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Sci-Fi Writers of the Past Predict Life In 2012

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the in-the-future dept.

Sci-Fi 179

cylonlover writes "As part of the L, Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future award in 1987, a group of science fiction luminaries put together a text 'time capsule' of their predictions about life in the far off year of 2012. Including such names as Orson Scott Card, Robert Silverberg, Jack Williamson, Algis Budrys and Frederik Pohl, it gives us an interesting glimpse into how those living in the age before smartphones, tablets, Wi-Fi and on-demand streaming episodes of Community thought the future might turn out."

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179 comments

Amazing! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40893703)

I wonder if this is any more accurate than their predictions of the years 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, or 2010

Re:Amazing! (5, Funny)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 years ago | (#40893919)

I wonder if this is any more accurate than their predictions of the years 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, or 2010

The predictions for 2010 were highly exaggerated, but the ones for 2010 were spot on.

Re:Amazing! (4, Funny)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#40893957)

One is an alternate universe 2010.

Re:Amazing! (5, Funny)

Cinder6 (894572) | about 2 years ago | (#40895359)

Is that the one where Spock has a beard?

Re:Amazing! (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 2 years ago | (#40894025)

And what about the prediction by Heinlein that the election of President of the US would result in "Nehemiah Scudder" being elected 2012 and that there will be no election in 2016.

Re:Amazing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40894505)

It's okay, in this universe he lost in the primary. Keep an eye out for him next cycle, though.

Nehemiah Scudder not US president (1, Funny)

fritsd (924429) | about 2 years ago | (#40895045)

That prediction was of course WAY off the mark...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-16409664 [bbc.co.uk]
Seriously, sometimes you Americans do scare the living crap out of us rest-of-the-worlders..

Re:Nehemiah Scudder not US president (3, Insightful)

Strawser (22927) | about 2 years ago | (#40895195)

Sometimes we scare the crap out of ourselves.

Who cares about 2012? (5, Funny)

bjoast (1310293) | about 2 years ago | (#40893727)

In three years we will all have hoverboards!

Re:Who cares about 2012? (2)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 2 years ago | (#40893901)

And holographic billboards and self-drying clothes.

(I just introduced my 9 year old son to Back To The Future. He was bored all through the initial setup and wanted to stop watching. Once Marty went back in time, though, he was hooked. Now he can't wait to see the next 2 movies.)

Re:Who cares about 2012? (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 years ago | (#40893961)

(I just introduced my 9 year old son to Back To The Future. He was bored all through the initial setup and wanted to stop watching. Once Marty went back in time, though, he was hooked. Now he can't wait to see the next 2 movies.)

Weird. I'd think that for him, it would be someone going from the past to the past. The 80s, the 50s -- it's all long before he was born. I'm not sure I'd be hooked on a movie of someone going from the 50s to the 20s.

Re:Who cares about 2012? (2)

c4tp (526292) | about 2 years ago | (#40893991)

In 4 years, they should release a special "Back to the Past" edition since even the second movie will be history for the viewers.

Re:Who cares about 2012? (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | about 2 years ago | (#40895393)

Weird. I'd think that for him, it would be someone going from the past to the past. The 80s, the 50s -- it's all long before he was born. I'm not sure I'd be hooked on a movie of someone going from the 50s to the 20s.

Why? The world isn't that different from 1985--not in the ways that matter. Sure, the cars are dated, and Marty uses a Walkman, but he spends so little time in 1985 that it doesn't make much of a difference. (For the record, the movie is 3 years older than me, and it's always been one of my favorites.)

Re:Who cares about 2012? (4, Funny)

wjousts (1529427) | about 2 years ago | (#40894393)

Now he can't wait to see the next 2 movies.

Ahhh...it's good for kids to learn about crushing disappointment early.

Re:Who cares about 2012? (1)

michaelmalak (91262) | about 2 years ago | (#40895019)

I just introduced my 9 year old son to Back To The Future. He was bored all through the initial setup and wanted to stop watching. Once Marty went back in time, though, he was hooked. Now he can't wait to see the next 2 movies.

Grandpa is cool but dad is an old fuddy-duddy.

Re:Who cares about 2012? (1)

sootman (158191) | about 2 years ago | (#40895401)

Years ago I had the idea to make a site or wiki to gather all the movies from the past once we reach that point. As you pointed out, BttF is just 3 years away. 2001 and 2010 have already passed. Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man* was supposed to take place in 1996 and Judgement Day in T2 was supposed to be in 1997.

