1. Katie Clark says:

    Fun post! I couldn’t help but think of products like Siri or Alexa when thinking of robotic servants in the home…

    • Travis Perry says:


      What’s so interesting about Siri and Alexa is nobody in the past really predicted you’d be able to talk to a machine and it could answer is such a well-developed voice–but not actually be intelligent. They generally imagined robots able to answer advanced questions that would stump Siri or Alexa–but then they imagined the robots would speak with mechanical voices Siri and Alexa easily beat!

      Clearly true intelligence is harder than they thought it would be. 🙂

  2. Interestingly enough, though, AI and some things associated with it are a lot further along than people would initially think. But a lot of tech gets adopted slowly, or else people don’t pay attention to it, take it seriously or truly believe it until it starts to become a problem or something.

    It’s probably going to be like that with deep fakes. A lot of people aren’t going to take it seriously until people becoming impersonated becomes a somewhat common(or at least famous) problem. In the meantime, a lot of people saying they were deep faked might just come off as paranoid or making up excuses, whether or not they actually were. People might know that deep fakes are possible, but actually believing that they’re seeing one might be quite another issue. Especially if that deep fake is reinforcing exactly what they want to believe about the person in question.

    Writing about the slow fade to and from certain technologies can be more fascinating than the tech itself, though. There’s so much cause and effect to explore, and so much excitement that can happen as a result. The adjustment period while moving to and from technologies can be pretty intense, after all.

  3. Ted says:

    My biggest disappointment is clearly the lack of female ninjas.

  4. DD says:

    A lot of depressing visions of the future. We turned out not so bad, in comparison, other than spaceflight being thirty years behind. David Brin’s novel Earth predicted a lot of ecological disasters, but it’s set in 2038, so we have some time left.

    • Travis Perry says:

      I partially agree but I am concerned about the rise of mega-corporations like Amazon and Google and Facebook and how much power they already have through information on everyone–and I can imagine them becoming even worse over time.

      • notleia says:

        ((Your daily reminder to [[eat the rich]]))

      • They are a concern, and I don’t trust them either, but there’s been a lot of things that are going to keep putting hits on those companies to take them down a notch. Competition is cropping up for them now, which helps from the standpoint of making them change their practices to be more competitive. I can elaborate on that if you like.

        Recently though, Youtube took a very big blow for violating COPPA, which is forcing them to change their advertising practices to less invasive ones. That result’s not all sunshine and roses, because COPPA is kinda vague and has left a lot of Youtubers feeling uncertain and wary. And in order to comply with COPPA, Youtube and maybe to an extent the rest of Google’s apps are going to have to utilize even more AI algorithms to sift through the sheer amount of videos uploaded to ensure they’re labeled correctly and whatnot. But, regardless, these companies aren’t invincible or completely unfettered.

        But tons of smaller websites that we normally don’t pay attention to are gathering data too. I think my Firefox even said that it blocked a tracker or something from SpecFaith once. I’m not really worried about that from this site. For all I know it’s just a false positive. Still, though, it’s a good reminder that big companies aren’t nearly the only ones that are going to violate our privacy.

        • Ok, found where I’m seeing the blocked trackers thing. It’s in the little purple shield icon on the left of the URL bar in Firefox. Now and then when I go to SpecFaith, it comes up with an alert that says it blocked a tracker on this site. Clicking on that shield icon and looking through what it’s blocked, it looks like several social media and cross site trackers, so maybe it’s those share buttons at the bottom of the articles that trigger those alerts.

  5. A.K. Preston says:

    One way to deal with near-future predictions is to consciously write your stories as character-based alternate history. I actually saw an example of this in the fictional timeline Ridley Scott set up for the Prometheus movie. Most of the technologies and key events in his universe ultimately come from one man: Henry Peter Weyland. Weyland was born sometime in the late 20th century, so technically he would be alive right now if he existed. This allowed Scott to set up fictional past events that were part of Weyland’s biography (such as him patenting his various inventions, founding companies, and launching various products). This somewhat insulates the series’ predictions from the inevitable march of time—they were all the result of a specific fictional character’s life and actions.

    • Travis Perry says:

      Hmmm. Though the Alien franchise isn’t abundantly clear that Weyland lived in the 20th Century and that means his world is an alternate Earth. Yes, you can deduce that, but I didn’t find it obvious.

      But nonetheless, yes, you can in fact use alternate timelines to deal with the problem! Thanks for pointing that out.

What do you think?