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Experts Fear Future Will be Like Sci-Fi Movies 374

segphault writes "In the year 2020, Luddite terrorists attack technology infrastructure and artificial intelligences dominate earth! Or at least that's what 700 experts predict in the latest poll conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project (pdf). Is the future really going to be like a science fiction movie? Ars Technica provides a humorous overview of the survey results. From the article: 'Are these scenarios really indicative of future trends? Given the prevalence of many of these concepts in science fiction content, it is obvious that the ideas themselves are at least relevant enough to warrant consideration. That said, the nature of the survey and the way that the scenarios are presented makes the entire thing seem less plausible. In looking at classic science fiction films of the past, from Blade Runner to Soylent Green, one realizes that few of them really predict with any accuracy the world we live in today. Culture and technology can change in radically unpredictable ways, and today's experts may lack the foresight to perceive the future with the clarity of Hari Seldon.'"
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Experts Fear Future Will be Like Sci-Fi Movies

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  • by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Monday September 25, 2006 @06:13AM (#16183129)
    As far as I'm concerned it won't matter what happens, just as long as I get my soma.
    • As far as I'm concerned it won't matter what happens, just as long as I get my soma.

      The key question, is when do we get our matching jumpsuits? I'm especially looking forward to the skimpy female models and the elimination of non-attractive people.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      s/soma/[one or more of the following]/g

      Alcohol, marijuana, caffine, sugar, nicotine, TV, MySpace, video games, soccer, golf, blackberries, pornography, religion, sudoku, gossip or pokemon.

      We all have our vices.
  • running man (Score:2, Interesting)

    by LosManos ( 538072 )
    hejdig.

    I would say that The Running Man [imdb.com] makes quite a good foreseing of the television future. Everything that is in the film has been aired, on different stations though.
    - wierd costumes, spandex, bling: any show with a host. think oscar, music competitions
    - people making a fool of themselves: many shows there are
    - people dying, deadly outcome: wasn't an execution aired in Texas or something

    /OF
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by D-Cypell ( 446534 )
      I know this is becoming a cliché but if you haven't already done so, I strongly recommend reading the book "The Running Man". It was written by Stephen King under the name Richard Bachman. Fundementally different from the movie and a much better concept. To give you a taster, there is no 'arena' like in the movie. The contestent goes out into the world, and everyone is encouraged to report sightings. I have already seen a programme like this (without the kill on site thing of course). So we are moving
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by c6gunner ( 950153 )
      - people dying, deadly outcome: wasn't an execution aired in Texas or something

      No, you're thinking of televised beheadings on Al-Jazeera, courtesy of your friendly Iraqi neighborhood terrorist organization.
    • Don't forget the neckbraces that explode when you go beyond the perimeter. We have those today in the form of shopping carts with wheels that lock if you take them outside the parking lot. Thus, making it harder to use them to take your groceries home.
  • by Jerk City Troll ( 661616 ) on Monday September 25, 2006 @06:17AM (#16183151) Homepage

    By 2020, the people left behind (many by their own choice) by accelerating information and communications technologies will form a new cultural group of technology refuseniks who self-segregate from “modern” society.

    Wait, which is it? The people left behind will self-segretate but not all of them do so my choice? My prediction is that in the year 2020, pulp [wikipedia.org] will be written by lousy artificial intelligence. What do you think, George [slashdot.org]?

  • Time Travel (Score:5, Funny)

    by Weedlekin ( 836313 ) on Monday September 25, 2006 @06:18AM (#16183159)
    is also a prevalent theme in science fiction, but that doesn't mean we'll be doing it in the foreseeable future.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by dpilot ( 134227 )
      Well it's obvious that we won't have time travel, at least not in my lifetime, because my future self hasn't come back and given me a sheet of sports or stock picks.
      • by D-Cypell ( 446534 ) on Monday September 25, 2006 @06:50AM (#16183351)
        Perhaps they did, but a kid turned up and found out how you had gotten the sports results and then went back to the point where your future self gave them to you and managed to steal them while HIS other self was desperately trying to avoid having intercourse with his mother but was not careful enough to avoid teaching Chuck Berry how to play rock and roll!

        Did you ever think about THAT?
    • by rs232 ( 849320 ) on Monday September 25, 2006 @07:21AM (#16183545)
      Time Travel "is also a prevalent theme in science fiction, but that doesn't mean we'll be doing it in the foreseeable future"

      Well actually it happens all the time, but you don't notice. For instance in the future you invent a time machine and travel into the present. The world splits into two alternative futures and you always end up in the one in which you didn't invent a time machine. In fact you don't even need to invent a time traveling machine, just send messages back using tachions.

