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 Internet of Things is going to be a security and privacy disaster."|
|Robotic Bees to Replace Organic Pollinators|
|"Graphene is one of the few materials in the world that is transparent, conductive and flexible -- all at the same time."|
|Welcome to Life: the singularity, ruined by lawyers|
|"He believes that the way his toddler learns and reasons may hold the key to making machines much more intelligent."|
|“Forget reading the book of life—we’re now learning how to write it.”|
|"Waymo is reportedly planning to take the next step towards offering a commercial driverless car service in early December."|
|“Buying a new smartphone every two years is taking a toll on the planet.”|
|The (Very Scary) People of Public Transit|
|“Once artificial-intelligence software is good enough to drive a car, it will be good enough to do a lot of other things too.”|
|How to Avoid Jury Duty|
|Boardwalk Empire: Time Lapse Video|
|Naked Preacher Lady [NSFW]|
|“We need to make algorithms transparent, regulated, and forgiving of the flawed creatures that converse with them.”|
|The Hard Sell of Low Tactics|
|“The era of climate wars has begun.”|
|“The prospects and future of AI.”|