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Thursday, February 22, 2024

Isaac Asimov Predicts the Future in 1982: Computer systems Will Be “on the Heart of Every little thing;” Robots Will Take Human Jobs


4 many years in the past, our civ­i­liza­tion appeared to face on the point of an incredible trans­for­ma­tion. The Chilly Battle had stoked round 35 years of every-inten­si­fy­ing devel­op­ments, includ­ing however not lim­it­ed to the Area Race. The per­son­al com­put­er had been on the mar­ket simply lengthy sufficient for many Amer­i­cans to, if not actu­al­ly personal one, then not less than to received­der if they could quickly discover them­selves in want of 1. On New 12 months’s Eve of 1982, The Mac­Neil-Lehrer Information Hour provided its view­ers a glimpse of the form of issues to return by invit­ing a trio of for­ward-look­ing friendsWas­n’t the Future Gained­der­ful writer Tim Onosko; Omni magazine­a­zine edi­tor Dick Tere­si; and, most dis­tin­guished of all, Isaac Asi­mov.

Because the “writer of greater than 250 books, gentle and heavy, fic­tion and non-fic­tion, a number of the most notable being in regards to the future,” Asi­mov had lengthy been a go-to inter­vie­wee for media out­allows want of long-range pre­dic­tions about tech­nol­o­gy, soci­ety, and the dynam­ic rela­tion­ship between the 2. (Right here on Open Cul­ture, we’ve pre­vi­ous­ly fea­tured his spec­u­la­tions from 1983, 1980, 1978, 1967, and 1964.) Robert Mac­Neil opens with a nat­ur­al sub­ject for any sci­ence-fic­tion author: mankind’s for­ays into out­er house, and whether or not Asi­mov sees “any­factor left on the market.” Asi­mov’s response: “Oh, each­factor.”

Within the ear­ly eight­ies, the person who wrote the Foun­da­tion sequence noticed human­i­ty as “nonetheless within the Christo­pher Colum­bus stage so far as house is con­cerned,” fore­see­ing not simply house sta­tions however “photo voltaic pow­er sta­tions,” “lab­o­ra­to­ries and fac­to­ries that may do issues in house which might be dif­fi­cult or impos­si­ble to do on Earth,” and even “house set­tle­ments wherein thou­sands of peo­ple could be housed kind of per­ma­nent­ly.” Within the full­ness of time, the purpose could be to “construct a larg­er and extra elab­o­charge civ­i­liza­tion and one which doesn’t rely upon the sources of 1 world.”

As for “the com­put­er age,” asks Jim Lehrer; “have we crest­ed on that one as effectively”? Asi­mov knew full effectively that the com­put­er could be “on the cen­ter of each­factor.” Simply as had hap­pened with tele­vi­sion over the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion, “com­put­ers are going to be nec­es­sary in the home to do an incredible many issues, some in the way in which of enter­tain­ment, some in the way in which of mak­ing life a lit­tle eas­i­er, and each­one will need it.” There have been many, even then, who might really feel actual excite­ment on the prospect of such a future. However what of robots, which, as even Asi­mov knew, would come to “exchange human beings?”

“It’s not that they kill them, however they kill their jobs,” he explains, and those that lose the outdated jobs is probably not geared up to tackle any of the brand new ones. “We’re going to have to simply accept an impor­tant function — soci­ety as an entire — in mak­ing positive that the tran­si­tion peri­od from the pre-robot­ic tech­nol­o­gy to the post-robot­ic tech­nol­o­gy is as ache­much less as pos­si­ble. We’ve to ensure that peo­ple aren’t deal with­ed as if they’re used up dishrags, that they should be allowed to reside and retain their self-respect.” Right this moment, the tech­nol­o­gy of the second is arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence, which the information media haven’t hes­i­tat­ed to pay near-obses­sive atten­tion to. (I’m trav­el­ing in Japan for the time being, and noticed simply such a broad­forged on my resort TV this morn­ing.) Would that they nonetheless had an Asi­mov to dis­cuss it with a lev­el-head­ed, far-sight­ed per­spec­tive.

Relat­ed con­tent:

Isaac Asi­mov Pre­dicts in 1983 What the World Will Look Like in 2019: Com­put­er­i­za­tion, Glob­al Co-oper­a­tion, Leisure Time & Moon Min­ing

Isaac Asi­mov Pre­dicts the Future on The David Let­ter­man Present (1980)

Isaac Asi­mov Pre­dicts the Way forward for Civ­i­liza­tion — and Rec­om­mends Methods to Guarantee That It Sur­vives (1978)

Buck­min­ster Fuller, Isaac Asi­mov & Oth­er Futur­ists Make Pre­dic­tions Concerning the Twenty first Cen­tu­ry in 1967: What They Bought Proper & Unsuitable

In 1964, Isaac Asi­mov Pre­dicts What the World Will Look Like Right this moment: Self-Dri­ving Vehicles, Video Calls, Faux Meats & Extra

9 Sci­ence-Fic­tion Authors Pre­dict the Future: How Jules Verne, Isaac Asi­mov, William Gib­son, Philip Ok. Dick & Extra Imag­ined the World Forward

Based mostly in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His tasks embrace the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the e-book The State­much less Metropolis: a Stroll by means of Twenty first-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video sequence The Metropolis in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­e-book.



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