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The VisioneersHow a Group of Elite Scientists Pursued Space Colonies, Nanotechnologies, and a Limitless Future$
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W. Patrick McCray

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691176291

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691176291.001.0001

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Visioneering’s Value

Visioneering’s Value

(p.258) Chapter 8 Visioneering’s Value
The Visioneers

W. Patrick McCray

Princeton University Press

This chapter argues that regardless of the reasons that compelled them, people such as Drexler and O'Neill, by combining their broad views of the future with technical skills, experience, and research, took speculative ideas out of the hands of sci-fi writers and technological forecasters and put them on firmer ground. Although visioneers' ideas may sit outside the mainstream and require considerable work to establish their legitimacy, their work toward that end secures a beachhead where exploratory notions can exist while entrepreneurial scientists and engineers mobilize and push things one way or the other. By inspiring (or provoking) people, visioneering helps reveal the future as something other than some neutral space that people move into without friction. Instead, it is a terrain made rough by politics, ethics, and economics as well as people's hopes and anxieties.

Keywords:   science, technology, visioneering, K. Eric Drexler, Gerard O'Neill

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