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

John Grigg possiblepaths2050 at gmail.com
Tue Jun 15 00:49:57 UTC 2010

Joseph Campbell wrote way back in 1942:
<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 climate.

I think he (and many others) underestimated the cost effectiveness of
settling people on other planets and space colonies.  It is still very
much NOT the way to deal with over-population issues! LOL  But a
century from now (or sooner) we may be at the point where traveling to
Mars, etc., is not much more expensive than a modern-day trip to
Europe from the U.S., via airplane or ship.


On 6/14/10, Damien Broderick <thespike at satx.rr.com> wrote:
> On 6/14/2010 10:52 AM, Keith Henson wrote:
>> About the same time, AC Clarke wrote into his stories that it would
>> take billions of years to generate artificial minds.
> No, a million or so in THE CITY AND THE STARS, and it was not your usual
> AI in a box.
> "No disembodied intelligence had ever been encountered in the natural
> Universe; the Empire set out to create one. We have forgotten, with so
> much else, the skills and knowledge that made this possible. The
> scientists of the Empire had mastered all the forces of Nature, all the
> secrets of time and space. As our minds are the by-product of an
> immensely intricate arrangement of brain cells, linked together by the
> network of the nervous system, so they strove to create a brain whose
> components were not material, but patterns embossed upon space itself.
> Such a brain, if one can call it that, would use electrical or yet
> higher forces for its operation, and would be completely free from the
> tyranny of matter. It could function with far greater speed than any
> organic intelligence; it could endure as long as there was an erg of
> free energy left in the Universe, and no limit could be seen for its
> powers. Once created, it would develop potentialities which even its
> makers could not foresee.
> 	"Largely as a result of the experience gained in his own regeneration,
> Man suggested that the creation of such beings should be attempted. It
> was the greatest challenge ever thrown out to intelligence in the
> Universe, and after centuries of debate it was accepted. All the races
> of the Galaxy joined together in its fulfilment.
> 	"More than a million years were to separate the dream from the reality."
> The billion or more happened after the first disembodied AI went feral
> and started to chew up the universe, before it was shoved into what
> sounds very like a black hole.
> The key place where Campbell went wrong was supposing that nuclear
> energy would be easy to handle, and ubiquitous (and in 1942 he can't be
> faulted for not knowing--Fermi's first reactor wasn't critical until
> December of that year).
> Damien Broderick
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