This is the text of my keynote speech at the 34th Chaos Communication Congress in Leipzig, December
This is the text of my keynote speech at the 34th Chaos Communication Congress in Leipzig, December You can also watch it on YouTube, but it runs to about 45 minutes.
As a working science fiction novelist, I take a professional interest in how we get predictions about the future wrong, and why, so that I can avoid repeating the same mistakes. Science fiction is written by people embedded within a society with expectations and political assumptions that bias us towards looking at the shiny surface of new technologies rather than asking how human beings will use them, and to taking narratives of progress at face value rather than asking what hidden agenda they serve.
Or rather, I write science fiction, much of it about our near future, which has in recent years become ridiculously hard to predict.
Our species, Homo Sapiens Sapiens, is roughly three hundred thousand years old. Recent discoveries pushed back the date of our earliest remains that far, we may be even older. For all but the last three centuries of that span, predicting the future was easy: Let that sink in for a moment: As an eminent computer scientist once remarked, computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about building telescopes.
The same can be said of my field of work, written science fiction. Scifi is seldom about science—and even more rarely about predicting the future. How to predict the near future When I write a near-future work of fiction, one set, say, a decade hence, there used to be a recipe that worked eerily well.
Buildings are designed to last many years. Automobiles have a design life of about a decade, so half the cars on the road will probably still be around in And therein lies the problem: Nobody in was expecting a Nazi revival inright? Only this time round Germans get to be the good guys.
But unfortunately the ratios have changed. Ruling out the singularity Some of you might assume that, as the author of books like "Singularity Sky" and "Accelerando", I attribute this to an impending technological singularity, to our development of self-improving artificial intelligence and mind uploading and the whole wish-list of transhumanist aspirations promoted by the likes of Ray Kurzweil.
I think transhumanism is a warmed-over Christian heresy. Many of you are familiar with design patterns, an approach to software engineering that focusses on abstraction and simplification in order to promote reusable code.
When you look at the AI singularity as a narrative, and identify the numerous places in the story where the phrase " Towards a better model for the future As my fellow SF author Ken MacLeod likes to say, the secret weapon of science fiction is history.
History, loosely speaking, is the written record of what and how people did things in past times—times that have slipped out of our personal memories.
We science fiction writers tend to treat history as a giant toy chest to raid whenever we feel like telling a story.The culture of France and of the French people has been shaped by geography, by profound historical events, and by foreign and internal forces and groups.
France, and in particular Paris, has played an important role as a centre of high culture since the 17th century and from the 19th century on, worldwide. From the late 19th century, France has also played an important role in cinema, fashion. Abstract: We're living in yesterday's future, and it's nothing like the speculations of our authors and film/TV lausannecongress2018.com a working science fiction novelist, I take a professional interest in how we get predictions about the future wrong, and why, so that I can avoid repeating the same mistakes.
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As a follow-up to Tuesday’s post about the majority-minority public schools in Oslo, the following brief account reports the latest statistics on the cultural enrichment of schools in Austria. Vienna is the most fully enriched location, and seems to be in roughly the same situation as Oslo.
Many thanks to Hermes for the translation from lausannecongress2018.com