David Brin is best-known for shining light — plausibly and entertainingly — on technology, society, and countless challenges confronting our rambunctious civilization. His best-selling novels include The Postman (filmed in 1997) plus explorations of our near-future in Earth and Existence. Other novels are translated into 25+ languages. His short stories explore vividly speculative ideas.
Brin's nonfiction book The Transparent Society won the American Library Association's Freedom of Speech Award for exploring 21st Century concerns about security, secrecy, accountability and privacy.
As a scientist, tech-consultant and world-known author, he speaks, advises, and writes widely on topics from national defense and homeland security to astronomy and space exploration, SETI and nanotechnology, future/prediction, creativity, and philanthropy. Urban Developer Magazine named him one of four World's Best Futurists, and he was cited as one of the top 10 writers the AI elite follow.
where Brin ponders, predicts & plans
ideas, plans and proposals for bold & thriving futures
The novel Earth is known for its many predictions that were realized. Did David Brin's Uplift novels — like Startide Rising and Existence motivate scientists to explore the possibility of scientific 'uplift'? Explore the many steps science is taking to realize this future.
There are good reasons for concern about what is going to happen, given that we are mired in blowback from failing to correctly anticipate our 21st Century crises — ranging from new ways warfare and terrorism are waged to the economic uncertainties of a cybertechnological world. Can we uncover who is anticipating new, un-dreamed of threats — and listen to them, instead? Brin worked to establish Predictions Registries, a method that might help us identify new oracles, to better "score" the credibility of those who want us to trust their vision of tomorrow. (Readers maintain a Predictions Registry page that tracks hits and misses for Earth.)
We allocate much of our economy to weather reports, stock analyses, sports handicapping, financial and strategic planning... but well-grounded science and science fiction may be the greatest tool for exploring tomorrow.
Throw in curiosity about science- and tech-driven change, an immersion in history/anthropology, plus an avid belief in the potential of human civilization... and more than 200 groups, companies, and agencies have invited me to speak or consult — plausibly and entertainingly — about trends in technology and society, including challenges we'll face in years ahead.
We are ready for the dawn of a new era, one of private space ventures. And, fortunately, the politicians seem perfectly ready to welcome non-state activity. We may, at last, be ready to embark on the equivalent of the the great age of "barnstorming" aircraft development, that our grandparents saw in the 1920s, when risk — and even some loss — was considered part and parcel of courage and exploration.
This article (by George Dvorsky) discusses the promising scientific innovation that "... scientists have successfully enhanced the intelligence of rhesus monkeys using a brain implant, albeit temporarily.... Ongoing advancements in pharmacology, genetics, and cybernetics hold huge promise for the further development of 'uplift' technologies."
Throughout the 20th Century, the trend in our culture was monotonic, toward ever-increasing reliance on protection and coddling by institutions, formally deliberated procedures and official hired guns — none of which availed us at all on 9/11/2001. Rather, events that day seem to suggest a reversal, toward the older notion of a confident, self-reliant citizenry.
Of course it’s too early to forecast a major counter-trend. But indications are provocative. Rather than diminishing the role of the individual, advances in technology seem to be rapidly empowering average citizens, even as professional cynics forecast freedom’s demise.
Do we live in a special time? In an episode of his science-interview show Closer to Truth, Robert Lawrence Kuhn warned against temporal chauvinism... the ever-present temptation for any observer to believe this particular moment is unique, a fulcrum around which destiny will turn, decisively transforming all future ages. He and his panel identified four potential crisis points in our near and far future. In "The Odd Way We Design our Destiny," Brin notes: "If we face a time of crisis, it isn't with our eyes shut!"
In "Do We Really Want Immortality?," Brin predicts what would happen if, through a mix of compassion, creativity and good luck, we complete the difficult transition and manage to spread a life span of eighty- or ninety-years to everyone across the globe. Will future generations take a full life span as much for granted as modern Americans do? And will we be able to extend it even further? How long can humans live?
