Re: Question from Wired Magazine

Brian D Williams (
Wed, 23 Jun 1999 12:43:17 -0700 (PDT)

From: Alex Heard <>

>Greetings, Extropians, this is Alex Heard ... I'm an editor at
>Wired magazine. We're planning an issue on futurism for later this
>year. The basic idea is to look at various future-y things we all
>want but don't have yet -- life extension, citizens-in-space,
>better computers, personal flying machines, teleporting, head
>transplants* -- and unapologetically ask: Why don't we have them
>and when the heck are we getting them?

>We're trying to combine a sense of fun with serious reporting
>about these topics. If you have a chance, please email me here or
>at to discuss things you'd like to see in the
>issue, suggest ideas, sources, other people we should talk to,
>etc. Our hope is not to redo the same old ideas, but come up with
>things that will seem fresh and interesting to people like you,
>who think about these issues more intelligently than most people.

>I look forward to hearing from you ...

One thing you may wish to do is contact Max More about attending EXTRO-4, that should give you plenty of material.

Life Extension: This will become a growing interest in the population as more people it is not only possible to live to 100+ but live a high quality life beyond 100+. I believe the changes will continue to be incremental till the sum of them is a highly expanded lifetime. This incrementalism was portrayed in Linda Nagata's (someone to talk to...) "Tech Heaven." As the realization of longer life hit's home there will be an increase in the number of people who sign up for cryonics. Technology will have increased to the level that coin operated streetcorner MRI's will exist to diagnose and possibly treat illness.

Citizens in space: The high cost of space flight will limit this to the private citizen for awhile, but it is only a matter of time till the first manned Mar's expedition (less than 20 years) and unlike the moon mission it will be followed by terraforming. See Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy.

Better computers: Happening every day, computers/networks will fill everyday appliances, (ubiquitous computing, Xerox PARC) and such things as handheld A.I.'s will exist. (William Gibson, "Mona Lisa Overdrive).

Personnal Flying Machines: Moeller's still at it, but because of energy requirements it will be a rich persons toy, little else. Cars will evolve based on things like the Hypercar project going on at Argonne National Labs, and the smart roadway projects, it will be possible to go from point to point on autopilot.

Teleportation: long ways down the technology curve....

Head Transplants: Why bother, it will be possible to rebuild/repair the human body before this.

I share the view that Nanotechnology is just around the corner, and this will of course alter everything.

I think things will be very interesting economically as more of the world's population climbs the economic curve. People are getting more sophisticated economically. I'm still middle class as were my parents, but I didn't have a portfolio till my 20's, my nieces and nephews had them before they were 5.

I think there is a very interesting trend happening in agriculture. At the same time Campbell's is spending millions on developing the high-tech "flavor-savr' tomato, new seed companies have brought back heirloom variety and created new ones. Farms that went under growing monocultural products are being replanted as market gardens supplying restaurants like Chez Pannesse and Charlie Trotters with dozens of exotic vegetables. The word is biodiversity, see the book "Seeds Of Change".

Just a couple of thoughts....

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