The New York Times Book Review has a review of an interesting new book by William Gibson, father of “cyberpunk” and author of books like Neuromancer. The interesting thing about Gibson is that things he envisioned in his science fiction in the 80s have actually come to pass. So anybody who is interested in what the future might be like should pay attention to this guy. I am definitely adding it to my (hundreds of entries long) reading list.
A few interesting quotes from the review:
“Cars lumbered past like ponderous elephants of rusty steel, not so different from the cars of 30 years ago, and seemed not to belong in the same world as the tattooed kid punching code into his laptop nearby.”
“‘The future is already here. It’s just not evenly distributed yet’ — this quote is often attributed to Gibson, though no one seems to be able to pin down when or if he actually said it.
And I agree with this. Computers and communications have gone from the realm of simplicitly to near magic in a couple decades, while things like cars and airplanes, and the ways we produce water and energy, haven’t changed much in the last hundred years. Is this because innovation in these areas is more difficult, because of a lack of imagination among people in these fields (or lack of imaginative people working in these fields)? If it is the latter, what structural and institutional problems have kept us stuck technologically in some areas while we have made exponential progress in others? These are questions I’d like to continue exploring in future posts.
(Source: The New York Times)