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Futurology: Oversimplification

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The mind can only do so much in a given time, and for one mind to analyze a tremendous body of data can be overwhelming. Therefore, our minds unconsciously turn to an age-old method called oversimplification in order to make sense out of the confusion. This is NOT ACCEPTABLE for predicting the future, and we must try our best to make our future timeline as complex as possible and as complete as possible, for there will always be things left out. A manifestation of this is the Single Advancement Problem, the tendency of forecasters to tacitly assume that only one significant technological change will happen in society, but meanwhile everything else will stay same as it is right now.

Many science fiction stories and many futurist scenarios suffer from the "single advancement" problem. The author takes us 20-70 years into the future to tell a cautionary tale about one specific technological development (that they are most interested in), but sacrifices the believability of the future world. Even advanced thinkers routinely ignore the complex interplay of changes in different technological areas. Nanotech proponents ignore developments in the fields of artificial intelligence and virtual reality, space aficionados ignore expected advances in biotech and genetics, etc.

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