David Brin's best-selling novels include The Postman (filmed in 1997) plus explorations of our near-future in Earth and Existence. His award-winning novels and short stories explore vividly speculative ideas through a hard-science lens. His 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.
Science fiction authors poke at the universe using their prefrontal lobes... the seat of the thought experiment. So if you want to test your ability as a writer, to keep the action and interest and intellect and empathy all going at the same time, while building a world and dealing with ideas and issues — you're pretty much behooved to write science fiction as an alternative to cynicism and zero-sum thinking.
David led an amazing roundtable of people working both inside and outside NASA, including Geoffrey Landis, Chris McKay, Rusty Schweickart, and Ariel Waldman, as they roughed out some of the ambitious new goals that could animate this next era in space, ranging from mining asteroids, to setting up solar energy stations in orbit, to exploring for life in the roofed water worlds of our solar system.
David's Singularity Summit talk in New York notes we have reached a stage in our technology where we are making gods and asks — will that bother anyone?
Is there no way we know what the future is going to be like? In this Fast Forward video, Brin describes how science fiction designs thought experiments to make educated guesses.
When (and how) will we develop starships capable of exploring beyond our solar system? This is one of many questions explored by David Brin, Joe Haldeman, Larry Niven, Vernor Vinge, Jon Lomberg, and moderator Gregory Benford at the Clarke Center's fiction writers panel at UCSD.
Explore the mystery of why UCSD has cultivated more science fiction writers than any other university of our time with alumni David Brin, Nancy Holder, Kim Stanley Robinson, Vernor Vinge, and Gregory Benford.
Watch this speech delivered at Bard College's Hannah Arendt Center. Brin notes that wanting to preserve privacy is only the beginning: We look for Big Brothers in government and universities and corporations yet fail to see the ones living next door.
This roundtable at the Washington DC Chapter of the Internet Society (ISOC-DC) and the Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center discusses the dramatically-reduced cost of collecting and sharing information. It has become easier to track what companies and governments are doing; whistleblowers and malicious hackers alike can disseminate huge quantities of confidential information. Are we seeing an inevitable trend towards transparency? Or will companies, organizations and governments find ways to lock down their networks?
In this talk, "Will Artificial Intelligence occur by design, evolution, accident... or at all?" given to the 'braniacs' at World of Watson: IBM conf, in Las Vegas, Brin asks: given all the critical problems we need to solve very soon — on land, in the upper atmosphere, and in our seas — will we create the artificial intelligences we will need?
David Brin's second short screenplay submission, Diaspora, was selected as the Los Angeles Feedback Film Festival's "Best Short Screenplay" for January. His first submission, "Bargain," won the Festival's one-page Screenplay Contest in December. Both scripts are performed and posted online. Watch Bargain and Diaspora on YouTube.
In this YouTube video, two renowned futurists, David Brin and John Smart, discuss what inventions and adventures await us in the next 40 years.
What criteria do you use to judge whether or not you like a movie or novel? We all have our standards, considering issues such as story-telling, consistency of plot, whether the work is dramatic enough, whether the characters seem plausible or believable. But there’s one you never hear mentioned, civilization, the context within which we all live. It’s what we depend upon for our daily life, our food, our electricity.Indeed, the assumption that civilization is useless dominates most films, because it makes it easy to put your hero in pulse-pounding jeopardy.
David Brin and epic SF novelist and AI theoretician Ramez Naam join the King of Scenarios about the future, Peter Schwartz, onstage at the Dreamforce Conference in San Francisco to discuss what lies beyond tomorrow.
The Augmented World Expo posted Brin's talk about what we will see in augmented and virtual reality over the next 40 years.
In this episode of "5 Burning Questions," David Brin discusses his thoughts about charting a course through the future.
David Brin speaks to the Internet Society about how to discover errors before they happen.
Earth isn't a vast utopia, it is just us — more reasonable than our ancestors, perhaps. We definitely raised better grandchildren. How will they manage the planet? Will they expand into the solar system?
Adam Ford interviewed Brin at LosCon39 in Los Angeles, asking him if there's a utopia in our future, among other topics.
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.
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?"
Suppose we don't meet aliens. Might we satisfy our thirst for "otherness" anyway, by widening the range of who "we" are? Incorporating intelligences that are artificial, or human variants, or uplifted animals? Watch Brin's assumption-shattering talk at the Smithsonian, May 2014. (Here are the slides that accompany the talk!)
A team of brilliant cinematographers have forged ahead on the production of Neo, a film about humanity's future. Their first announcement trailer (featuring David Brin) won the 'Future-Maker Award' at Beijing's 2016 Global Innovator Conference.
Trekspertise just released a beautiful, image-rich video accompaniment of a talk I gave about "What Is Science Fiction?"
In this online tech-show, Future First (by Popular Science), David Brin and NASA director Jason Crusan are asked "Where are all the aliens?" Their answers encompass the Fermi Paradox, pondering why we seem — so far — to be alone.
"The issue should not be government. It should not be unlimited and unalloyed idolatry of personal property, which is the path that the libertarian movement has gone down," says David Brin, a science fiction writer and self-identified "heretical libertarian" in this ReasonTV video.
This interview with mendelspod.com covers: Who's doing the heavy lifting of creating the future? What are the four great pillars that freed us from the "great delusion" of feudalism?
Writer and futurist David Brin argues for the academic validity of science fiction, as the literature best suited to expanding our horizons while exploring solutions to society's most pressing problems.
David presents "A SciFi Author's take on space technology innovations in the near and distant future" at Vint Cerf's Space Technology Innovations Conference at Google Headquarters. How likely is it that we can renew enthusiasm for expanding civilization into space?
