1. WingDingGaster
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    WingDingGaster Member

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    Future Society

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by WingDingGaster, Sep 6, 2016.

    I fail. I just fail, haha...

    I'm not sure whether or not this goes under setting development or the sci-fi genre section - the latter had something about futuristic realism, which is what I want, but seemed for focused on technology. Granted, I need to work that out too, but this thread is more concerned with the social mores and issues of the day.

    I feel like I'm asking people to write my story for me. But how do you try to predict what social, political, ecological, economic issues will plague society in the future, how tech will effect people's lives (once you figure out the tech), what will be popular or desirable or elite compared to now? I guess I'm kind of afraid of writing something incredibly stupid or ignorant, or cliched. It doesn't help to throw in how I'm a bit of a luddite, most future tech predictions don't sound very enticing to me (quite a few I found before and after making this post make me internally go "ew..."). But knowing I might have to incorporate them in my setting makes me unsure.

    I literally just had an idea for a plot theme while writing this. Nonetheless, if anyone knows how to analyze this kind of stuff properly, I'd appreciate it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2016
  2. I.A. By the Barn
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    I.A. By the Barn A very lost time traveller Contributor

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    Basically, you can't. Our concerns change from minute to minute as the unexpected always happens. We over-estimate and under-estimate technological and environmental changes all the time. Just look at back to the future. Some of that stuff we have reached well beyond and others we're nowhere near and others we could make but we just don't want them anymore. That's why I like reading the future, but god, I don't think I'll write it. Too hard.

    But here's some things that concern me, global warming, rise of groups who use fear rather than going into true war, the continuing want for freedom on places online while groups take it away and invade privacy more and more. I don't think there'll be any nuclear war that will wipe us out, it'll be simple weapons, ourselves and nature.
    That's just me though. It depends whether you want a nice future or a dystopian one.

    Good luck to you!
     
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  3. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    You can't know, but I find it useful to look at how things have worked out historically. I'm really into sociology, so to take that kind of example - say a cool new technology comes out that alters the way people interact and entertain themselves. Look at the historical impact of similar advancements like television, phones, the internet, even newspapers and novels. All were at some point regarded as the death of society. If people can watch movies from their homes, they'll never go to theaters anymore and the industry will die! (Spoilers: the industry was fine.) If people can call one another from their homes, they'll never go outside or see each other face to face anymore! (Spoilers: nope.)

    It's fun to read old sci-fi, especially, and see how the old greats extrapolated future societies from the new current tech. I recently read Twilight by John W. Campbell, in which he supposed a future where automation turned humans into creatures who could no longer think or do anything for themselves because they had always had robots doing everything for them - they no longer even knew how the robots worked. This came out in 1934 and in my life I've definitely heard people bemoan that the young folks these days won't know how to do anything for themselves on account of those darn smartphones. Smart phones, dumb people, etc. (I'm not making fun of the story for what it's worth; it was really quite interesting and beautiful, the general premise just amused me given the complaints leveled against my generation.)

    I guess what I'm saying is the more things change the more they stay the same. Humans haven't evolved significantly in too long for our monkey brains to even comprehend, and we struggle to keep up with our own advancements. As a society we're going to keep having the same issues over and over again. Individuals vary - there are always early adopters from older generations and obstinate types from younger ones - but as a rule we don't like change and we're very concerned/suspicious about new things, including new information. That's my opinion, anyway.
     
  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with the above members: You cannot predict. 25 years ago no one would have predicted that Twitter crucification would be a thing people had to worry about or that the more well-monied in the world would turn into a society of people all looking down at glass screens.

    William Gibson, hailed as the creator of cyberpunk, is often asked about how he was able to foresee the future. His answer is invariably that he didn't. It was mostly chance. His view (and mine) is that Science Fiction is at its most futile when it attempts to be predictive. Science Fiction, like all fiction, is, and should be, about the writer's now. It should be used as a tool to talk about the things we deal with today. Why do you think dystopian YA is everywhere right now? It's about the worries that we have in the present. Most of the major, successful writers of YA are themselves Gen-Xers. We remember the promise of bounteous, endless prosperity that was claimed in the 1980's, only to watch pretty much the entire infrastructure that made that dream possible for our parents get dismantled and thrown away just when we were entering into adulthood. We, as a generation, felt painfully hoodwinked. And the generation that came after us, Millennials, feel it even more. Dystopian YA isn't about some crazy future; it's about now.

