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Hard SF - "Predicting" the future? 
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Heinlein Nexus
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Post Re: Hard SF - "Predicting" the future?
JamesGifford wrote:
EdHEdH wrote:
I have always been opposed to using your SSAN (or any other universal number) for everything.

I think the distinction is meaningless. You could be assigned a randomly-generated 100-digit ID number for every transaction in your life and a computer could still track you and correlate your activities with the same amount of effort.


The problem with identity theft is how often the SSN gets used. Every US citizen knows theirs by heart. The Canadian equivalent is the Social Insurance Number (SIN). So few transactions require the use of it that no one knows theirs without looking it up. I think we used them in bank account applications. Pretty sure that was all. They are not used as primary keys in every friggin' corporate database in the country.


Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:56 pm
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Post Re: Hard SF - "Predicting" the future?
Rights, but a simple ID number should not be a master key to every record. The defect is in pretending that a name and readily obtainable (and damned near unchangeable) serial number is a secure combination.

I don't know what the answer is, but as most civilized nations have national IDs in fact or in effect, the US should just bite the bullet and make it a truly effective system instead of pretending there's no such thing and letting so many thing slip through the cracks as a result.

Secure systems exist. One is the New York state vital records system. To get a copy of a birth certificate there, you need exact name, mother's name, exact date of birth... and the name of the hospital or facility in which the birth took place. That last one is a real stumper.


Mon Nov 02, 2009 8:52 pm
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Post Re: Hard SF - "Predicting" the future?
I read awhile back that Europe virtually eliminated identify theft by banning private use of Government issued numbers. They said it makes credit harder to process, but did take care of the problem.

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Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:58 am
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Post Re: Hard SF - "Predicting" the future?
EdHEdH wrote:
I read awhile back that Europe virtually eliminated identify theft by banning private use of Government issued numbers.

I'd be curious as to how they could do that (function without some shared-key ID system). Names alone certainly aren't adequate.

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Tue Nov 03, 2009 2:09 pm
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Post Re: Hard SF - "Predicting" the future?
I don’t know how much I really know as it was one news article that I read (back to that 4th estate discussion) on the internet. If I remember the article correctly each credit service ends up issuing their own customer numbers and it does make quick decisions near impossible.

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Tue Nov 03, 2009 4:05 pm
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Post Re: Hard SF - "Predicting" the future?
Interestingly, the film 2010, released in 1984, seems to have successfully predicted the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

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Mon Jan 11, 2010 11:03 am
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Post Re: Hard SF - "Predicting" the future?
ACC has an astounding record of predictions. I don't know that this one came from him (instead of from the film production crew) but I've almost given up trying to track his many passing, even disposable comments that came true decades later.

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Mon Jan 11, 2010 11:40 am
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Post Re: Hard SF - "Predicting" the future?
And the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy gets it right again.


Mon Jan 11, 2010 10:38 pm
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Post Stereo tanks make their appearance
http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/01/15/3d.t ... l?hpt=Sbin


Sun Jan 17, 2010 4:33 pm
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Post Re: Hard SF - "Predicting" the future?
As most here probably are aware, RAH was once credited by Asimov with the most acute 'prediction' in genre SF, up to that tme, by predicting the Cold War and the MAD balance of terror resulting from nuclear arms in Solution Unsatisfactory. This was, of course, a short-range( say, one generation or less) prediction. The long range ones are much easier to make( just assume that tech has caught up to whatever one wishes to predict) and only to be verified or laughed at long after the predictor is gone.
Although RAH got few of the details spot-on( not having the 'bomb',the weapon being its poisonous 'dust') the important thing was the situation.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solution_Unsatisfactory
In general, the 'prediction' of gadgets seems a bit less important to me, as it did to Asimov, than how people will react to their invention and use.


Mon Feb 01, 2010 12:08 pm
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