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.)
|3D-Printed Human Organs|
|Worse than Economy Class|
|The Growing Violence Against Technology Firms|
|Robotic Bees to Replace Organic Pollinators|
|“Within 30 years, half of humanity won't have a job. It could get ugly — there could be a revolution.”|
|“What jobs will be created and what jobs will disappear?”|
|Gira Lab Universal Timer|
|Japanese Robot Serves Ice Cream From Inside a Vending Machine|
|How to Avoid Jury Duty|
|CaptchaTweet: Write Tweets in Captcha Form|
|“Long live the instant gratification economy—and the increasingly sophisticated technology that’s enabling it.”|
|Boston Dynamics' Robot does Parkour|
|“Computer algorithms increasingly control and decide our future.”|
|Why, Typewriters Are Alive and Well, Thank you|
|“Robots are key to a new wave of local agriculture.”|
|“Authoritarianism depends upon people getting used to hearing the things that they want to hear.”|
|The (Very Scary) People of Public Transit|