"gripping and hugely entertaining... difficult to put down."
- New Scientist
Even read by Werner Voguls (Amazon CTO)
The Looking Glass Club is a fusion of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror, and clearly there are many elements within it that fall into the realm of fantasy, however, I intended its vision of the near future to be as technologically realistic as possible. Sometimes though, readers – and even literary agents – have objected that its projections for our technological future just a few decades hence seem too advanced.
My response to this the same as Ray Kurzweil's: people tend to think too linearly about technology. All the evidence shows that the pace of technological change is accelerating, and the rate of change is exponential, not linear. Certainly, not all of the technical wizardry I've imagined for 2035 will come true, but much of it not only will, it already exists in prototype form today.
I had the good fortune a few days ago in Barcelona to run across a wonderful design exhibition where I saw many such prototypes exhibited. Some are quite extraordinary and definitely worth a look (see right).
I admit there are a few advances in The Looking Glass Club where I've stretched things a little (upgrading a dog so it can speak, perhaps), but even here, it's not hard to find examples of technologies today that are precursors to the technologies that will one day make things like this possible.
If the rate of change continues to accelerate, the remarkable conclusion to this, is that even if "one day" isn't 2035, it probably won't be much longer than that.
© Sencillo Press and Gruff Davies 2010
Prototypes of technologies in The Looking Glass Club
They already exist and can print a remarkable array of objects, including fully functioning machines! The technology allows for some unusual improvements over traditional design and assembly techniques.
iNurses and Humaniform robots
Possibly two of the more far-out predictions of the novel and yet prototypes for these have been popping up with increasing regularity and jaw-dropping features since the late 1990's.
Augmented Reality Contact Lenses
You already have augmented reality apps on your iPhone or Android, but contact lenses will soon be able to overlay everything you see.
There are hundreds of advances in the area of display technology from real-time holographic displays to invisibility cloaks. Yep, really.
Robot-controlled flying machines are capable of some stunning behaviour, and Amazon are set to take advantage of them...
The great thing about this kind of prediction is that you'll probably live long enough to see whether it comes true.
There are dozens of metrics demonstrating the real effects of the Law of Accelerating Returns. This graph shows that if computing power continues to double every 18 months, by 2035 just $1,000 will buy the same processing power that a human brain is capable of.
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Print a walking machine (win one!)
These remarkable designs by kinetic sculptor, Theo Jansen, can walk away from the machine that prints them. You can even order a copy for yourself, or play our mini-game to win one.
The clever founders of Continuum have developed algorithms that allow them to print and sell bikinis and dresses designed for, or even by, you.
Okay, so "antigravity" isn't even a technology featured in the book, but this incredible toy already exists! And you can win one!
If the robots animals already here in 2013 are anything to go by, the robots of 2035 will be truly lifelike.