1987 winners of the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future saw the year 2012 as being far more than we were able to realize by then. Writers that include: Orson Scott Card, Robert Silverberg, Jack Williamson, Algis Budrys and Frederik Pohl, all foresaw changes that have yet to occur and also reflect an undercurrent of anxiety that could only have been enjoyed at the time.
Armageddon was a popular theme. Nuclear war was a threat that at the time remained daily and so a prediction was bound to have that possibility creep in. Widespread hunger, if we didn’t die as result of Nuclear War, with a proposed number of 8-10 billion humans on the planet. Care to guess how many people we have? Current (Nov 2013) estimates the population of the Earth to be 7,023,106,813. One in Eight is estimated to suffer from chronic undernourishment meaning approximately 852 million fit into the widespread hunger category.
Interesting certainly, but before I would dismiss them as wrong, perhaps I would suggest that maybe they were off by a few years.
Of course there were other predictions. Benford saw a wildly more advanced space presence then is fact today and yet what he offered is what is indeed planned and being prepped for. He saw bases on the Moon and manned expeditions to Mars. There was some thoughts on intelligent life in the Universe, and while we do not have evidence at this time , perhaps once we extend our reach to match that predicted, we will have discovered alien life.
Power uses eating up more and more resources, wow, who could have foreseen that one? Cutting th power requirements of all manner of electronic devices was seen in Bundrys view into the future. And in some part that has come true. Those light bulbs that conserve energy (and light it seems) and are greener have slowly been taking over. But alas, we have held on many of our energy needs with little concern for the waning resources.
Thought on Robotics or medical advances are almost in alignment. We are not quite where we were predicted to be on a grand scale, but we are within years.
A cashless society was also foreseen. And that is something that is almost occurred. Telecommuting, got that – for the most part, and more leisure time. Whoops!
A prediction by Zelazny had us enjoying more leisure time, and perhaps that is something that depends on where in the world one is, but certainly not here in the US. In the US instead of cutting work hours we are working more. Wonderful technologies such as wireless access to the internet and hence the office have meant there is no truly free time. Between Laptops and Blackberries and tablets, we have all become plugged in and are basically on call 24 hours a day.
Zelazny was 100% correct regarding, was the advent of the e-book.
But alas there were far other predictions that differed greatly as they foresaw World Peace and World governments. Working together, hah!
Actually, it is a great idea, and its time will come, but like most of these predictions it surmises a self-realization that has yet to occur. But SciFi writers will continue to predict the future. We are a combination of the optimist and the pessimist and our predictions end up being of the realist. And the realist says we will do great things but we will also do awful things. Our advances both on the medical front and robotics front will be tremendous, but on the mankind front, we don’t play nicely with others so there it will be a tad slower. What is unfortunate, is the politics of man often time interfere with the advances of technology.
The best thing that the future has to offer? More predictions.