Ask A Genius 404 – No Credit Where Non-Credit Isn’t Due

In-Sight Publishing

Ask A Genius 404 – No Credit Where Non-Credit Isn’t Due

October 6, 2018

[Beginning of recorded material]

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: 

Rick Rosner: I think we’ve talked about this before. But that may be giving books too much credit. I am sure there are books that get it way wrong too. There are thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, of science fiction books.

But only dozens or hundreds of science fiction movies or TV shows. So, they stand out more. You can swim through the sea of crap and find the people who do a good job. The guy who wrote The Windup Girl. Charles Stross, Neil Stevenson, David Marusek when they write about the future.

I should find some female writers about the future. We can talk about the ways in which the future goes wrong on TV and in movies. Thing one that makes me crazy is unaugmented humans being the primary form of conscious life more than 100 years from now.

The major offender is Star Trek. You have regular people with regular bodies zipping among the stars centuries from now. Mostly, it is regular people walking around on starships.

One problem is the ships are going faster than light. It is one of the only ways to make stellar exploration narratively doable. It is not the only way but the main and easiest way.

The Aliens series, they will try to reboot it again in the next 5 years. That series has ships that can’t go faster than the speed of light. It actually has people in cold storage. It is narratively tougher.

But it seems somewhat more accurate. Although, a much more accurate version would have the exploration of space is largely automated, at least in the early periods. It depends on what you call automated.

But it is fantastically wasteful of people and resources to try to send other humans to stars. You can’t go faster than the speed of light. You are sending hunks of flesh that are at least 50 kilos, plus food and water.

It is a huge expense in terms of getting it off of Earth and into space. There is a model. Is it von Neumann? There has been a model popular for decades with galactic-explorers that go out into space.

Jacobsen: Do you mean the von Neumann probes?

Rosner: They have instructions to replicate themselves and proliferate as they go out. There are problems with that method too. It announces you to the rest of the galaxy. Also, it is unsophisticated, as you have probes that double and then double again.

At least, it does so without sending people out as well. Even Hawking made this mistake, the only way to save humanity is for humans to get off the planet and colonize other planets.  Actually, Hawking doesn’t make this mistake.

He says that if we want to guarantee humanity’s survival then we should have colonies elsewhere. Other people make the mistake of thinking to reduce population pressures; we should colonize Mars.

It is super expensive. It takes a long time. It doesn’t do anything to put even a tiny dent in burgeoning populations on Earth. If you’re looking at 200-300 years from now, anything that has mostly humans and a few scattered virtual beings or AI.

I had an idea or have all sorts of ideas. Fictions projects that I do not turn into anything because I am scattered and lazy. I think it would fun and interesting to present an empty world of the future 250-300 years from now.

By empty, I mean the world population of regular humans or largely only somewhat augmented humans. The population going from a peak of 12-14 billion 80-100 years now declining to less than half that.

Another 200 years later but with hundreds of billions of virtual conscious beings. Conscious beings of human-level information processing abilities and levels of consciousness existing virtually along with all sorts of other forms of AI.

Big swarms of these mostly existing in ways that don’t necessarily overpopulate the Earth. There are fewer people on Earth than there are 300 years from now.

But there are 100 or 1,000 times as many conscious beings as there are now, but existing within information processing infrastructures and with much of the Earth being Disneyfied having been taken over fairly extensively by nature management technology turning much of the Earth into a giant park.

An apparently wild, undisturbed natural realm but one that is being extensively monitored to make sure we don’t fuck it up again. With much of the Earth have a subtle level of tech, tech that tries to be unobstrusive. While, at the same time, you’ve got tech having fantastically penetrated the Earth but in a way that leaves Earth’s surface or alrge parts of the Earth’s surface apparently pristine.

That’s just an opening thought. I would have to work out the whole thing.

[End of recorded material]


Rick Rosner

American Television Writer


Rick Rosner

Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing


In-Sight Publishing


[1] Four format points for the session article:

  1. Bold text following “Scott Douglas Jacobsen:” or “Jacobsen:” is Scott Douglas Jacobsen & non-bold text following “Rick Rosner:” or “Rosner:” is Rick Rosner.
  2. Session article conducted, transcribed, edited, formatted, and published by Scott.
  3. Footnotes & in-text citations in the interview & references after the interview.
  4. This session article has been edited for clarity and readability.

For further information on the formatting guidelines incorporated into this document, please see the following documents:

  1. American Psychological Association. (2010). Citation Guide: APA. Retrieved from
  2. Humble, A. (n.d.). Guide to Transcribing. Retrieved from

License and Copyright

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at and


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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