Thursday, March 7, 2013

Retro Sci-Fi

I just finished, The Naked Sun, by Isaac Asimov.  Many of the folks I have met in my hacker travels have been rabid sci-fi fans for example Bill "Ches" Cheswick and John Mashey.  I remember as a budding hacker walking to the library and finding what science fiction was available.

The Naked Sun is part of Asimov's robot series and like many of the classic age science fiction authors like Arthur C. Clarke he contributed much to science, in this case the laws of robotics.
  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
Every student taking my HCI class learns these laws since they apply just as well to software.  Although the Golden Age of sci-fi may be considered mundane compared to the Charlie Stross's  and China Mieville's of current sci-fi (more about them in a later posts) they are well worth recreading and have amazing currency to such things as Computer Supported Cooperative Work, CSCW.  Asimov in the book makes a distinction between "seeing" and "viewing" resulting in an interesting plot line strangely current with Yahoo and Best Buys stand on remote work. 

This will not be my last post on past and current scii-fi.  Later!

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