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marnixR
Post  Post subject: old SF stories  |  Posted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 7:48 pm
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this picture set me thinking how SF written in the 1940s and 1950s, when the 21st century looked more than a lifetime away, starts to look a bit dated + it's already eaten up the first parts of "future histories" written by the likes of Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein and Larry Niven

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just recently i finished re-reading Heinlein's "The day after tomorrow" (also known as "The sixth column"), and whereas science has advanced to the point where transubstantiation is the latest cutting edge of science, you still need a whole army of staff to feed punch cards into the computer

or "The moon is a harsh mistress" by the same author has a self-aware computer who does all sorts of advanced shit, but still is the size of an office block, and as for phones, they're still the same sort of attached speaker phones of old

oh, and what happened to 1984 ?

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Ascended
Post  Post subject: Re: old SF stories  |  Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 3:46 pm
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Well I kind of get the feeling it's a bit like watching old episodes of 'Tomorrow's World', many wild ideas of what the future will be like, in many cases especially all the ideas for flying cars etc... the time frame for these changes to supposedly take place is just to short.

What is also of interest though is some of the things that have materialized, that would have seemed like sci-fi 40 or 50 years ago, don't really seem all that exciting or revolutionary. For example take the modern mobile phone, effectively a miniture computer, and all the things it can do yet strangely it doesn't really seem to have the wonder about it that an idea of such in the past might have conjured.

Perhaps if we were somehow zapped 40 years into the future then the technology might seem that much more miraculous in a way it just doesn't if had time to watch it evolve. Or maybe it's just the reality never quite lives up to the fantasy.

Anyway regardless, I think if people could really predict accurately what a true vision of the future will be they'd end up very rich men.

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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: old SF stories  |  Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 7:22 pm
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that's the problem - people tend to concentrate on the big things like nuclear energy and space ships, but what really has changed people's lives is things like the pill or the transistor

that, and the fact that an "if this goes on" prediction will break down at one point or another, even though it's hard to say when and where it will go wrong

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jimmydasaint
Post  Post subject: Re: old SF stories  |  Posted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:44 am
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I seem to recall some Asimov book where the future could be predicted by computers based on a collection of multifarious inputs of predictable human behaviour and environmental circumstances. If I am correct, this sort of approach is used in prediction of future trends including global weather patterns. My memory is a bit hazy so someone correct me if I am wrong.

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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: old SF stories  |  Posted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:41 am
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i suppose you're referring to Asimov's concept of psychohistory according to which the laws of statistics as applied to large groups of people can predict the general flow of future events

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