Profiles of the Future: An Enquiry into the Limits of the Possible Hardcover – 1 Nov 1982
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Arthur C Clarke says this is his most important non-fiction, noting it is impossible to predict the future and all attempts to do so in any detail appear ludicrous within a very few years. This book does not try to describe the future, but to define the boundaries within which possible futures must lie. Extensively revised in 1999 from the original 1962 edition, ideas here also found their way also into 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Fountains of Paradise. Often Clarke leaves the original text then comments on how knowledge has grown over 37 years, making for a fascinating reflection on the rapidity of our changing futures. He explores the range of science and technology, defining the inability to envision how the future might be in terms of failures of either nerve or imagination... refusal to accept the implications of science as it already is, or to see how it might one day be. He then systematically, in accessible, non-technical language, sets out what may be theoretically possible--manufacturing and medicine to transport and communications--within the laws of physics. And following Clarke's Second Law
The only way of finding the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.
states the cases for and against the most fantastical science fiction, including time travel, invisibility and matter transmission. Essential for layman, scientist and science-fiction reader alike. --Gary S. Dalkin --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
A new revision of this fascinating collection of essays speculating on future technological and scientific possibilities by the master of science and science fiction. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Some of the ideas contained in the survey that follows look quaint and even embarrassing to the reader in the early 21st century. Particularly cringe worthy is the chapter almost totally dedicated to the hovercraft and the revolutionary implications that it will have. Clarke seems to fall for a pitfall of many futurists: just because a technologcal innovation becomes possible it does not follow that it will see widespread adoption, as it may not fit into any social or economic niche (the videophone exists, but doesn't fit human needs well enough for general adoption). In other areas Clarke is insightful and prescient. His vision of a human-colonised galaxy as a scattering of isolated ant hives is both chilling and inspiring. In particular, his thoughts on satellite communications were visionary for his time - Clarke invented the concept of the geo-stationary satellite some years earlier.Read more ›
Arthur C.Clarke is an English scientist and Science-Fiction writer. 'Profiles of The Future' was first published in 1962. There are nineteen chapters each with a different subject. Arthur C.Clarke calls it 'An inquiry into the limits of the possible.'
One of the chapters is the future of transport. In the future cargo will be stowed in some kind of a submersible container. They could be linked together as the wagons of a train and pulled by a submarine. The idea is that ships are too heavy and loose too much time and energy during a storm. Up until now I'm wondering whether A.C.Clarke is joking or not.
In the chapter 'The Obsolescence of Man' he discusses the future of the Homo Sapiens. Much of this chapter is used for the film '2001: A Space Odyssey'.
At the end of the book there is a 'Chart of the Future'. It's a list of discoveries in the future as far as 2100. (Remember that 'Profiles of the Future' was first published in 1962). To name a few: in 2000, colonising planets (The optimism of the sixties !).In 21OO, immortality (!?).
As you can see, don't take this book too seriously. But it's a engrossing read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Dated. A good read in the sixties or seventies, today the world is different.
Six more words? It is dated.
My book, which was very reasonably priced, arrived within just a few days and was exactly as described. An exemplary service.Published on 11 Aug. 2009 by Rick M