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.
Can we endeavor to make the next generation both more ethical and vastly more scientifically/technologically powerful? Only that combination can save the world.
What technologies could make the most difference in aiding and enhancing 21st Century citizenship? We must have new ways for communities to self-organize, both in everyday life and (especially) during crises, when normal channels may collapse, or else get taken over by the authorities for their own use.
Printing presses enflamed Europe's 16th Century hatreds and divisions, while the 1930s-era radio and loudspeakers helped consolidate the power of tyrants. Our new communication media, the Internet, has inspired both. Brin's proposal, "Disputation Arenas: Harnessing Conflict and Competitiveness for Society's Benefit," could help us out-run lies and liars.
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... and 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. 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?
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? — or will nature take us down, as she did to the dinosaurs?
In one of the boldest and most popular essays about our destiny, "Singularities and Nightmares: Extremes of Optimism and Pessimism About the Human Future," David Brin explores a startling range of possible changes available to us. It's an opportunity for humanity and the Earth to avoid dangers and inspire hopeful futures — if that's what we choose. (This article is also available on the Lifeboat Foundation website.)
It is foolish to depend on the ignorance of others to safeguard your privacy. If they don't already know your secrets, they will pierce your veils tomorrow, without you ever becoming aware of it, when the best firewalls and encryptions may be bypassed by a gnat-camera in your ceiling or a whistle-blower in your back office. In "Probing the Near Future," Brin discusses how, by thoughtful planning and preparation, we can make the scary parts of the near-future less scary, and the good parts better.
These visionary sites keep an eye on breakthroughs in scientific research and advances in cutting edge technologies. They offer insights into innovative trends that impact industry, education, energy, entertainment, transportation, economics, medicine, and war... with repercussions that spread through all aspects of society.
Watch David Brin's speech on YouTube — or read it, dedicated to "the joyful blending of breakthrough technology with artistic sensibility... extravagant imagination merging with utilitarian vision, leading, it is hoped, to spaces and tools and devices and projects and inventions... as well as wonderful frivolities... that people not only find useful but love to use, amid a growing prosperity that's perfectly compatible with a sustainable Earth."
Oligarchy reflects the same old pyramid scheme that failed the test of governance in nearly 100% of previous civilizations, always and invariably stifling creativity while guiding societies to delusion and ruin. It also means a return to zero-sum logic, zero-sum economics, and zero-sum leadership thinking.
We may have a chance to create a fantastic new civilization on this planet, by returning to and enhancing the methods that brought us this far — methods like transparency and reciprocal accountability and divided power and pragmatic negotiation that are deeply threatened by one side in our current culture war.
That the 20th century escaped the destiny portrayed in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four may be owed in part to the way his chilling tale affected millions, who then girded themselves to fight "Big Brother" to their last breath.
Megacities could be revitalized by a process that — at first sight — will seem brutal, but that does not have to be: Build a 200 meter wide corridor containing utilities, sewer systems, water, underground metros and a grand boulevard, extend it from the port through the urban center, then out to the industrial parks, airport and countryside.
Big institutions, small institutions, and individuals all pay to maintain the computers and the nodes... and nobody controls the whole. Is the fruit of this commons — enhanced creativity and inventiveness — worth whatever it costs?
The possibility that artificially intelligent machines may some day pose a risk is well-known. Less understood, but more immediately pressing, are the risks that humanistically intelligent people or organizations pose, as we augment our bodies and our societies with ever more pervasive and possibly invasive sensing, computation, and communication capabilities.
Most of our holidays look backward, honoring past victories, dead presidents or long-standing traditions. How about a day that looks forward, toward thinking creatively about building a better tomorrow? The brand new Future Day, originally proposed by Ben Goertzel at Humanity+, will be March 1. Would you (productively) observe such a day?
Might the seasteading model — a plan by Peter Thiel and the Seasteading Institute to build a floating 'start-up country' off the coast of San Francisco — be repurposed to save our drowning coastal cities?
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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