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

Larry Niven, the award-winning author of Ringworld, The Mote In God's Eye, and many other hard science fiction novels, is our featured guest.

He reveals that Robert A. Heinlein was the secret proofreader for his and Jerry Pournelle's novel The Mote In God's Eye. He describes Jerry Pournelle's personal edit war in Wikipedia, how they and other science fiction writers are helping the Department of Homeland Security, and his own work on Land of the Lost, The Outer Limits, and Star Trek the Animated Series.

He also discusses illegal organ banks, room temperature superconductors, and agrees that there is a possibility that your host's personal theory may be correct concerning high-temperature lifeforms having evolved in the ocean of liquid iron surrounding the earth's core.

Other topics include: nanotech molecule chain, how to move the earth, the Neanderthal Genome Project, human rights for AIs, the Wikipedia page concerning Jesus, exoplanets, the singularity, and the persistent rumors about a movie version of Ringworld.

Hosted by Stephen Euin Cobb, this is the September 24, 2008 episode of The Future And You. [Running time: 74 minutes]

Larry Niven's writing is primarily hard science fiction of an adventurous style which often involves large science concepts and theoretical physics. His fantasy includes The Magic Goes Away series which treats magic as a non-renewable resource. He has also written humorous stories; such as those collected in The Flight of the Horse. He has won the Hugo, Locus, Ditmar, and Nebula awards.

Direct download: TFAY_2008_9_24.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

Doctor Adrian Bowyer (inventor of the RepRap machine) is our featured guest.

The RepRap machine is the first machine in all of human history that can make most of its own parts. Not all of them (at least not yet) but most. This means that with a good bit of human assistance and intervention it can do two things that for six hundred million years only biologically living things could do: Reproduce and Evolve.

What's more, the material the machine needs to make more of itself can be grown in your garden. And Doctor Bowyer (who is an engineer and mathematician at the University of Bath in England) has made the design of the machine freely available to anyone who would like to build one by declaring it Open Source.

All this would be meaningless of course if the machine could only make more copies of itself but it has already made shoes, coat hooks, door handles, gears, plastic jewelry, cups, flasks, and a shot glass for toasting its own creation.

A few months ago on May 29, 2008 its first offspring, its first 'child machine,' was assembled and was immediately used to make one of the components needed to make a grandchild machine. Which means that its reproduction and evolution has already begun.

Hosted by Stephen Euin Cobb, this is the September 17, 2008 episode of The Future And You. [Running time: 83 minutes]

Where this will all lead is still uncertain. If the good doctor has his way, in a few years millions of them will exist in homes all around the world, happily churning out useful and decorative household items at ridiculously low cost.

From New York City to Bangladesh, no place would be left out. If enthusiasm remains strong, they might quickly spread everywhere. Because if your friend or neighbor or relative has one and you don't, you can ask them to have theirs make one for you too.

Direct download: TFAY_2008_9_17.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

Nick Bostrom (author, lecturer, philosopher at Oxford University, co-founder of the World Transhumanist Association and of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies) is today's featured guest.

Topics include: artificial intelligence, the future of civilization, transhumanism, the singularity, mind uploading, human extinction risks including the Toba super volcano, his simulation argument, and much more.

Hosted by Stephen Euin Cobb, this is the September 10, 2008 episode of The Future And You. [Running time: 74 minutes]

Doctor Nick Bostrom is a philosopher at Oxford University, and is the Director of the Oxford Future of Humanity Institute. In 1998, he co-founded (with David Pearce) the World Transhumanist Association, and in 2004, he co-founded (with James Hughes) the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET).

In addition to his writing for academic and popular press, Nick Bostrom makes frequent media appearances in which he talks about transhumanism-related topics such as artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, cloning, mind uploading, cryonics, and the simulation argument.

He has a background in cosmology, computational neuroscience, mathematical logic, philosophy, and artificial intelligence, and is the author of the book Anthropic Bias: Observation Selection Effects in Science and Philosophy.

His research interests include the philosophy of science, probability theory, and the ethical and strategic implications of anticipated technologies. He has been a consultant for the Central Intelligence Agency in the U.S., and for the European Commission and the European Group on Ethics in Brussels.

Direct download: TFAY_2008_9_10.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

Neal Barrett Jr., the award-winning author of over fifty novels of science fiction, fantasy, mystery/suspense, and historical novels, as well as 'off-the-wall' mainstream fiction, is today's featured guest. 

In today's interview Neal Barrett Jr. provides us with his assessment of the future. 'I have seen entirely too much of what's going on; of the good and the bad and the indifferent.' he said. He also said, 'Every emperor and king and president and governor and mayor promises you what they are going to do. And how many of those things are still undone? The Pharaoh of 3000 BC hasn't kept his promises yet; so we're pretty far behind.'

Hosted by Stephen Euin Cobb, this is the September 3, 2008 episode of The Future And You. [Running time: 41 minutes]

Neal Barrett Jr.'s novel Through Darkest America, was reviewed with the phrase, 'A book of astonishing power.' The Washington Post gave his novel The Hereafter Gang an even more enviable review which ended with the sentence, 'It is one of the great American novels.' 

He did the novelization of the motion picture Dungeons & Dragons, and his novel Pink Vodka Blues was optioned and purchased by Paramount Pictures. He followed that with Dead Dog Blues, Skinny Annie Blues and Bad Eye Blues.

Reviewers have defined Neal Barrett Jr.'s work as 'Stories that defy any category or convention.' He is the author of Perpetuity Blues, Interstate Dreams, and Ginny Sweethips' Flying Circus.

He was Guest of Honor and Toastmaster at the 55th World Science Fiction Convention in 1997, and this interview was recorded the day before his 77th birthday while he and this show's host were both at the 2006 World Fantasy Convention in Austin Texas.

Direct download: TFAY_2008_9_3.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:01am EDT