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:

A bunch of things from -- mechanical book writing, sort of, in Gulliver's Travels -- debit card in 1888, Bellamy -- TiVo 1889, Verne -- personal video player, 1899, Wells -- the effects of a networked society, Wells, 1899 -- telemedicine, Forster 1909 -- personalized news, Gernsback, 1911 -- wireless voicemail, possibly from a public access point. Wells 1923 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.

more military

1937 nanotech 1938: man sends telepresence robot to a date. Google News on a TiVo, with implication that other models (but not this one) have commercial removal. In 1941. von Neumann machine in 1941, 7 years before Von Neumann's lecture. -- Google services, Leinster, 1946 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. 1954 RFID implants networked electronic banking, 1956 cell phone nicknames, 1961? entry might be confused with the wireless PDA (phone, credit card, library, intelligent agent, virtual kisser...) of 1965: (also see

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.