David Brin

is an American scientist and award-winning author of science fiction.

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davidbrin1144 karma

Well, the good news is that there have been no trolls, no snarky nastyguys. It's been almost (!) all smart folks interested in intellectually stimulating questions. And generously patient with me when I (1) gave multi-sentence or complex answers and (2) mentioned the fact that some of the topics (like SETI) are covered in my book.

Thanks for that!

That's the good news. The bad? The mods neglected to post this AMA on the main page for three hours, even though it was a scheduled headliner. Moreover, I counted and figure that nearly all of you were folks I invited here from my other communities & worlds... blog, website etc... or who wandered over from r/science or r/future

So, bottom line? I worked hard, followed every rule and every piece of advice, promoted hard offline and online, did exactly as they asked me to. And so? You hear these guys go on and on and on about how awful Woody Harrelson was. How about the other direction? Treating guests in a professional and decent manner? Forgetaboutit....

davidbrin158 karma

You expect the mighty to willingly let themselves be kept accountable? Look at the last 6000 years. We humans (especially when powerful) always come up with reasons why WE (and our friends) need prvacy while our foes need accountability

Those 6000 years show how obstinate the problem is, but they also show reasons for optimism! The Enlightenment's 250 year experiment has been amazing. Adam Smith said break up power into smaller chunks so the mighty will help us to hold EACH OTHER accountable!

The time to worry? When the mighty conspire against this solution.

davidbrin151 karma

Okay, I'll just offer up some interesting stuff I though folks would ask about:

My general advice for new writers: Seek Criticism! See my extended essay distilling 30 years answering advice queries from new writers. http://www.davidbrin.com/advice.htm

See the slimmer but on-target video: So you want to write? One author’s perspective. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPTE8vdYqAM

One snippet: I tell writing students, start w a murder mystery! It is the one "fair" genre. The "whodunit" must surprise AND make sense!

davidbrin140 karma

  • Neil dGT is wonderful. ALways grin when he goes on Stewart.

  • Still living? Revivable? Frozen? Dehydrated? Reduced to stackable molecule dust? Reduced to data? Then we must define "car".

Trunk? the elephant will sneeze! Bodies everywhere!

davidbrin138 karma

Thanks mucho! Wish I weren't 7 hours reddit exhausted.

But thrive & persevere!


davidbrin134 karma

Thanks. I am pleasantly surprised that NONE of you were mean or snarky and all were interested in real answers. Still grumpy over the three wasted hours at the beginning.... but now too exhausted to care....

you, the regular (above average IQ) redditors are the ones who saved this.

davidbrin130 karma

Whoosh, sorry I worked my way to the bottom answering. Now back up top.

  • I talk to a LOT of the "singularity" guys and I get to be the grouch around them and their expectations of looming imminent immortality. Not that there won't be advances! I hope for some! But I think the human/enlightenment projected is VASTLY more important than any one person's greedy clutch at more years! (And that is HARD for an egotist to say! ;-)

Hence, what I yearn for is improvements in PROCESS. The Enlightenment processes of markets and democracy, science etc have been spectacular! Guys like Clay Shirky claim the Web is making us hugely smarter in real time. But .... but I don't see that. There are many tools still missing and lobotomizing conversation to 140 words won't do it.

I show some of those possible improvements... in EXISTENCE!

davidbrin128 karma

  • What do I like to study? Like you.... EVERYTHING! And it is all, all, all relevant.

Seriously, the advancements that will change everything?

  • Better online methods of discourse
  • Brain/intelligence augmentation
  • AI... if we prevent it from emerging from predatory high frequency stock trading programs (if it does we are so screwed)
  • Getting all to realize that self-righteous indignation is a real, bona fide drug-high self-doped addiction! One that we baby boomers are expert at!

All of this is in the novel, of course ;-)

davidbrin127 karma

No need for gunpoint. The Practice Effect had all the fantasy furniture, princesses and dragons and such. All right, like Anne McCaffrey it was still MORALLY science fiction in that it favored progress, not static, endless feudalism...

...And I have concepts for some fantasies I'd like to write. But I suppose in those too, the heroes would be sons and daughters of blacksmiths, who want to end lordly oppression. So I guess I am stuck.

But I do love the furniture!

davidbrin126 karma

Yes on all counts. But always watch out for the next layer you missed. I am "Contrary Brin" and hence I must point out that all the power consolidations you are mentioning are old and have not changed much in decades, yet you fret them as if they are skyrocketing.

Taxes are near the lowest rates in 80 years, Federal and state share of the economy, plummeting and historically low. So why your fixation on that center of power? Might it be because far more aggressively rising accumulations of power want you focused that way?

Hey, just askin. Me, I am a Smithian-Heinleinian libertarian. I distrust ALL accumulations of power! Look back across 6000 years and tell me who oppressed?

Come by the blog community at http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/ (under comments) one of the smartest around. Let's explore.