...MsEYyJdv9Iyi48

                    (I might paste part of this list later, but an interesting read still.)
                    Whiskey for my men, and beer for my horses.
                    TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
                    Bock's First Law of History: The Past shapes the Present, which forms the Future. *

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Anyone remember Transparent Aluminum from Star Trek? Guess what. It has been invented. Currently, it is extremely expensive to manufacture.
                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aluminium_oxynitride
                      “Breaking News,”

                      “Something irrelevant in your life just happened and now we are going to blow it all out of proportion for days to keep you distracted from what's really going on.”

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Maybe fits here ...

                        An Insanely Bizarre Account of Secret Projects, Super Soldiers, and Mars

                        https://mysteriousuniverse.org/2019/...iers-and-mars/
                        Whiskey for my men, and beer for my horses.
                        TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
                        Bock's First Law of History: The Past shapes the Present, which forms the Future. *

                        Comment

                        Latest Topics

                        Collapse

                        Working...
                        X