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Isaac Asimov - Creator of OnDemand TV?

Discussion in 'General' started by JonDixon, 2 Aug 2006.

  1. JonDixon

    JonDixon Decking is the new modding

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    Sometimes its just wierd what you can find. I couldnt sleep last night so I got up and decided to read a book for a while.

    Now I picked up a book I havent read in like 18 years. It was Isaac Asimov's 'The Caves of Steel'. Anyway I'm reading it, and he's describing why everyone on Earth now lives in big underground Cities due to economies of scale.

    His example was people each storing their own personal film collections rather than having a video-piping system.

    A video-piping system? Sounds like On Demand/Broadband TV to me and this is from 1954!

    Thought I'd share this.
     
  2. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    Many Sci-Fi writers were ahead of their time. Jules Verne, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Phillip K. Dick, William Gibson, Neal Stephenson... all made predictions that have come true in some way or form or are about to.
     
  3. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    Did they make predictions that came true, or did people read their books and be inspired?
     
  4. DeX

    DeX Mube Codder

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    It's a great book. The first of the robot series. I'm currently on the fifth in the series 'Robots and Empire' which is great too.

    I can't say I really remember the mention of video piping but there some other interesting 'predictions' that Asimov makes such as hand held computers although I think these only appear in the later novels.

    The best author for predictions though has to be Arthur C Clarke. He thinks a lot about the technology that people in the future may have and strives very hard to keep it within the realm of the plausible. For example there's no articifical gravity on spaceships or faster than light travel which other authors can't do without. That's what makes Clarke's books so good to read I think.
     
  5. Krikkit

    Krikkit All glory to the hypnotoad! Super Moderator

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    Exactly. I saw a documentary on the boggle the other day about this exact subject. They compared Jules Verne's and a few others predictions for the future, and discovered (from interviewing the people who were on the NASA moon mission team for example) that they'd been inspired by the science fiction that they had written.
     
  6. Fod

    Fod what is the cheesecake?

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    isaac asimov intended EVERYTHING!

    (OK, that's really odd - i mistyped 'invented' with a completely valid word that still makes sense)
     
    Last edited: 2 Aug 2006
  7. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    Same thing. They were the ones who thought of it first, and others ran with it. Star Trek has a lot to answer for in that regard.

    When I talk about "prediction" I do not mean clairvoyance, but simply the logical extrapolation of existing developments. Some things are just technically feasible ideas that inevitably will happen because people have similar ideas and it is just the technology that needs to catch up; others are "inventions" that inspire others.
     
  8. JonDixon

    JonDixon Decking is the new modding

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    DeX - Once you've finished reading the 'robots' series then it's onto Foundation.

    I know a lot of science fiction writers came up with some of the technologies we take for granted today. Asimov termed the word 'robotics' for instance, and Arthur C Clark termed the geo-stationary satellites. Although to be honest he did spend some time working on radar projects etc...

    For me, I found it interesting as the quote was just a throw-away remark in the book in just describing the image of how his vision of a future city looked/worked.
     
  9. allforcarrie

    allforcarrie Banned

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    I started the "mars" series, starting with Red mars. I am loving it.
     
  10. riluve

    riluve New Member

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    Just to stick a fly in the ointment, I was watching a nicely produced show dedicated to all of the "amazing" works of Da Vinci and I am afraid it had an effect on me opposite of what was intended.

    I have begun to think of Da Vinci no longer as a brilliant genius that invented the "tank" and the "helicopter" etc, etc, etc. In the end, he really didn't do anything. He had really cool ideas and dreams and he documented them well, but that’s about it.

    OK, let me explain my position - the first programmable electronic computer (the Colossus Mark I) weighed some number of tons (as should be obvious by its name alone). Immediately upon the actual invention of the transistor (1947), it should have been readily apparent that they could be used to replace vacuum tubes and dramatically reduce the size of a computer.

    By simple extrapolation then, it would have been fully reasonable to assume (as early as 1947) that computers would eventually be smaller than pocket watches and that Dick Tracy's wrist-watch radio (a famous cartoon from 1931) was a very real future possibility.

    Someone could have very simply pointed this out to Arthur C Clarke (no disrespect to a brilliant man), but because he was the one who wrote the story he gets credit for "inventing" it? Does anyone give credit to Chester Gould (the author of Dick Tracy) for "inventing" the wrist radio / television?

    So let me go back to Da Vinci. He gets all this credit for all these wonderful things, but in the end, he really didn't do anything more than Chester Gould. He put a good idea to print without any real idea as to actually make it work.

    EDIT - LMAO the profanity checker didn't like the proper spelling of "wrist-watch". Can you find the naughty word in the middle it deleted?
     
