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I attribute a great deal of my ability to tell a story, along with my ability to make sense of a rapidly changing world, to my early obsession with sci-fi. If you've never done a deep dive into Asimov, Clarke, or any of the old masters, do it now!

Then, steal one of Packy's ideas and write your own sci-fi story. It doesn't need to be amazing.

I did it, and it was really fun!

https://goatfury.substack.com/p/the-founders

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Aug 15, 2023Liked by Packy McCormick

I think this is a very cool project. But it's also easy for science fiction to be reduced to imaginative technology.

Science fiction—and speculative fiction more broadly—is often about wrestling with social and cultural questions in the here and now. Authors tackle these challenging questions by inventing worlds that offer the chance to rethink what's possible. Inventing technology is part of the world invention.

We see over and over again that tech-minded entrepreneurs fixate on devices or new capabilities without wrestling with the social and cultural questions that those ideas were meant to elucidate. Often they take "innovations" that authors meant as cautionary tales and recast them as promising and socially beneficial (Jill Lepore's The Evening Rocket does a good job highlighting this).

Ursula K. Le Guin argues that science fiction is a thought experiment for reconsidering our assumptions and habits—writing that the inventions of the genre are "questions, not answers; process, not stasis."

God knows I love the everyday devices I have that look like something straight off the set of ST:TNG! But it's the social and cultural innovation I value most.

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author

Excellent point.

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This is gold. Simultaneously kicking myself for not thinking of this before, but thrilled that you did. Even more thrilled that there other people who were tracking this already.

I don't think we give enough attention to the topline tweet "The only way to not be totally flummoxed by everything that’s going on right now is to have read a lot of sci-fi.” Even if one were to do nothing other than pay attention to these ideas passively, at worst we'd have less visceral reactions when they do pan out.

Also really like the idea of tracking the underlying technologies and precursors to adoption that have to take place before things come to fruition.

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Aug 18, 2023Liked by Packy McCormick

Not sure where I read it, but Sci-Fi has been referred to as "Anthropology of the Future"

This idea slaps if you overlap it with the Sci-Fi Idea Bank and actually see that many ideas have been turned from fiction into reality.

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Aug 16, 2023Liked by Packy McCormick

So good.

This is totally one of those: Why didn't I think of this first? ideas.

A few days before this email, I received Annalee Newitz's newsletter where she mentions: "applied science fiction" and Project Hieroglyph anthology back in 2011, "which was spearheaded by the Center for Science and the Imagination, and inspired by Neal Stephenson’s idea that we should write SF about solving big problems." This is especially true right now when it seems we face impossible-to-solve social and problems while at the same time seeing many great things happening.

I could see hardcore SF readers going through both the spreadsheet and Technovelgy taking issue with authors/ideas that were missed. But that's not the point. The point is clear: Read more SF. It's where you're going to find ideas.

I know I'll be going down this rabbit hole for a while.

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"Ideas precede reality." next one about how ideas are living beings, who use Humans as hosts? :)

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Aug 16, 2023Liked by Packy McCormick

This was my first newsletter after subscribing. Living up your name certainly! You went in on this idea. Feeling very grateful for this type of content. Lots to unpack!!

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Aug 15, 2023Liked by Packy McCormick

Wow. Wonderful idea and I can't wait to play with the spreadsheet and learn about how you created it using Claude.

I'm not sure if this idea is true reality yet, but do you recall the Black Mirror episode where a woman conversed with (and fell in love with) an AI programmed to replicate her dead boyfriend?

I've got to think that if you fed ChatGPT everything that a person had written or had been written about that person, you could interrogate it after the person died and keep him "alive" in some sense.

I'm sure someone has done this by now. Another illustration of sci-fi anticipating reality, this time on a compressed timeline.

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Aug 15, 2023Liked by Packy McCormick

An excellent article and dataset, thank you. At some point I will compare my library of hard copy books to the list, there will be a lot in common.

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Interesting article; 26% of Sci -Fi already exists! Wow. Just finished listening to Lex Fridman's podcast with Joscha Bach. Mind blower. Check it out.

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author

So good!

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Aug 15, 2023Liked by Packy McCormick

Philip K Dick is the GOAT because he had a literal belief that he had memories of dystopian worlds that were changed by God through "orthogonal times" - so what does that say about concepts in his stories made into products? LOL

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQbYiXyRZjM

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Wow... This may be the most excited a Google Sheets has ever made me feel, which is saying a lot!

I think it is the case that humans exist in potential, forage for knowledge, and act to manifest a vision of the future that could make all of our lives better.

The Sci-Fi idea bank is step 2 (step 1 being the idea imagined in sci-fi) to attempt to bring these exciting and beautiful visions of the future to reality.

Thanks for taking the time to make this!

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Here's one that I'm working on, that grants you successive life cycles. humanism.substack.com

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🤌

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author

🤌

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Aug 16, 2023·edited Aug 16, 2023

What do you mean when you say bits or atoms?

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Bits - Software products

Atoms - Hardware products

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Thank you

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This is amazing! The website links are indeed a goldmine.

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