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It’s the GENE MAPPER giveaway contest!

by nickmamatas

Happy June, all! We are super-excited for this month’s release, Taiyo Fujii’s hard SF novel Gene Mapper! The book has already received a great review from Publishers Weekly, which called it a new kind of cyberpunk novel. it’s near-future, scientific, and strangely whimsical in a way.

Gene Mapper is a story about a lot of “next steps.” The Internet has been replaced and upgraded; Augmented Reality is commonplace, as are genetically modified organisms. So that’s our theme for this week’s contest—what’s next? What emerging technology are you most interested in? Frightened of? (Don’t say jetpacks! There won’t be any jetpacks!) Tell us about it in a comment below: be serious, be funny, provide links, write a poem. Communicate in English, Japanese, Spanish, German, or Greek. We’ll read it. The best four will win a hard copy of Gene Mapper.

The future is now!

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15 Responses to “It’s the GENE MAPPER giveaway contest!”

  1. Seth Ellis says:

    I’ve already preordered Gene Mapper, so give it to somebody else, but the question is one I’ve been thinking about so here’s my answer anyway: particulate mechanics, also known as nanotechnology, and its extrapolation into smart substances—that is, new materials that contain responsive algorithms. Tiny simple machines that, in the aggregate, can perform increasingly complex functions; combine with this advances in 3d printing, and imagine the ability to print yourself a doorknob that can read your body temperature and communicate to the other smart substances in your house. Fascinating and creepy! The haunted objects of the future.

  2. Carl Tropea says:

    According to physicist Michio Kaku in his book ” Future of the Mind”, there are neuro-scientists already creating primitive photo imaging of human thoughts . Imagine if in the future we can communicate with thought imagery alone , bypassing language. Will there be greater understanding? Will we lose any sense of private thought ? Will lies be made impossible? Will we better understand the mentally ill? Will humans build a collective ” swarm” consciousness? Or will it be used for nefarious purposes of control? The future could well be fantastic.

  3. Sean Melican says:

    i imagine we will see more targeted advertising, similar to MINORITY REPORT but not linked to retinas but to purchases. . Right now B&N has ‘recommendation for you’ and ‘people who bought this book also bought’. As our TV viewing habits and computer purchasing become more personalized a la Netflix, Hulu, On Demand, Amazon, etc. and less traditional viewing and shopping, advertisers will need to find ways to reach their audience but it will be be better targeted based on the particular shows you watch. With more data comes more specificity, similar to the way Karl Rove targeted ads to very specific groups.

  4. Dr. Phil says:

    Human machine interfaces are coming. WiFi, USB cables — it might be like living in the world of Ghost in the Shell. But… what terrifies me is the unanticipated costs to early adopters. What if it’s addictive? What if long-term it shorts out or calcifies the neural networks? What if there’s long term scarring, irritation, infection intrusions, corrosion through the interface graft? You could die, be damaged or, after seeing the new world, be disconnected from it forever. What version 1.0 adoptees? Having done one operation, you might never be able to get 2.0. What if in a world of 2.31 users, they drop support and access for 1.01 users? What kind of person would volunteer for version 0.91? 0.77?

    Would you get the plug with a 10% risk of failure? 1%? 0.1%? Would you do it in a mall kiosk here it’s affordable, but has a higher failure rate? What if you get hacked?

    This is way beyond PDAs, smartphones/watches/glasses. Or cochlear implants.

    It’s coming. It could be wonderful. How would you know when to adopt?

    Dr. Phil

  5. Robert says:

    I would have to say I’m most interested in technology using alternative energy sources. Solar energy, electric cars, non-fossil methane and other alternative energy sources have been proposed and, in some ways, implemented as ways to end our reliance on fossil fuels and lower pollution. Hell, one British bus company have even created a bus that runs on human feces. Talk about renewable!

    However, I also fear what this search may bring. Too much has society looked at the short term when adapting some new technology that looks harmless and beneficial, only to prove harmful in the long run. Fossil fuels being one of the biggest examples. I hope that what energy source we do use in the future and the technology used to implement it are fully looked at and tested for any harmful side effects it may cause before being fully implemented into society.

  6. Chris P says:

    I’m someone who has rather forcefully steered clear of social-media technologies since they’ve been around. I’m a private person, and while I appreciate the internet and how diverse it is, it’s also not something I want myself to be vulnerable and suspect to. So I avoid things like Facebook and forums, and just check out my favorite places (like Haikasoru!) and stay in the cool and comfy shadows of digital annoyminity.

    But! I’m genuinely not allowed to, or at least soon. At my University, as a senior you have to attend a seminar where we make a “professional LinkedIn account.” To me, this is a horrible thing; LinkedIn profiles are one of the first things that pop up when you google someone, and while the information on those profiles are empirical and less social-esque, it still makes me feel absolutely awful knowing that I’ll be tracable on the internet.