      For instance 'Trice Upon a Time' by James P. Hogan gives a good illustration of communication with the past. Unfortunaly you won't be able to find this one on Amazon as he experimented with just such a device, the writer accidentally wiped himself from existance.

      See also 'Timescape' by Gregory Benford where the exact opposite happens and someone turns up alive although one of the characters remembers her dying. Have you ever been suprised when some celebrity turms up on television movies and you go 'isn't he dead' or remember the plot of a movie that's different than when it turms up on tv. Well someone's just been messing with the spacetime continuum.

      was Re:Time Travel
      • "For instance in the future you invent a time machine and travel into the present. The world splits into two alternative futures and you always end up in the one in which you didn't invent a time machine."

        Which is just another way of saying that practical time travel is impossible, or at least where the past is concerned.
        • Future time travel is trivial. All you need is enough booze. You drink it, then suddenly you're in the future. Only side effect is a splitting headache.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *

        Have you ever been suprised when some celebrity turms up on television movies and you go 'isn't he dead' or remember the plot of a movie that's different than when it turms up on tv.

        Happens to me all the time. Leaves me feeling like Worf in that episode "Parallels" in Star Trek (hey, don't call me a geek, I'm on /. aren't I?).

        Just the other day I stumbled across the Wikipedia bio for Andy Gibb (don't ask). It said he died in 1988 of heart disease. I distinctly remembered him dying from a drug overdose

  • Cool! I have always wanted to be immersed in a virtual environment ala Therteen floor [imdb.com] or having my own slave robot (to get money from my ATM machine ;) similar to bicentenial man, although I would prefer the femenine line =o).

    In all seriousness, I believe the "present" has become as scifi movies. When I woke up in 9/11/2001 the TV woke me up (tv alarm) when it turned on on certain channel, when I started listenting the program and I was watching the scenes my first thought was "what movie is this?", I gue
    • by Ucklak ( 755284 )
      ...although I would prefer the femenine line

      Like Gigolo Jane? [perkowitz.net]

    • I think the original post misses the mark a bit - the best predictions are made on paper, not on film. The best predictions are also general ideas and not specific things. I mean, Steven Spielberg can predict that we'll have animated newspapers and cereal boxes and he's probably right, but that wasn't all that difficult to call. Philip K. Dick, on the other hand, took the effort to ask the question "what happens when we substantiate present action with the information of future events."

      IMHO, the great
  • There I was expecting a Jetsons-like future and we seem to be getting a Startrek-like future.

    Very disappointing.
  • Spandex (Score:5, Funny)

    by this great guy ( 922511 ) on Monday September 25, 2006 @06:22AM (#16183189)
    Is the future really going to be like a science fiction movie?
    I hope not. Don't want to be dressed in spandex for the rest of my life.
  • We haven't advanced genetic engineering, AI, and the like to the point where Blade Runner type issues could arise. When we start engineering replicants and the first replicant refuses to fight in a war, then we'll have those issues and can see if it was ahead of its time or not....

    Plus, keep in mind that a lot of Blade Runner was simply film noir....
  • by Rik Sweeney ( 471717 ) on Monday September 25, 2006 @06:24AM (#16183201) Homepage
    Hopefully none of the visions of the future will ever feature any of these quotes:

    • No, what you have are bullets, and the hope that when your guns are empty I'm no longer be standing, because if I am you'll all be dead before you've reloaded.
    • You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.
    • Because I choose to.


    (10 points to the first person to name them all)
    • by syphoon ( 619506 ) on Monday September 25, 2006 @06:30AM (#16183241)
      V for Vendetta, Planet of the Apes, 2001, and Matrix Revolutions I think.
  • hmmmm Soylent Green
  • 1984 was made into a movie [imdb.com], so I guess they're right.
  • 1984. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by caluml ( 551744 ) <(slashdot) (at) (spamgoeshere.calum.org)> on Monday September 25, 2006 @06:25AM (#16183215) Homepage
    I more fear that it will be like 1984. Cameras everywhere, mass surveillance, no criticism of the rulers allowed.
    • Re:1984. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 25, 2006 @06:34AM (#16183265)
      Welcome to today!

      London has cameras everywhere.
      NSA wiretaps?
      Criticising Bush is "anti american".

