The Future And You
Ideas and opinion about the future based on verifiable facts of today.

Authors Mike Resnick, Kim Stanley Robinson, Elizabeth Bear, Dave Freer, Paul Levinson and Stoney Compton are joined by Randal L. Schwartz (programming consultant and activist) and Walt (the Bananaslug) Boyes of Jim Baen's Universe magazine. Hosted by Stephen Euin Cobb, this is the May 1, 2007 episode of The Future And You. [Running time: 142 minutes] ---

Topics include:

[1] News: (a) the recent discovery of the first earthlike planet other than our own, (b) your host's surgery, (c) your host will appear at ConCarolinas in Charlotte NC, USA (June 1-3, 2007), (d) listener feedback on superconductivity, sexual equality, the singularity and transhumanism.

[2] Many online magazines now pay professional rates--sometimes much better than print magazines--does this mean the great electronic experiment was a success? Or just that the print magazines are dieing? Mike Resnick (editor of the highest paying online magazine) discusses this and provides another eyewitness report on how bad things really are across Africa. He also answers your host's question about Funny Novels: is there more money but less respect?

[3] Walt (the Bananaslug) Boyes and Stoney Compton take us inside Jim Baen's Universe magazine.

[4] Must a generation die off for a culture to change its most deeply held beliefs? Or is our current population somehow learning to become comfortable with nontraditional ideas, behaviors, clothing and lifestyles? Elizabeth Bear speaks of this and the universal notion of Us verses Them.

[5] Have we been relying on non-lethal weapons for centuries without even realizing it? Kim Stanley Robinson insists that we have, and also argues that implanting a computer inside your skull is not trivial. It carries risks of damage and infection, and might best be reserved for solving life-altering problems like blindness or deafness.

[6] Another installment in our serialization of the novel Bones Burnt Black.

[7] Despite the numerous benefits, the renowned programmer Randal L. Schwartz insists he will be highly reluctant to accept a computer hardwired into his brain; and will refuse it entirely if its operating system is made by Microsoft since that would make his mind too easily hacked and too prone to spontaneously crashing.

[8] Cell phones have changed our culture and altered the way we live, but their changes are not yet complete. Paul Levinson ponders what is yet to come.

[9] Large scale engineering projects have been less visible recently thanks to all the buzz about nanotechnology. But the future is not given only to the very small. Those who design big are still thinking big, and the biggest place to build big is in the biggest place of all: space. Dave Freer presents his vision of how humanity will spread beyond the earth and fulfill its destiny among the stars.

Direct download: TFAY_2007_5_1.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:01am EST

Authors John Barnes, Kim Stanley Robinson, Elizabeth Bear, L.E. Modesitt, Jr. and Stoney Compton are joined by Ginjer Buchanan (of ACE and ROC Books), Walt Boyes (JBU's own Bananaslug) and Ricki Dean (Manager of a High School cafeteria). Hosted by Stephen Euin Cobb, this is the March 1, 2007 episode of The Future And You. [Running time: 155 minutes] ---

Topics include:

[1] News items: (a) your host will appear at RavenCon in Richmond VA, USA next month (b), a new version of Death Stacks may be played online and requires no download, (c) there's no such thing as a Chinese Journalist, and (d) a 15 percent probability Al Gore will be the next US president.

[2] Generation Y is the most connected generation ever, but are its members obsessed with being in complete consensus on everything and horrified of being in open disagreement? And if so, how will this alter America ten years from now when Generation Y will comprise 40 percent of all American consumers? John Barnes, a consulting semiotician, has studied this subject in detail.

[3] Bananaslug and Stoney present a reading by Louise Marley of the opening scenes of her short story The Spiral Road which is in the February 2007 issue of Jim Baen's Universe magazine.

[4] What if everyone hypertexted within all conversations? What if you never had to define your terms because those not familiar with them could look them up faster than you could have provided the explanation. Elizabeth Bear has many ideas about this, AI, cell phones and the Singularity.

