1987 Sci-Fi Authors Timecapsule Predictions For 2012

by namespace1 min read28th Dec 20183 comments


Forecasts (Specific Predictions)

I find it interesting how focused people were on certain trends such as venereal disease, which turned out almost irrelevant just 25 years later as drivers of global norms. Of the set I think Algis Budrys wins Most Accurate:

Because we will be in a trough between 20th-century resources and 21st-century needs, in 2012 all storable forms of energy will be expensive. Machines will be designed to use only minimal amounts of it. At the same time, there will be a general expectation that a practical cheap-energy delivery system is just around the corner. Individuals basing their career plans on any aspect of technology will concentrate on that future, leaving contemporary machine applications to the less ambitious or to those who foresee a different future. The most socially approved-of individuals will constitute a narrowly focused aristocracy, and will be at the mercy of dull functionaries and secretive rebels who actually perform the day-to-day maintenance of society. It should be noted that most minimal-energy devices process information and microscopic materials, not consumer goods. The function of "our" society may depend on processing information and biotechnology to subjugate goods-producing societies. These societies may be geographically external, or may be yet another social stratum within central North America. In either case, crowd-management technologies will have to turn away from forms that might in any way impair capital goods production. Social regimentation will then have become so deft that most people will regard any other social milieu as pitiable.

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Well, I now understand what Robin Hanson means when he says futurism is telling morality tales.

Besides energy production and demographics, what other large scale slow moving trends dominate long term prediction more so than smaller, more local, quickly changing and thus attention grabbing trends?

Orson Scott Card and Wolverton 2+3 were pretty solid