  11. Ramble

    Ramble Ginger Nut

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    I'm wondering if the creaters of the Stargate film read 2001...
     
  12. Fod

    Fod what is the cheesecake?

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    wris****ch

    ****! whoo!

    wait, that's not a naughty word?
     
  13. cpemma

    cpemma Ecky thump

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    Acronym for The War Against Terrorism. That's quite naughty. :rolleyes:
     
  14. cjmUK

    cjmUK Old git.

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    You make a good point. The guy who *built* the first heli-chopper should get the credit, not LDV.

    In case the concensus is that LDV, Arthur C Clarke et al should all get credit for their 'predictions' let it be noted that after extrapolating a few things, I predict that in future we will have (sub-cutaneous) devices implanted in us that act as an inbuilt identity card/credit cards/matalan cards.

    I also predict that water rationing will be implemented when the effort to source clean water becomes too expensive and difficult.

    And I can foresee a time when bread and garlic are consumed together as a popular food. Cue Peter Kay: 'Garlic & Bread?!?'

    Has anyone actually done a study of all the sh*te ideas that these guys have come up with that are way off the mark? Does anyone remember watching the old Tomorrow's World programs? All the crap that was predicted to be on the market in 6 months time...

    CJM
     
  15. deceasekain

    deceasekain New Member

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    the second thing you asked is very much true

    space shuttles were invented mearly because of sci-fi
    and now ondemand

    so think about this
    the sci-fi the time machine
    mwahahaha
     
  16. Alan

    Alan New Member

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    Clarke actually wrote a paper on using satellites as communications devices. He calculated the required orbits and went into a lot of detail on the theory of it, so it was a bit more than Da Vinci sketching something that looks a bit like a helicopter to our modern eyes.

    Robert Heinlein was another one, along with Clarke and Asimov who was quite good. He is the one who invented the term "free fall" for orbiting astronauts, he is credited with inventing the water bed (though I'm not sure about that) and he invented the term "waldo" for remote control arms and predicted the coming of CAD to replace manual drawings about thiry years before the modern PC came into use.

    But one of the best predictors to me, was the Chief Engineer of the Post Office who gave a report to parliament when he foresaw that "one day man will call out to man with an electromagnetic voice, saying "where are you" and the answer will come "at the top of the Andes" or at the bottom of the sea" - and if there is no answer, the man might conclude that his friend was dead"
    Old fashioned terminology perhaps, but he was describing mobile phones quite well considering it was at the end of the nineteenth century!

    In total contrast, the Mayor of Chicago, upon being told about Alexander Graham Bell's new invention, excitedly declared that he could see the day when every city would have one!
     
  17. riluve

    riluve New Member

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    Don't be mistaken, I am well aware of Clarkes significant contributions, including his work on fractals, but it basically stops there. Mainly my point is - what's the big deal about Da Vinci? I really don't get it. He seems comparable to JFK - they both have a "cult of personality" where everyone loves them , but I don't understand exactly why.

    They are slightly above average men, but people like to think they have bullets bouncing off their chest.
     
  18. cjmUK

    cjmUK Old git.

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    It's good that we put their 'acheivements' into perspective, but if what they did was so trivial, why didnt everyone else do it as well?

    And the reason we rave on about them now is because their ideas were interesting, and some have actually been realised.

    The reality behind JFK is far more mundane than the myth, but the myth proves an inspiration to many. So why knock it? Oh to be a fly on the wall in 100 years time, when the kids are getting taught about 20th/21st C history. It would be interesting to find out who from our era would be thought significant (historically).
     
  19. riluve

    riluve New Member

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    Well, I am just thinking that’s a bad idea in general. Like for Davinci, there is no real evidence any of the ideas were his - so to speak. He was just very good at documenting them, that’s the thing he should be famous for. Its an important thing, much more than people seem to realize, but lets not hype it simply because people are to lame to realize documentation is important.

    As for the JFK thing, I see that as even worse. Like in the US we seem to have an affinity for Columbus because he "Discovered America". Well, its kinda bad when you find out it was all a stupid mistake. It’s even worse when you find out he use to brag about raping native women (he didn’t even consider them human so he wasn’t even wise enough to try to hide his disgusting behavior). Definitely the man was the worst kind of scum and should never be celebrated by anyone.

    This is what happens when people are put on a pedestal (especially when they have done nothing to deserve it). Before you know it, Washington is a GOD and everyone who stood in his way was a devil. I think there are plenty of “super heroes” who don't need to be hyped up that there is no need to make a false hero out of the likes of JFK or Davinci or Columbus.
     
  20. kbates666

    kbates666 New Member

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    Hey If Isaac can predict things why cant Douglas Adams? Bistromatic Drive here I come.
     

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