It’s human nature to be curious about the future of the planet and our civilisation.
But it took a special kind of technological prophet, pre-noughties, to be able to predict the mess we’ve landed ourselves in.
American science fiction writer – and apparent soothsayer – David Gerrold predicted the future of computing back in 1999 and his answer has gone viral for being so accurate.
Here’s what he had to say:
In 1999, I asked David Gerrold to write a "future of computing" prediction for the magazine where I was Technology Editor. Here's what he wrote. pic.twitter.com/UAMM0Pm4W6
— Esther Schindler (@estherschindler) March 28, 2018
He managed to predict his phone would be merged with ‘a pocket organiser, a beeper, a calculator, a digital camera, a pocket tape recorder, a music player’ and joked about a colour television, all fitting in a box smaller than a deck of cards.
He went on to predict how it would connect wirelessly and ‘function as a desktop system’, as well as connect to full-sized screens and have speech recognition, act as a translator and be used for emails.
For good measure, he predicted it would also be used to book hotels.
Gerrold even managed to predict a new piece of tech which allows people speaking different languages to ‘listen and respond’ to each other through the use of a ‘translator’.
He also hinted at the future of AI, saying:
It will be an agent, going out and doing cyber-errands for you.
However, he did predict ‘a plug for a headset or earphones’, so he’s a little behind after Apple so cruelly took the tech away from us with their latest model. (Android forever.)
Like all good sci-fi writers, he not only managed to predict the tech, but also the massive downsides that would come with it – mainly how annoying it would become.
I call this device a Personal Information Telecommunications Agent, or Pita for short.
The acronym also can stand for Pain in the Ass, which it is equally likely to be, because having all that connectivity is going to destroy what’s left of everyone’s privacy.
His article was shared by a magazine tech editor, Esther Schindler, who interviewed Gerrold in the nineties for his prediction about the future of computing.
People are impressed, particularly with his prediction about the device being used to destroy privacy.
Amazing to read – @estherschindler and David Gerrold deserves residuals on this piece..
Clarity on exact intersection of technology with closing statement on – Connectivity + Destroying + Privacy
* Sharing is caring for equitable systems – end game is obvious #PersonsAssetClass
— Matthew Ashburn (@matthew_ashburn) March 29, 2018
We recently lost the late, great theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking, who embodied the very curiosity – and concerns – for human nature and our universe this prediction outlines.
Here he is, chatting about his legacy in science and society:
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The prediction reads somewhat like a conspiracy theory – or it would, if we didn’t already know most of the things Gerrold predicted actually came true already.
The most notorious conspiracy theorist in the world, David Icke, told UNILAD about his predictions for the future, AI and mind control.
You can hear what he has to say below:
Meanwhile, this so-called time-traveller from 2118 might hold the answers to any further questions we have about the future… If you buy into this kind of thing.
You can watch what he has to say below:
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Gerrold joins the ranks of Tesla, The Simpsons and Douglas Adams in the rank of creepy prophets who we now, in our desperation, will look to for answers.
Wonder what Gerrold would predict today for the next two decades. Scary stuff.
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A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.