Inspiration came from one of my favorite books, Yesterday's Tomorrows [amazon.com] but I wanted to focus specifically on the future as predicted in movies and TV shows that were set in the "future".

But, like everyone else, I'm too busy and have too many projects in mind to pursue this. If anyone wants to, I'd love to see it happen.

* not that that's the best movie ever, just one of the first that popped into my mind.

Pr0n (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40893733)

They all missed that scientists would build a worldwide, high speed network for the reliable transmission of pornography to all corners of the planet, from Communist China, to the Soviet Union to the Arab world.

Re:Pr0n (3, Funny)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#40893865)

Once again we learn that porn will trump all. Flying cars and moonbases are great and all, but are completely insignificant next to the power of the porn.

Re:Pr0n (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40893871)

Mmmm, Soviet Chinese Arab Pr0n.

Well, I'm not getting any work done today. Thanks AC.

Re:Pr0n (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40893999)

They all missed that scientists would build a worldwide, high speed network for the reliable transmission of cat videos to all corners of the planet, from Communist China, to the Soviet Union to the Arab world.

Fixed for accuracy.

Re:Pr0n (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 2 years ago | (#40894083)

They all missed that scientists would build a worldwide, high speed network for the reliable transmission of pony video mashups to all corners of the planet, from Communist China, to the Soviet Union to the Arab world.

Fixed for accuracy.

Fixed for current events.

Re:Pr0n (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40894077)

Murray Leinster predicted the internet in the March 1946 issue of Astounding Science Fiction in a story titled A Logic Named Joe [baen.com] (full text at the link).

Re:Pr0n (4, Interesting)

Culture20 (968837) | about 2 years ago | (#40894265)

Murray Leinster predicted the internet in the March 1946 issue of Astounding Science Fiction in a story titled A Logic Named Joe (full text at the link).

Forster predicted "internet" social networking and remote shopping in 1909. http://archive.ncsa.illinois.edu/prajlich/forster.html [illinois.edu]

Patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40894937)

Interesting....
I wonder if this could be used in patent law suits?

Re:Pr0n (5, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#40894217)

They also missed out on predicting that a dangerous, violent cult would attack that network and its users in court when people dared to tell the truth about that cult. Then again, the contest is sponsored by a subsidiary of that same cult, so I guess we should not be surprised...

Re:Pr0n (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40895251)

Apple?

Bring a bottle? (2)

tomknight (190939) | about 2 years ago | (#40893735)

So what does Gregory Benford like to drink then?

Re:Bring a bottle? (5, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#40893931)

I'm thinking a 25 year old Scotch would be appropriate.

Might not hurt to have it delivered by a 25 year old blonde.

Re:Bring a bottle? (1)

serialband (447336) | about 2 years ago | (#40894649)

Male or Female?

Re:Bring a bottle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40894601)

Don't know but let's give him a well deserved cheers!

first (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40893747)

They probably didn't expect that people could entertain themselves with posting:

FIRST POST !

not really the strength of sci-fi (4, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#40893749)

This is vaguely interesting, but imo, near-term predictions of technological development aren't really what you go to sci-fi for. If you really want an accurate prediction 15 years out, there are more qualified but generally less exciting people to get it from than sci-fi authors: that's near enough that you really just need people with a good amount of historical knowledge, extensive information about current developments, and perhaps especially, accurate knowledge of current research progress, prospects, and bottlenecks. And a decent ability to synthesize and evaluate all those variables.

Sci-fi's strengths are, instead, more about what-if than what-is-likely. One kind is technological what-ifs, imagining (at least in hard sci-fi) conceptually plausible but not anywhere near buildable technologies and their results and implications; and ethical/political/etc. what-ifs, analyzing how future societies might operate (often in either dystopian or utopian visions).

At least, that's what I go to sci-fi for.

Re:not really the strength of sci-fi (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40894047)

If you really want an accurate prediction 15 years out, there are more qualified but generally less exciting people to get it from than sci-fi authors:

True. They even missed out on the fact that 2012 - 1987 now equals 15.

Re:not really the strength of sci-fi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40894075)

extensive information about current developments, and perhaps especially, accurate knowledge of current research progress, prospects, and bottlenecks. And a decent ability to synthesize and evaluate all those variables.

