[ExI] John W. Campbell in 1942 predicts the future

Damien Broderick thespike at satx.rr.com
Sun Jun 13 22:56:21 UTC 2010

The limits of hopeful prophecy; here's the editor of ASTOUNDING SCIENCE 
FICTION (later ANALOG) during WWII, in a letter to one of his writers:

<Socio-technical pressures after the war will be, for some time, 
directed toward rebuilding Europe, but with atomic technology coming in, 
and the immense population now available, that job will be effectively 
completed within 5 years. The time for interplanetary overflow will be 
at hand. First explorers, then colonies, then--the old cycle over again. 
Eventually, someday in the not-too-remote future, there will be overflow 
toward other stellar systems. The overflow will probably be directly 
from Earth, not from the other Solar planets. Earth will always develop 
the highest pressures; man is ideally adapted to this planet, and is 
bound to breed and work best here. The pressure will be for the 
discovery of other stellar planets more nearly identical to Earth in 
Incidentally, the time scale: Science-fiction tends to go very wrong on 
time-scale, because authors and readers in the field are very timid 
about it all. I'm betting on a first landing on the Moon by 1965 at the 
latest, Mars by 1970, Venus at or about the same time. There will be a 
scientific colony on the Moon from 1965 to 1970, consisting of 
astronomers, solar specialists, and electronics and atomic engineers. 
There will probably be some research chemists, and some map specialists 
too, the chemists working on projects more readily conducted under 
conditions of total vacuum and low temperature.>

What was that everyone was saying about the Singularity? :)

Damien Broderick

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