[5] What if Russia still owned Alaska? What if Lenin and Trotsky had remained nobodies and the Czar and Czarina still ruled? Seeing how history pivots on the mundane can provide insights into the changes we will all face in the future. Stoney Compton, a life-long student of history, talks of this and shares anecdotes about Alaska and its native Athabaskan Indians.

[6] Imagine you're in line in a cafeteria but federal regulations will not allow you to buy any kind of soft drink or fried foods. Now imagine ten thousand similarly restrictive cafeterias all across America. These are the cafeterias in public schools. To learn the trends our future wage earners are experiencing now, I spoke with Ricki Dean, Manager of a High School cafeteria.

[7] Many authors' careers ended when Horror book sales collapsed in the 1980's. Might this happen to another genre? Ginjer Buchanan (Senior Executive Editor and Marketing Director of Ace and ROC books) talks of this and the rising popularity of audio books. A trend the big houses are making a serious effort not to be left out of.

[8] Another installment in our serialization of the novel: Bones Burnt Black.

[9] What would you do differently today if you knew your generation would live 300 years? Kim Stanley Robinson tackles this question and its social ramifications since he sees it as a genuine possibility based on what he has been hearing from his friends with the field of biotechnology. He also covers cryonics, SETI and our next earth.

[10] Our stores are filled with every variety of goods, but does this variety give us only the illusion of choice? L.E. Modesitt, Jr. suggests that it does, and talks of his concern that we will be forced to rely on fossil fuels much farther into the future than anyone would like to admit.

Direct download: TFAY_2007_3_1.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:01am EST

Authors Elizabeth Bear, Walter Jon Williams and L.E. Modesitt Jr. are joined by Toni Weisskopf (the head of Baen Books), Ginjer Buchanan (from ACE and ROC books), Scott Dean (mayor of Harlem GA) and Bananaslug and Stoney (from Jim Baen's Universe magazine). Hosted by Stephen Euin Cobb, this is the February 1, 2007 episode of The Future And You. [Running time: 126 minutes] ---

Topics include:

[1] News Items: (a) Trends in wine. (b) A low-tech nanotech breakthrough. (c) An AI programmer releases a free, open-source version of Death Stacks (a game invented by your host, Stephen Euin Cobb). (d) Your host's 2007 appearance schedule. (e) Your host has shaved his head.

[2] Would you trust Microsoft to provide the operating system for your eventually augmented brain? Can atheists be both devout and non-militant? Elizabeth Bear hits these topics as well as non-lethal military weapons and her ongoing involvement with SETI-@-home.

[3] Bananaslug and Stoney provide a peak into the new issue of Jim Baen's Universe magazine and even get Elizabeth Bear to read a sample of her work.

[4] Will some of the big publishing houses get hurt during the transition to eBooks? Will some fold entirely? Toni Weisskopf (the head of Baen Books) describes how the big houses are bracing themselves.

[5] Venice Italy is still sinking. Rich in history, the thousand year old city is threatened by every tide and storm surge, and may next have to deal with the effects of global warming. Scott Dean (the mayor of Harlem GA) just returned from nine days of walking through this city with an uncertain future.

[6] Which science fiction authors most accurately depict the future? Ginjer Buchanan (Senior Executive Editor of Ace and ROC Books) names four heavyweights and backs her picks with their novels and credentials.

[7] Another installment in our serialization of the novel: Bones Burnt Black.

[8] Is the media worsening all social and political conflicts by presenting them to us as though they are between polar opposites? Has the media learned that disagreements which are subtle or nuanced or (God forbid) respectful will not sell papers or draw a TV audience? L.E. Modesitt Jr. describes this and how cell phones may be slowing maturity in young adults by preventing them from ever being on their own when facing life's problems.

[9] What does Walter Jon Williams mean when he says that, The war against utopia has been won? And is he right in believing that biotechnology is likely to produce immortality within forty years? He also describes how consumer databases have already been used not only to market products to people but also to market political ideologies during campaigns.

Direct download: TFAY_2007_2_1.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:01am EST