Charlie Stross' angry opinion rambled from the pulpit of his soap box will tell you everything that went wrong with the 21st century, where we are going as a result of it, and what to do if you don't like where we're headed. It's a great rant.
When I write a near-future work of fiction, one set, say, a decade hence, there used to be a recipe that worked eerily well. Simply put, 90% of the next decade's stuff is already here today. Buildings are designed to last many years. Automobiles have a design life of about a decade, so half the cars on the road will probably still be around in 2027. People ... there will be new faces, aged ten and under, and some older people will have died, but most adults will still be around, albeit older and grayer. This is the 90% of the near future that's already here.
After the already-here 90%, another 9% of the future a decade hence used to be easily predictable. You look at trends dictated by physical limits, such as Moore's Law, and you look at Intel's road map, and you use a bit of creative extrapolation, and you won't go too far wrong. If I predict that in 2027 LTE cellular phones will be everywhere, 5G will be available for high bandwidth applications, and fallback to satellite data service will be available at a price, you won't laugh at me. It's not like I'm predicting that airliners will fly slower and Nazis will take over the United States, is it?
And therein lies the problem: it's the 1% of unknown unknowns that throws off all calculations. As it happens, airliners today are slower than they were in the 1970s, and don't get me started about Nazis. Nobody in 2007 was expecting a Nazi revival in 2017, right? (Only this time round Germans get to be the good guys.)
|The African forest elephants may face extinction possibly as soon as the next decade.|
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|Power Pallet: Carbon-Negative Biomass Power Generators|
|By the Time A.I.s Are Smart Enough, Humans Will be Even Smarter|
|Bitcoin is Poised to Change Society Much More Than the Internet Did|
|“The Amish use us as an experiment.”|
|“Every human being on this planet will be completely redundant within a decade.”|
|Japanese Robot Serves Ice Cream From Inside a Vending Machine|
|“These planets are more likely to look like giant eyeballs whose gaze is forever fixed on their host star.”|
|Fake Name Generator|
|CaptchaTweet: Write Tweets in Captcha Form|
|How to Avoid Jury Duty|
|“Without any security company in the world recognizing that it even existed.”|
|Amateur-Built Electric Car Going After Record Set by Tesla|
|When the Wrong Hastag Can Get You Killed by an Assassination Drone|
|The (Very Scary) People of Public Transit|
|“Single use forever launch clock.”|