      We *ARE* in 1984 already.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 25, 2006 @06:39AM (#16183303)

      I more fear that it will be like 1984. Cameras everywhere, mass surveillance, no criticism of the rulers allowed.

      Aren't we pretty near the 1984 society already? This [progressive.org] would no longer be news today.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Yvanhoe ( 564877 )
      It has been written the year North Korea government was formed. There, War is Peace (they are still technically at war with S. Korea and US), Freedom is Slavery and Ignorance is Strength.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by owlnation ( 858981 )
      You forgot Newspeak. Anyone watched Fox recently?

      It is interesting that when 1984 came by, we thought at the time we lived in such a happier world than that of Orwell's vision. Had, however, Orwell set the book in the US in 2004, I think we would all be praising his vision for its accuracy.

      Utterly terrifying really, and we all sat back and watched it happen - that's the worst part.
      • Re:1984. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Monday September 25, 2006 @09:00AM (#16184511)
        You forgot Newspeak.

        It's funny, but I recently worked with a prison system where they had introduced a new program called "TruThought" [truthought.com] that was so Orwellian it was fucking creepy. The sad thing is that I was apparently the only one who noticed this. It was all I could do not to laugh (and, perhaps, cry) as the Truthought "trainers" rattled off points that could have been written by Orwell himself (it was literally "Newspeak" with a different name). Makes me wonder if the entire program didn't start off as a sick joke (some guy writing it as a riff on his boss, only to have it taken seriously).

        -Eric

    • Yup, and this isn't about the future, this is about the present, where there year currently IS 1984. Couple that with all the fun tracking and advertising technology from Minority report along with pre-crime due to peoples paranoia and fear of LIFE and we're in for a fun show, thats for sure.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Azathfeld ( 725855 )
      The infrastructure required to supervise everyone is much greater than any reasonable bureaucracy could hold. Eventually, you get so many people involved in the watching that you have to watch them, or they'll start to stray, and then you have to watch those meta-watchers, and then you have to kill the urge to make a Watchmen joke.

      Public surveillance will, eventually, get to the point that almost any information about anyone is accessible to everyone else. We'll then enter a sort of mutually-assured destr
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 25, 2006 @06:33AM (#16183261)
    I predict that the poor and stupid will continue to breed at over twice the rate of the wealthy and educated such that eventually we will reach a high-water mark in technological development. After that point some continued advances will be made but I believe we will see a gradual decline as there simply aren't enough people to sustain the extreme level of specialization we see in society today.

    And, oh yeah, I predict lots of attendant unpleasantness - first-world cities emptied as birth-rates decline, then re-filled with unassimilated, superstitious immigrants (or, in the case of societies largely closed to immigration like Japan, just plain emptied). Noone to care for the elderly in once-wealthy societies. And lots, lots more fanatical religion and superstition. A new dark ages.

    • And, oh yeah, I predict lots of attendant unpleasantness - first-world cities emptied as birth-rates decline, then re-filled with unassimilated, superstitious immigrants (or, in the case of societies largely closed to immigration like Japan, just plain emptied). Noone to care for the elderly in once-wealthy societies. And lots, lots more fanatical religion and superstition. A new dark ages.

      Apart from the 'caring for the elderly' bit (family structures were different back then) that sounds a bit like a descr

      • by El Torico ( 732160 ) on Monday September 25, 2006 @07:59AM (#16183879)
        I once was a student of an outstanding (IMHO) History Professor who maintained that the current situation in the US was more like the fall of the Roman Republic than the fall of the Roman Empire, although I see parallels with both.

        The Wikipedia Article on the Roman Republic has a few statements that I find both amusing and frightening,

        "This kind of violent and sensationalist politics only sought to inflame tensions within Roman society, namely the poor and the disenfranchised."

        "Starting with the Punic Wars, the Roman economy began to change, concentrating wealth in the hands of a few powerful clans and causing political tension within Rome."

        "Formerly middle-class soldiers would return from years of campaigning to find themselves landless, unable to support their families, and ironically, unemployable because the successes of the Legions made slaves a much cheaper source of labor."

        Regarding your comparisons to the late Roman Empire, I agree that there are striking similarities in both Europe and the US; just replace "barbarian invasion" with "massive illegal immigration".

  • A bunch of hot ass Jessica Albas running around would be awesome as hell!
    • A bunch of hot ass Jessica Albas running around would be awesome as hell!