In his article for Salon magazine, "How Will the World End?," Brin explores various possible "doom" scenarios. Which will bring us down, and will it be a hard or soft landing? Will it be entropy — we just give up trying? Will we fail to out-run Fermi's Paradox? Will nature take us down, as she did to the dinosaurs? Or are we simply going to "conflict" ourselves into a collapse? Read the article, and weigh in on your prediction. Then check in with the Lifeboat Foundation, and see who's working to prevent the predictions.
Here are the answers to a compilation of frequently-asked questions about the future, including: Is there hope for the future?
Does science fiction still influence or predict technological advances? Brin is one of several sages interviewed on this terrific-brief NPR show about the ideas and influence of science fiction in creating the modern world.
Scientific American interviewed Brin for their Too Hard For Science? series about raising animals to human levels of intelligence.
In this video Brin presents "The Near and Far Future in Space" at the Space Technology Innovations Conference at Google Headquarters.
"How do you see research and innovation making a difference for a better future?" The European Union asked questions like this of about a hundred "sages" in preparation for the Horizon 2020 conference in Vilnius, November 2013. You can view Brin's 90-second answer here.
David Brin's science fiction novels have been New York Times Bestsellers, winning multiple Hugo, Nebula and other awards. At least a dozen have been translated into more than twenty languages. They range from bold and prophetic explorations of our near-future to Brin's Uplift series, envisioning galactic issues of sapience and destiny (and star-faring dolphins!). Learn More
Short stories and novellas have different rhythms and artistic flavor, and Brin's short stories and novellas, several of which earned Hugo and other awards, exploit that difference to explore a wider range of real and vividly speculative ideas. Many have been selected for anthologies and reprints, and most have been published in anthology form. Learn More
Since 2004, David Brin has maintained a blog about science, technology, science fiction, books, and the future — themes his science fiction and nonfiction writings continue to explore. Learn More
Who could've predicted that social media — indeed, all of our online society — would play such an important role in the 21st Century — restoring the voices of advisors and influencers! Lively and intelligent comments spill over onto Brin's social media pages. Learn More
David Brin's Ph.D in Physics from the University of California at San Diego (the lab of nobelist Hannes Alfven) followed a masters in optics and an undergraduate degree in astrophysics from Caltech. Every science show that depicts a comet now portrays the model developed in Brin's PhD research. Learn More
Brin's non-fiction book, The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Freedom and Privacy?, continues to receive acclaim for its accuracy in predicting 21st Century concerns about online security, secrecy, accountability and privacy. Learn More
Brin speaks plausibly and entertainingly about trends in technology and society to audiences willing to confront the challenges that our rambunctious civilization will face in the decades ahead. He also talks about the field of science fiction, especially in relation to his own novels and stories. To date he has presented at more than 200 meetings, conferences, corporate retreats and other gatherings.Learn More
Brin advises corporations and governmental and private defense- and security-related agencies about information-age issues, scientific trends, future social and political trends, and education. Urban Developer Magazine named him one of four World's Best Futurists, and he was cited as one of the top 10 writers the AI elite follow. Past consultations include Google, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, and many others. Learn More
All the Ways in the World to Reach David Brin
As a bestselling science-fiction writer himself (Earth, Startide Rising, The Postman), Brin gets paid handsomely to look into the future and report back on what he's seen.
"This is a fun novel, rich with ideas, that examines on a very human level the ramifications and side effects of our ambitions and the things we take for granted. It's also a hard-boiled murder mystery with levels of physics and metaphysics that work your brain. But for me, as always, it's David Brin's characters that really pull me into the story and keep me up until three in the morning."
— Barnes and Noble Review
"The fiction of David Brin is informed by a central recurring theme as well, in his case the operation of various kinds of evolution: organic and synthetic, directed and undirected, fast and slow. This interest in dynamic change feeds into his vision of SF as an essentially optimistic form: not because he believes in 'progress' but because he believes in the ability of humankind to improve its condition."
"Existence is a book that makes you think deeply about both the future and life's most important issues. I found it fascinating and I could not put it down."
"We are in a race to cross a very dangerous zone, between where we are and where our grandchildren may be. Will they know how to manage the planet? How to expand beyond the planet? How to stay calm? How to argue in a fair and decent way, bypassing politics? This isn't a vast utopia; it is just us, much more reasonable, having raised better grandchildren." — David Brin