Ask A Genius 406 – Science Faction Halting
October 8, 2018
[Beginning of recorded material]
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What happens if the science fiction future does not become future science?
Rick Rosner: What you’re talking about harkens back to Feynman’s three scientific futures, one where science grinds to a halt because the things in the world that can be understood by science are limited.
There are things that science can’t understand because science can’t decipher it. Then there is science understands everything. There is a limited number of things to understand and science is able to understand all of it.
There thre is the future where science keeps plugging along because there is a limited number of things to understand and science keeps chugging along and making new discoveries using increasingly powerful techniques.
With regards to the actual future and the science fiction future, there are some things that are probably absolutely impossible like time travel and FTL travel. But those are simulatable via information processing.
About anything that can emerge in a science fiction way via increasingly powerful and sophisticated and power information processing will come to pass, all of this will have some suckiness due to us being able to imagine things being better than they are.
There will be increased expectations due to market forces, where there is not enough profit in making stuff perfect and completely non-sucky, and the compromises of time and money.
People, or what people turn into, will have to do what they have always done, which is build their best world based on what is available to them. Netflix presented to me in 1980. I remember how awesome it was when I first saw HBO, in 1980.
You could see a whole movie and not a shitty movie from 20 years ago. But a whole movie that had been in the theatres 18 months ago and boobs on TV. That was so fucking fantastic.
I quickly learned that it wasn’t that fantastic. But imagine giving Netflix to me in 1980. It would be awesome. You learn about Netflix. You learn that if you do some really hard binging for 2/3/4 months out of the year.
You exhaust the easily awesome stuff: the Bojack Horseman, the Black Mirror, and then you’re left to sift through the sleeper hits. The private life with some celebrity. It is the same deal.
What seems amazing only seems amazing for a second, then you’re left to make the best of it to make your own little oasis of goodness from the rinky-dink technology that you’re surrounded with.
We live in a paradise of food. Supermarkets, imagine taking someone 1883 and then dropping them into a Costco or a Ralph’s. But to a modern and informed consumer, you have to walk, take your time, really see if you need a 48-pack of Pop Tarts, or whether that 3-pound box of triangular ravioli is something you’ll be sick of after 1 pound of it.
Whether that package of a dozen chocolate, chocolate chip muffins are awesome or simply disgusting, people will still have to exercise judgment and make reasonable guesses about how to reduce their exposure to suckiness and assholes.
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American Television Writer
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing
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