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VWN Product Reviews: Profiles of the Future: An Inquiry into the Limits of the Possible

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Site Shop > Profiles of the Future: An Inquiry into the Limits of the Possible




This book was originally produced in 1962, heralding Arthur?s predictions of the future of mankind, from a technological standpoint, across all sectors of industry and life. It was based on his own essays, written during the period 1959 - 1961.

Since it was concerned with ultimate possibilities, and not with achievements to be expected in the near future, even the post 2000 technological acceleration has dented many of the predictions within it. However, the author went over the book in the early 2000s, editing most of the chapters, and explaining where his predictions went wrong and why. To this end, he devotes two new chapters of the book to "Hazards of Prophecy."

He also added a new chapter to the end of the book, "The Obolescence of Man", which is the chapter of primary interest to us, for it deals with the ways in which technology eventually supersedes mankind, and discusses virtual reality and robotics in quite some depth.

"Artificial memories, if they could be composed, taped and then fed into the brain by electrical or other means, would be a form of vicarious experience, far more vivid (because affecting all the senses) than anything that could ever be produced by the massed resources of Hollywood. They would, indeed, be the ultimate form of entertainment ? a fictitious experience more real than reality. It has been questioned whether people would want to live waking lives at all, if dream factories could fulfill every waking desire at the cost of a few pence of electricity."

- Profiles of the Future, Page: 183

 

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