In this talk, author Charles Stross will give a rambling, discursive, and angry tour of what went wrong with the 21st century, why we didn't see it coming, where we can expect it to go next, and a few suggestions for what to do about it if we don't like it. I'm Charlie Stross, and it's my job to tell lies for money.
Or rather, I write science fiction, much of it about our near future, which has in recent years become ridiculously hard to predict.
(Only this time round Germans get to be the good guys.) My recipe for fiction set ten years in the future used to be 90% already-here, 9% not-here-yet but predictable, and 1% who-ordered-. I think we're now down to maybe 80% already-here—climate change takes a huge toll on infrastructure—then 15% not-here-yet but predictable, and a whopping 5% of utterly unpredictable deep craziness.
Ruling out the singularity Some of you might assume that, as the author of books like "Singularity Sky" and "Accelerando", I attribute this to an impending technological singularity, to our development of self-improving artificial intelligence and mind uploading and the whole wish-list of transhumanist aspirations promoted by the likes of Ray Kurzweil. I think transhumanism is a warmed-over Christian heresy.
and then a miracle happens" occurs, it becomes apparent pretty quickly that they've reinvented Christianity.As it happens, airliners today slower than they were in the 1970s, and don't get me started about Nazis.Nobody in 2007 was expecting a Nazi revival in 2017, right?This is the 90% of the near future that's already here.After the already-here 90%, another 9% of the future a decade hence used to be easily predictable.