    But this is the world we live in anymore, I suppose. Like it or not, you need to have a digital presence that demands maturity and consideration. And this is where my opinion for this Giveaway comes in—-
    As the internet is increasingly becoming a trackable place for persons, with many people increasingly becoming aware that if they make nasty comments or visit disreputable websites that it might show up on their profile and possibly seriously cost them in their real life, I feel like, soon, an “emerging technology” would be something that completely staples one’s empirical life together with their digital. You’ll be accountable at all times for your cyber-presence, and this will create all sorts of odd, frightening new changes in internet-based space.
    Real life comes with all sorts of rather depressing obligations. The boss wants you to try out Yoga, or your sister demands that you review enough Cubist art until you “get it.” With real-life you can get out of this stuff by Yes-ing someone to death and then not doing it.
    But! Imagine if all of your cyber-presence was recorded. All of these small obligations are going to become powerful and demanding. Everyone will know whether or not you went and did the thing they asked, whether it was to look up some picture or order some novel. And if someone gets mad at you on the digital space this will be even worse then real life; the record of this upset will be forever recorded and present, and like a “Negative Feedback” on Ebay this upset will be the first thing that employers or academic screens look at to judge you by.

    I am utterly terrified of internet personality. I really am. I don’t want anything to do with it; I love leading my quiet, distant, reserved life where my only obligations are reading the books I want to read and doing the things I like to do. I would hate to know that I couldn’t genuinely protect my total space anymore, to think that, at any moment, some cyber-prodding might occur and demand of me to do some peer-pressure activity rather than one of my own choosing.

    I just want to be left alone, but with the way technology is progressing, especially in regards to internet/real-life attachments, I genuinely fear that there will be a day that true privacy, true aloneness, will no longer be available for the individual. Internet presence will be in a form of itself a new collective culture, one that mimics poorly individualist culture, the scrutiny of collectivist culture, and then has its own fear and loud culture within its own self.

    I’m making myself depressed…

    I’m going to spend today hiding under a tree somewhere and reading my non-tracable paperback. Pretty soon I’m going to be one of those people tin-foiling my head, although I’m beginning to think those people might always have been on to something! …or I’m going crazy. One or the other, anyway.

  7. Takehaniyasubiko says:

    Science is being given too much credit, really. We’re actually seeing the same basic ideas being modernized. Don’t expect living on Mars any time soon, and don’t even get me started on real life Skynet scenario. There are laws of the universe that people won’t be able to put aside so a lot of our dreams concerning technology will stay just that – dreams. Even if it is possible to do the impossible, humanity will sooner destroy itself than do it.

    What we’re seeing right now in the consumer-grade technology world boils down to using the internet in as many devices as possible, and the internet is just information. It doesn’t change people as much as they like to think. Seeing some amazing people on YouTube doesn’t make us equally amazing and virtual reality is an incredibly sad thing when you think about it. Does this world suck so badly for all those people that dream only about fooling their brains in human-made, flawed, constricted VR rooms? I thought video games are for that, and do it much better? VR is not the next step of anything. It’s just a PR stunt. We’ve seen this before, especially in the early 90s.

    Always in motion is the future, as the green guy said. It’s no use in trying to predict it. I think we should focus on making the present less virtual and more humane.

  8. Zamp says:

    Uno de los avances que mas fascinante, a la vez que un tanto aterrador, me parece son los nuevos avances en el campo de la xenotrasplantacion, es decir el trasplante de un órgano ( los mejores candidatos son los cerdos) a un humano. Esta idea parecía imposible por el rechazo que sufrían los órganos, al fin y al cabo, aunque similares fisiológicamente hay muchas diferencias entre los humanos y los cerdos, hasta que el Doctor Nakauchi de la universidad de Tokyo consiguió darle un nuevo giro a la situación. Su idea se resumen en que…si los humanos rechazamos los órganos de los cerdos por ser muy distintos…por que no modificamos genéticamente a los cerdos para que produzcan órganos genéticamente humanos, hechos a medida para cada paciente?.
    Hasta ahora sus experimentos están demostrando ser un éxito, pero aún debe superar la barrera legal ( en Japón este tipo de trasplante serie ilegal), pero si esta barrera se consigue romper, tendremos cerdos productores de órganos humanos, y cada órgano será un clon perfecto del receptor. Esto salvaría miles de vidas todos los años, pero…debemos realmente cruzar la línea que separa a las especies. Mucha gente les ha acusado de jugar a ser Dios, y quizás tengan razón, pero lo que debemos preguntarnos es: ¿De verdad es la moral más importante que la vida humana?

  9. Sarah C says:

    I’m most excited about the possibility of seeing a mission to Mars in my life time, although I really think colonizing the moon is a more logical first step. It would be safer to work the kinks out of creating a home on an inhospitable planet if we do it nearby first.

