Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Asimov in Popular Culture: Isaac Asimov and Human Desitny by David Brin

This op ed piece appeared on Jan 7, 2011, at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies website.

I share only the first few paragraphs, check out the link for the entire article:

Isaac Asimov and Human Destiny
Ever notice how many futuristic authors toy, now and then, with the concept of a global overmind?

Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov both did. And my reply to them, a more subtle and diversity-based version, appeared in my novel, Earth.

Now, have a look at the Living Earth Simulator, or the LES project, which aims to simulate everything taking place on planet Earth, both environmental factors and human influences — integrating real-time data feeds to model global environment, pollution, population, as well as financial and political shifts and the spread of infectious diseases.

And who dealt with the scale of human destiny better than the great Isaac Asimov, in his Foundation series? Elsewhere I’ve said about him: “Asimov served wondrous meals-of-the-mind to a civilization that was starved for clear thinking about the future. To this day, his visions spice our ongoing dinner table conversation about human destiny.”

My own novel Foundation’s Triumph tied up nearly all of Isaac’s loose ends — with the enthusiastic approval of Isaac’s heirs. (Read a sample.) In the afterword, I describe how Isaac would always see the flaw in his most recent Foundation “solution” and inch along, decade by decade, to new solutions.

What were his stages?



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