Re Google: William Gibson, Read More SF

In today's New York Times, William Gibson says that "Science fiction never imagined Google," and continues:

"We have yet to take Google’s measure. We’ve seen nothing like it before, and we already perceive much of our world through it. We would all very much like to be sagely and reliably advised by our own private genie; we would like the genie to make the world more transparent, more easily navigable."

Gibson gets even more specific, and quotes an earlier interview with Google's CEO Eric Schmidt:

"I actually think most people don't want Google to answer their questions," he [Schmidt] elaborates. "They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next."

As it turns out, science fiction writer Frederik Pohl has imagined this future rather precisely in his 1965 novel Age of the Pussyfoot. In the story, every person is provided with a Joymaker, which is a kind of voice-enabled smartphone. Starting in childhood, the Joymaker mediates all of a person's social and life activities, learning everything there is to know about that user's individual tastes.

The capacity to make these determinations lies in the backbone network that serves the Joymakers:

"...Have you filled out an interests profile?"

"I don't think so."

"Oh, do! Then it will tell you what programs are on, what parties you will be welcomed at, who you would wish to know. It's terrible to go on impulse, Charles," she said earnestly. "Let the joymaker help you."

..."I don't understand," he said. "You mean I should let the joymaker decide what I'm going to do for fun?"

"Of course. There's so much. How could you know what you would like?"

The Joymaker does precisely what Eric Schmidt envisions that Google will someday be able to do.

Read more sf, Mr. Gibson. Especially the old stuff.

Find out more about how reality has aligned itself with Pohl's Joymaker ideas:

  - Cellular Phone Robot And iPhone - Joymaker Wannabes
  - GOOG-411 Google's Free Talking Phone Search
  - Wellness Mobile Phone Personal Trainer In A Cellphone
  - DoCoMo S0703i Smellular Phone Makes Scents
  - Ribbit Amphibian Cellphone Internet Mashup
  - iPhones For Freshmen At ACU
  - What Apple Could Learn From SF: iPhone As Mediator
  - SIRI Virtual Assistant Like Pohl's Joymaker

See Mr. Gibson's op ed piece at Google's Earth, and the Eric Schmidt interview. Gibson fans will rejoice in the eighty sf ideas and inventions of William Gibson and the sixty William Gibson SF in the News stories right here at Technovelgy.com.

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