the future is (not?) now

Let's face it - the only reason anyone ever reads Scientific American is to see how "shiny" the future is going to be.

the future is (not?) now

Postby Catgirl » Tue Feb 19, 2008 4:16 pm

http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/7837

not sure if this is the right forum to put this in...
but, amusing predictions of from yesteryear of what life should be like today. Not very accurate as you can see :P
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~"Counting Bodies Like Sheep To The Rhythm Of The War Drums" by A Perfect Circle
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Re: the future is (not?) now

Postby TerraFrost » Tue Feb 19, 2008 8:00 pm

Reminds me of Ray Kurzwell. I don't like his writings, personally. At least with the stuff in Scientific American, they usually focus on an already developed technology or theory. It may not be as developed as it could be, able to be utilized on a large scale, etc, but at least there's something backing for any predictive claims articles might make.

Kurzwell, however, doesn't do that. "I've made good guesses before, so I'll do it again!" seems to be his attitude.
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Re: the future is (not?) now

Postby Catgirl » Tue Feb 19, 2008 8:04 pm

hmmm... never heard of him before. thanks for the wikipedia link
"Don't fret precious, I'm here. Step away from the window, go back to sleep. Safe from pain and truth and choice and other poison devils. See, they don't give a **** about you like I do"
~"Counting Bodies Like Sheep To The Rhythm Of The War Drums" by A Perfect Circle
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Re: the future is (not?) now

Postby Dracofrost » Wed Feb 20, 2008 11:03 pm

Eh, Kurzwell isn't that bad. He takes trends and extrapolates continuations of those trends. My main problems with him is his overoptimism about technology, capabilities, and applications, and that he oftentimes makes some pretty fundamental mistakes about the things he's talking about. There's plenty of technology and theory behind the nanotechnology and AI he goes on about, but oftentimes he himself doesn't quite understand the developments going on. While I appreciate his efforts to create publicity for transhumanism, he sometimes gives us a bad name.

Anyways, a lot of those older predictions were essentially correct in a vague sort of way. They got the general ideas down, just not the specifics. But for every correct guess there are undoubtedly dozens of ones horribly off the mark.

For instance, from those given there you could say that they predicted books on tape, Expedition/vacations, nuclear powered cogeneration, the trend towards chemical food additives, voice mail, drive by shootings and armoured warfare, and modern container ships.

So, they got the ideas right, vaguely, just with utterly wrong ideas about how they'd be implemented. Like Jules Verne saying we'd go to the moon... by a cannon. Right idea, wrong implementation. Though it wasn't until Tsiolkovsky came along that the right idea about how to properly implement space travel showed up. But then, people generally tend to get the predictions closer the closer you are to a certain time. I imagine today's depictions of the year 2100 will look similarly silly come that time. I hope I'm still around to look back and laugh.
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