Welcome to the future, friends.
I’d argue that Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age is one of the best cyberpunk (or post-cyberpunk, if you prefer) books out there. It tells the story of how one little book transformed the world. And now Motorola’s Zoom laptop is doing the same thing for children in Ethiopia. The OLPC Project dumped almost 1000 tablets in two villages in Ethiopia in sealed boxes with no instructions. Within five months, these kids who had never seen an English word before had hacked the OS. You can read the details in the article linked above. The point I want to make is that Stephenson’s book was an inspiration for the project, and it just goes to show that Science Fiction is more than words on a page. The ideas in a novel can affect the lives of thousands of people and make the world a better place, and it doesn’t even take that much effort. This isn’t the first time that science fiction has predicted the future, and it definitely won’t be the last. So the next time someone calls you out for being a nerd or a geek or “wasting your time on that crap”, just remember these kids in Ethiopia, and what science fiction has done to help improve their lives.