James Burke predicted the future in 1973. Now he does it again.

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jamesb
Forty years ago for Radio Times, the scientist and broadcaster James Burke predicted events in 1993. He got a lot right. So we asked him in to PM this afternoon to predict the future. The sound begins with an actor reading from the original article, written by Tony Peagam.
Contributed by eddiemair
11 months ago
14 comments
TheEarlofBootle

Technology guru Mr. Burke may be, but the notion that a nano-factory could be used to 'make a piece of gold' betrays a lack of understanding of the underlying physics. Whilst a nano-factory could indeed conceivably stitch a bunch of atoms or molecules into a greater whole (a watch, say), there's nothing you can put together to make a pure element such as gold - except other, lighter elements, and to obtain a heavy element would require the extraordinary conditions of heat and pressure that reign in the collapse of a supermassive star - as first proposed by Fred Hoyle.

TheEarlofBootle 10 months ago

Robotperson

@zebcassgreen There is no relationship between your inability to buy into this vision and the likelihood it will actually take place.

Robotperson 10 months ago

Arch9enius

Governments will still find a justification for their wage packets; personal safety and national identity being two that spring to mind. So will intellectual copyright holders: You won’t pay for the materials, but the design.
Replace villages with endless suburban sprawl and I think he's not far off the truth. However, I think cities will be far from obsolete; the land houses are built on will still cost money, and cities are pretty much where ideas have always been banged off one another. I have never heard of any bands coming from villages, and no hipster is going to live on top of a mountain.
PS better make those nanomolecular assemblers as good at disassembling 'stuff', or you can add colossal landfills to endless suburbia.

Arch9enius 10 months ago

Arch9enius

"They must live for one another; because if they don't , there will be anarchy"
Anarchism is about collectivism as much as individualism.
"Holographic meetings negate the need for HS2."
People will always wonder what is over the next hill. And business is as good a reason to go see. Especially if the firm's paying.
"Conceiving a child with the help of drugs"
That was commonplace by 1993.

Arch9enius 10 months ago

zebcassgreen

Great final comment about pessimists but I do think that he has lost the plot a little bit here and gone just a bit too 'Sci-Fi'. Complete collapse of global government and society brought on by our own nano-factories! Come on James, your predictions were so good in '73, I was expecting a similar level of precision for the next 40 years but I just can't buy into this.

zebcassgreen 11 months ago

benaldo

This is it @sssliverpool - just need to let it run... (I had the same confusion though...)

benaldo 11 months ago