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 appraised as "#1 influencer" in Onalytica's Top 100 report of Artificial Intelligence influencers, brands & publications.
It appears that a small cabal of the Good Billionaires — those who got rich through innovation and who feel loyal to the future — are about to to fund a new effort worth some excitement and attention. It aims at transforming not just our Earth — but the whole solar system. And, along the way, this endeavor may help bootstrap us back into our natural condition... a species, nation and civilization that believes (again) in can-do ambition. Can that be achieved — while making us all rich — through asteroid mining?
At Planetfest 2012, David Brin addresses the questions, "Will we see a new burst in planetary exploration?" and "With all the cameras, why don't we have better photos of the little green men?"
If the Universe Is Teeming with Aliens ... Where Is Everybody?, by Stephen Webb
All These Worlds Are Yours, by John Willis
Exoplanets: Diamond Worlds, Super Earths, Pulsar Planets, and the New Search for Life Beyond Our Solar System, by Michael Summers and James Trefil
The Cosmic Zoo, by Dirk Schulze-Makuch and William Bains
The Future of Humanity, by Michio Kaku
Welcome to the Universe, by Neil deGrasse Tyson and Michael A. Strauss
Universal Life, by Alan Boss
Faint Echoes, Distant Stars, by Ben Bova
Mapping the Heavens, by Priyamvada Natarajan
The Hidden Reality, by Brian Greene
Where is everybody? And why can't we find them? Persistent null results from the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence do not invalidate continuing the search, but they do raise questions about long-held assumptions over how we search. The Great Silence — or "Fermi Paradox" — has joined the Drake Equation as a key metaphor in appraising both the possibility of Extra-Terrestrial Civilization and our own prospects to flourish as a progressive, outward-looking species.
Should the endeavor called SETI (the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) augment and transform itself into something new? Should 'Active SETI' depart from the traditional passive program — patiently listening and sifting for signs of advanced civilizations — and switch over to doing something new: Deliberately and vigorously transmitting into space, in order to draw attention our way?
SETI — the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence — has long occupied a unique niche in modern intellectual life, at the same time both widely popular and a bit obscure, combining serious and far-reaching science with a kind of gosh-wow zeal that seems (at times) to border on the mystical. Perhaps driven by frustration over the lack of SETI-gleaned signals, so far, a few dozen radio astronomers in this international community-of-interest now aim to provoke a response from the stars — by transmitting messages of their own.
In this video I discuss the economics of space exploration. Every decade since the 1940s, some scientific breakthrough (or several) enabled the U.S. to stay rich and vibrant enough to then spend it all in the Great Buying Spree that propelled world prosperity and created a world-majority Middle Class. That is, every decade except the first decade of the 21st Century, amid the calamitous War on Science.
The great physicist Enrico Fermi sasked: "If it seems so likely the universe may host other life forms, how come we haven't seen any signs?" Not just of radio beacons, but of mighty structures that our own descendants might someday build out there in space. Or leakage from chatty commerce between civilizations. Or indeed, any trace that the Earth was visited during the 2 billion years that it was "prime real estate" with an oxygen atmosphere, but nothing higher than slime molds to defend it.
Why don’t more of today’s youth care about expanding into space? The easy answer would be to seize upon a simple nostrum — about each era rejecting the obsessions of the one before it. But then, in that case, why is the very opposite true about popular music? Back in the hippie era, music divided the generations! But today? Well, my kids adore classic 60s and 70s Rock. In a surf shop or bike store, all I have to do is mention a few of the concerts that I snuck into, long ago, and the brash young fellers are at my feet, saying “tell us more, gramps!”
... toward the vast, vast majority of all that's been acheived. And after decades of doldrums, after the obstacles thrown up against us, it seems we truly are regaining some momentum in space exploration. Have you been keeping score? We are a people who are doing all these wondrous things, exploring our solar system with pennies out of each citizen's pocket. We are doing all this, and so much more! We are a mighty folk — a folk of legend who will be the subject of songs, in times to come. Problem-solvers who will go ahead and save the world, despite the doubters and skeptics. And go on to the stars.
Just after World War II, Enrico Fermi — exasperated by his students' zealous expectation of alien contact — asked: "Well, then? Where are they?" The question inspired me to publish a paper back in 1983, attempting to catalog all of the theories then floating around. Alas, in a scientific field that lacks any known subject matter, many otherwise bright participants tend to seize upon one "explanation" and deride all others.
Humanity has often looked outward beyond the tribe with a combination of sociability and paranoia for mates or insights or the next potential threat. Even now we scan the skies for extraterrestrial intelligences (and simultaneously crowding the theaters to watch such encounters go horribly awry), but so far all we have run across is a Great Silence, also known as the Fermi Paradox — the quandary that asks where all the alien civilizations are. If we cannot find aliens in the stars, might we create alien intelligences on Earth?
How do we envision the immensity of the universe? It's almost beyond our comprehension. Here is a list of just a few interactive sites that guide us through the vastness of the cosmos, scaling in from galaxies to planets to buildings to atoms and quarks — or explore the realm of Time... from the Big Bang through the evolution of life on Earth and the history of humanity.
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 300 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 appraised as "#1 influencer" in Onalytica's Top 100 report of Artificial Intelligence influencers, brands & publications. Past consultations include Google, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, and many others. Learn More
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