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filthy light thief (3)

The raygun Gothic future which never came still exists for me

But in addition to our retreat into wishfulness, something else was brewing: a sense that the past was not only better than the present, but that the past’s predictions for the future were also better than what had actually become the present. No longer content to live in (or through) our memories of the past, we also yearned to live in the past’s vision of the future. We were nostalgic for yesterday’s prognostications: You could say that we succumbed to prognostalgia. Living with our backs to the future, on the cultural fixation with past dreams of the future, on the 50th anniversary of Isaac Asimov's write-up on the 1964 World's Fair, which is still being reviewing to track Asimov's hits and misses [via mefi projects] [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 16, 2014 - 15 comments

The Eternal Ingénue

SF/F legend Connie Willis pours a preview of a near-future version of the story of backstage back-stabbing, " All About Eve" with "All About Emily" for Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine.
posted by The Whelk on Apr 30, 2014 - 12 comments

Bi-Mon-Spec-Fi-Hi-Co'mn: Set Phasers to Learn!

Andrew Liptak has been writing a bi-monthly column on the history of Speculative Fiction for Kirkus Review since May 2012, in which he covers authors, artists, themes and times in history. From T.H. White's 'Once and Future King', to Isaac Asimov and the Three Laws of Robotics, from Changing the (Sci-Fi Publishing) Playing Field: H.L. Gold & 'Galaxy Science Fiction' to The Elusive Margaret St. Clair, and even A Brief History of the Dystopian Novel, Liptak illuminates dusty shelves of speculative fiction. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 31, 2014 - 11 comments

Economist warns of the coming robot apocalypse

The robots are here. George Mason University economist Tyler Cowen predicts that the trend towards automation will squeeze the middle class further still, and compares its effects on American politics to a too-overlooked 1955 short story by Isaac Asimov.
posted by Jacob Knitig on Nov 14, 2013 - 81 comments

Sturgeon! Dick! Asimov! Heinlein! DeCamp! Bradbury! Sheckley! Pohl!

The very first major science fiction series for adults on radio was Mutual Broadcasting System's 2000 Plus (1950-1952). An anthology program, 2000 Plus used all new material rather than adapting published stories. Just one month after its premiere, NBC Radio began airing Dimension X (1950-1951), which dramatized the written work of such young writers as Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Kurt Vonnegut. In 1955, NBC relaunched Dimension X as X Minus One (1955-1958), drawing from stories that had been published in the two most popular science fiction magazines at the time: Astounding and Galaxy. 17 of 30 episodes of 2000 Plus, all 50 episodes of Dimension X, and all 125 episodes of X Minus One are available for free download as individual mp3s from the Internet Archive. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 12, 2013 - 23 comments

My personal opinion is the best type of Science Fiction involves science

Isaac Asimov, Harlan Ellison & Gene Wolfe discussing Science Fiction in 1982 (slyt). And oh yeah, one of the moderators is Studs Terkel
posted by Perko on May 6, 2013 - 48 comments

Psycho History, it's what they wanna give me

Psychohistory, the imaginary scientific field created by Isaac Asimov in his "Foundation" series, may no longer be fiction:
Song Chaoming, for instance, is a researcher at Northeastern University in Boston. He is a physicist, but he moonlights as a social scientist. With that hat on he has devised an algorithm which can look at someone’s mobile-phone records and predict with an average of 93% accuracy where that person is at any moment of any day. Given most people’s regular habits (sleep, commute, work, commute, sleep), this might not seem too hard. What is impressive is that his accuracy was never lower than 80% for any of the 50,000 people he looked at.
Full article at The Economist.
posted by Strange Interlude on Feb 26, 2013 - 39 comments

The line between science fiction and true science is often thin

In 1990, Isaac Asimov was working on a TV series to bridge science fiction and science fact, "synthesizing his visionary ideas about where humanity is going." He passed away in 1992, and the series never progressed beyond the pilot, which was re-worked and released as the documentary Visions of the Future (YouTube playlist, via Brainpickings, which calls the video "essentially, the antithesis to the Future Shock [documentary] narrated by Orson Welles"). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 18, 2013 - 12 comments

Hari Krugman

"There are certain novels that can shape a teenage boy's life. For some, it's Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged; for others it's Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. As a widely quoted internet meme says, the unrealistic fantasy world portrayed in one of those books can warp a young man's character forever; the other book is about orcs. But for me, of course, it was neither. My Book – the one that has stayed with me for four-and-a-half decades – is Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy, written when Asimov was barely out of his teens himself. I didn't grow up wanting to be a square-jawed individualist or join a heroic quest; I grew up wanting to be Hari Seldon, using my understanding of the mathematics of human behaviour to save civilisation." [Paul Krugman: Asimov's Foundation novels grounded my economics]
posted by vidur on Dec 9, 2012 - 79 comments

Save the D'ast Lance for Me

"It’s a long, long time from now, and machines have developed into sentient beings. Starting with the high-tech space stuff, a whole new set of different mechanistic species have come into existence. The machines are not only sentient; they are alive in other ways as well. They even produce offspring and evolve.

