Bruce Sterling's annual State of the World address

Bruce Sterling's annual "State of the World" interview on the WELL with Jon Lebkowsky is underway and roaring along, as Chairman Bruce sets out the stuff he's watching and thinking about. These are always a great way to end the year and start a new one, and this one is no exception.

#1. The 3d printer guys. Just so interesting! Gotta love them! There's a classic little tech-development boom happening in this space. It's very old-school desktop 1980s.

I rather expect to get one of these devices some day soon. Here in Belgrade, I just wrapped up and shelved a perfectly functional desktop computer -- just because it was old, and I don't need it. With desktop computers so clunky and obsolete, I've got room for a 3d printer now. "I got rid of a computer for Xmas" is the new "I got a computer for Xmas." "I got a 3dprinter" is the new hipster desk-ornamenting knick-knack.

Of course it's not that you own a printer, it's what you print with it. That's why I watch open databases like "Thingiverse" with more interest than the printing devices themselves.

#2. Koreans. 2012 was all about K-pop and Samsung. Who can't admire these two mushrooming efflorescences of Korean soft power and Korean hard manufacturing? They're the New 1980s Japan.

#3. Indians. Bollywood has long been a hobbyhorse of mine, but 2012 was the first year in which I formally interviewed a Bollywood star -- for a pricey Swiss magazine, no less. In 2012, Indian cinema was making unprecedented amounts of money. There's been an unheard-of stream of Indian box-office smashes, and there are plenty more in the hopper. The various Bollywoodians I'm following definitely feel the wind at their backs. Some of the younger artistes are getting all voice-of-a-generation about themselves.

They're not just selling the usual masala movie rubbish, either. A player like Aamir Khan here seems to be methodically working his way into Ronald Reagan territory. Aamir Khan's all backlit-patriot after playing heroes in his movies. Look at the extensive phone and digital tie-ins here. Pretty snazzy.

Topic 459: State of the World 2013: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky Subscribe to an RSS 2.0 feed of new responses in this topic (via Beyond the Beyond)


  1. I didn’t know this was an annual thing! Damn, now I’m going to have to search the archives and see how well his predictions held up.

  2. I previously only had peripheral knowledge of Sheldon Adelson – mainly as a punching bag during (and especially after) the presidential election. I always did kind of wonder where his fortune came from.

    Through this article, I now read his wikipedia page. Well, actually just the quick facts sheet, as that told me everything there was to know about what moral values he bases his decisions on:

    > Known for:
    Casino and hotel magnate

    Just to think that the state might now want more of his hard earned cash! If they gave him tax breaks, he could invest them in even more successful businesses! That are designed primarily and only to extract money from the gullible.

    If your fortune is built on tricking people into behaving like idiots, I guess it’s a logical conclusion that you feel as though you have the power to buy elections.

    Actually, the more I think about it, both things – his business success and outlandish appearance on the political stage – appear to be the same thing, really.

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