Tag Archives: FAQ

Charlie Stross’ 21st Century crystal ball

Charles StrossIf you’ve not caught it already, you should get over to Charlie Stross’s blog and check out his 21st Century FAQ; it’s your source of rant fodder for the coming week.

For example, in answer to the question “[w]hich of (Socialism | Capitalism | Libertarianism | Fascism | Democracy) is going to save us?”:

We’re still waiting for the definitive ideological polarity of the internet era to emerge, although Bruce Schneier has opined that the key political hot potato of the 21st century will be the question, “how do we maintain the concept of privacy in an age of ubiquitous communications and surveillance”, and some believe that privacy is already dead. Given the way Moore’s Law is taking us towards an essentially unlimited ability to record everything, I’m not able to argue with the inevitability of surveillance: what I’d dispute is the morality of it.

Responses and counter-arguments are cropping up already, naturally enough; for example, here’s Brian Wang refuting Stross’s claim that space colonisation and the Singularity are non-starters:

We know we can send people into interplanetary space for several days (Apollo). We could easily make the trip to Mars in days [using the Orion nuclear rocket configuration] and then onto to Jupiter in days. We could bring supplies, radiation protection in cargo that is equivalent to several great pyramids or how many loaded aircraft carriers equivalents.

Plenty of material for discussion for the more geeky water-cooler meet-ups. [image by Patrick Nielsen-Hayden]

So, do we reckon Charlie Stross is a fox or a hedgehog?