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

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Mon Jun 14 15:52:25 UTC 2010

On Mon, Jun 14, 2010 at 5:00 AM,  Damien Broderick <thespike at satx.rr.com> wrote:

snip (Campbell's words)

> 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.

If you look at first landings, and include robot vehicles, he wasn't far off.

> 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.>

Vacuum pumps turned out to be less expensive than rockets.

About the same time, AC Clarke wrote into his stories that it would
take billions of years to generate artificial minds.

Clarke lived into the era where serious progress on this topic was
being made.  I don't think even the most pessimistic think it will
take that long now.

> From: AlgaeNymph <algaenymph at gmail.com>
> BillK wrote:
>> That was written before the impact of television was realised.
>> Not just television. But before entertainment became the biggest
>> industry in the world.
>> The Singularity was stopped by gossip and sitcoms.
> This raises the question as to why social drama is more profitable than
> science documentaries.

The EP answer would be that it was highly significant to your
reproductive success in the EEA to pay close attention to the gossip
about the high status people in your tribe.

How this worked in the stone age, I don't know.  It doesn't seem
adaptive in the modern world but then lots of traits from those times
are not.


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