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Mark Moore
02-09-2013, 08:36 PM
In a series that I've been developing for a few years now (but have only recently started writing any of), I've created a fictional metropolis in a fictional nation and set it in the year 2050. It's a cyberpunk police drama. Though setting it in a nation of my own creation will help me to avoid some obvious forecasting problems, the rest of the world will, of course, be discussed at various points, and what happens "out there" will affect my characters to some degree.

Is there any go-to place where I can find forecasting information regarding technology, oil depletion (and how it might affect the world at large), music, whether television will still be around or not, weather/climate, the use of print media, population, racial and religious demographics, etc.?

Basically, I want to avoid anything that will turn out to be laughably antiquated as we slowly approach 2050. Remember the first episode of "Star Trek", where the Enterprise received a fax on a print-out? The use of "tapes" for data storage? Picard's bulky laptop on TNG? A truck driver filling up on gas in "Bubblegum Crisis" (set in 2032-2033)? Computers that use floppy disks in "Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040"? Yeah, I want to avoid stuff like that.

I can make only a few simple predictions myself:

The oldest person in the world will likely have been born in 1934.

The Nirvana generation will be in their late 60s / early 70s (imagine "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "Rape Me" being played in nursing homes) while the residents watch "Beavis and Butt-head".

cornflake
02-10-2013, 02:04 AM
In a series that I've been developing for a few years now (but have only recently started writing any of), I've created a fictional metropolis in a fictional nation and set it in the year 2050. It's a cyberpunk police drama. Though setting it in a nation of my own creation will help me to avoid some obvious forecasting problems, the rest of the world will, of course, be discussed at various points, and what happens "out there" will affect my characters to some degree.

Is there any go-to place where I can find forecasting information regarding technology, oil depletion (and how it might affect the world at large), music, whether television will still be around or not, weather/climate, the use of print media, population, racial and religious demographics, etc.?

Basically, I want to avoid anything that will turn out to be laughably antiquated as we slowly approach 2050. Remember the first episode of "Star Trek", where the Enterprise received a fax on a print-out? The use of "tapes" for data storage? Picard's bulky laptop on TNG? A truck driver filling up on gas in "Bubblegum Crisis" (set in 2032-2033)? Computers that use floppy disks in "Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040"? Yeah, I want to avoid stuff like that.

I can make only a few simple predictions myself:

The oldest person in the world will likely have been born in 1934.

The Nirvana generation will be in their late 60s / early 70s (imagine "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "Rape Me" being played in nursing homes) while the residents watch "Beavis and Butt-head".

You know everyone but Robert Zemeckis is just guessing, right? I mean you can find people who forecast trends but you're talking about decades in advance, not a couple of seasons.

No one can answer that. Twelve years ago, no one but Steve Jobs and his pals knew what was going to be made obsolete/universal by the ipod. No one knew memory foam would become a thing until NASA tossed it at us. No one can predict the next eureka moment someone has in a lab that produces the microwave oven, velcro, penicillin, etc.

The oldest person thing you have may be entirely wrong on, just for instance.

What if someone figures out how to fix telomeres? What if Ira Levin's Perfect Day was right? No one knows, dude. You have to make it up yourself and take your chances. Maybe an asteroid will take out humanity before it ever gets to 2050 and the whole thing will be moot. ;)

frimble3
02-10-2013, 02:39 AM
Who in 1913 could have accurately figured what 1950 would have looked like? I'd say don't worry about the accuracy of your changes, just make the story and the characters unforgettable. People may laugh at the tech in Star Trek, but it doesn't stop them watching, and having Cons and fanfic. For that matter, how many people got into science and engineering because they wanted to make the Star Trek future happen?

King Neptune
02-10-2013, 11:25 PM
In a series that I've been developing for a few years now (but have only recently started writing any of), I've created a fictional metropolis in a fictional nation and set it in the year 2050. It's a cyberpunk police drama. Though setting it in a nation of my own creation will help me to avoid some obvious forecasting problems, the rest of the world will, of course, be discussed at various points, and what happens "out there" will affect my characters to some degree.

Is there any go-to place where I can find forecasting information regarding technology, oil depletion (and how it might affect the world at large), music, whether television will still be around or not, weather/climate, the use of print media, population, racial and religious demographics, etc.?

You can start by searching the internet, but you will get all sorts of predictions that are based on something. For example, Kurzweil's "Singularity" is scheduled for 2042. And most epidemiiologists think the the "Big One" will happen well before then, and I think that the really great Pandemic will reduce the population to less than 2 billion. As far as oil depletion goes, the presently known reserves are adequate for at least 299 years at 2004 rate of use, and that doesn't account for natural replenishment. Considering the Pandemic's results, you can do anything that you like with demographics, because it's anyone's guess who will be left. The climate thing will not be an issue then, but you'll have to dream up your reasons for that.


Basically, I want to avoid anything that will turn out to be laughably antiquated as we slowly approach 2050. Remember the first episode of "Star Trek", where the Enterprise received a fax on a print-out? The use of "tapes" for data storage? Picard's bulky laptop on TNG? A truck driver filling up on gas in "Bubblegum Crisis" (set in 2032-2033)? Computers that use floppy disks in "Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040"? Yeah, I want to avoid stuff like that.

Don't worry about people laughing at you in 100 years. If your book will still be read, then that may be the best possible reaction.

[QUOTE] I can make only a few simple predictions myself:

The oldest person in the world will likely have been born in 1934.

You should read up on longevity research. It has already been predicted that the first person who will live to be 1000 is alive now.

Go bravely where many hace gone before. Thet were rong, and you almost certainly will follow their examples.

I prefer to thin of the post-Pandemic period as something like the 1920's with high tech. Information Technology will be advanced, but the basics will interest people more - food, clothing, and shelter. Cities will be much smaller, and a substantial percent of the population will live in rural areas. Even with automated farming equip,ment there will have to be people to watch the machines. There will still be many vacant but not yet demolished houses left from the population bust. Practical space travel is a distinct possibility, but I don't know what propulsion method will be used.