A couple of weeks ago I was having lunch with a mathematician I know and he was talking about his struggles to work out citizenship in the US because his home country of Germany forbids dual citizenship unless a very strict level of hardship can be proven. However, his lawyer said that because he could not receive things such as NSA grants without US citizenship and not being able to receive such things would be considered a legitimate hardship, the German government might make an exception. At the time of this conversation, I flashed on Good Will Hunting, recalling the scene in which Will turns down a seemingly super-sexy, exclusive and lucrative offer from the NSA because of all the terrible intended/unintended consequences his work would likely produce.
Today, just by chance, I came across this Kurt Vonnegut interview discussing Cat’s Cradle and the lack of conscience scientists often display in their blind pursuit of scientific or mathematical truths and their blithe indifference as to who will use their work and how. Vonnegut, who learned this the hard way between the nuclear bomb and a tenure at GE, was so articulate on this so far ahead of everyone else. It’s a bit of a raw piece of video so beware:
My book, American Catfight: Political Wisdom for Women is being released in eBook for the Nook reader and the iPad for Women’s History Month which begins on Tuesday. This edition is joining the paperback that came out last March and the Kindle edition.
Now back to some science fiction writing…
Cisco is currently showing its new hologram technology at expos around the globe. There’s something about the front of the figure showing on both sides of the hologram that reminds me of those pictures of Jesus in which the eyes seemingly follow you no matter where you are.
Mark Mitchell at Front Porch Republic has a ton of questions about how this may change communications and human relations. My feeling is “not much” for a long while. Skype has already freed the public to connect pretty similarly in the visual sense without having to purchase direct access to satellite feeds. The issue is accessibility in that many do not have the means to Skype because they lack either the equipment to do so (computer with audio and video AND good lighting) or a fast and stable internet access. Hologram tech requires no less.
But probably and most importantly, the real threshold test of popular technology is portability. Video calling is sure to be coming to everyone’s cell phone fairly soon but if the hologram isn’t portable, it is severely limited.
Frankly, I like being able to make voice-only phone calls in my pajamas and no one on the other end is the wiser.