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Isaac asimov

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  • 1. Isaac Asimov
  • 2. Biography • Isaac Asimov, born in 1919, was the son of a candy-store owner who discovered science fiction at a young age through monthly science fiction magazines • Asimov received a Ph.D. in chemistry at Columbia University and worked as an associate professor of biochemistry • He resigned from his post in 1958 to take up writing as a full-time occupation. As a full-time author Asimov was able to significantly increase his body of work, completing over 400 stories by his death in 1992.
  • 3. Asimov as a Futurist • Asimov’s science fiction examined the effects of technology on the development of society. The increasingly mechanized society that he saw as he wrote was a trend that he seems to have seen continuing into the future. • This focus on technology as a significant factor influencing the future is part of what makes Asimov a futurist in his essay on the year 2014 • Asimov used technology and society to predict changes in the future within Foundation and in the real world.
  • 4. Asimov as a Futurist • His essay on the future showed a real world application of the psychohistory explored in Foundation. • He used his knowledge of the present at the time of writing to extrapolate and predict the future. • Technology played a very important part in how he predicted society would advance. • His method of predicting the future followed a similar path as the science of psychohistory
  • 5. Asimov’s Work • Published over 200 books in the decades following the release of his first novel, Pebble in the Sky, in 1950. • His writing was incredibly diverse and contributed to a variety of academic disciplines including mathematics, the sciences, and history. • Asimov believed that technology and human reaction were an important part of the future and the prediction of it. • His work written as a part of the science fiction genre followed a course defined by Asimov himself in his thoughts on exactly what science fiction was.
  • 6. Asimov’s Work • According to Asimov, science fiction was the “branch of literature which deals with the response of human beings to changes in the level of science and technology. Over the past two centuries, we have watched our society grow more and more machine-made, so to speak; and I assume that in one of our possible futures, machines will continue to play more and more of a part in our society - in fact, to the point where machines may eventually ‘take over.’”
  • 7. Contextualizing Asimov’s Contributions to Science Fiction • Asimov’s early work received coverage in Amazing Stories, a monthly science fiction magazine from the 1950s, and was a part of a significant increase in importance for the science fiction genre (46). • Although Asimov’s writing began to gain prominence as part of a rise in the popularity of science fiction, the genre was not particularly well regarded during the start of his ascent.
  • 8. Contextualizing Asimov’s Contributions to Science Fiction • His name held clout in the science fiction world, seen in the creation of Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction, a science fiction magazine featuring his name, stories, and editorials. • Science fiction magazines were a change from the earlier science fiction and fantasy pulp magazines of the 1930s and 1940s: “Scientific speculation moved from the pulps into the bookstores and became specialized imprints of major publishing houses”. • Asimov used his writing to explore his views on the exploration of the future through hard science fiction that focused more on the science aspect of science fiction.
  • 9. Foundation Series • Asimov’s Foundation trilogy was a very important series of novels that covered a period of time exceeding a thousand years. In this coverage, Asimov looked at the rise and fall of the Galactic Empire as well as the rise of later powers in the forms of the first and second Foundations. • The Foundation series was a way for Asimov to express his views on futurism through his writing
  • 10. Foundation • The first novel, Foundation, looked at the creation of the Foundation and its development on the fringes of the Galactic Empire. The Foundation itself was a colony that existed to protect and maintain art, science, and technology until the Foundation could reach a position of power that would allow for dissemination. • The rise of the Foundation was based off of psychohistory, a method of predicting the future based on statistics and the effect of these statistics on large populations.
  • 11. Foundation and Empire • Foundation and Empire, the second novel in the series, covered the further rise of the Foundation and how this rise brought it into full-scale conflict with the declining Galactic Empire. In the wake of the defeat of the Galactic Empire and the rise of the Foundation to a position of power a new threat arose, one that had not been seen in psychohistory. • The predictive science that they had used to gain power was seen to be fallible, an interesting development regarding the power of futurism in the Foundation universe.
  • 12. Second Foundation • Second Foundation, the third and final novel in the original Foundation trilogy, focused on the decline of the first Foundation and the rise of its successor. The Second Foundation was another colony that featured the most intelligent humans in the galaxy and was presented as a threat to the first Foundation. • The importance of psychohistory was a focus, as being able to utilize it properly was required for victory.
  • 13. Later Additions to Foundation • Asimov added two additional novels to the Foundation series that reflected his changing views about psychohistory. Asimov began to believe that psychohistory would only be able to continue to be effective if human thoughts and trends advanced with it. • This meant a shift in focus, away from psychohistory and towards the societal trends and patterns necessary for it.
  • 14. Significance of Foundation • Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series played a large part in his designation as a futurist. The rise and fall of empires in the series revolved around accurate prediction of the future based on existing factors and how they were expected to affect the future. This method of prediction, though characterized as a science in the series, is similar to futurism in the real world. • Foundation featured a focus on the social concerns of the various planets that made up the universe. Through analysis of these concerns, the Foundation was able to predict the future and use it to their benefit
  • 15. Futurism in Foundation • Psychohistory offers an example of futurism within futurism as far as Asimov’s views in the real world affecting his fictional writing. • The Foundation series looked at a future affected by technological change and the further changes brought on by it. • Foundation was a vehicle used by Asimov to explore and spread his belief in futurism. • Science fiction allowed Asimov to take his analysis of the present in predicting the future as seen in his essay and explore it to its limits.
  • 16. Asimov’s Essay • Asimov’s essay in the New York Times showed a real world application of futurism. • Following the World Fair of 1946, Asimov tried to predict how the world would advance by the year 2014. • The changes he predicted featured on a broad spectrum, notably including gadgetry advances that he predicted would transform daily life in a variety of areas.
  • 17. Asimov’s Essay • Societal and technological changes predicted by Asimov based on current events played a large part in his predictions. • Advanced technology was a major part of how Asimov believed the future would progress. • The technological advances that he predicted were largely based off of the societal changes that he experienced and knew would have to be dealt with. • He also predicted societal crises that would arise out of current problems.
  • 18. Futurism in Asimov’s Essay • Asimov used social and technological factors from the present to predict how the future would be different from the present. • He focused on technological change as coming in response to a societal need. • Technological advances were the main thing focused on by Asimov in his essay but he also predicted social developments like overpopulation, all based on current events at the time of writing.
  • 19. Futurism: Society • Psychohistory required analyzing societal concerns and statistics from a large sample to determine the course of the future. • Though psychohistory was considered a science in Foundation, the basic methodology of using current trends to try to predict the future is part of futurism in the real world. • The series looked at the importance of science, technology, and culture within society as well as how these factors could advance society. • Asimov’s essay looked at societal problems as being a catalyst for technological innovation. • Societal problems were also used to look at what could happen to humanity over the course of several decades.
  • 20. Futurism: Science & Technology • Science and technology were originally the basis of psychohistory in the Foundation series and both were an important part of why the Foundation existed. • Asimov looked at science and technology as essential parts of the evolution of society and necessary for a progressive path to the future. • Science and technology related to society and advanced to deal with emerging societal problems.
  • 21. Conclusion • Isaac Asimov was a futurist and showed his belief in the discipline through his writing. • The Foundation series showed the potential power and limitations of futurism. • Asimov’s belief in futurism as far as predictions was seen in psychohistory, though he also showed how unpredictable it could be. • Technology and society, as well as their relationship, were important parts of predicting the future in the series and in reality. • Asimov’s essay was a real world application of the psychohistory he explored in Foundation and showed how important futurism was to him in his writing and his life.

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