The Future And You
Ideas and opinion about the future based on verifiable facts of today.
 

Eric Flint, best selling author of more than 25 novels of science fiction and fantasy, as well as editor-in-chief of the online science fiction and fantasy magazine Jim Baen's Universe, is this week's featured interview.

In a rare interview recorded in front of a live audience, Eric shares anecdotes from behind the scenes of his many collaborations with authors such as David Weber, David Drake, Dave Freer and Mercedes Lackey.

Hosted by Stephen Euin Cobb, this is the January 30, 2008 episode of The Future And You. [Running time: 73 minutes]

A prolific collaborator all through his career, Eric describes the ups and downs of collaborating on a novel: how it works and what goes wrong when it doesn't. A former political activist, he describes the events that lead up to his entering the Writers of The Future Contest, and how winning it changed his life.

Six drunk friends collaborating is how he describes the crude beginnings of what later evolved into his first Joe's World novel.

He also mentions stories about his friend, the late Jim Baen, founder of Baen Books. And he mentions what actions Toni Weisskopf (the new head of Baen Books) used to insure stability at Baen after Jim's untimely passing.

Eric Flint also touches on electronic publishing. He says, Baen is quite aggressive in moving toward electronic publishing. And it would be foolish not to be. Baen is the premier electronic publisher in science fiction; it's not the biggest in print, but it is the biggest in electronic publishing.

Also included is an update on your host's exploration of the online virtual world called Second Life, such as his attending Sophrosyne's Saturday Salon (a weekly gathering of transhumanists, extropians, and other future-minded people hosted by Sophrosyne.) Listener feedback is provided by Peer Infinity, a transhumanist resident of Second Life.

Direct download: TFAY_2008_1_30.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:01 AM


George Dvorsky, executive editor of betterhumans.com, is this week's featured interview. Betterhumans.com is a webzine with News, Articles, and interactive features serving the transhumanist community. George Dvorsky is also the co-founder and president of the Toronto Transhumanist Association and has served on the Board of Directors for the World Transhumanist Association.

One of Canada's leading futurists, activists and award winning bloggers, George Dvorsky has written and spoken extensively about the impacts of cutting-edge science and technology.In this capacity he has been interviewed by: The BBC, Radio Free Europe, and by the British newspaper The Guardian. He's also been on the Canadian television news-magazine The Hour.

Hosted by Stephen Euin Cobb, this is the January 23, 2008 episode of The Future And You. [Running time: 84 minutes]

Topics include:

Why there is a negative perception of transhumanism in the general public, and what we can do about it.

Why the mainstream medical community is working hard to achieve the goals of transhumanism (without realizing it) and will continue to work toward them with or without our encouragement.

The vaccination of children is a perfect example of the transhumanist ideal, George explains, since it is an engineered hyper-immunity produced by technological intervention.

Why the complete end of personal privacy may be unavoidable and imminent.

We as a species find ourselves living with an increasing array of apocalyptic technologies, George says, and we have to learn how to live with these things since we can't un-invent them.

His personal expectations of The Singularity.

Life extension in general, and how long he personally expects to live.

Why the areas of transhumanist thought that remain controversial are those more removed from just keeping people healthy, and more in the direction of making people better than they ever were before. These areas include such things as increasing the human IQ, life extension, and wiring computers directly into the human brain.

As well as many other subjects.

Direct download: TFAY_2008_1_23.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:01 AM


Matt Browne, an IT professional living in Frankfurt Germany, is this week's featured interview. With a Masters degree in Computer Science and Computational Linguistics, Matt Browne has been involved in projects developing natural language processing with a strong focus on machine translation systems.

Hosted by Stephen Euin Cobb, this is the January 16, 2008 episode of The Future And You. [Running time: 87 minutes]

Matt talks about natural language processing and how long it might be before a computer passes the Turing Test; human resistance to the creation of human level artificial intelligences; and how this will lead to the singularity. But also how, long before The Singularity, huge profits will be made with AI applications.

He also describes catastrophic dangers to the human race such as super volcanoes and asteroids, and why this has lead him to become a member of The Life Boat Foundation.

He also covers many of the social and political trends growing in Germany and throughout Europe. Including his observation that prosperity is on the rise in Europe and all around the world; and how it is that English is becoming the common world language, and why the French are not happy about it.

Matt is also the author of the Hard SF novel The Future Happens Twice in which he explores concepts such as: interstellar space colonization using frozen embryos; earth-like extrasolar planets; embryo-splitting technology and artificial wombs; the cryopreservation of human embryos; children being raised by sophisticated androids; and human survival threatened by an impending extinction-level event.

Direct download: TFAY_2008_1_16.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:01 AM


Timothy Zahn, the bestselling author, is this week's featured guest. Possibly best known for his Thrawn Trilogy, which is a series of Star Wars novels set in the time after the movie Return of the Jedi.

Hosted by Stephen Euin Cobb, this is the January 9, 2008 episode of The Future And You. [Running time: 60 minutes]

In this interview Timothy Zahn discusses several of his fears, hopes and worries about the future. He also talks about Wikipedia, Earthlike exoplanets, and how his master's degree in physics contributes both to the hardness of his science fiction and to the strength of his faith in God.

After describing his ideas in science, theology and sociology he lightens the conversation with anecdotes of how he became a Star Wars playing card, as well as a question on the TV game show Jeopardy.

News items in this episode include an announcement that the host of The Future And You (Stephen Euin Cobb) is now inside the virtual world Second Life and is going by the name: Boc Cryotank.
Direct download: TFAY_2008_1_9.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:01 AM


Jack McDevitt, the best selling author, kicks off the show's new weekly format. Each weekly episode will feature a single guest interviewed in greater depth than ever before possible.

Hosted by Stephen Euin Cobb, this is the January 1, 2008 episode of The Future And You. [Running time: 53 minutes]

Jack McDevitt discusses how he has used the internet and email for research; science fiction on TV and in movies; what he learned by being a teacher and a newspaper reporter; and the novels that changed his life which include Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles and the young adult stories in The Voyage of the Space Beagle.

He also talks about writing alternate history involving Sir Arthur Conan Dole's Sherlock Holmes, and he describes one of his favorite science fiction movies, the low-budget but brilliantly written film: Time Quest.

News items include (a) this program's new weekly format (b) our much shorter readings of stories from Jim Baen's Universe Magazine, and (c) Sir Arthur C. Clarke's 90th birthday. The legendary science fiction author celebrated the happy occasion a few weeks ago (December 16, 2007) by posting online a video Birthday Message to the entire world. (Sir Arthur is one of a handful of people who shaped and altered the course of your host's life, and was instrumental in his becoming a transhumanist over 30 years ago.) Listener Feedback includes emails examining whether or not guest interviews on this program should be censored.

Direct download: TFAY_2008_1_1.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:01 AM