      Not if they kick your ass every time you make a pass at them.
  • (perhaps Penn Jilette?) "The future will be a lot like now but with better special effects."
  • There was a recent poll [slashdot.org] about the favourite end-of-world scenario. The voters voted for a mad max / terminator end to their world above the rest. Of course, "This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane."
  • Prediction (Score:3, Interesting)

    by StormReaver ( 59959 ) on Monday September 25, 2006 @06:43AM (#16183313)
    The one author who just about nailed his terrifying vision of the future is George Orwell. His time frame was off by 25-30 years, but that was his only big error.
  • I've found that anything mentioning "virtual reality" can be counted on to be vacuous crap. This isn't 100% crap, but you don't lose 100% of the bets in Vegas, either. This list is a collection of the obvious interspersed with, yes, vacuous crap. Bill Joy's "Why the Future Doesn't Need Us" was much more interesting and eye-opening, actually scary. This piece is one small step above the writings of the Gartner Group.

    The future is already here for the developed world. Ubiquitous surveillance, network

  • by Saeger ( 456549 ) <farrellj@NOsPaM.gmail.com> on Monday September 25, 2006 @06:47AM (#16183337) Homepage
    Sure, nobody can know for certain what the future will bring specifically, but one incontrovertable observation is that since the beginning of time overall progress has been accelerating exponentially.

    The closest real-world parallel to Hari Seldon's "Future History" would be Ray Kurzweil's Law of Accelerating Returns [kurzweilai.net] (a generalized "Moore's Law"), which makes the point that all evolutionary processes building on past progress accelerate exponentially, and it's only towards the knee-end of the curve -- like now -- that you notice the most change.

    Genetics, Nanotechnology, and Robotics/AI (GNR) will play a huge part in the coming decades; the only question is how well we'll be able to guide how it all unfolds. Take for example just one implication of advanced nanotech: The Molecular Manufacturing "replicator" in every home -- at the same time such a device creates vast "wealth without money" [bath.ac.uk] for the poorest of people, it also removes concentrated power from the former elite, which in of itself isn't a bad thing except that we're... only human, so the primitive-reaction could be bad.

    It's my opinion that it's actually in our best interest to make sure that we either merge with AI, or that benevolent AI "take over" before our selfish monkey-brain fucks everything up with the increasingly powerful tech at our disposal.
  • by tygerstripes ( 832644 ) on Monday September 25, 2006 @06:55AM (#16183383)
    52 percent of respondents agree that... 46 percent of respondents believe that... 42 percent agree that... 52 percent agree with the assertion... and 42 percent believe...
    Excuse me, but did anyone notice that the level of agreement to the vast majority of these statements hovers around the 50% mark? With a sample of 700, that's statistically significant in itself.

    Assuming the questions were posed in a "Y/N" fashion, what this study tells anyone with a statistical background is that there is no fucking consensus whatsoever. These guys have no idea - pick any question about 2020 and pose it to one of these guys. They're almost exactly as likely to say "yes" as "no".

    It's interesting that this study was done, and it makes an interesting read, but it produced almost exactly no significant results.

    • ...what this study tells anyone with a statistical background is that there is no fucking consensus whatsoever.

      Well, one thing is for certain. If the future is anything like Star Trek there is a bright future in plastic surgery with a specialty in nose jobs.
  • by kahei ( 466208 ) on Monday September 25, 2006 @06:55AM (#16183387) Homepage

    According to expert futurologists, we face a nightmarish future -- a future without expert predictions of the future!

    "People will get sick of it," said a spokesman for the Institute for Predictions. "They just won't want any more baseless predictions -- so people will stop making any."

    Professor Isaac Sagan of the University of Pontification agrees. "In the future, people will almost certainly have gotten sick of hearing me talk about what will happen in the future. Very likely, I'll have to find another job -- such as fry cook, or hat salesman."

    Although vapid, uninteresting predictions of the future are currently at a record high, even those who attempt to make actualy useful predictions foresee a downward trend.

    "At some point, real problems are going to become impossible to ignore," pointed out Dr. Bob Gore of the Smartville College, Oxford. "With climate change already depopulating some areas, and the deepening split between the American, Muslim, and Chinese spheres of influence, it's only a matter of time until people just don't have the time to talk about whether, in future, they will have the time to make predictions about... hang on, I can't remember how I started this sentence."

    Whoever you listen to, one theme is clear -- futurologists and the kind of 'experts' who appear in newspaper articles as 'experts predict' will one day die out, and that day may be sooner than we think. Which gives us all a ray of hope for the future.

