speculations about the future

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.


Here are net-accessible articles, interviews, and essays predicting and pondering how we can create outstanding near & far futures.

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where Brin ponders, predicts & plans

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  • discussing near & far futures

    ideas, plans and proposals for bold & thriving futures

  • blog: Contrary Brin
  • public appearances: Brin as a speaker and consulting authority
  • pinterest: Popular Culture Imagines the Future
  • pinterest: We Look To the Future
  • scoop.it!: Technologies Creating the Future
  • pinterest: Sages Contemplating the Future
  • other great resources

    Brin recommends these books, articles & websites

  • Evonomics
  • Red, Green & Blue

  • watching the future

    Brin's predictions and ponderings about our near future. Is it the future we want? What wonders (or nightmares) are we inventing? How will the technologies we design today change tomorrow?

    fictional predictions

    the future, in fiction

    will we 'uplift' our descendants?

    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.

    predictions saved

    predicting the future

    screening out the alarmists & pundits

    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.)

    David Brin scientist

    speaking of the future

    profiting today by anticipating tomorrow

    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.


    articles about the future

    Is it the future we want — or the one we let others create? Does the universe have plans of its own?

    Brave New World original cover detail

    a new barnstorming age

    are we raising a generation of Lindberghs and Earharts?

    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.

    Startide Rising cover

    should we upgrade the intelligence of animals?

    why we're no longer asking can we

    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."

    resilience is people power

    is the age of amateurs upon us?

    wanted: flexibility and resiliency

    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.

    designing futures

    designing our destiny

    are we even seeing the future?

    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!"

    some ways we achieve immortality

    have we reached "peak lifespan"?

    are we wise enough to achieve longevity?

    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?


    interviews and discussions

    We can't change the past but we can and do create the future.

    FAQ

    Here are the answers to a compilation of frequently-asked questions about the future, including: Is there hope for the future?

    is SF a good predictor?

    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.

    uplifting earth's "alien" intelligences

    Scientific American interviewed Brin for their Too Hard For Science? series about raising animals to human levels of intelligence.

    our near and far future in space

    In this video Brin presents "The Near and Far Future in Space" at the Space Technology Innovations Conference at Google Headquarters.

    crossing a dangerous zone

    "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.


    a brief intro to science fiction author DAVID BRIN

    To learn more, visit his books page, or see his "about me" page or detailed biography.

    DAVID BRIN author

    novels

    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


    shorter fiction

    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


    Contrary Brin blog

    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


    social media influencer

    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 scientist

    scientist

    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


    transparency expert

    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


    speaker & consultant

    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


    future/tech advisor

    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


    other points of departure

    visit other pages on this website

    pages about science fiction

  • Brin's novels and books
  • Brin's short stories and novellas
  • all about Brin's uplift universe
  • a selection of book reviews
  • Brin's advice for new writers
  • Brin reviews sci fi films — including The Postman
  • a compilation of great sf books to read
  • recommended sf films
  • science fiction that teaches
  • nonfiction explorations

  • The Transparent Society
  • privacy, security, accountability and transparency
  • designing and crafting our amazing 21st Century
  • predicting and projecting our near and far future
  • leading and following our politics and economy
  • keeping track of changes in science and technology
  • scanning our sky for habitable (inhabited?) worlds
  • an ornery, contrary blog, and other insightful rants!

    Do not enter if you want a standard "Party" line! Contrary Brin's community pokes at too-rigid orthodoxies, proposing ideas and topics that fascinate and infuriate.

    wormholes

    A few spacetime anomalies and side-trips, for your entertainment.

    Questions? Concerns? Email Me

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    curated topics at Scoop.it!

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    references and recommendations

    See more references and recommendations for Brin's public speaking and consulting and his novels and books.

    Metroactive Books

    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.

    praise for Kiln People

    "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

    Alex Good, TheStar.com

    "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."

    Temple Grandin, author of Thinking in Pictures

    "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."

    final thoughts ...

    ... for this page, at least ...

    getting the future we deserve

    "Change can't be prevented, only guided." — from Earth

    "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

    DAVID BRIN quote