Arthur C. Clarke famously predicted orbital satellites. William Gibson pre-defined the modern internet. Star Trek’s communicators have lived in our pockets for a generation now, and someone recently invented the tricorder (re-invented, I should say). So, now it’s time to put our contributors’ far-sightedness to the test with our Question of the Day:
Spec Fic writers often like to allude to the fact they’ve predicted things that have subsequently come to pass. Put you on the spot: what do you predict is on its way, why, and what ramifications do you see as a result?
Rebecca Schwarz: We already live with some very powerful, if nascent, technologies that will transform our future. 3D printers will continue to become cheaper and more versatile, able to build large structures and print out single dose medications. They will help pave the way for colonization of our neighbouring planets and moons. Drones of every size continue to change the way we make war, and watch football. They will provide access to remote places on earth and beyond, as eyes in the sky or to deliver materials or bombs.
Andrew Leon Hudson: The western world seems certain it boasts a few immutable features, but I’m not sure that’s a good bet. So, I’m going to stick my neck out and predict an ugly, messy downfall for that inbred mule of capitalism and democracy which some seem to take for an eternal granted. Everything else changes, so will that.
Igor Ljubuncic: I’ve already done that on a number of occasions. I think the most significant change a hundred years from now will be the loss of national identities the way have them now and the rise of new over-societies based on culture.
Daniel Ausema: I think we will make some stunning advances in alternative energy, too late to prevent global warming, but soon enough to at least keep it from reaching the worst case scenarios. Apart from ecological concerns, I’m most interested in the ways we and our descendants will integrate technology into ourselves—and what ways we’ll reject using. No specific predictions there, but only the general one that this question will be an important pivot point for how society a hundred years from now looks.
P. J. Richards: For years I’ve thought that the habitual adherence to ‘escape velocity’ unnecessarily endangers both astronauts and payloads, and wastes millions in polluting fuel. Since a party balloon can be used to float a camera up to the edge of space, we should be scaling that method up, and then launching with rockets from there. The ramifications? I will be vindicated, and my husband will finally stop rolling his eyes when I bang on about it.
Victor Espinosa: The world is slowly decaying. We’re the ones causing it. We’re going to realize WAY too late, and then scramble to try and fix it but end up making the situation infinitely worse and we all die, the end.
Stephen Palmer: A revolution in energy production when the extraction of oil becomes too expensive to undertake, and countries are forced by circumstances to stop being lazy, greedy and stupid. Why? Because, despite all of capitalism’s protestations, planetary resources are finite.
Christina Klarenbeek: Our current technological advances are happening at an incredible pace. I see no brick wall that will halt that, but neither do I see evidence of global social growth. I imagine I will live to see wonderful gadgets that will alter our lives without dramatically altering us. Depending on the day, that can be either inspiring or depressing.
Kurt Hunt: I strongly suspect we’ll look back fifty years from now and shake our heads at how many strange things — especially plastics — we’re adding to our bodies and personal environments, much like how we now look at the past existence of radium suppositories and say “what the hell were we thinking?” We’ve already seen it in the backlash against BPA and microbeads, but I think better understanding of the collective impact of these materials will change the way we make practically everything.
Matthew Hughes: I have no idea. I do know that people who say, “The more things change, the more they stay the same,” don’t know what they’re talking about. Over my lifetime – which is now in its seventh decade – the most appropriate motto would be, “And now for something completely different.”
Jonathan Laidlow: I predict that the future will be like the present, only different. It will continue for a long time and we’ll feel like nothing substantial has changed. We’ll have constant “where’s my jetpack?” moments, and then one day we’ll look back and we’ll realise how far we’ve come. That’s how the future happens: stealthily.
They see the future like it’s today! Check back tomorrow to find out who was right (and for another question), and while you wait why not check the progress of our Kickstarter campaign, maybe pick yourself up some really good stories on the cheap?