This 9/11 Let’s Look At What Four Prominent Science Fiction Writers Predicted For 2012 Twenty Five Years Ago…

by Daniel Russ on September 11, 2012

 

 

Several Science Fiction writers were asked in 1987 what life would be like in America 25 years from then.  A few of them are remarkable. Absolutely remarkable. Here are five prominent Science Fiction Writers predictions:

 

 

Issac Asimov (2 January 1920 -  6 April 1992)

Issac Asimov (2 January 1920 - 6 April 1992)

 

“Assuming we haven’t destroyed ourselves in a nuclear war, there will be 8-10 billion of us on this planet—and widespread hunger. These troubles can be traced back to President Ronald Reagan who smiled and waved too much.”

 

 

 

Gregory Benford (born January 30, 1941)

Gregory Benford (born January 30, 1941)

                                                                                                                                    

“YOUR FUTURE AND WELCOME TO IT

                                                … 25 years from now.

World population stands at nearly 8 billion.

The Dow-Jones Industrial Average stands at 8,400, but the dollar is worth a third of today’s.

Oil is running out, but shale-extracted oil is getting cheaper. The real shortage in much of the world is…water.

Most Americans are barely literate, think in images rather than symbols, and think the future is something that will happen to somebody else…just as today…

The outer-directed, social-issues consciousness of the USA, only nascent in 1987, will have peaked and run its course…leading to a fresh period of inward-directed values, perhaps even indulgence…though there will be less ability to indulge.

The French will still like odd Americans, unhonored in their own land (like the comedian Jerry Lewis), and will have just produced another desiccating critical theory of literature. Their food will be the same, too.

Berkeley, California will have a theme park devoted to its high period—the 1960s.

Bases on the moon, an expedition to Mars…all done. But the big news will be some problematical evidence for intelligent life elsewhere.

In science, the Icks (physics, mathematics) will be eclipsed by the Ologies (biology, psychology, ecology…).

There will have been major “diebacks” in overcrowded Third World countries, all across southern Asia and through Africa. This will be a major effect keeping population from reaching 10 billion.

The Crazy Years surrounding the turn of the century will have petered out, millennialfaiths will be boring again, and the attitudes expressed in this collection of predictions will seem very outmoded and “twen-cen.”

I will be old, but not dead. Come by to see me, and bring a bottle.”

 

 

 

ALGIS BUDRYS (January 9, 1931 – June 9, 2008)

Algis Budrys(January 9, 1931 – June 9, 2008)


“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.  

 

 

 

 

FREDERIK POHL ( b.November 26, 1919)

Frederik Pohl ( b.November 26, 1919)


LETTER FOR A TIME CAPSULE

“Dear People of the Future,

            In my day there were professional entertainers, and fake psychics, who specialized in telling total strangers all sorts of intimate details about themselves. The process was called “cold reading”. I’ve never done it before, but I think I can do it for you. I think I can tell you quite accurately what your lives are like as you open this time capsule.

            For example, you live in a world at peace. Something like the World Court, as an arm of something like the United Nations, resolves international disputes, and has the power to enforce its decisions. For that reason, you live in a world almost without weaponry; and, because you therefore do not have to bear the crippling financial burden of paying for military establishments and hardware, all of you enjoy and average standard of living about equal to a contemporary millionaire’s. Your health is generally superb. Your life expectancy is not much less than a century. The most unpleasant and debilitating jobs (heavy industry, mining, large-scale farming) are given over to machines; most work performed by human beings is in some sense creative. The exploration of space is picking up speed, both by manned colonization and robot probes, and by vast orbiting telescopes and other instruments. Deforestation, desertification and the destruction of arable land has been halted and even reversed. Pollution is controlled, and all the winds and the waters of the Earth are sweet again.

            This is a very short description of your life, but it could be made even shorter. A single word can describe it: it is very close to what every previous age of mankind would call “Utopia”.

            How do I know these things?

            It isn’t because I’ve made a probabilistic assessment of present-day trends. Quite the contrary. All the evidence of what is going on in the world today leads to the conclusion that none of these good things are going to happen, because our country, the richest and most powerful nation in the history of the world (and, I have always thought, the best) is bankrupting itself to recruit and train terrorists in Latin America, give arms to terrorists all over the world, develop and employ fleets, armies and weapons systems which have no purpose except to pound any country which disagrees with us into submission. Since, unfortunately for us, the people who disagree with us have terrorists, fleets, armies and weapons systems of their own, the most plausible future scenario is all-out nuclear war.

            It is therefore clear that to make the predictions above is to bet recklessly against the odds.

            It’s still a good bet, though.

            In fact, I don’t see how I can lose it. Anyone opening the capsule to read these lines will have to agree that my low-probability predictions pretty well describe the actual turn of events…because if the high-probability ones of mass destruction and species suicide should prevail no one is likely to be around to read them.”

 

 

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