The listed authors for this project might not be entirely on the hard sci-fi side but it is not unheard of that the list non-fiction is longer than the list of fiction when it comes to sci-fi authors.

No one really thinks they can predict the future (4, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#40893763)

No serious science fiction writer in their right mind seriously thinks they can accurately predict the future. The good science fiction writers merely use the future to explore the issues of the present and their implications (and perhaps offer admonishment, with a glimpse of what could go wrong if a particular path is followed).

Re:No one really thinks they can predict the futur (1)

jamesh (87723) | about 2 years ago | (#40893795)

No serious science fiction writer in their right mind seriously thinks they can accurately predict the future. The good science fiction writers merely use the future to explore the issues of the present and their implications (and perhaps offer admonishment, with a glimpse of what could go wrong if a particular path is followed).

I didn't get the impression that any of them seriously thought their predictions might be correct, but it's still an interesting read.

Curiously, in an article containing L. Ron Hubbard, your sig was the first mention of scientology!

Re:No one really thinks they can predict the futur (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#40893827)

Hubbard likely never thought he could predict the future, but his followers certainly thought he could do that and more. Of course, they believe that Scientology can make the gay go away too.

Re:No one really thinks they can predict the futur (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#40893841)

some do, but they just don't predict stupid things if they want to sound like they're predicting actual future.

for example, shouldn't it be obvious that it's easier to build a machine to win in chess than to write good books? yet that's what one of the guys(neverheard of him) predicted.

Re:No one really thinks they can predict the futur (2)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 2 years ago | (#40893915)

While nobody can accurately predict the future, it's sometimes fun to try extrapolating where society will go based on our past/present and then see just how wrong we were.

Re:No one really thinks they can predict the futur (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 2 years ago | (#40894757)

"While nobody can accurately predict the future,..."

When I read the news I even doubt that most people can predict the past.

Re:No one really thinks they can predict the futur (-1, Flamebait)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 years ago | (#40893951)

No serious scifi reader in their right mind likes Orson Scott Card either; though I must admit his books about HOW to write are amazing, even if his actual writing is shit.

Re:No one really thinks they can predict the futur (1)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about 2 years ago | (#40894453)

I've only read Ender's Game, so I'm not working from a big sample size, but as far as that one goes I thought it was superb, intelligent, insightful and subtle. He compares favourably with Asimov and Baxter as far as I'm concerned (although a bit soft to draw comparisons with Clarke).

Re:No one really thinks they can predict the futur (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40894661)

I've only read Ender's Game, so I'm not working from a big sample size, but as far as that one goes I thought it was superb, intelligent, insightful and subtle. He compares favourably with Asimov and Baxter as far as I'm concerned (although a bit soft to draw comparisons with Clarke).

Ender's Game was originally written as a short story, and the full length novel was basically the short story with some biolerplate sci-fi elements tacked onto it. The sequels were mostly garbage, at least imho.

Re:No one really thinks they can predict the futur (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40894981)

You have read what I consider to be the best of his books. "Speaker for the Dead" is ok too.
Forget Xenocide etc., they are just milking the franchise.

Re:No one really thinks they can predict the futur (2)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about 2 years ago | (#40895237)

Unfortunately, the series goes off a cliff not too long after that. Speaker for the Dead is also good, as is most of Xenocide. He completely failed at coming up with a solution to the story in Xenocide, though, and the ending made me refuse to read any more of his books. It ranks only slightly above the last episode of Voyager.

Re:No one really thinks they can predict the futur (2)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 years ago | (#40895381)

All of Card's books, from what I understand, have no real solution. Ender's Game was terrible: there was no sane way to approach the problem at hand, and the books further down the line play on the whole mess. For example, Ender is immortalized as a horrible genocidal maniac who exterminates an entire alien culture... after being tricked into thinking he's playing a computer game, by a race of people who believe the aliens are coming to destroy them, and of course immediately take over all the planets these now-dead aliens had inhabited once they've tricked a small boy into murdering the lot of them. Speaker for the Dead has a lot of strangeness in it but nothing quite so complex, although due to an unstoppable disease they have to cripple a burgeoning culture that they've interfered with. Due to the volatile nature of all this, wouldn't it make sense to nuke the whole planet anyway a la the ending of Ender's Game? Is murder still an option?

