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Sci-Fi Movies Television

What the Future Fiction of 2015 Revealed About Humans Today (vice.com) 179

An anonymous reader writes: There were a lot of stories told about the future in 2015. More than usual, maybe. Big budget blockbusters, hefty, idea-rich novels, and epic, dystopian video games—there was complex, stirring speculative fiction dripping from every media faucet we've got. And it spoke volumes about our anxieties about the present. In 2015, those anxieties are, apparently, concern the rise of science denial, climate change, total collapse.
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What the Future Fiction of 2015 Revealed About Humans Today

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  • by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2016 @01:29AM (#51239977) Homepage Journal

    That humans today are still terrible at predicting the future?

    • Re:Let me guess... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by EmeraldBot ( 3513925 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2016 @02:41AM (#51240129)

      That humans today are still terrible at predicting the future?

      This one's a given. People overestimate what happens in 50 years, but underestimate what happens in 2. Personally, I would be quite interested to see what 2018 will be like, though I suppose in 24 months I'll find out. After all, just three years ago, we didn't even know about PRISM...

    • Are they though? There are a lot of SF writers that get the details wrong but get the overall state of society right. Go read "Player Piano" and tell me that Vonnegut did not nail the current economy. A small number of automation engineers making tons of money? check. Society scrambling to find "make work" jobs for the masses that include the army and pointless infra projects? Double check. Now granted he got a lot of the technological details wrong(obligatory 1950s sf reference to caverns filled wit
      • Society scrambling to find "make work" jobs for the masses that include the army and pointless infra projects?

        This is not a new phenomenon.

      • Re:Let me guess... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by silentcoder ( 1241496 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2016 @08:32AM (#51240837)

        > and pointless infra projects
        That simply isn't true, if anything the exact opposite is true. America's buildings, bridges and other critical infrastructure is crumbling and falling apart. You're risking millions of lives every day with unmaintained infrastructure.
        If anything - you can't manage even the most basic infra projects required to prevent disasters !

        Infrastructure projects are not sexy, they aren't politically appealing - and they don't attract donor money. What corporation is going to give you campaign finance because you "promised to patch the crumbling concrete of a bridge in your town" ?

        Whatever the reason may be, despite the fact that infrastructure projects would not only have short-term employment benefits but the much more important benefit of actually keeping the stuff your entire economy depends on to function working past the end of the decade - they aren't being done.

        I haven't read the book - so I can't say how accurate the rest of your description of it is, nor how much modern America really reflects that - but this claim was simply outright provably and factually incorrect.

        • Whatever the reason may be, despite the fact that infrastructure projects would not only have short-term employment benefits but the much more important benefit of actually keeping the stuff your entire economy depends on to function working past the end of the decade - they aren't being done.

          The reason they're not being done is precisely because they'd employ people. It's a lot easier to abuse your employees and the lower classes in general if they're desperate. McDonald's and Wal-Marts have every incenti

        • by Algan ( 20532 )

          Infrastructure projects are not sexy, they aren't politically appealing - and they don't attract donor money. What corporation is going to give you campaign finance because you "promised to patch the crumbling concrete of a bridge in your town" ?

          Umm, the construction company that stands to get the contract to rebuild the bridge?

        • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

          "Infrastructure projects are not sexy, they aren't politically appealing - and they don't attract donor money. What corporation is going to give you campaign finance because you "promised to patch the crumbling concrete of a bridge in your town" ?"
          Simple construction companies,
          Infrastructure projects like highway bills are massive pork barrel job making bills.

          • Then *why* is America's infrastructure falling apart ?

            Oh - that's right - because construction companies would much rather donate to the guy who promises to clear zoning rights for a new strip-mall because building a new private development is *much* more lucrative than maintaining or building infrastructure.

      • Are they though? There are a lot of SF writers that get the details wrong but get the overall state of society right. Go read "Player Piano" and tell me that Vonnegut did not nail the current economy. A small number of automation engineers making tons of money? check.

        A small number of an elite knowledge class making tons of money? This isn't new. In the past, it was the literate elite. Now, when everybody in the civilized world could read and write, it's the technical elite. Of course, above them, in any age, there's still the ruling class, which include not just the MPs and dictators of the world, but also the members of the sub-1%, the CEOs and plain filthy rich.

        Society scrambling to find "make work" jobs for the masses that include the army and pointless infra projects? Double check.

        How do you think Hitler got Germany back onto its feet after World War I? FDR had managed to stabilize thin

        • Society scrambling to find "make work" jobs for the masses that include the army and pointless infra projects? Double check.

          How do you think Hitler got Germany back onto its feet after World War I? FDR had managed to stabilize things a bit, but the US only got out of the Great Depression thanks to the birth of the military-industrial complex.

