Re: PREDICTION: Naive extrapolation

Damien Broderick (
Tue, 03 Dec 1996 10:14:22 +1000

At 04:25 PM 12/2/96 EST, Gregory Sullivan wrote:

>I highly recommend that anyone interested in thinking about the future read
>one of the classic early articles of prediction based on mathematical
>Science Fiction is Too Conservative
>by G. Harry Stine

>Many of the key ideas behind the notion of a "singularity" are contained in
>this article from 35 years ago. The article also illustrates how simplistic
>extrapolation can lead to wildly inaccurate projections.

Indeed. I asked Stine about this recently, since I'm citing some of his
absurd hyper-predictions in my book THE SPIKE. He didn't back off, simply
replying `Science Fiction is STILL too conservative' (the title of a
follow-up article where he was much more muted). On the other hand, as you
hint, there are aspects of a plausible future that might, indeed, resemble
his projections, although perhaps requiring an extra 50 or 100 years lead
time - rather than 50,000 or 100,000, as Asimovian sf would have suggested.

Damien Broderick