Re:No one really thinks they can predict the futur (2)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 years ago | (#40895329)

Ender's Game is like a third grade reading level, and Orson Scott Card went on a tirade against all his critics claiming that writing prose isn't really important. In his book about Characters and Viewpoint, he even makes a different argument: if you don't write well, nobody is going to figure out what the hell story you're trying to tell.

Ender's Game had a well-developed story, but it was poorly executed. It was like reading a kid's story.

I >SciFi writers (1)

tomzyk (158497) | about 2 years ago | (#40894467)

No serious science fiction writer in their right mind seriously thinks they can accurately predict the future

I knew someone was gonna say that.

Re:No one really thinks they can predict the futur (1)

aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) | about 2 years ago | (#40894865)

NOBODY in their right mind seriously thinks they can accurately predict the future. That said, it should be possible to extrapolate the future from present trends. A good sci-fi writer wouldn't have predicted flying cars because they're either so damn impractical or if possible engineering-wise indistinguishable from airplanes.

Reading near-future hard sci-fi, it's also important to keep in mind cultural and political differences. Heinlein's Libertarian vision of robber barons on the Moon differs markedly from Clarke's vision of continued government-sponsored space exploration, influenced no doubt by the British Empire's own exploratory conquests of the New World and Australia. Each is as likely or unlikely as the other. The decisive factor isn't technology but future political developments.

Awful accuracy (2)

mister2au (1707664) | about 2 years ago | (#40893817)

Counting through the predictions I'd say 10-20% of those accurate with maybe 50% pointing to trends that may happen (and probably where started before 1987 anyway like credit cards leading the way for cashless society).

Pretty crappy performance really - and generally over-estimating the rate of progress. But I think that is well known phenomenon where people over-estimate progress over 10-30 years but substantially fall short on predictions for 50-100 years. Interesting paradox !!!

Re:Awful accuracy (3, Interesting)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#40893917)

Even when they're get something right, they usually miss the real use or significance of it, or they characterize it in some bizarre way. A lot of people predicted, for example, that people would one day all have computers in their homes, but they almost all botched how they would actually be USED.

Re:Awful accuracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40894875)

Even when they're get something right, they usually miss the real use or significance of it, or they characterize it in some bizarre way. A lot of people predicted, for example, that people would one day all have computers in their homes, but they almost all botched how they would actually be USED.

You must just be reading the wrong stuff. Because most of the authors considered "greats" or "fathers" of the genre got that reputation by doing a very excellent job of predicting exactly how people would use technology, and it was more often the technical details which were wrong not the human aspect.

Re:Awful accuracy (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#40895119)

Most of the greats I know of were wildly wrong in their predictions. Maybe you live in an alternate timeline.

Re:Awful accuracy (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | about 2 years ago | (#40895169)

Most science-fiction authors like to think of a society with a focus on science (they are sci-fi authors after all!), where people have the same thirst for knowledge and creation that they have.

Rarely is it factored in that people would rather sit in their couch watching the dumbest shows on Earth or click the cow for days on and find it interesting.

Plus, I don't think anybody wants to be the one predicting that the human race will be ravaged by something as simple as laziness and stupidity, instead of thermonuclear war or worldwide hunger.

L. Ron Hubbard and writers in the same sentence? (2)

1_brown_mouse (160511) | about 2 years ago | (#40893825)

With a straight face?

Money trying to buy a reputation does not turn a crappy SF writer into a good one.

Re:L. Ron Hubbard and writers in the same sentence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40893855)

...but could he have predicted Tom Cruise?

Re:L. Ron Hubbard and writers in the same sentence (5, Funny)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#40893925)

Come on, Battlefield Earth was pretty good (though the movie was a lot better than the book).

Re:L. Ron Hubbard and writers in the same sentence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40894213)

How in Azimov's name is this rated +4 Interesting? +4 Funny, sure, but Interesting?!

Those mods need to be strapped down and forced to endure Battlefield Earth, the movie. I suppose in some alternate universe it is possible that it was better than the book -- assuming the book in question was a summary of an insurance conference and the benefits of whole vs universal life policies for pets...

Re:L. Ron Hubbard and writers in the same sentence (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#40894249)

Forest Whitaker's finest film, if you ask me.

