William Gibson on scifi
New Scientist has a quick piece by William Gibson that is somewhat intriguing if you're interested in building near futures. A sort of extension of "the future is just here, it's not evenly distributed". See for example:
"The single most useful thing I've learned from science fiction is that every present moment, always, is someone else's past and someone else's future. I got that as a child in the 1950s, reading science fiction written in the 1940s; reading it before I actually knew much of anything about the history of the 1940s or, really, about history at all. I literally had to infer the fact of the second world war, reverse-engineering my first personal iteration of 20th-century history out of 1940s science fiction. I grew up in a monoculture - one I found highly problematic - and science fiction afforded me a degree of lifesaving cultural perspective I'd never have had otherwise. I hope it's still doing that, for people who need it that way, but these days lots of other things are doing that as well. (...) I took it for granted that the present moment is always infinitely stranger and more complex than any "future" I could imagine. My craft would be (for a while, anyway) one of importing steamingly weird fragments of the ever-alien present into "worlds" (as we say in science fiction) that purported to be "the future"."
Why do I blog this? very interesting elements here to link with what Charles Stross discussed recently concerning near future SF. Also important when you think how scifi is about the past and the present (or at least as a discourse about these different timeframes and what is important before and during the time the author wrote).
The relation to design? Simply, the Uncanny of the present is material for design.