          That's a myth that keeps getting repeated. No. Wars do not bring a society out of depression. If you look at the actual standard of living, the second world war depressed it further by almost every measure, and most essential goods were actually rationed. What the war does, instead, is gi

          • Society scrambling to find "make work" jobs for the masses that include the army and pointless infra projects? Double check.

            How do you think Hitler got Germany back onto its feet after World War I? FDR had managed to stabilize things a bit, but the US only got out of the Great Depression thanks to the birth of the military-industrial complex.

            That's a myth that keeps getting repeated. No. Wars do not bring a society out of depression. If you look at the actual standard of living, the second world war depressed it further by almost every measure, and most essential goods were actually rationed. What the war does, instead, is give people a good reason for their privation. They're not scrimping and getting by with less because the economy is bad: they're scrimping and getting by with less to support the war effort-- in Germany , as well as in America (not to mention England and the Soviet Union)..

            What pulled he economy out of the Great Depression was the end of the war.

            Wars might bring countries, especially the losers, to ruin, but the preparation for war, before the first bombs are dropped or the first tanks roll in from across the border, results in an increase in production. This is no different from any pump priming scheme. Of course, a drawn-out war can bankrupt even a resource-rich country far from the theater of conflict. But this wasn't the case for US during WW2. Also, jingoistic nationalism, while ultimately destructive, also helps give people a sense of purpose

          • Economic downturns can come from a variety of causes. If it's caused by people not wanting to spend money, so it's hard to make money, and then there's less money to spend anyway, spending on anything can stimulate the economy and have lasting effects. Lots of people in the US were very worried that, when WWII was over, the economy would return to what it had been. From an economic point of view, war materiel is almost pure consumption, and there was a lot of consumption. The USN built four Iowa-class

      • by sjbe ( 173966 )

        Go read "Player Piano" and tell me that Vonnegut did not nail the current economy.

        I have and he did not nail the current economy unless you are reading things so broadly as to be meaningless.

        A small number of automation engineers making tons of money? check.

        Since I actually work with a lot of this stuff I'm curious where you think automation engineers are making all this bank off of automation. Seriously, give me examples. The automation engineers I know do ok but they are hardly in danger doing a Scrooge McDuck dive into a pile of gold.

        Society scrambling to find "make work" jobs for the masses that include the army and pointless infra projects?

        "Pointless infrastructure projects"? Seriously? If anything we aren't spending enough money on infrastructure. In

        • air traffic control systems that are in desperate need of upgrades

          No, they're not. The Republicans in Congress are currently working on legislation to private air traffic control in the US, so this will be completely fixed very soon. /s

        • A small number of automation engineers making tons of money? check.

          Since I actually work with a lot of this stuff I'm curious where you think automation engineers are making all this bank off of automation. Seriously, give me examples. The automation engineers I know do ok but they are hardly in danger doing a Scrooge McDuck dive into a pile of gold.

          You are being too literal. For the1950's "automation engineers" read 2016's "software developer".

          • OK, and how many software developers make it into the 1%? I'm getting by very comfortably, thank you, but I'm far from rich.

    • No,humans today can't write a fucking gramatically correct sentence:

      In 2015, those anxieties are, apparently, concern the rise of science denial, climate change, total collapse.

      WTF.

  • Drama people (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2016 @01:44AM (#51240005)

    tell dramatic stories about a dramatic future. Stories about a future where a guy goes to work and installs software on computers for an insurance company don't get made into movies.

    And Hollywood continues to turn out lots of bland, unimaginative, formulaic movies that are less and less compelling relative to TV and video games.

    • Re:Drama people (Score:4, Informative)

      by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2016 @05:39AM (#51240477) Journal

      Stories about a future where a guy goes to work and installs software on computers for an insurance company don't get made into movies.

      No, I disagree that this is insightful.

      A large amount of spec fic, especially sci fi (not space opera though) is to examine the *present* and the human condition (literally the title, summary and text of TFA). What does your supposed story say about the present or human condition? Does it bring any new insights?

  • Alternate Title (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kunedog ( 1033226 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2016 @01:51AM (#51240027)
    "Watch Us Try to Spin as Many Science Fiction Works as Possible into Supporting All the Progressive Talking Points We Were Planning to Cram Down Your Throat Anyway"

    Getting repeatedly called out on thinly-veiled, agenda-driven clickbait like this is exactly why Motherboard Vice censored its comment sections.
    • by Cyberax ( 705495 )
      So do you prefer regressive SF? Perhaps post-apocalyptic survivalist crap?
    • by WoOS ( 28173 )

      I stopped reading after he claimed "Hard to be a god [wikipedia.org]" was a call for "good" science (whatever good means in this context) when it is (at least in my opinion) nearly the opposite: A tale that even the best intentions do not guarantee favorable outcomes and that even scientist are not save from believing otherwise until their intentions fail.
      So I take the rest of the article was similarly messed up?