Re:L. Ron Hubbard and writers in the same sentence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40894689)

What about this one? http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0165798/

Re:L. Ron Hubbard and writers in the same sentence (1)

fallen1 (230220) | about 2 years ago | (#40894333)

Please, please, please tell me you are joking... I am an avid reader of science fiction from William Gibson/Neal Stephenson to Robert Heinlein/Isaac Asimov and around to John Varley and Spider Robinson. In my much younger years (call it late teens), I tried to read Battlefield Earth and then the Mission Earth series (I had the first 5 volumes in hard cover for some reason). I quit reading Battlefield after 60 or so pages. I quit reading the first book in the Mission Earth after 20 pages or so. I do not mind technical detail in my books but gah!, those books bored me to tears with their writing style and the details included. I love some good pulp fiction but those don't cut it. I was hoping for fantastic considering the series was 10 books. What I received instead was drivel and 4.9 unread volumes (5+ if you count Battlefield).

Oh, yeah, the movie was such a large pile of shit that we could fertilize the mid-west with it for 20 years or so. To be fair, I might give the books another go. It has been a while.

Re:L. Ron Hubbard and writers in the same sentence (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#40894041)

Well, he is pretty popular -- his sci fi series has a devoted fan base who keep trying to introduce others to his prose...

Re:L. Ron Hubbard and writers in the same sentence (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 2 years ago | (#40894397)

One has to admit that going by the fanaticism of his fandom, he beats out every modern writer.

Re:L. Ron Hubbard and writers in the same sentence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40895383)

I've never read much by Hubbard but I did like Fear. Sure it was light but it was still good.

Re:L. Ron Hubbard and writers in the same sentence (1)

gemtech (645045) | about 2 years ago | (#40895407)

Yes, believe it or not, L.Ron Hubbard could write science fiction, or at least fiction. Just look at all of the $cientologists that have bought into his sceme.

Tablet Computers from 1968 (5, Informative)

CubicleZombie (2590497) | about 2 years ago | (#40893829)

Arthur C. Clark's 2001 A Space Odyssey predicted the iPad in 1968. He called it a "Newspad" and it connected to all major newspapers over the "ether". In the book, Heywood Floyd reads it on his way to the space station. In the movie, you can see Bowman and Poole watching the news on them during the first scenes on Discovery.

Re:Tablet Computers from 1968 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40893981)

But that doesn't count as prior art, ofc.

Re:Tablet Computers from 1968 (1)

Ambitwistor (1041236) | about 2 years ago | (#40894011)

Alan Kay also came up with the Dynabook concept in 1968, although I don't know if at that time it was a tablet concept, or a laptop.

Re:Tablet Computers from 1968 (5, Funny)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#40894377)

You mean Arthur C Clark stole it after Steve Jobs invented it.

Re:Tablet Computers from 1968 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40894657)

Yeah, because there was no way to electronically send information and images in 1968, except that there was!

Re:Tablet Computers from 1968 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40895079)

One of Robert Heinlein's stories from 1949-1950 or so included a throw-away line about cell phones. The protagonist was woken up by his phone ringing, but couldn't answer it immediately because the phone was in his pants pocket on the other side of the room.

I'm old enough that it was a crazy prediction when I first read it.

Which award? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40893859)

L, Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future award

Uh yeah. So this is a scientology press release? I mean a Hugo or a Nebula I can understand, but who the fuck cares about the "L. Ron Hubbard award"? Never heard of it until today.

Re:Which award? (3, Interesting)

Daetrin (576516) | about 2 years ago | (#40894711)

L Ron Hubbard was a popular SF writer before he went nuts. (Or more (or less?) charitably speaking, before he figured he could accumulate wealth and power by inventing a religion.) A lot of writers go a bit weird in their old age (more specifically a lot of people go weird in their old age, but authors are in a pretty good position to publicize their own weirdness) but very few manage to go so far as to taint everything they've done before. Heinlein, James P Hogan, Terry Goodkind, Orson Scott Card, they all went a bit off the deep end later, but you can still admit to liking their earlier stuff and recommend that other people check it out without shame. (Well, except maybe for Orson Scott Card. I'll admit to liking his old stuff, but i'd be hesitant to suggest anyone actually support him by paying money for any of his books, even the older ones.)

For L Ron Hubbard though, Scientology has overshadowed everything else he ever did.

