NATURAL SCIENCE

Were they right? 25 years ago, science thinkers predicted the world in 2012

25 years ago, science thinkers predicted the world in 2012, as part of the 1987 L, Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future award. Were they right? You decide.

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Isaac Asimov: "Assuming we haven't destroyed ourselves in a nuclear war, there will be 8-10 billion of us on this planet and widespread hunger. These troubles can be traced back to President Ronald Reagan who smiled and waved too much."

Tatsushi Morimoto

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Robert Silverberg: "We're coming out of a time of troubles into a time of risks and promise as we have been doing since the beginning of history. I think the 21st century will be a time of terror, surprises, miracles, and glory with the emphasis on surprises and miracles."

Günter Radtke

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Gerald Feinberg: "With nanotechnology, it becomes possible to create structures in which every atom has a specific place and function. Such structures could for example, contain immense densities of information, rivaling and surpassing that of the human brain. This information would be contained in tiny volumes, as small as individual bacteria, so that the information could be processed much more quickly than by 1987's computers, be they made of carbon or silicon."

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Jack Williamson: "If we had a time-phone, now in 1987, we would beg you to forgive us. We have burdened you with impossible debts, wasted and polluted the planet that should have been your rich heritage, left you instead a dreadful legacy of ignorance, want, and war."

Klaus Bürgle

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Sheldon Glashow: "The American economy will have experienced a gentle yet relentless decline. Our children will not live such comfortable lives as we do. The spread between the rich and the poor will have grown, and crime will have become so prevalent as to threaten the social fabric. The rich and the poor will form 2 armed camps."

Klaus Bürgle

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Jerry Pournelle: "A computer will win the Campbell & Hubbard Awards."

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Tim Powers: "Probate and copyright law will be entirely restructured by 2012 because people will be frozen at death, and there will be electronic means of consulting them. Many attorneys will specialize in advocacy for the dead."

ARK II Television Show

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Gene Wolf: "Sports and televised dramas are the only commonly available recreations. The dramas are performed by computer-generated images indistinguishable (on screen) from living people. Scenery is provided by the same method. Although science fiction and fantasy characterize the majority of these dramas, they are not so identified."

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Roger Zelazny: "A cashless, checkless society has just about come to pass, that automation has transformed offices and robotics manufacturing in mainly beneficial ways, including telecommuting, that defense spending has finally slowed for a few of the right reasons, that population growth has also slowed and that biotechnology has transformed medicine, agriculture and industry -- all of this resulting in an older, slightly conservative, but longer-lived and healthier society."

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Gregory Benford: "World population stands at nearly 8 billion. Oil is running out, but shale-extracted oil is getting cheaper. The real shortage in much of the world is water. Bases on the moon, an expedition to Mars -- all done. But the big news will be some problematical evidence for intelligent life elsewhere."

Eberhard Binder-Staßfurt

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Algis Budrys: "Because we will be in a trough between 20th-century resources and 21st-century needs, in 2012 all storable forms of energy will be expensive. Machines will be designed to use only minimal amounts of it."

Peter George Elson

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Orson Scott Card: "In 2012 Americans will see the collapse of Imperial America, the Pax Americana, as having ended with our loss of national will and national selflessness in the 1970s. Worldwide economic collapse will have cost America its dominant world role; but it will not result in Russian hegemony; their economy is too dependent on the world economy to maintain an irresistible military force. A new world order will emerge."

William Robinson Leign, Visionary City, 1908

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Dave Wolverton: "Introduction of X-ray microscopes in the early 2000s will lead to rapid progress in gene splicing. Look for rapid growth in medicine and mining, and food production. We may also see bacteria being engineered to simulate parts of the immune system (which could cure immune disorders such as AIDS and allergies)."

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Frederik Pohl: "All of you enjoy and average standard of living about equal to a contemporary millionaire's. Your health is generally superb. Your life expectancy is not much less than a century. The most unpleasant and debilitating jobs (heavy industry, mining, large-scale farming) are given over to machines; most work performed by human beings is in some sense creative."

Were they right? 25 years ago, science thinkers predicted the world in 2012

25 years ago, science thinkers predicted the world in 2012, as part of the 1987 L, Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future award. Were they right? You decide.

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