    I’m most worried about genetically engineered agriculture. There aren’t enough long term studies of its safety and stability in relation to humans to satisfy me that they’re perfectly safe. Worse, they’re already so pervasive and hidden that they’re nearly impossible to avoid. Paolo Bacigaliupi’s books feel so ominous because the more time passes, and the more news articles I see, the more I find myself saying “hey, it’s just like I read in…” I worry that we could eventually become cross contaminated with the viruses used in gene splicing, and end up in a society like that of the corn woman. Because of bioAg contamination sentenced as technology thieves for suffering a reaction to our food, or worse, in her story, deemed no longer human enough to be a full citizen.

    I love dystopian fiction because it sounds crazy, until the first steps that led to a story’s dystopia start coming true in the real world. Then the book really sticks with you.

  10. edward j rathke says:

    Most excited about discovering aliens who bioengineer and breed with us to create a new species, but some humans won’t like the idea of it, so these aliens will sterilise them so that they have no other choice, but then one of the human/alien hybrid will convince the alien species to terraform Mars so that humans can colonise it, even though the aliens are confident we’ll fuck it up the way we fucked earth up.

  11. bednorz says:

    One branch of technology that is bound to explode in the coming years, although it might not be a bombastic, frightening one, is solar power-related advances. I imagine the future world as one where solar panels are ubiquitous. And together with them, rapid developments in battery production are bound to follow. Placing solar panels on the roof of your house is not much more than a novelty without connecting them to a device able to gather, store and use electricity. Self-sufficiency of the household seems to be a topic to follow in the near future.

  12. Crane says:

    secrets no
    people watching glass
    ceaseless eyes : eyes ceaseless
    glass watching people
    no secrets

  13. Ben B. says:

    “But I was going to live forever. I want to live forever!”

    Thus spake John Saxon, in the Roger Corman Star Wars knockoff “Battle Beyond the Stars”. When I first saw the film a couple of years ago, I laughed my ass off at the sentiment. Saxon’s character, Sador, is a megalomaniacal warlord who travels the star ways with an army of genetic mishaps. The secret to his longevity? Whenever he loses a limb, he simply snatches one off one of his soldiers and replaces his. Presumably, all this civilization enslaving he does feeds into his R&D department.

    Now, a couple of years after seeing this crap-tastic flick, I find myself totally fascinated with the idea. Even more so than a mere matter of speculative fiction since people are actually in the process of researching such things. Thankfully, unlike “BBtS”’s Frankenstein-esque despot, we’re not going to need to pillage other nations for an endless supply of new body-parts. We’re just gonna 3D print the damn things. At Princeton and John Hopkins U they’ve already 3D printed a prototype outer ear. That’s some complex stuff right there. Not to mention we’re in the process of printing replacement bones out of polymers that can be tailor-made for individuals.

    But what this ties into, which I’m majorly excited for, is the prospect of increased lifespans. Imagine living for two hundred plus years. Feel a sense of relief? I know I would, knowing I didn’t have to rush through life trying to get everything I could ever possibly want to do done before dying. Thankfully there are organizations like Human Longevity Inc. who, through a combination of stem cell research and genome sequencing, are seeking to combat age-related diseases and figure out how to keep human cells from aging as fast.

    Of course, this all sounds great on paper, people living for what seems like bloody ever. The flipside of course, could be something like Haikasoru’s own “Harmony”, by Project Itoh. A kinda pharma-dystopian nightmare where we’ve all the perks of medical science keeping us hale & hearty, but also controlling our lives. Where our own bodies are not our property.

    Personally, I hope for something more akin to Iain M. Banks’ Culture books. A society wherein all that’s expected of you is for you to be…well, you. I don’t have any illusions. I know that a post-scarcity society could be anywhere from a couple of centuries to a couple of millennia away. Not to mention humanity as is might be too bloodthirsty. But at least living an extra century or at least half-century seems right around the corner, right?

  14. Jim Lai says:

    Automation is the meta technology to expect. Driverless cars and trucks will ply the roads. Automation will eliminate repetitive white and blue collar jobs. I expect CRISPR and subsequent technologies to result in unintended consequences due to premature application on humans. Science fiction contests will be used by corporations to steer future R&D. Future Shock will be a matter of degree, though people will be more resilient than pessimists expect.

  15. Brandon Perkins says:

    After having seen the film ‘Ex Machina’, I’m extremely interested in the implications of creating AI. Specifically, the film actually brings up the idea of AI and whether or not an AI can be abused and ‘exploited’. The creator of the primary AI in the film, Ava, at first seems to have nothing but science as his intentions. But it becomes increasingly obvious over the course of the film that he has a misogynist streak a mile wide, and he is imposing these very perceptions on his robotic creations. Specifically, he is imposing a rather deviant (as in oppressive and sexist) sexuality onto Ava, as well as his other robots. There’s a part later in the film where the protagonist walks into roboticist’s work room and finds all of these robotic female….’parts’, shall we say…hanging on the bones and lying around. It’s a rather disturbing and powerful statement on the commodification of female sexuality, and the way we can impose this commodification onto AIs created by human hands.

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