Tag Archives: gregory benford

MIND MELD: Science Fictional Technologies That Are Just Around the Corner

[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

Nanotechnology, lifelike robots, Google Glass, Invisibility Metamaterials, and 3-D Printing are just the beginning. Many technologies that recently existed only in the pages of a science fiction novel are becoming reality. We asked this week’s panelists:

Q: What science fictional technologies do you think are right on the horizon and will become part of our everyday lives in the next ten years?

Here’s what our panelists had to say…

Ken Liu
Ken Liu’s fiction has appeared in F&SF, Asimov’s, Analog, Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, and Clarkesworld, among other places. He has won a Nebula, two Hugos, a World Fantasy Award, and a Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation Award, and been nominated for the Sturgeon and the Locus Awards. He lives near Boston with his family.

Advances in artificial intelligence are not making many headlines these days, but I think within the next decade computer thinking will make inroads in many areas touching our lives. The reason advances in AI don’t seem very “science fictional” to us is that we keep on moving the goal post: computers now can beat humans at chess, answer Jeopardy questions, understand and transcribe your speech, translate in real time, and make billions on the stock market. While most people still seem “skeptical” about whether computers can think, we already live in a science fictional world.

Perhaps two areas will challenge our comfort. One is the military. Right now, military computers are still used in a way that is “supervised” by human decision makers. The drones that are in the news so much are operated by remote pilots, and targeting systems make recommendations, leaving the final decision to kill up to the human (though some have already described the human oversight as “illusory”). But the machinery of war has a relentless logic: eventually, human oversight will be seen as too slow and error-prone and undependable. We will have fully automated robots fighting our wars, where the decision to fire and kill will be made by machines alone—human oversight, if any, will be limited to the crafting of the algorithms governing these systems.
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Watch a Live Video Session with SF legends Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle & Gregory Benford

Starship Sofa is hosting an Event that promises to be nothing short of fascinating. It’s a live video session with science fiction legends Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle & Gregory Benford!

Moderated by the Sofa’s own Tony C. Smith, the event takes place Sunday, the 21st of April from 18:00 to 19:30 (BST).

Join science fictions legends Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle and Gregory Benford as they talk about science fiction, technology, Ringworlds, Big Dumb Objects and a whole universe of wonders.

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VIDEO: Gregory Benford and Larry Niven @Google

Gregory Benford and Larry Niven, who recently collaborated on The Bowl of Heaven,

From YouTube:

Larry Niven & Gregory Benford, two of the most respected authors of hard science fiction, talk about their new book Bowl of Heaven and the concept of stories about “big dumb objects” as a sub-genre. They review prior stories (including Ringworld by Niven) and then talk about the physics of the “big smart object” that is the Bowl of Heaven — a half dyson-sphere steering a star on an interstellar voyage.

Also: Pay attention at 44:44 for news on the Ringworld movie!
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Cover & Synopsis: “Bowl of Heaven” by Gregory Benford & Larry Niven

Here’s the cover art and synopsis of the upcoming novel Bowl of Heaven by Gregory Benford & Larry Niven.

Here’s the synopsis:

In this first collaboration by science fiction masters Larry Niven (Ringworld) and Gregory Benford (Timescape), the limits of wonder are redrawn once again as a human expedition to another star system is jeopardized by an encounter with an astonishingly immense artifact in interstellar space: a bowl-shaped structure half-englobing a star, with a habitable area equivalent to many millions of Earths…and it’s on a direct path heading for the same system as the human ship.

A landing party is sent to investigate the Bowl, but when the explorers are separated—one group captured by the gigantic structure’s alien inhabitants, the other pursued across its strange and dangerous landscape—the mystery of the Bowl’s origins and purpose propel the human voyagers toward discoveries that will transform their understanding of their place in the universe.

Book info as per Amazon US:

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (October 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765328410
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765328410

FREE AUDIOBOOK: “A Hunger for the Infinite: A Galactic Center Story” by Gregory Benford

File 770 notes that the audiobook version of A Hunger for the Infinite: A Galactic Center Story by Gregory Benford is avilable as a free download at audible.com.

A Hunger for the Infinite, which first appeared in Robert Silverberg’s Far Horizons anthology, is a novella that takes place in the universe of “The Galactic Center Saga”, detailing a galactic war between mechanical and biological life. Here, the pilots had made it to True Center in order to destroy something, anything, important to the Mechs, but Paris had something else on his mind. A story of the Mantis, and the decline of humans beginning in 3600 AD.

MIND MELD MAKE-UP: Gregory Benford’s Introduction to Science Fiction and Fantasy

We have a late entry in a previous Mind Meld, What Was Your Introduction to Fantasy and Science Fiction?…and we here at SF Signal couldn’t resist sharing it with you!

Q: Where, when and how were you introduced to Fantasy and Science Fiction?

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