One theme I noticed throughout the conference was what I'll call "why choose - why can't we have both new technology and old?" The first time I noticed the theme was in regards to E-books and paper books. I noticed several librarians and authors were asked about their preference of E-Books over traditional paper books. Many times the questioner will pose the question in this format "Do you prefer E-books or paper books?" I've actually been asked that myself. Or sometimes the questions is asked like this, "how long before E-books take over?"
|LITA/TOR Sci-Fi Panel*|
They each spoke about the future of Information Technology. Some weaved in the effects of science fiction on technology, while others just spoke about the topic in their own way. It was funny how one author mentioned that we cannot predict what new technologies will emerge and that Sci-Fi has always been wrong. I disagree with that some, and apparently so does John Scalzi. He told a little story about how he remembered reading about something where pointing to a line of text would bring up whole other pages of text in one of Orson Scott Card's books in the late 80's. So like 5 years later when hyperlinks were invented, he said, "Hey! They stole that idea from Orson Scott Card!!"
|Of course, I had to show off my picture with OSC!|
This discussion lead to the biggest question of all regarding the future of books: Are books preserved over thousands of years because they're beloved or are they beloved because they were preserved (over other books that happened to not get preserved)? Good question.
It was a fun, though-provoking panel! I'll leave you with my favorite part - John Scalzi posed the question, "If an alien came down to earth and wanted to know more about the planet, who would we send him too?" He went through all of the wrong choices (A scientist - no because he'd want to probe him, The government - no because they'd want to use him as leverage against enemies, etc.) Then he said, of course the obvious choice is a Librarian. Where else would the alien go where he would be asked first and foremost, "What do you want to know?" (instead of the other way around)
He concluded by saying, "Librarian's are the human interface to the universe of knowledge." Wow!
(Yes, cursing myself for not getting a picture with John Scalzi!)
*The official title of the panel discussion presented by LITA and TOR Books was: Looking at the present and future of Information Science and Information Technology through the eyes of a panel of science fiction and fantasy authors. Imagine the possibilities, explore the realities, think about the consequences.