At first, it was just the super high-tech orbiting stuff that achieved self-awareness, but soon more terrestrial devices gained intelligence. Unfortunately the machines loathed each other, and war broke out between orbiting and earthly devices. Humankind had already moved out into space, but at the discovery that our original home world was in a crisis situation, we returned.

By the time we reached Earth again, all the original machines had been destroyed. The descendants of those original devices were still battling, trying to obliterate each other, an ancient blood feud where one planetary region wasn’t big enough for the two mechanical clans.

The future humans had to make a decision that would end the war. But it was clear that humankind had been in space too long as there was no sympathy for the terrestrial machines. And that’s when we found ourselves backing the satellite kin." [more inside]
posted by 256 on Aug 6, 2012 - 62 comments

All four stanzas

Isaac Asimov has a weakness for the US national anthem.
posted by madcaptenor on Jul 3, 2012 - 85 comments

BBC adaptation of Isaac Asimov's Original Foundation Trilogy

In 1973, the BBC aired an adaptation of Isaac Asimov's original Foundation trilogy, in eight one-hour parts. It is freely downloadable (or streamable) here.
posted by SpacemanStix on Dec 11, 2011 - 24 comments

Double Slide Controller

This is exactly what I imagined a Visi-Sonor would sound like. [SLYT] [more inside]
posted by mhjb on Jul 26, 2010 - 11 comments

Robots With Knives

Robots With Knives: A Study of Soft-Tissue Injury in Robotics or Dynamic Unconstrained Collision Impacts. Luckily, we may be approaching Asimov's 1st law... or not.
posted by ennui.bz on Jun 2, 2010 - 37 comments

The Way The Future Blogs

For the last year or so, Frederik Pohl has been quietly blogging. [more inside]
posted by Pinback on Mar 13, 2010 - 24 comments

Dreaming is a private thing.

A team of researchers at the ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto have managed to reconstruct black-and-white visual images from an fMRI scan of a test subject's brain. Some more examples of the recovered data. The organization responsible claims that the technology to record thoughts and dreams is just around the corner. [more inside]
posted by teraflop on Dec 11, 2008 - 48 comments

A day to be thankful for resublimated thiotimoline.

Think you get a lot done? Isaac Asimov (pronounced like "has, him, of" without the h's) , who would have turned 87 today, wrote or edited over 500 books, including science-fiction novels, introductions to organic chemistry (a field in which he held a professorship at B.U.) , indispensable anthologies of early science fiction, jokebooks, guides to Shakespeare, and collections of lively essays on science that have introduced thousands of people to the pleasures of thinking hard about the universe. He also found the time to write a few essays and write postcards to his fans. His story "Runaround" , from his 1950 collection I, Robot, is the only piece of fiction I know centered on the properties of a differential equation. His Foundation Trilogy was given a special Hugo award in 1966 as the best science fiction series of all time; a movie version, to be written by Jeff Vintar and directed by Shekhar Kapur, is currently in development. Previous AsimovFilter: here, here, here. Feel like a slacker yet? Stop reading MetaFilter and get to work!
posted by escabeche on Jan 2, 2007 - 95 comments

Et tu, C3PO?

The news this morning included a small blurb about today being the anniversary of the first human killed by a robot. No doubt this is important to note due to the release of I, Robot but it appears to be incorrect. The first incident I can find was on January 25, 1979. Since then OSHA has recorded at least 10 more deaths in US factories alone. Japan saw it's first in 1981 and as a result it's Ministry of Labor requested a 20% budget increase for its robot related activities. All these incidents can be classified as accidents but it does force me to wonder how dangerous they will be when AI advances further. Should we mandate the Three Laws of Robotics?
posted by jwells on Jul 21, 2004 - 22 comments

Asimov geekiness

Delicate. Abstract. Phallic. Gorgeously designed. Four pages of "rare and valuable" Isaac Asimov book covers. Some are truly beautiful. From West Virginia University's brand-new home for an Asimov geek's recently donated collection. [via the ever-useful ResearchBuzz]
posted by mediareport on Jan 22, 2004 - 17 comments

I, Consumer

Three Laws Safe! They'll do your laundry, walk the dog and wash your car. But not until July. (via Ars Technica)
posted by bonehead on Jan 21, 2004 - 25 comments

AsimovLite

AsimovLite. Three cringe-worthy Isaac Asimov short stories. Also: Asimov's "Lecherous Limericks", quotables and links to related essays.
posted by nthdegx on Jan 10, 2004 - 5 comments

Isaac Asimov died of AIDS.

Isaac Asimov died of AIDS. His widow, Janet Jeppson Asimov, reveals that Asimov acquired AIDS from a blood transfusion during bypass surgery in 1983 in a condensed version of his biography just published this month ("It's Been a Good Life"). Apparently his doctor advised that they not disclose his AIDS infection.
posted by maudlin on Mar 10, 2002 - 39 comments

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