Images Of The Near And Far Future
"Artists," said Canadian media philosopher Marshall McLuhan, "are the antennae of the race."
That is perhaps uniquely so in the case of writers of speculative literature. By thinking about and immersing oneself in subjectively lived environments of possible futures, one may well develop greater capacities to notice subtly prophetic aspects of the current time, and to extrapolate with greater precision and boldness the shape of the world now emerging.
Here we feature selected articles and notes by R-spec members which outline or describe the potential scenarios of our future.
In the Fall of 1992 Professor K. Eric Drexler was summoned to a private meeting with Admiral David E. Jeremiah, Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
"Jeremiah was appalled," observed journalist Ed Regis.
Not without reason. Professor Drexler had informed him that a new form of technology was on the verge of development. Nanotechnology.
Nanotechnology had the capacity to take apart any physical object, any amount of physical objects, atom by atom.
In the course of doing so, it could record the structure of any physical object atom by atom, and then, unlike all the King's horses and all the King's men, put it all back together again, atom by atom.
Nanotechnolgy could even put it back together as some other physical object it had thus mapped. In other words it could put together any physically possible object you could imagine.
Nanotechnology would render all of America's defenses completely useless.
I could envision great, sealed cities on the edge of seething hydrocarbon swamps habitable only by the most adaptable of organisms, and tended by fleets of fragmentarily sentient fuel-cell powered robots. Eventually, the robots might form their own cities (or be organized into them by a retreating humanity), existing only to tend (and perhaps contain) their swamps.
These robot cultures would evolve; they would not remain static. Evolution would apply to them as it does to us...