Science fiction has long inspired new technologies, from robots to flip phones to artificial intelligence and more. Yet it’s provocative to consider that sci-fi is more often descriptive than predictive. Dystopias can reflect contemporary fears and biases. Utopias may contain robot characters more developed than women characters. Still, the clear path from imagined worlds to today’s tech products is worth celebrating. Speaking of which, this episode marks the end of Season 1. Thanks for listening.

Show notes

Welcome (0:12)

Conversation with Brittney Gallagher, host and executive producer of Digital Culture LA (2:02)

Brittney’s show on KPFK (2:02)

“Science fiction is not predictive; it is descriptive.” — Ursula Le Guin (4:54)

Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin (7:30)

Social science fiction explained (9:29)

Foundation by Isaac Asimov (9:41)

1984 by George Orwell (9:48)

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (9:49)

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (11:07)

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (11:08)

The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft (11:52)

The Rats in the Walls by H.P. Lovecraft (13:45)

Anathem by Neal Stephenson (16:56)

We by Yevgeny Zamyatin (19:33)

I, Robot by Isaac Asimov (20:21)

Evernote’s Three Laws of Data Protection (21:35)

Dune by Frank Herbert (25:36)

Ready Player One (30:35)

The Matrix (30:35)

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (32:31)

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (34:43)

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, which referenced transparent aluminum and voice commands for computers (35:05)

Listener questions (41:29)

You missed the obvious question, given your clear commitment to it: What impact is 42 having on diversity in the pipeline for developers? (42:05)

Can you share your thinking on blockchain for business? Various comments on the show give a negative impression of the technology. While it was created to support cryptocurrency, there are possible uses for various business scenarios. For example, procurement agreements that require definitive validation and perhaps an alternative to PGP servers for email encryption that would require storing a public key on a blockchain. (44:43)

David Mazières’ white paper on the Stellar Consensus Protocol (48:02)

Jessica’s graphic novel Adventures in Galactic Consensus (48:15)

End of Season One: Thank you (50:35)

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