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Future Hype by Bob Seidensticker

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2 The Perils of Prediction

“DROP IN BY ROCKET PLANE ON TOTTENVILLE, the sootless garden city where you’ll live in scientific comfort in AD 2000. You’ll eat food from sawdust, shop by picture-phone, [and] cook on a solar range.” This vision from 1950 also predicts vacuum-tube electronics, automation controlled by holes punched in a roll of paper, and houses built of plastic and metal. Family helicopters are common, dirty plates dissolve in hot water and are rinsed down the drain, and influenza and other ailments are no longer complaints.

Everyone wants to know what the future will be like, but as we can see, accuracy is not always possible. In this chapter, we’ll explore the art of prediction and consider ways to see it more clearly. I can’t ...

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