  • by Uukrul ( 835197 ) on Monday September 25, 2006 @06:56AM (#16183395)
    ...maybe it's a good idea to vote schwarzenegger for president. Just in case.
    • by sukotto ( 122876 )
      Of all the fictional presidents I've seen, I liked Morgan Freeman the best.

      If I pick him, do I also have to pick the meteor impact (cause if I do, I'll move out of NYC)
  • by 1stpreacher ( 848239 ) on Monday September 25, 2006 @07:01AM (#16183421)
    America and China end up being the superpowers. And the Alliance is looking out for the good of all (except those that don't agree with it) ...



    Smart man that Joss is.

  • all the ancester of this "brain" tel us that in 2000 we will see flying car and a single pill will cure every diseases. So the suppossed expert can say anything about year 2020, they just irrelevant.
  • The reason movies show the future mostly to be bad is because it make a nicer story and it tells people that NOW is good.

    It makes people happy to know that this is the best time to be alive. Otherwise after 90 minutes you will be pretty depressed for the rest of your life.

    The few times it tells about a good future, it only hints at it. A sunset or the like. There are only a few that tell that the future is better then what we have now. A reason is that most science fiction is not so much about the future, b
    • The reason movies show the future mostly to be bad is because it make a nicer story and it tells people that NOW is good.

      I think that's true, but I think there's another mundane factor. Writing about car chases and shootings is easy.

      Writer A: Let's suppose innovation X. What are the social and political implications?
      Writer B: . . .
      Writer C: It goes haywire! And then, say, the hero shoots things!
      Writer B: Yeah, that would be great Sci Fi.

  • by ettlz ( 639203 ) on Monday September 25, 2006 @07:20AM (#16183533) Journal
    ...war was beginning.
  • Comparing future anti-technology vigilantes to modern day "eco-terrorists," Internet education expert and poll respondent Ed Lyell pointed out that "Every age has a small percentage that cling to an overrated past of low-technology, low-energy, lifestyle."

    *eyes roll over*
    Low-energy is state-of-the-art technology of any time, dumb**s!!

    Respondent Thomas Narten, a member of IBM's Internet Engineering Task Force, believes that "by becoming valuable infrastructure, the Internet itself will become a target,"

    Ye


  • Eloi are tasty.
  • Like Sci-Fi movies? So the future will be filled by potentially good plots absolutely marred by incompotent acting and low production budgets? Wow, I can hardly wait.
  • I read the Foundation series a long time ago so I may have this wrong but wasn't the whole 'joke' about Hari Seldon that really he couldn't predict the future? The 1000 year plan is found to be wrong at some stage I'm sure. And then there was that 'mule' fella.

  • In looking at classic science fiction films of the past, from Blade Runner to Soylent Green, one realizes that few of them really predict with any accuracy the world we live in today.

    True, but don't overlook the difference that hindsight makes in how you view things. The human animal has two key characteristics that make it a poor judge of history. First, it is adaptable. Second, it rationalizes. In fact, it may be more correct to call man a "rationalizing" animal than a "rational" animal.

    My point about

  • People are Explorers (Score:2, Interesting)

    by avapex ( 1003914 )
    There is no doubt that more and more people are getting access to technology faster and cheaper as technology gets more advanced. It's been possible for a while to have Internet access everywhere via mobi (mobile phone). Now companies are making it even easier to buy mobile-phone components and data plans that facilitate laptop internet connections at half broad band speeds (I was sort impressed by Verizon when I went to the mall the other day). No plug intended.

    Some fear that computers will run rampant a
  • This is stupid... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Lillesvin ( 797939 )

    From TFA: [...] and 42 percent believe that "English will displace other languages" by 2020.

    How?!? There'll still be a geographical spread and there'll sure as hell still be 3rd world countries that won't get an invitation for the great globalization party. Even if - by magic - English replaced all other languages in a split second and everybody became fluent English speakers instantly, people would soon start to develop regional dialects (e.g. cockney vs. some Texan redneck's dialect) and the more isola

  • The Luddites were fighting against the use of machines as tools of oppression. We are doing the same by resisting the tide of DRM and 'Trusted' Computing headed for our golden shores.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by smoker2 ( 750216 )
      By you apparently.

