Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Sunday, September 02, 2007

What Accurate Predictions of the Present Would Have Seemed Absurd in the Past?

The above question is being considered by Eliezer Yudkowsky at Overcoming Bias giving examples of present-day phenomena that would have seemed incredible at the beginning of the 20th century.

I came up with a list of statements about present-day society that would have seemed incredible to me at various times in the past. For example:

  • As of 1974:
    • That nobody has been to the moon since 1972.
    • That the Soviet Union no longer exists and there has been no nuclear war. (One or the other would have been plausible but not both.)
    • That we're still using fossil fuels on a large scale. (I expected that we would have run out of oil by now and relying on nuclear energy.)
    • President Ronald Reagan … who did a better job than anybody else in my lifetime.
  • As of 1982:
    • That there is a major communications network that is not run by any single organization.
    • That there would be a high-quality computer operating system based on free software.
    • That a corporate publicity campaign would walk out of the swamps of left-wing paranoia into real life.


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