DAVID BRIN's 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 appraised as "#1 influencer" in Onalytica's Top 100 report of Artificial Intelligence influencers, brands & publications.

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

Is it the future we want?

Or the one we let others create? Does the universe have plans of its own?

pursuing the good singularity

approaching the "infinite value" of what works

Can we endeavor to make the next generation both more ethical and vastly more scientifically/technologically powerful? Only that combination can save the world.

democracy at your fingertips

"primer" technologies for the new citizen

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.

disputation arenas

can we crowdsource wisdom?

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.

designing futures

designing our destiny

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!"

some ways we achieve immortality

how long can humans live?

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?

doom and gloom

end of civilization as we know it?

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?

singularities and possibilities

how will we chart our future?

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.)

1900 prediction of spy-cams

a nightmare scenario come true?

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.


resources that spotlight the future

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.

the future of science and the arts

a "bauhaus" neo-modernism?

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."

the zero-sum pyramid scheme

the likeliness of a positive sum civilization?

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.

new avenues of enlightenment

a future of grouches or transcendentalists?

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.

prevent and prepare for the future

how a well-spun dystopia prevented itself

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.

mega-city of the future

the future of mega-cities?

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.

connected earth

a whole vastly more competent than the sum of its parts?

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?

augmented humans

a 'three laws' philosophy for augmenters

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.

world future day

when incremental advances aren't enough

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?

cities on the ocean

cities on the ocean?

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?

Continue reading more articles, interviews, and speeches about the future.

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'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


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 300 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 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

Contacting BRIN

All the Ways in the World to Reach David Brin

an ornery, contrary BLOG, and other insightful wormholes!

Do not enter if you want a standard "Party" line! Contrary Brin's incendiary posts on science, sci-fi and politics and its engaged, opinionated community poke at too-rigid orthodoxies, proposing ideas and topics that fascinate — and infuriate. See for yourself, and if you like — subscribe for more.

Questions? Concerns? Email DAVID BRIN at mail@davidbrin.com


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