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SNS: How Science Fiction Accelerates R&D

SNS: How Science Fiction Accelerates R&D


SNS Subscriber Edition
Week of 4/18/2016
Vol. 21 Issue 14

In This Issue

Feature: Looking Further: “How Science Fiction Accelerates R&D”
A Conversation with Ramez Naam and Cory Doctorow

  • About Ramez Naam
  • About Cory Doctorow
  • About Berit Anderson

Publisher’s Note: One of the high points of FiRe 2015 was Berit Anderson’s interview of Ramez Naam and Cory Doctorow. Ramez and Cory are both brilliant thinkers with long-established reputations in a variety of arenas, from science fiction and technology applications to public policy and IP rights.

In this transcript, members will be taken on a very smart, and very fast, tour of how these three entrepreneurs see a more hopeful vision of the world to come, starting a couple of decades from now. Their visions are rooted in real-life social and financial examples of what is happening today, and therefore are pragmatic and worth examining for real clues about what we might all wish to work for in the future.

If we assume that our society gets past what I increasingly refer to as the “Human IQ Test” – that is, not creating a self-extinction event through low intelligence and high capacity for greed – then I believe it is possible that the longer-term experience of humans might actually be relatively idyllic compared to much of what we are experiencing today. “Abundance,” as defined and described in this week’s discussion, is more than possible – it seems a natural outcome from the work it will take to survive.

As Ramez Naam points out, it’s cheap and easy for an author to write “Mad Max novels” about a dysfunctional future, but this has little to do with what really may happen – or, more to the point, what we need and want to have happen.

The future will be what we make of it, and this week’s issue helps move us into a conversation that might give us a bit more edge as we face the question of whether we are smart enough to survive ourselves. – mra.


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