      The Luddites were a group of people who destroyed machines in factories. They did this because the machines had put them out of work. Most weaving was done as a cottage industry, each craftsman having his own loom in his own house. The invention of the powered looms and subsequent rise of factories to house those looms meant that the cottage industry could not compete in terms of price and efficiency. So unless you were prepared to work for low wages in a factory (the powered looms were o

  • by johansalk ( 818687 ) on Monday September 25, 2006 @08:20AM (#16184109)
    Who will own the Artificial Intelligence? If it's some corporate head like Rupert Murdoch or some Government head like George Bush then count me with the luddite terrorists.
  • In looking at classic science fiction films of the past, from Blade Runner to Soylent Green, one realizes that few of them really predict with any accuracy the world we live in today.

    I've been saying for years that THX1138 comes frighteningly close. Oddly enough, created by a guy whe went on to have some success specializing in the space opera genre.
  • hey if that is the future then sign me up!
  • Coming true (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wonkavader ( 605434 ) on Monday September 25, 2006 @09:22AM (#16184821)
    SciFi is never right. Never. In the whole, that is. Bits come out right, and if we ignore all the wrongness, that makes them look clever, but it's just a point or two taken out of context for most works. The same sort of cherry picking, in a more extreme form, makes bible prophesy look reliable.

    SciFi folks may do a better job of predicting than the average schmoe, but they don't do fantastically well. This is because technology changes and we're all living in bonazaland. (Marshall McLuhan's term for the fact that we're all living in the world of our youth, mentally, and the fact that it is impossible for us to see the world the way the kids do.) We don't see what's already happening.

    Also, when we do make a look into the future, we cannot see far enough. When computers first appeared, the world expected them to be huge and brilliant. SciFi had them running planets. Meaning one big computer, running a planet. Who guessed that they'd still be stupid, 50 years later, but so small and so cheap that they run coke machines?

    Further, when technology changes, it has a ripple effect. Things change all around it. That coke machine now has a computer in it. It knows what was bought at what time. Who thinks about the little things like that in toto? One or two may occur to a writer, or even fifty. But thousands of such small effects? And together, they change society.

    But SciFi is right now and then, and we take those points out of context and those POINTS appear brilliant. HG Wells described the use of the atomic bomb. Never mind that he thought that, because of nuclear decay, it would keep exploding for years.

    For SciFi that gets things right, the key is to look for SciFi without Sci. Orwell, for instance: 1984 is amazingly prescient. Look in various totalitarian countries (like or own, more and more) for bits and pieces which appear. Nothing on the whole, but lots of bits.

    At the other end of the spectrum, John Varley looks horribly dated, these days, because he wrote about tech and sex. Well, sex hasn't changed, so he still describes a future, there (though it seems more like a wet dream than a possible future) but the tech in his books looks impossible or silly, now. This is a man who eschewed word processors while writing SciFi -- Talk about Bonazaland.

    Philip K. Dick still seems current, since Phil didn't even know how light bulbs work. All his work is about society and ethics and the nature of reality. It ain't coming true, but it still grabs ya!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by argent ( 18001 )
      Who guessed that they'd still be stupid, 50 years later, but so small and so cheap that they run coke machines?

      Isaac Asimov.

      Yes, Asimov wrote about supercomputers, but he also had pocket calculators in the '50s.

      The real place to look for small and cheap computers in science fiction of the fifties and sixties are Star Trek's automatic doors and everyone's autopiloted cars.

      For SciFi that gets things right, the key is to look for SciFi without Sci. Orwell, for instance: 1984 is amazingly prescient.

      Orwell was w
    • E. E. Smith.

      Yes, he wrote horrid space opera, but the computers in Skylark were tremendously fast and powerful, small and cheap enough to throw away, and completely stupid. There's one scene in the Skylark series where Seaton (the hero, brilliant, handsome, caring, monogamous) and a super-intelligent humanoid are working on the control system for a new space ship. Seaton sits down and designs a control module, then another only slightly different, and another, marvelling at the ability of the alien force-ba
  • by peter303 ( 12292 ) on Monday September 25, 2006 @09:42AM (#16185155)
    The "Future" is popular enteraintment at Disney theme parks. The vision changed three times. When disney opened Tommorrowland was all about spoace ships, supercars, and the house of tommorrow. A couple decades later, post-Earth Day Epcot had more ecological friendly vision of the future. Finnaly, the future is now all about digital entertainment gizmos- fancy TVs, phones, the InterNet.

"What if" is a trademark of Hewlett Packard, so stop using it in your sentences without permission, or risk being sued.

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