In 1983, The Toronto Star invited Isaac Asimov to predict what the world of 2019 would look like. He was astute in his understanding of likely technical developments, but wrong about other things. Which things make for interest....
Asimov was more or less correct in many of his predictions on the future of computerization, even if some of his forecasts were a bit broad and obvious ... but assumes that kids wouldn't spend all that time using technology to, say, play Fortnite.
Asimov's article was obviously a tossed-off guest editorial, but it's interesting how blind it was technology's deeper social implications. For example, he presents machine labor as a straightforward liberation for workers who no longer have to work repetitive jobs. And he had no grasp on how technological changes would dissolve social norms, such as, say, the veils of influence and favor that hide sexual misconduct within literary subcultures.
Wired's Rose Eveleth asks Can Sci-Fi Writers Prepare Us for an Uncertain Future? Eveleth looks at the rise of science fiction writers being asked to consult with companies about their future plans (I've done some of this), a phenomenon supercharged by a Price Waterhouse Cooper report on the practice. Eveleth delves into the difference between […]
[Editor's note: I'm on the advisory board for Free Machine, a nonprofit that describes itself as an "LA-based collective of UX designers, artists, urban planners, and policy wonks. By using the tools of culture to shift the conversation around tech and society, we aim to shape a hi-tech future that is equitable, sustainable, and abundant." […]
In 2009, Microsoft produced a video imagining the world of 2019. They did well with the software aspects of touchscreen interfaces and machine vision, but overshot the runway on bezel-less devices and the general ubiquity of touchscreens themselves. There’s a touchscreen coffee mug! All the depicted applications (such as flexible high-FPS color e-ink) are shown […]
Want to keep the dentist away? A little tooth care at morning and night isn’t bad, but it won’t keep the stains from smoking or fried foods at bay for long. If you enjoy your food and want to avoid the consequences, an upgrade from that old analog toothbrush can make a huge difference. Among […]
If your office works at all, it uses Microsoft Office. Those icons for Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook are as familiar around some workplaces as the coffee machine. So familiar, in fact, that they get taken for granted – and rarely used to their full potential. Whether you need a crash course in the essential tools […]
It’s a great time to be a maker. 3D printers are on store shelves for anyone to buy, and coder kits like Arduino and Raspberry Pi are letting kids as young as 9 or 10 dive into the Internet of Things. Here are a few examples of our favorite tech toys, all priced low enough […]