Physics, mathematics, philosophy, biology, chemistry, or physics — the eternal loop. Physics might be considered the most fundamental of all sciences, for all other sciences derive from basic principles of forces, motion, electromagnetism and thermodynamics. And yet, physical laws are mathematical models of the world; however, mathematics itself is abstract, deriving from theoretical constructs of philosophy. But, philosophy arises out of theories of mind, or psychology. The mind itself depends upon the biology of the brain... which is nothing but chemical reactions of molecules, such as neurotransmitters and proteins. And of course, chemistry depends upon the behavior of atoms and forces, which is constrained by physics.
What's the solution to rapidly advancing threat horizons? At the US Army TRADOC 'Mad Scientist' conference, David Brin asserts that the key may be to anticipate threats — but we can't, so we must become more resilient.
At the YouAccel career and learning network, David Brin describes the industries of 2050 — our grandchildrens' career choices.
Author David Brin speaks at Arizona State University's Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science about Humanity's Place in a Very Strange Universe.
The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination at UCSD recently held a panel discussion on "The Physics of Free Will." Astrophysicists Brian Keating, Andrew Friedman and David Brin discussed what modern physics — including "entanglement" and the time-history of inflation and the Big Bang — has to say about the concept of free will, including perspectives from the foundations of quantum mechanics, cosmology, and speculations about the role of of conscious observers in the cosmos.
This 10 minute video about transparency and the Internet Miracle is an excerpt from an interview Brin gave a European television station during the recent conference (in Lithuania) on the digital future. Another excerpt explains the most difficult concept of the information age: that we should stop whining about how much elites can see, and instead be militant about looking back at them.
In September 2012, David helped dedicate a new Engineering Building at UCSD, along with luminaries from as far away as Bauhaus University. His talk focused on the building's deliberate collaboration between science and art, a melding predicted 50 years ago by CP Snow and essential to our Enlightenment. Watch the video — or read the speech.
Brin is video-interviewed on Fast Forward: Why haven't we heard from aliens? What explains the Great Silence? And why we haven't found any extraterrestrial neighbors yet?
Can our civilization maintain its 200-year commitment to openness, transparency, accountability, and confident belief in progress, or will a growing "relinquishment movement" fight back against the onrush of change?
Also: Find a trove of interviews, roundtable discussions and more on David Brin's Closer to Truth contributor page.
Are we in phase 8 of America’s 250 year civil war? If so, the Union has a problem with its generals, who keep getting lured into grunt-and-shove combat, on ground chosen by the other side. The possibility of using agility — winning political battles with the shifting dexterity of jiu jitsu — never occurs to Democratic politicians or strategists. Find out more or read the introduction here.
Dr. Alvin Montessori is Human Advisor aboard the mostly demmie-crewed star cruiser Clever Gamble, orbiting above Oxytocin 41, a planet where something weird is going on. When the crew unreels a humungous hose down to the surface, their first contact team discovers a whole lot of 'somethings weird.' Life... death... and the living dead... will never be the same. Find out more or read the first 2 chapters here.
His squad double-timed alongside a towering, aromatic, ornamental hedge, toward the sound of helicopters and the painful brilliance of searchlights. Perspiration loosened his grip on the stock, forcing him to hold his weapon tighter. His heartbeat quickened as they neared the scene of action. And yet, Roland felt certain he wasn't scared to die. No, he was afraid of screwing up. Read A NEED FOR HEROES here.
The authors contributing stories and essays to Chasing Shadows explore their own visions of what might propel — or obstruct — a world civilization awash in the light of transparency. Eminent critic Paul Di Filippo offers an insightful, thorough and positive appraisal of CHASING SHADOWS. Find out more or read "PRIVATE LIVES" here.
Visit a chillingly plausible tomorrow, when prisoners may be sent to asteroidal gulags. Or might prisons vanish and felons roam, seeing only what society allows? Suppose, amid lavish success, we gain the superpower to fly! Will we even appreciate it... or will we find new reasons to complain? Find out more or read "REALITY CHECK" and "TUMBLEDOWNS" here.
Billions of planets may be ripe for life, even intelligence. So where is Everybody? Do civilizations make the same fatal mistakes, over and over? Might we be the first to cross the mine-field, evading every trap to learn the secret of EXISTENCE? Find out more or read "AFICIONADO," SHELTER OF TRADITION" and "SHORESTEADING" 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 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
All the Ways in the World to Reach David Brin
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"Brin is a physicist of note who has been a NASA consultant, and he knows how to turn the abstractions of particle physics into high adventure.... He excels at the essential craft of the page-turner, which is to devise an elegantly knotted plot that yields a richly variegated succession of high-impact adventures undergone by an array of believably heroic characters."
— Thomas M. Disch, EW.com
"Brin's canny sensitivity about the complexities of human nature transcends gender barriers in a novel that is not so much about 'women's issues' as the necessity for change and variability. As in Earth ( LJ 4/15/90), the author demonstrates his ability to empathize with all his characters. This complex and gripping tale belongs in most libraries."
— Library Journal
"Brin is a fantastic author, who has created a dense, complex futureverse with generally amusing alien races and uplifted Earth races, who amuse even during the most dramatic events. The crux of the story is how does mankind carve out an autonomous existence in the face of alien races with much more advanced technology? Who assists them and what odds do they overcome to succeed?"
— Amazon.com customer review
"David, thank you for letting us interview you! Your insights added a great deal to the show, as you can see from how often we put you on-screen. I hope the show finds you a ton of new readers. Please thank your family for letting us invade your home. It was an honor to work with you. I hope we have a chance to work together or talk in the future."