Re:Which award? (1)

gemtech (645045) | about 2 years ago | (#40895425)

and contrary to what they want you to know, L.Ron was taking a LOT of pain medications (so I've read).

My prediction (0)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 2 years ago | (#40893875)

Whatever happens, I can predict one thing: the world tomorrow will be uglier, more crowded and less educated that the world today.

The days when young people looked forward to a brighter future are long gone. Everybody knows we're living the last of the golden days brought about by cheap energy. Whatever is coming next won't be pretty.

Re:My prediction (5, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#40893943)

I predict more of the same. I also predict that people 25 years from now will still be making inaccurate predictions.

Re:My prediction (4, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#40893963)

you sure you don't life in the fifties? or sixties? or seventies? or eighties? or nineties? or 00's?

that's exactly the prediction all those guys got wrong pretty much.

Re:My prediction (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#40894907)

How do you figure they got it wrong?

Re:My prediction (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 2 years ago | (#40894117)

Yay! More geek angst. Who's awesome? You're awesome, emo kid!

Re:My prediction (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40894161)

Education: I hope you are wrong about less educated, but given how USiA has been so bad about eduction these last couple generations, i cant help but acknowledge you may be right, which saddens me. I do believe those who are educated will be MORE educated than we are, on the whole, it'll be more boob tubers.

Re:My prediction (0)

Kohath (38547) | about 2 years ago | (#40894303)

Energy companies are trying to continue producing cheap energy. But their every effort is opposed by a determined government enemy that has invested in their alternative (expensive) energy competitors and by environmental doomsday cultists.

Personally, I'd like "the golden age" to last 50 more years so we have time to perfect and commercialize fusion reactors or actually figure out how to make "alternative" energy useful and beneficial instead of the expensive burden it is now. Then we won't have to worry about the end of cheap energy.

Re:My prediction (2)

jbolden (176878) | about 2 years ago | (#40894837)

Nonsense everyone is an agreement about what's good and what's bad about energy:

1) Cheap
2) Safe / Clean
3) Reliably priced / reliable availability
4) Domestic

Where there is disagreement is what to do about the tradeoffs between those 4 objectives. Not addressing legitimate concerns about safe / clean has created mistrust. The way to handle that is an effective outside audit i.e. regulation.

Re:My prediction (0)

Kohath (38547) | about 2 years ago | (#40895087)

Regulation can be used to guide, inform, and safeguard production, or it can be used to obstruct production. Right now, it is being used to obstruct.

And we don't have "regulation" of some large sources of cheap energy. That energy, such as the oil off the east and west coasts of the US and in parts of Alaska, is off-limits for production. Fracking for natural gas -- one of the cheapest, cleanest, safest, and most reliable domestic energy sources -- has been made illegal in some states. Environmentalists oppose fracking for natural gas because they don't want us to have cheap energy.

Re:My prediction (1)

blind biker (1066130) | about 2 years ago | (#40894311)

Whatever happens, I can predict one thing: the world tomorrow will be uglier, more crowded and less educated that the world today.

That's true, and one doesn't even have to touch upon the more controversial (not for me) things such as AGW.

For intance, there was a time when eating salmon and other large fish was unambiguously healthy. Not anymore: the concentration of mercury in the oceans (because of coal-fired plants) has been steadily increasing, and with it, mercury in the fish. Now you have to weight the pros and the cons of eating it.

Population has been steadily increasing as well.

And there is a clear trend of unethical business practices, quarter-to-quarter, short term thinking and screwing the customer.

Many more trends like these. Yes, it's getting worse.

Re:My prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40894425)

I expect you have recently passed the age of thirty-five. This is the usual cut-off line between predicting a brighter future and predicting a decline from the golden age of yesterday.

(Except people like Ray Kurzweil, of course.)

Re:My prediction (1)

amliebsch (724858) | about 2 years ago | (#40895231)

You're on to something, but I think it's simply a case of chronological proximity bias. The problems we face today always *feel* like the most severe problems ever faced, but that is probably often just because they are the most prominent in our minds. I mean, look how many writers from the last century predicted widespread famine, because when you ran the numbers it just didn't seem possible. They thought it was the biggest problem humanity ever faced. Eventually we managed to overcome it and now it feels like a big nothing. Instead we have our own, new, biggest problems humanity has ever faced. Except they're not, not really. They just seem that way because we know that the other ones got solved, and we don't know yet how to solve the unsolved ones. And those writers, in turn, were probably overestimating the relative severity of that problem compared to other historical problems.