    • Agreed, an alternate title: "How science fiction is or isn't meeting our goals as a propaganda tool for 2015's approved list of progressive causes". The writer obviously doesn't have any science background nor has he read much sci-fi. It's such a third rate article. Why is this even on Slashdot?

      • It's such a third rate article. Why is this even on Slashdot?

        Odd, I thought the question was supposed to come before the answer.

  • by EzInKy ( 115248 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2016 @02:01AM (#51240049)

    Maintain the status quo, that is what people today and people of yesterday are all about.

    • I love how you shit all over ordinary people for living ordinary lives. Yes, cowards, they deserve whatever abuse we can dish out. Did you know 50% of all people are below average?
      • by dryeo ( 100693 )

        Think of the case where you have 9 people 1% above average and one person 11% below average. 90% of people above average.
        I'd suggest that you learn some critical thinking before ranting about others lack of thinking.

        • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

          Human intelligence as determined by IQ is designed to generate a normal distribution. If you were talking about IQ tests, then your scenario will only hold if you're selecting a subset of a greater set, where the distribution of intelligence was calculated on the superset. If that is the case, you could take a random subset of values and have the odd scores you suggest. However, if IQ was calculated on the subset again, then the normal distribution would apply because new scores would be calculated to en

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      "Let us go to the moon, if there is a postitive ROI before the end of this century" Somehow that is less inspireing that what was actually said.

      Also standing on the shoulders of giants is a LOT harder due to the legal minefield of copyright and patents.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "If only they [men] saw us for the filthy creatures we really are." Daisy, 27, told me. "Take me for example" as she lifted up her right pant leg, "I haven't shaved my legs or my pits in 5 years."

    How did she get dates, I wonder. Was she married to a blind man?

    "I love to live as I really am! In fact, if every feminist were true to themselves they would live as I do. No razor, even if your upper lip sprouts hair." She leaned forward towards me and whispered as if the whole world were listening, "no waxing, no

    • She reached for a coffee mug and pointed to her hairy legs. "This is what we really are! This is how we really should appear. Why hide it?"

      And yet "neckbeard" remains a major pejorative here on Slashdot, both in usage and in negative connotation index.

      Somehow, I suspect both sexes will continue shaving things for the foreseeable future.

    • Is this "letters to slashdot", some weird funhouse mirror image of "letters to penthouse"?

  • They sometimes end up being self-fulfilling prophecies.
  • Anyone else read seven eves?

    I did and I quite enjoyed it but well, ehhh.

    First it was waaay too long. Dude needs an editor. Second, boy does he really REALLY like orbital mechanics. That seems to be a theme across his books, but a times kinda becomes a bit like reading about someone playing KSP. Also, I find his long desciptions where he's describing the relative spatial layout of things (space or ground) to be really hard to follow. I find I don't get a clear picture of what's going on often which makes act

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )

      First it was waaay too long

      That's what publishers want at the moment.

      I thought the first half was better, and the speculation mostly seemed plausible.

      Agree. It's like two different books, almost two different genres.

      I find I don't get a clear picture of what's going on often which makes action scenes really rather confusing

      Greg Egan suggests pencil and scratch paper to follow some of his stuff and Stevenson is getting close to that at times :)

      How did they not cook from the heat generated by their plant gr

    • "- For the people that survived on earth, where did all their heat go? How did they not cook from the heat generated by their plant growing machinery?"

      Finally - SOMEONE got this point! I liked Seveneves a lot but the power source for the tribe that survived in a deep mine was a science hole that really bothered me. Their power source was handwaved as being "geothermal" but when we make use of geothermal energy, we are exploiting the Carnot differential between hot rock underground and the much cooler surfac

  • From Gallup (Dec 2015 - http://www.gallup.com/poll/187... [gallup.com]) American's top anxieties are:

    #1: Terrorism (16%)
    #2: Government (13%)
    #3: Economy (9%)
    #4: Guns (7%)

    >> In 2015, those anxieties are, apparently, concern the rise of science denial, climate change, total collapse

    None of those seem to be top-of-mind here.

  • The podcast is a total waste of time, mostly devoted to noodling about comics and the reappearance in 2015 of a certain major movie franchise. The subject of books comes up in minute 47, immediately before it's time to wrap.

  • One prominent picture is from starwars? That is about 2015? It is set a long time ago in a far away galaxy. Makes the title of the article seem pretty stupid.

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