What has surprised you most about the future?

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What has surprised you most about the future?

Postby Brightonian » Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:19 pm

If I'd been vouchsafed a vision of the 21st century say 40 years ago, I reckon what would most astonish me wouldn't be the handheld communicators, personal computers, DVDs, the collapse of communism and apartheid or even gay marriages, but the fact that people think nothing of buying ordinary drinking water by the bottle.
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Re: What has surprised you most about the future?

Postby Brightonian » Fri Jan 15, 2010 4:30 pm

Another thing that would have amazed the young me is that people in the 21st century still have to go to work, instead of living Eloi-esque lives of idleness while everything is done by robots.
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Re: What has surprised you most about the future?

Postby admin » Mon Jan 18, 2010 7:49 am

I think gay rights would have surprised me most, and more generally the sexual revolution. I can remember the shock when, in the 1960s, F&SF allowed Edgar Pangborne to use the word "piss" in a story. But in the same decade, Don Wolheim forbade Ted White to have a woman become preganant out of wedlock, in Android Avenger. Taboo. And yet, only about ten years later, Wolheim published Dahlgren!

On the other hand, I assumed we would have commercial space travel by now, and I assumed we would have found life on other planets. The desolation of the solar system is a big surprise.
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Re: What has surprised you most about the future?

Postby HAL Jr » Mon Mar 15, 2010 5:11 pm

For me its the ease of communication we have now! I mean I can 'speak' to someone instantly on any place on the planet, as I am doing now. that woyuld have been unthinkable when I was a kid-people would have laughed at the idea!
Also the availability of things that back in the day would have been either impossible or phenomenally expensive! Now we have schoolkids with iPhones,the ability to make our own movies and music to a high standard-the pace of technological advance has skyrocketed since the 80s!
Would you like a stress pill Dave?
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Re: What has surprised you most about the future?

Postby SoulThief » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:22 am

The thing that has surprised me is that so little has changed. I remember as a kid dwelling on how absolutely prehistoric I would be by 2000. LOL I visited a local carnival the other day and saw an old ride called "Rocketship 2000". The peeling artwork was covered with pictures of little green aliens. Yep, the 21st century has been a letdown and this has amazed me.
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Re: What has surprised you most about the future?

Postby admin » Wed Apr 07, 2010 8:31 am

As far as sf stuff goes, the 21st century has been disappointing. The moon landing was the farthest we got.

On the other hand, my personal life is much better than I thought it would be. There are cures for the diseases that killed my father, and I've already lived longer than my parents. There are cures for many forms of depression. In the preiod from 1950 to 1980, freedom expanded beyond what I would have believed possible -- freedom for Blacks, for women, even for gays; freedom of the press, freedom to travel, freedom of communication. In the same period, the average US income tripled, as did the GDP. Most important, we managed to control population and avoid World War III.

It is true that in 1980 Ronald Reagan put a stop to expanding US prosperity, and we've had a major recession every ten years thanks to Reaganomics. But Clinton put things back on track for eight years, and I have high hope that Obama will do it again.
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Re: What has surprised you most about the future?

Postby SoulThief » Sat Apr 10, 2010 3:44 am

Medicine = agree fully

Whereas freedom from racism, sexism etc - I sadly believe is a temporary thing (a century or two at most). Look at history. One thing that people are really, really good at is hating and distrusting others. It may not be blacks or gays or women in the future, but you can bet your bottom dollar it will be some group that is hated for something about their fundamental nature. On a lighter note, let's hope its not Science Fiction enthusiasts. :)

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Re: What has surprised you most about the future?

Postby admin » Sat Apr 10, 2010 9:30 am

Country folk hate "outsiders", city folk get used to them. And even country folk these days are not as provincial as they were before television. I think hate is born of fear, and fear is born of ignorance. Even the most uneducated American watches television, and sees a variety of different people. When I was in my early twenties, the tv station I watched would not carry Star Trek, because it showed a mixing of the races. Now, even conservatives are (usually) in the closet when it comes to racism.

I don't think we'll go back to the bad old days unless we manage to destroy our high tech world.
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Re: What has surprised you most about the future?

Postby SoulThief » Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:56 am

I really, really hope that you are right

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