Sunday, September 12, 2004

Interesting Reading.

If you are looking for something interesting to read, or just have nothing to do for a while. Then have a look at this. It's a number of Science Fiction Authors commenting on what they see as future social trends.

They all have there bias and you'll be able to spot some of them fairly quickly, but over all it's and interesting look at what people who earn a living thinking about the future and writing about it see.

Well worth reading!

Some comments are especially interesting and seem rather important.

Ken Wharton's answer regarding our biggest mistakes: “The worldwide population explosion. Being in the middle of it for so long, it's hard to remember that exponential growth can never sustain itself forever. 50-100 years from now population will have mostly stabilized at something, and that number will be the primary determinant on what sort of long-term future is in store for humanity. In hindsight, will there have been a way to stabilize at a lower number? Probably... and someday we might be viewed as criminal for not doing just that.”

Which is an interesting point, with advances in Medicine and Agriculture over the last 200 or so years the world population moved from being fairly stable (100,000,000 or so) with a slight linear growth rate to our current 6,000,000,000+ people.
The problem with this is though that all environments have a max population they can support and when that limit is reached you have to either stablise the pop by getting the birth and death rates to equalize, decrease the population or move else where.
I'm not sure that we are capable of the 1st and 3rd options at least at the moment. Which leaves us with decreasing the population :(.

Another interesting point is this one:

Norman Spinrad: “I'd say the Jihad; there is one, you know. There isn't any ‘war on terrorism’; terrorism is a tactic; the war is Islamic fundamentalism versus ‘the Crusaders,’ aka ‘the Great Satan,’ aka the United States, aka the ‘West,’ aka the 21st Century. The Jihad has been openly and loudly declared by the jihadis, and as far as Islam is concerned, Bush has openly declared the other side in Iraq. This will affect everything. It already has. It's a holy war that's been going on for 1400 years or so, and this is only the latest and most dangerous phase. Osama bin Laden, after 9/11, said that he would destroy civil liberties in the West, and in the US he's already succeeded. What he didn't understand was that he was feeding energy into the fundamentalist Christian right, Bush's allies, and in effect creating the Great Crusader Satan of his paranoid fantasies that hadn't existed before, or at least not on a mass level. Years ago, and I paraphrase loosely, William Burroughs said that if you want to start a murderous brawl, record the Black Panthers speaking, play it for the Ku Klux Klan, play their reaction back to the Panthers, etc.... Voila, Jihad! Destroying civil liberties, indeed civil society itself, on both sides. Wherever you go, there we are.”

I'm not sure I agree with him exactly but it's not to hard to see where he's coming from and the various routes that could lead to.

Another interesting bit:

A consensus emerges that war is staying but changing shape. Bruce Sterling: “Well, if you gather in armies and raise a flag, the USA will blow you to shreds, so the trend is to strap a bomb around your waist or pile artillery shells into a car and then blow yourself up. The idea that a 'war on terror' is going to resolve this kind of terror by using lots of warfare is just absurd.”

Which seems a reasonably good summary of the current trends unfortunatly.

Any way have a look at it and I'd be interested in your points of view on the various things mentioned and if you agree or disagree with some of the stuff.

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