RE: [OPE] Arthur C. Clarke dies in Sri Lanka: a generation of science fiction writers is vanishing

Date: Tue Mar 25 2008 - 08:19:21 EDT

In general, I think it is behaviourally preferable to underestimate the pace of technological change than overestimate it - you get more pleasant surprises than unpleasant surprises - but of course it is more preferable to estimate capitalist progress correctly. 
 Clarke taught us that if we do not go boldly where none have gone before, it's because we fail to think the possibilities, our creativity is imprisoned in rather tight confines - but why?  
To enlarge the spectrum of possibilities requires imagination, i.e. the discovery of phenomena which exist not simply because they are really there, but because my own gnosis recognises those phenomena and helps to bring them into being, so that I realize my idea. 
Hi Jurriaan:
Clarke and other science fiction writers certainly had imagination.
Buy they - like most scientists who made futurist projections - 
didn't generally conceive of the issues associated with the pace of 
technological change by placing that subject within its proper
institutional context.  If the decisions about technological change
are being made by capitalist firms and/or the state under capitalism 
then that makes a huge difference in practice regarding 
which technologies are adopted and what the diffusion period will be.
In general, I think that scientists and science fiction writers see the 
possibilities for technological change but often don't see the 
institutional constrains and hence they tend(ed) (Clarke excepted) to
over-estimate that pace.
In solidarity, Jerry

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