Meet David Brin
David Brin is a scientist, best-selling author and tech-futurist. His novels include Earth, The Postman (filmed in 1997) and Hugo Award winners Startide Rising andThe Uplift War. A leading commentator and speaker on modern trends, his nonfiction book The Transparent Society won the Freedom of Speech Award of the American Library Association. Brin's newest novel EXISTENCE explores the ultimate question: billions of planets are ripe for life. So where is Everybody? David's main thread: how will we shape the days and years ahead -- and how will tomorrow shape us?
Although he explores many fields, heedless of credentials, Brin does have degrees from Caltech and UCSD (PhD in Physics, working with Nobelist Hannes Alfven). As a speaker Brin shares unique and often humorous insights to the way technology may affect our human future.
David Brin is a scientist, speaker, technical consultant and world-known author. His novels have been New York Times Bestsellers, winning multiple Hugo, Nebula and other awards. At least a dozen have been translated into more than twenty languages.
His 1989 ecological thriller, Earth, foreshadowed global warming, cyberwarfare and near-future trends such as the World Wide Web. His 2012 novel Existence extends this type of daring, near future extrapolation by exploring bio-engineering, intelligence and how to maintain an open-creative civilization.
A 1998 movie, directed by Kevin Costner, was loosely based on The Postman.
Brin serves on advisory committees dealing with subjects as diverse as national defense and homeland security, astronomy and space exploration, SETI and nanotechnology, future/prediction and philanthropy. He has served since 2010 on the council of external advisers for NASA's Innovative and Advanced Concepts group (NIAC), which supports the most inventive and potentially ground-breaking new endeavors.
In 2013 David Brin helped to establish the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination at UCSD, where he was honored as a "distinguished alumnus" and where he was thereafter a Visiting Scholar in Residence. Other HONORS include the American Library Association's Obeler Freedom of Speech Award, the California Library Association's Zoia Horn Intellectual Freedom Award, The Potomac Institute's 2015 Navigator Award for public service, and the first annual National Endowment for the Humanities/Hannah Arendt Center Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Bard College. 2015.
His non-fiction book -- The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Freedom and Privacy? -- deals with secrecy in the modern world. It won the Freedom of Speech Prize from the American Library Association.
As a public "scientist/futurist" David appears frequently on TV, including, most recently, on many episodes of "The Universe" and on the History Channel's best-watched show (ever) "Life After People." He also was a regular cast member on "The ArciTECHS." (For others, see "Media and Punditry.")
Brin's scientific work covers an eclectic range of topics, from astronautics, astronomy, and optics to alternative dispute resolution and the role of neoteny in human evolution. His Ph.D in Physics from UCSD - the University of California at San Diego (the lab of nobelist Hannes Alfven) - followed a masters in optics and an undergraduate degree in astrophysics from Caltech. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the California Space Institute and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. His patents directly confront some of the faults of old-fashioned screen-based interaction, aiming to improve the way human beings converse online.
David's novel Kiln People has been called a book of ideas disguised as a fast-moving and fun noir detective story, set in a future when new technology enables people to physically be in more than two places at once.
A hardcover graphic novel The Life Eaters explored alternate outcomes to WWII, winning nominations and high praise in the nation that most loves and respects the graphic novel.
David's science fictional Uplift Universe explores a future when humans genetically engineer higher animals like dolphins to become equal members of our civilization. He also recently tied up the loose ends left behind by the late Isaac Asimov. Foundation's Triumph brings to a grand finale Asimov's famed Foundation Universe.
As a speaker and on television, David Brin shares unique insights -- serious and humorous -- about ways that changing technology may affect our future lives. Brin lives in San Diego County with his wife, three children, and a hundred very demanding trees.
Some Topics I'm Asked to Discuss
- A new millennium has people thinking about the nature of the near future. Audiences seem eager to explore wide possibilities -- dark and bright -- for what challenges may confront us in the years ahead. Avoiding pat answers and sensationalism, I cover a broad range of plausible tomorrows, both near and far. The future will be what we make of it.
- Drawn into stark contrast by recent events, I'm hired to consult on radical transparency: Security, privacy and intrusive surveillance in our lives. As cameras get smaller, cheaper and more mobile -- and new threats crowd in all around -- is Big Brother on the horizon? Or will new technologies empower private citizens in unexpected ways? Against the popular trend of panic and secrecy, I've been urging calm, candor and openness, beginning with The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Freedom and Privacy?... which at one point brought me to testify in the U.S. Senate. I've been asked to give more than fifty speeches, interviews and consultations on this topic alone.
- Creativity and business success. Because I have achieved success in several arts and sciences, I'm often asked how to spot opportunities and trends, how best to take advantage of them... and how to catch the mistakes we always kick ourselves for missing. I point out some of the ways we're already doing this... and a few tricks to enhance the trend. I also provide groups with Corporate Creativity Exercisesdesigned to spur creative thinking, by challenging CTOs and others to work together in an ad hoc team, analyzing a major problem and fleshing out a solution in just 48 hours.
- Interest has been stirred by my proposal for a new approach to philanthropy. In an era when perhaps twenty trillion dollars may pass between generations, many bold projects stand outside the typical investment horizons of governments and corporations. A new century calls for new ideas. (See also my article onphilanthropy.)
- My novel Earth (a N.Y. Times bestseller) deals vividly with the future of our planet's living environment. Tech pundits also credit this novel with predicting many aspects of the World Wide Web! But the area of planetary management -- whether we can both thrive as a species and care for the world responsibly -- is where the book achieved its biggest reputation.
- As a participant in SETI -- the scientific Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence -- I appear often in person and on TV, debunking so-called UFOs (in a way that leaves audiences roaring with laughter) while explaining how real life in the universe may be far more interesting. I am also a regular "space expert" at Imax Theaters and planetariums.
- Scientific issues that I've explored in fiction, and have been asked to talk about, include: cloning, immortality, bio-warfare, psychology, time travel and the prospects for continuing human and non-human evolution.
- From novels such as Startide Rising and The Uplift War, I have a reputation as an authority on dolphins and chimpanzees, and how humanity may relate to other creatures in the future.
- I've also been invited to speak on theology in the scientific age. (Believe it or not!) A fascinating topic... though one that I feel just a bit less qualified or knowledgeable about!
- My novel, The Postman, was filmed by Kevin Costner. Describing this roller-coaster experience puts listeners in stitches.