Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"The point sticks in your head: physics rules. Virtue does not triumph unless the physics allows it."
- Larry Niven

Personal Interest Profile (PIP)  
  A set of topics about which you would like to hear the latest news; known today as Google News Alerts.  

The principal engineer in charge of the space elevator project liked to keep up on the relevant news on his area of interest; so, he set up his Personal Interest Profile to make sure that his computer searched for what he needed in the flood of global news items.

But the same technology that had eliminated one set of tasks had created even more demanding successors. Of these, perhaps the most important was the design of the Personal Interest Profile.

Most men updated their PIP on New Year's Day, or their birthday. Morgan's list contained fifty items; he had heard of people with hundreds. They must spend all their waking hours battling with the flood of information, unless they were like those notorious pranksters who enjoyed setting up News Alerts on their consoles for such classic improbabilities as: Eggs, Dinosaur, hatching of
Circle, squaring of
Atlantis, re-emergence of
Christ, Second Coming of
Loch Ness Monster, capture of
or finally
World, end of

Usually, of course, egotism and professional requirements ensured that the subscriber's own name was the first item on every list. Morgan was no exception, but the entries that followed were slightly unusual:
Tower, orbital
Tower, space
Tower, (geo) synchronous
Elevator, space
Elevator, orbital
Elevator, (geo) synchronous

These names covered most of the variations used by the media, and ensured that he saw at least ninety percent of the news items concerning the project. The vast majority of these were trivial, and sometimes he wondered if it was worth searching for them - the ones that really mattered would reach him quickly enough.

From The Fountains of Paradise, by Arthur C. Clarke.
Published by Ballantine in 1978
Additional resources -

Today's reader will doubtless recognize the PIP as nothing less than the Google News Alert service. The Google Alerts were first beta'd in August of 2003. Just a quarter of a century after Clarke published the idea.

Compare this idea with the very similar interests profile from Frederik Pohl's 1966 novel The Age of the Pussyfoot.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 2 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Fountains of Paradise
  More Ideas and Technology by Arthur C. Clarke
  Tech news articles related to The Fountains of Paradise
  Tech news articles related to works by Arthur C. Clarke

Personal Interest Profile (PIP)-related news articles:
  - Yotify Scouts Work The Web For You
  - Wavii Follows Your Selected News
  - Should You Put Your Virtual Assistants In Your Will?

Articles related to Media
'Facetime Facelift' Beautifies Video Chats
Meeting Wendy Of Wendy's
Narrative Science And Phil Dick's Homeostatic Newspaper
BookTrack Adds Sound To Books

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

Jaguar I-Pace Audible Vehicle Alert System For EVs
'Of course not a vehicle moved by means of internal explosions of a derivative of rock oil...'

Autonomous 'Fiberbots' Weave Large Structures
'It extrudes material like a spider.'

Birds Aren't Real - Wake Up, California! (With Bird Watching Guide)
'When he had first built them, they had been crude indeed, flying mechanisms with little more than a reflex-response unit.'

Self-Healing Material Pulls Carbon Out Of The Air
'... could seal the punctures.'

IRL Glasses Block Screens, Limit Vision To Real Life
'If you couldn't see the ads, how would you know what was fashionable?'

Testing The Single-Person Spacecraft
'...the lower part of the suit was simply a rigid cylinder.'

Shapeshifting Materials Transform By Light
'Its lines wavered, flowed, and then painfully reformed.'

Fully Automated Farm Iron Ox Hydroponics
'Had these machines in some incredible fashion been provided with brains?'

BrainNet Social Network Of Brains
'I used my implant to tell MILLIE what we wanted and she took care of it'

Phil Nuyttnn's City Under The Sea
'Under the lower roof there was no water, but a clear and luminous atmosphere...'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.