Single advancement problem

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Single advancement problem (single factor forecast) is 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.

Examples: Gattaca movie describes a future world with moderately advanced genetics, but essentially no other changes. Eric Drexler describes in his book "Unbounding the Future" a world with relatively advanced nanotech, but no other changes (in a ridiculous example road accidents are still possible).

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.

Technology foresight at least lists all expected changes in one place, making it possible to dig through predictions in various areas to build a complex picture ourselves.

For better understanding of the future complex but coherent forecasts are essential. These can better describe people's life as opposed to describing single technological developments only.

There currently doesn't appear to be any good forecasts of "life in 2030", the media and most writers only provide fragmented pieces of the big picture.

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