The Elevator Effect (1)

Asimov, Isaac. “The Elevator Effect.” Past, Present and Future, Prometheus Books, Buffalo, NY, pp. 221–226.

This source described the term “elevator effect” as the process of imagining the future while only having knowledge from the present. (This idea connects to Ursula K. Le Guine’s ideas concerning extrapolation.) The primary example is when a person of the distant past was to try and imagine modern-day New York City, knowing there are skyscrapers, but not knowing that there are elevators. The chapter also provides insight into the growth of cities as a result of elevators. Cities used to be necessary as hubs of interaction and it was because of the elevator that they could be so concentrated. Now that is changing as a result of increased speed of communication.

I’m also interested in further researching the term elevator effect. So far I have seen multiple definitions for it and would like to see what other ones there are as well as what aspects of the elevator they draw upon.


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