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We're living in yesterday's future, and it's nothing like the speculations of our authors and film/TV producers.

As a working science fiction novelist, I take a professional interest in how we get predictions about the future wrong, and why, so that I can avoid repeating the same mistakes.

Science fiction is written by people embedded within a society with expectations and political assumptions that bias us towards looking at the shiny surface of new technologies rather than asking how human beings will use them, and to taking narratives of progress at face value rather than asking what hidden agenda they serve.

As an eminent computer scientist once remarked, computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about building telescopes.The same can be said of my field of work, written science fiction.Scifi is seldom about science—and even more rarely about predicting the future.But sometimes we dabble in futurism, and lately it's gotten very difficult.When I write a near-future work of fiction, one set, say, a decade hence, there used to be a recipe that worked eerily well.

Simply put, 90% of the next decade's stuff is already here today. Automobiles have a design life of about a decade, so half the cars on the road will probably still be around in 2027. there will be new faces, aged ten and under, and some older people will have died, but most adults will still be around, albeit older and grayer.

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