    From The Paris Review:

    http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/6089/the-art-of-fiction-no-211-william-gibson
     
  5. Wolf Daemon
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    Wolf Daemon Active Member

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    I like to use history and current events in order to figure out what will happen tomorrow. That plus whatever you wish to tell during your story. Maybe you're underlying thought is: "Technology will destroy us" so you have a future where people are hooked in 24/7 to a futuristic cell phone type thing. Look to the past and you can see the future my friend. What is "cool now" or yesterday, tattoos, piercings, etc, what is going to be the next "Tattoo?" What struggles will we face tomorrow? To someone who disagrees with corporations maybe corporations take control of space and the local planets to terraform them with their own money. This may cause people to rebel against them. The space between planets may cause a new "country" to rebel without much problem as it would take a lot of money to retaliate.

    Use your imagination, look up the problems and the views, etc of yesteryear and figure out the loves of this year and the worries of this year. See how it may effect the next hundred years.
     
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  6. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Future tech is perhaps the least difficult to do. Look back at tech the distance your setting is in the future. In other words, if you're setting it 100 years from now, look back 100 years and assume similar, albeit relative, advancements. There's plenty of info out there in the www offering realistic and knowledgable possibilities and predictions for future tech.
     
  7. HistoricalScience
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    HistoricalScience Active Member

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    I don't agree with this. Advancements and technology seem to advance quicker and quicker, its definitely not a linear course. It took us thousands of years to advance from basic tools. Just think about what has been accomplished in the past 100 years, basically the entire evolution of cars. I would say advancements in cars in the last 25 years far exceed the pace of advancements in the first 75 years. The term Moore's Law comes to mind, which I'm rusty on, but if I remember correctly its the idea that computing power doubles every year. That's almost incomprehensible. 1 becomes 2 becomes 4 becomes 8 becomes 16 becomes 32 becomes 64.. you get my point and that's just 7 years.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2016
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  8. Wolf Daemon
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    Wolf Daemon Active Member

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    Yeah but advancement in tech is based on need. So how much will we need it. If I remember correctly Egypt spent what 700 years with almost no technological advancement just building homes and pyramids.
     
  9. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    True, but I meant to just use it as a rule of thumb. Look at how televisions have advanced since the 30s, and follow the natural progression; colour >> bigger >> better pictures >> widescreens >> flat screens >> HD >> 3D >> 4K >> ??
     
  10. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Well unless you're Jules Verne (Pretty sure was a time traveler, otherwise how can you explain how he came up with some of his stuff), I wouldn't worry to much about the tech. I mean what are the odds you are able to see into the future, anything is virtually possible the more probable it is. If you know enough then you can really make your tech more believable to the setting, but there are things like Star Wars and Warhammer 40K where they mix tech and magic. So it has a lot of options to play around with. Besides it should be more about the characters and the plot of your story, keeping the tech aspect as a secondary/tertiary part for the setting and equipment.

    So go forth and write whatever it is you want too. Only anal Hard Sci-Fi fans can't appreciate a less tech/technical story.
     
  11. HistoricalScience
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    HistoricalScience Active Member

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    Of course, write whatever you want. I was only saying. Plenty can go wrong too that would derail our increasing pace of technological advancements, WW3, global plague/disaster, etc. I also wouldn't go as far as saying technology only advances based on need. There is plenty out there that we definitely don't need. I'll stick with my car example. Do we really need cars that drive/park themselves? I think technology (on the consumer level) is more based on us being lazy and wanting to automate things that we don't feel like doing ourselves, which will be never ending haha. I also think the strive for space travel/inhabiting other planets, which may become a need at some point, will be another never-ending reason to continue to technology at an unrelenting pace.
     
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  12. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    If you could reliably predict that, you'd be very very rich - however in terms of getting an idea of what might be reading both tech mags, things like new scientist and scientific american, and socio/geo sources like the economist will give you some ideas
     
  13. Earp
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    Earp Active Member

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    I'm not sure you have to get everything right to make a good story. One of my works-in-progress turns around advances in 3D printing and message encryption. I'm worrying mostly about those and leaving other tech innovations alone, for that story.

    As for the social stuff, I usually assume we'll see the same issues we have today, only more so, in a 'worse' kind of way. I don't see us fixing much of what's wrong with our cultures in any future I think I can foresee.
     
  14. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    You don't. Like Orwell, you simply take your own concerns/views/morals and overlay them onto the future milieu. Otherwise, you're trying to guess what may or may not be important to someone else and that's nigh on impossible.

    Even when someone comes right out and tells you what's important to them, how do you know if what they're saying is true and not simply a rehash of contemporarily-acceptable views?

    This sounds like a situation where those words, "Write for yourself first," would come into play.
     

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