Date: Sat, 9 Feb 2008 13:37:35 -0800
Subject: Re: [orions_arm] Tech and S levels (was Re: Amat Fusion Drive)

"This is a 'computer'. It can function as an abacus, orrery, very large wax tablet, or an automaton, controlling light as well as machinery. It works via *extremely tiny* clockwork, which is so complex that you can tell it to switch between states so as to imitate multiple automata. Oh, and the Epicureans are mostly right, Ptolemy."

Leaves out a lot, but I think just that would be enough to let Ptolemy or Leonardo go "hmm". You'd have to work the Cro-Magnon up a bit.

> even conceive of. How much of even the most forward looking SF over
> the last few decades conceived of the sort of super individualized
> communication and data access technology that we take for granted today? 

googling a bit for science fiction predictions: http://www.trivia-library.com/b/science-fiction-predictions-hugo-gernsback-part-1.htm
http://www.trivia-library.com/b/science-fiction-predictions-jules-verne.htm
http://www.trivia-library.com/b/science-fiction-predictions-h-g-wells.htm

A bunch of things from
http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/ctnlistPubDate.asp

http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/content.asp?Bnum=573 -- mechanical book writing, sort of, in Gulliver's Travels
http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/content.asp?Bnum=682 -- debit card in 1888, Bellamy
http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/content.asp?Bnum=753 -- TiVo 1889, Verne
http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/content.asp?Bnum=762 -- personal video player, 1899, Wells

http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/content.asp?Bnum=924 -- the effects of a networked society, Wells, 1899
http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/content.asp?Bnum=667 -- telemedicine, Forster 1909
http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/content.asp?Bnum=664 -- personalized news, Gernsback, 1911

http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/content.asp?Bnum=775 -- wireless voicemail, possibly from a public access point. Wells 1923

http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/content.asp?Bnum=1030 Singularity, in 1935

> True Star Trek showed us those nifty communicators which inspired > people to invent the cell phone. But such tech seems to have always

Debuted in 1936, apparently. Don't know who was using them. http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/content.asp?Bnum=1287

more military
http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/content.asp?Bnum=818

1937 nanotech
http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/content.asp?Bnum=1008

http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/content.asp?Bnum=1221 1938: man sends telepresence robot to a date.

http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/content.asp?Bnum=248 Google News on a TiVo, with implication that other models (but not this one) have commercial removal. In 1941.

http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/content.asp?Bnum=1006 von Neumann machine in 1941, 7 years before Von Neumann's lecture.

http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/content.asp?Bnum=1096 -- Google services, Leinster, 1946

http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/content.asp?Bnum=745
http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/content.asp?Bnum=595 1948, 1953 cell phone, with things like "your phone is going off" and "I left it in my other suit, to get some peace and quiet". Also a 1951 "pommel phone". Background on Heinlein and leaving pocketphones behind.

http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/content.asp?Bnum=1182 1954 RFID implants

http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/content.asp?Bnum=593 networked electronic banking, 1956

http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/content.asp?Bnum=1033 cell phone nicknames, 1961? entry might be confused with the wireless PDA (phone, credit card, library, intelligent agent, virtual kisser...) of 1965:
http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/content.asp?Bnum=1026 (also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joymaker)

Clarke's Minisec from Imperial Earth, 1976. Wikipedia adds "Clarke describes in great detail throughout the book a personal communications device called a 'minisec' combining mobile video phone and PDA with global data connectivity."

PDAs in SF

I'm honestly pretty surprised, I didn't think SF had this good a record.

> agencies or corporations. The idea that everyone all the way down to
> children would all but take it for granted that they would have a
> phone in their pocket or that people would just download music from
> the internet (even in those stories that conceived of some sort of
> data network) or communicate via text messaging on those same phones
> doesn't seem to have appeared in any SF I can remember reading/seeing
> in the 80s and 90s.  The same sort of thing is likely to continue into

Down to children, or downloading music, not as such; multifunction devices, with romantic potential, yes.