Arthur C Clarke and Web 2.0

I’ve just finished re-reading The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C Clarke, published in 1979. A lot of people know him as SF-writer extraordinaire. Some would recognise his visionary engineering insights too. We might even acknowledge him as a pretty reasonable technical writer ๐Ÿ˜‰ But did you know he was into Web 2.0 as well?

In The Fountains of Paradise, chapter 34 “Vertigo”, there are a by-the-way few paragraphs where the author explores the “development of global information systems” that might have occurred by the year 2142, when the book is set. He guesses there might be some automated solution for annoying tasks like sending birthday wishes to all your friends ๐Ÿ™‚ And then he goes on to say:

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…

Hallo syndication, RSS and information overload. Alas, the ultimate engineer did not mention a solution to the problem. Perhaps we will have found one by 2142.

Fountains in Darling Harbour, Sydney:

Arthur C Clarke and Web 2.0


About Sarah Maddox

Technical writer, author and blogger in Sydney

Posted on 20 June 2008, in bits n bobs and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Have you read Arthur C Clarke’s 1984? ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Hallo Jason, Alas no, I haven’t read it. I’ve done a search and found mention of 1984: Spring A choice Of Futures, but not much detail. It sounds very interesting!

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