Our sci-fi future: stuff we’re geeked about + book list

Photo by Chrys Wu

Photo by Chrys Wu

Today at the MIT/Knight Civic Media Conference, I led an unconference session called “Our sci-fi future, news in 20 years”. Chrys Wu was kind enough to transcribe the concepts we discussed and help me annotate the list with related works of science fiction. Here’s what we wrote down:

Influencing factors are in italics, related books and films are in bold:

All your data in the cloud


Instantaneous backstory (I want the machine to know what I know and only give me what’s news to me)
Diamond Age

Worldview mapping

Conversion tracking (like in advertising) for information, track the impact of the reporting

Virtual connections w/ physical stimuli

Implants for sensory input
Altered Carbon

Heads up displays
Mona Lisa Overdrive

Real-time maps of information spread

Millions of little flying cameras, ubiquitous surveillance
Counting Heads

Infinite bandwidth, infinite processing

Machine translation/transcription (babelfish)
Hitchhikers Guide

Computer Q&A

More ambient experiences (like the radio, not the radio)

Individually relevant metrics (Mint, Bedpost)

Gargoyles (permanently plugged in)
Snow Crash

The singularity (when human and machine become indistinguishable)
The Way of All Flesh
House of Suns

Info valet / personal information assistant
Counting Heads

The map of information consumption

Augmented Reality
Rainbows End

Pervasive advertising
Jennifer Government

Attention markets (trade your attention, certain people’s time worth more than others)
Crystal Express
Little Brother

Embodied news narratives

Authentication/authority systems
A Fire Upon the Deep

Other reads, unassociated with a particular topic listed above:
Maul, Tricia Sullivan
Summer Wars
Ghost in the Shell
Iron Sunrise
Marq’ssnan Cycle
The Information

Photo by Waldo Jaquith

Photo by Waldo Jaquith

1 thought on “Our sci-fi future: stuff we’re geeked about + book list

  1. Both “A Fire Upon the Deep” and “A Deepness in the Sky” (more prominently in the latter) highlight the notion of code archeology/anthropology. The idea that we’re generating massive volumes of data and that we need to be able to excavate gear from the past to use is an important one.

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