Communicator (communicator) wrote,

I knew that was going to happen

SF didn't used to come true. Massive overpopulation, nuclear war, interplanetary or interstellar journeys. Didn't happen. I know that's not the point - only mundanes think the point of SF is simplistic prediction. Or that only near-future SF is of interest.

But, in any case, the predictive power of SF seems to have improved markedly since about 1980. People were aware of the world we are in now, ten to twenty years before it happened. Hurricanes devastating the Gulf Coast - check. The Internet - check. War for oil in the Middle East - man, how often was that predicted in blunt terms, not even in SF, in ordinary thrillers. Rightward lurch of the US government - were there any SF stories that didn't predict that?

What next? My personal prediction is ever more virulent disease, and a population crash, but some cool new technology. Clean-water filters would be a good start.

I have grave doubts about the prediction of an AI-singularity(*) as proposed by SF writers like Vernor Vinge. Cynical dismissal of the likelihood of a wonderful future can be found at Crooked Timber here ('any sufficently advanced punditry is indistinguishable from bollocks') and here. And remember - in the future technology will give you everything you always wanted. And a pony!

(*) singularity - theoretical point in the development of a scientific civilization at which technological progress accelerates to infinite speed. This is believed to occur when artificial intelligence or intelligence enhancement is perfected.
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