Tag Archives: Computers

Can’t live without them anymore

IBM provides fuel for Mundane science fiction

Via FutureWire comes material that may provide relief for those concerned that the strictures of the Mundane SF submission requirements leave them too little room for maneuver …

IBM has published a report called “The Next Five in Five”, which is a cheerily optimistic bit of futurist thinking that lays out the five major technological innovations that the Big Blue crew believe will occur within the next five years. You’ll need to click through for details, but here are the all-important bullet points:

  1. We will be able to access healthcare remotely, from just about anywhere in the world
  2. Real-time speech translation-once a vision only in science fiction-will become the norm
  3. There will be a 3-D Internet
  4. Technologies the size of a few atoms will address areas of environmental importance
  5. Our mobile phones will come close to reading our minds

What I find interesting about this report is how plausible it is. It may be that IBM deliberately kept it that way, but even so it contrasts astonishingly to the Tomorrow’s World type of boosterism that I remember from my childhood. I’d watch those programs and think “wow, just imagine that!” I read that list, and I shrug and think “yep, seems likely.”

I have some sympathy with the Mundane manifesto*, and this report shows why – there’s acres of scope for speculative fiction based purely on plausible real-world developments. Though of course you’ll need to get published quickly before reality trumps your fictional masterpiece!

That said, I think there’s still a place for the wide-screen new space opera, which fulfils a different urge. You can write fiction featuring scientifically implausible tropes and still make it deeply relevant to the human condition – as the Culture novels of Iain M. Banks demonstrate most admirably, IMHO.

[* Said Manifesto has vanished into the places where unrenewed domain names are eternally blessed, at least as far as I can tell from a perfunctory Googling, but Abigail Nussbaum’s report on it will tell you most of what you need to know.]

Friday Photo Blogging: Electronic intestines

Precious, precious computer innards – I love them so:

Glistening functional computer innards

Okay, so that’s a bit of a cop-out for a Friday photo, but as previously explained I’ve not had much of a chance to get out of the house on photographic missions. Even if I hadn’t had the computer crisis, the weather has been far from conducive to leaving the centrally-heated comfort of The Hall of Mirrors. So, PC innards is what you get. I rather like the way they look, as it happens, and I’m considering keeping the sides off of the case on a permanent basis – not just for aesthetics, you understand; it also improves the airflow. Ahem. Continue reading Friday Photo Blogging: Electronic intestines