Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Why Does Science Fiction Kind of Suck Now?

Science Fiction - as opposed to Fantasy or Alternate History - kind of sucks right now.  Stories that are based on our timeline, but in the future are primarily dystopian.
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I'll tell you why.
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It's not (just) that the future looks dim - Global Warming, Global Terrorism, Donald Trump - it is that the "today" cannot be understood.
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Arthur C Clarke's words never felt so prophetic.
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I think there is no one alive today that can understand even most of science - it has grown so fast so widely that even the brightest minds can only imagine a sliver of it.  Cell phones have more computing power on them them acres of computers thirty years ago.  A Chevy Volt has more computer parts that Apollo 11.  We are starting to build quantum computers where the very measurement of objects changes them (back in the 80s we struggled to understand this in relation to electrons - now we are powering computers with this idea!).
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Could any one person build a power station, a cell phone, an artificial heart, an electrical outlet (if you can build a generator).  We build more and more complex things by dividing them into parts that need cooperation - and we damn cooperation.
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Meanwhile man's dreams have gotten tiny in relation.
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We abandoned space because there was no profit in it.  We use the amazing powers of computing to play candy crush.  We use nanoseconds of time to create and steal value from a stock market ponzi scheme.  We leverage the wealth and power of the world not to fix age old problems but to buy lifesaving medicines and raise the prices 3,000%.
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The one fear of the future in the old days was that we would be enslaved by it.  Turns out, we are insignificant in it.

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