Stross Talk on Futurism

Despite his begging of the title of futurist, Charles Stross has the transcript of a speech online that covers futurism in a pretty compelling way. While he even spends the first part of the talk framing why prediction is so difficult, using some excellent, evocative examples of rates of change over time, he then proceeds to share what are obviously some of his cherished ideas based on foreseeable near term developments. His life log is remarkably similar to Rucker’s life box, though more passive.

What I really enjoyed about the speculation he does share are his thoughts on the psychological and sociological impacts. Many science fiction authors and futurists exhibit an unrepentant life affair with ideas for ideas sake. Stross writing in general and this speech specifically put these ideas in context and also extrapolate what a society might be like in their presence. I think it is a nice touch that he also has clearly spent some cycles figuring out the storage requirements and other logistics.

Not surprisingly, he also spends some time discussing the Singularity as he is commonly known as one of its popularizing. His current views seem a bit more tempered, perhaps they were all along as his remarks about it making for interesting stories hints.

Reading through the conclusion, I wonder if Charles has read Viktor Mayer-Schönberger’s paper, yet. This may suggest a way of balancing the same pressure he seems to identify that these unrelenting masses of information may exert.

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