New World Same Humans
New World Same Humans
Your Sci-Fi Future – Audio Edition

Your Sci-Fi Future – Audio Edition

How did science-fiction predict the metaverse, the race to Mars, and the World Wide Web?

Welcome to New World Same Humans, a weekly newsletter on trends, technology, and society by David Mattin.

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Everyone is talking about a longstanding NWSH obsession: the metaverse.

I’ve written plenty on the rise of virtual worlds as domains of authentic human experience. This week, though, my focus lies elsewhere.

I want to examine the hold that the metaverse, both as an idea and a shared reality, is gaining on the popular imagination. And what that tells us about this moment and our collective future.

That means thinking, above all else, about science-fiction and its relationship with reality in 2021.

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If you prefer to read this week’s instalment, go here for the text version of Your Sci-Fi Future.

Links in this week’s instalment

1. The metaverse, say observers, is the future of the music industry.

2. It’s also at the heart of Facebook’s plans to build a vast social VR world, and of Snap’s obsession with persistent and social augmented realities.

3. As a few people pointed out on Twitter this week, given the context set by Snow Crash, it seems strange that anyone – and Mark Zuckerberg of all people – is so keen to celebrate the arrival of the metaverse.

4. Jeff Bezos cites Kim Stanley Robinson’s epic Mars Trilogy as having helped inspire his Blue Origin space startup.

5. Back in Charter City Dreams, I wrote about the rapper Akon’s plans to build the hyperfuturistic Akon City in Senegal.

6. Tim Berners-Lee cites the 1961 Arthur C Clarke short story Dial F for Frankenstein, which tells the story of a global telephone network that gains consciousness, as inspiration for his work on the World Wide Web.

7. I tend towards the somewhat determinist view – which I’ve written about before – that the broad evolutionary sweep of technology will be what it will be.

8. Science-fiction – along, perhaps, with the conspiracy theory – deserves to be recognised as the most important post-war literary form, an argument made by the great JG Ballard.

Crash Test

Thanks for listening this week.

The rise of virtual and simulated worlds as domains of authentic human experience will help reshape our lives in the 21st-century.

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I’ll be back as usual on Wednesday; until then, be well.


David Mattin sits on the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Consumption.

New World Same Humans
New World Same Humans
New World Same Humans is a weekly newsletter on trends, technology and our shared future by David Mattin.
Born in 2020, the NWSH community has grown to include 25,000+ technologists, designers, founders, policy-makers and more.
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