It's the same perspective problem that causes doomsdayism.

Re:My prediction (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 2 years ago | (#40894801)

Heck I don't even know we are in the end of cheap energy. Fracking seems to be giving us a real surge of cheap energy. At the same time solar efficiency as gone from 10 years output to 3.5 years output to build a panel. Which means its viable. Wind turbines now work really well so that technology can spread. Be careful with predictions we may very well have been through a trough of expensive energy.

As far as education.... the last decade has been bad. The last century has been amazing.

Re:My prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40895179)

"The days when young people looked forward to a brighter future are long gone. Everybody knows we're living the last of the golden days brought about by cheap energy. Whatever is coming next won't be pretty." -- some obviously very young pessimist in 1943 at the end of the Great Depression.

If you live long enough, or study history, there are cycles back and forth. In 1943 there were a lot more illiterates than today, although probably a lot more aliterates today than then, because nobody had TV. If you wanted to lose yourself in fiction, it was either a book or a trip to town to see a movie.

The "golden age" in the sixties wasn't all that golden, young fellow, but it was better than my grandfathers' time when men worked 12 hour, seven day shifts for little pay. You can thank unions for the "golden age" and all the benefits you still have that are rapidy going away, not because of oil, but because workers are not united and therefore are far weaker than in the past.

A man alone is easy prey.

If you want your children to have a better life than you, organize a union. United we stand, divided we fall. The rich are organized, the elderly are organized, you young folks are disorganized and very vulnerable.

Sci-Fi or Wi-Fi, what is the difference? (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about 2 years ago | (#40894001)

Wi-Fi Users of The Past - Get A Life In 2102

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0zt4opqL18 [youtube.com]

So, why read Sci-Fi when real-life in early 21st Century nearly beats the fiction?

Nah, I still like Sci-Fi, but these authors, Orson Scott Card, Robert Silverberg, Jack Williamson, Algis Budrys or Frederik Pohl did NOT predict the clueless.

Re:Sci-Fi or Wi-Fi, what is the difference? (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 2 years ago | (#40894771)

The difference between Sci Fi and Wi Fi is that they're both poor designations for differing reasons. Oft, the former contains more events based on actual facts and mathematics than your average (Auto)Biography... If you're talking the station itself, it comes in over wireless signal (WiFi? no Microwave -- Like the oven? No. The radar? Yeah, something like that) and has been dumbed down and renamed to Sy Fy (with plans to complete the naming conversion to Syphie -- slang for one having syphilis). The latter stands for Wireless Fidelity which should be the name of a unit of measure -- a signal to noise ratio -- not the actual technology. That would be like calling your TV a Microwave!

Reminds me of the standard interview question (4, Funny)

mooingyak (720677) | about 2 years ago | (#40894187)

"Where do you see yourself in 5 years?"

My usual answer is "I used to have a great answer for this, and then five years went by."

Re:Reminds me of the standard interview question (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 2 years ago | (#40894807)

"Where do you see yourself in 5 years?"

Wherever the hell I am.

Re:Reminds me of the standard interview question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40894825)

"Hopefully a better place." or "Sitting in your chair."

http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/five_years.png

Re:Reminds me of the standard interview question (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#40895159)

Prison

All I want to know... (1)

wjousts (1529427) | about 2 years ago | (#40894429)

...is where is my motherfucking flying car?

Re:All I want to know... (1)

Igot1forya (2609733) | about 2 years ago | (#40895349)

To quote the funny singer-song-writer Tim Wilson, "Where the #*&^ is my Jetpack [youtube.com] ?!?!"

Fuck L Ron Hubbard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40894479)

and anything he touched.

Patents (1)

geoffaus (623283) | about 2 years ago | (#40894805)

Can we invalidate some patents with prior art now?

Hunger (1)

Beetle B. (516615) | about 2 years ago | (#40895271)

I suspect the article is wrong about hunger. Compared to the 80's, the world has fewer famines. The absolute number of hungry people may be up, but as a percentage of the global population, it's probably lower than in the 80's.

Stupid of them... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40895339)

Stupid of them not to include the lyrics of "Living In The Future" by John Prine. Much more accurate!

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