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DAVID BRIN's hyperforum poll

What will tomorrow be like? Human beings are fascinated by the future. We project our thoughts into unknown territory, using the brain's talented prefrontal lobes to explore and envision, sometimes even noticing a few errors in time to evade them.

Here's a poll I created to accompany an article I wrote, "The Odd Way We Design Our Destiny," in conjunction with the TV show Closer to Truth's Roundtable: Can We See the Near Future — 25 Years?, with host Robert Lawrence Kuhn; creativity pioneer Edward de Bono; artificial intelligence expert Edward Feigenbaum; fuzzy logic expert Bart Kosko; futurist Graham T.T. Molitor; and planetary scientist Bruce Murray. Test your knowledge about progress — and share your replies with others, if you're so inclined.

Copyright © 1994, 2012. All rights reserved.

positive & negative impacts on our future

ask yourself — and others

Which field of human endeavor will bring about the greatest positive impact in the next 25 years?
Advances in physical science (e.g., allowing access to the resources of space).
Advances in biology (e.g., extending human lifespan or intelligence).
Advances in cybernetics and related fields (e.g., creating intelligent or hyper-intelligent machines).
Advances in human sanity, behavior and understanding.
Can you think of other positive impacts not mentioned above?

Which field of human endeavor will bring about the greatest negative impact in the next 25 years?
Advances in physical science (e.g., allowing access to the resources of space).
Advances in biology (e.g., extending human lifespan or intelligence).
Advances in cybernetics and related fields (e.g., creating intelligent or hyper-intelligent machines).
Advances in human sanity, behavior and understanding.
Can you think of other negative impacts not mentioned above?

positive and negative impacts on our future


"If there's an old lady living in a small town and she gets mugged, the quality of life for every old lady in that town is seriously impaired. Living longer is not the same as better quality of life." — Edward de Bono

read Pew Research Center, "Public Sees Science and Technology as Net Positives for Society"

read Human Kinetics, "Technology Can Have Positive and Negative Impact on Social Interactions"

read Joshua Basofin, "The Net Positive Principles"

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our carrying capacity

ask yourself — and others

What, in your opinion, is the optimal sustainable human population of Earth, assuming that technology keeps advancing?

Less that one billion.
One to three billions.
Three to six billions.
Six to twelve billions.
Much more than twelve billions.

our carrying capacity



read Georgia Tech Biology 1510 Principles, "Population Ecology"

read Joel E. Cohen, "Population Growth and Earth's Human Carrying Capacity"

read John J. Hidore, "Human Population Growth Challenges Global Carrying Capacity"

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a future for the nation-state?

ask yourself — and others

Will nation states continue to be important 50 years from now?
As important or more so.
Less important but still valuable for organizing largescale efforts.
Unimportant because of World Government.
Unimportant because power will devolve to individuals and self-organizing groups.
Some combination of the above.

a future for the nation-state?


"At the end of the Twentieth Century there were about 193 countries registered with the United Nations. I would think, as countries continue to divide along language lines and others, that 25 years from now there will be more like 400" [nations or semi-autonomous regions]. — Bart Kosko

"That can mobilize their own army?" — Robert Lawrence Kuhn

read Keith Suter, "Four Scenarios for the Future of the Nation State"

read Andres Turay, "Is There a Future for the Nation-State in an Era of Globalization?"

read Jamie Bartlett, "The End of a World of Nation-States May Be Upon Us"

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the future of science?

ask yourself — and others

Scientific advances suggest that:
Destructive powers will become available to ever-smaller groups of angry people.
Error-detecting and problem-solving tools will become available to ever more numerous groups of sincere people.
Artificial intelligence and nanotechnology may enable humans to redesign themselves in fantastic ways.
Artificial intelligence and nanotechnology may enable new forms of "life" to overtake or replace humanity.
All of the above are possible.

the future of science?



read Kevin Kelly, "Speculations on the Future of Science"

read Iris Kisjes, "Five Big Questions About the Future of Science"

read Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science, "The Future of Science and Technology"

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which future will you choose to create?

ask yourself — and others

Choose which statement you agree with:
My own favorite ideology is a good approximation of what it will take to make a better civilization.
It will be enough to raise a next generation that is measurably saner and better educated than ours; it's none of our business to prescribe their model of utopia.

Choose which statement you agree with:
Human decency and justice haven't kept pace with technological progress.
Wealth and technology have helped us start to address ancient injustices, maturing enough to face new challenges.

which future will you choose to create?


"Why, in most of the futuristic studies that we see, are wars and these types of national conflicts not discussed very seriously?" — Robert Lawrence Kuhn

"Because they are too optimistic. And not just optimistic, they are too hopeful; they're trying to inject a hopeful vision in the hope that will make it more likely to happen." — Bruce Murray

read Dan Abelow, "If Our Future Is Digital, How Will It Change the World?"

read Vivek Wadhwa, "How Our Technology Choices Will Create the Future"

read Lolly Daskal, "10 Wise Choices Today That Will Lead to a Successful Future"

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a brief intro to science fiction author DAVID BRIN

To learn more, visit his books page, or see his "about me" page or detailed biography.



David Brin's science fiction novels have been New York Times Bestsellers, winning multiple Hugo, Nebula and other awards. At least a dozen have been translated into more than twenty languages. They range from bold and prophetic explorations of our near-future to Brin's Uplift series, envisioning galactic issues of sapience and destiny (and star-faring dolphins!). Learn More

shorter fiction

Short stories and novellas have different rhythms and artistic flavor, and Brin's short stories and novellas, several of which earned Hugo and other awards, exploit that difference to explore a wider range of real and vividly speculative ideas. Many have been selected for anthologies and reprints, and most have been published in anthology form. Learn More

Contrary Brin blog

Since 2004, David Brin has maintained a blog about science, technology, science fiction, books, and the future — themes his science fiction and nonfiction writings continue to explore. Learn More

social media influencer

Who could've predicted that social media — indeed, all of our online society — would play such an important role in the 21st Century — restoring the voices of advisors and influencers! Lively and intelligent comments spill over onto Brin's social media pages. Learn More

DAVID BRIN scientist


David Brin's Ph.D in Physics from the University of California at San Diego (the lab of nobelist Hannes Alfven) followed a masters in optics and an undergraduate degree in astrophysics from Caltech. Every science show that depicts a comet now portrays the model developed in Brin's PhD research. Learn More

transparency expert

Brin's non-fiction book, The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Freedom and Privacy?, continues to receive acclaim for its accuracy in predicting 21st Century concerns about online security, secrecy, accountability and privacy. Learn More

speaker & consultant

Brin speaks plausibly and entertainingly about trends in technology and society to audiences willing to confront the challenges that our rambunctious civilization will face in the decades ahead. He also talks about the field of science fiction, especially in relation to his own novels and stories. To date he has presented at more than 200 meetings, conferences, corporate retreats and other gatherings.Learn More

future/tech advisor

Brin advises corporations and governmental and private defense- and security-related agencies about information-age issues, scientific trends, future social and political trends, and education. Urban Developer Magazine named him one of four World's Best Futurists, and he was cited as one of the top 10 writers the AI elite follow. Past consultations include Google, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, and many others. Learn More

Contacting BRIN

All the Ways in the World to Reach David Brin

an ornery, contrary BLOG, and other insightful wormholes!

Do not enter if you want a standard "Party" line! Contrary Brin's incendiary posts on science, sci-fi and politics and its engaged, opinionated community poke at too-rigid orthodoxies, proposing ideas and topics that fascinate — and infuriate. See for yourself, and if you like — subscribe for more.

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