Overtaken by the future

March 8, 2013

Financial Times logoFuturology will always be a mug’s game – of course, I could be wrong – but for changing reasons. Imagination used to leave science behind, now it’s the other way around. The columnist and scriptwriter Charlie Brooker recently found to his irritation that a “digital afterlife” idea he had used in his TV series Black Mirror was not as “fanciful” as he had thought.

Having ignored to his cost both Moore’s Law – computer power doubles every two years — and the tech-guru Ray Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns — technological change increases exponentially he came up with his own “rule”: “If you can picture something on the cusp of plausibility, it’ll definitely be real by Christmas.” Since his dystopian fantasy was already a subject for journalism, he shouldn’t “have bothered writing a script.” Technology doesn’t need a creative capacity to put writers out of business. […]