Currently viewing the tag: "future"

Artificial intelligence will surpass human intelligence after 2020, predicts Vernor Vinge, a world-renowned pioneer in AI, who has warned about the risks and opportunities that an electronic super-intelligence would offer to mankind. “It seems plausible that with technology we can, in the fairly near future,” says scifi legend Vernor Vinge, “create (or become) creatures who surpass humans in every intellectual and creative dimension. Events beyond such an event — such a singularity — are as unimaginable to us as opera is to a flatworm.” –Daily Galaxy

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story set in the future depicted above.

Journaling Prompt: Imagine how you would feel if suddenly, you were inferior. Write about how you would adjust to that.

Art Prompt: Artificial intelligence

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the state of artificial intelligence today.

Photo Credit: Maziani Sabudin on Flickr

The hologram at the reception desk was a middle-aged female secretary in a navy blue business suit, cordial and attentive, polite and to the point. –LH Thomson, The Process Server

Fiction Writing Prompt: Use the first line of the week as the starting point or inspiration for a scene, story, poem, or haiku.

Journaling Prompt: Are you looking forward to customer service from holograms or not? Why?

Art Prompt: Hologram

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about holograms and how they will change our society in the future.

Photo Credit: TaylorHerring on Flickr

Metal Men: Gold (3/7)

It’s hard to believe you’d have an economy at all if you gave pink slips to more than half the labor force. But that—in slow motion—is what the industrial revolution did to the workforce of the early 19th century. Two hundred years ago, 70 percent of American workers lived on the farm. Today automation has eliminated all but 1 percent of their jobs, replacing them (and their work animals) with machines. But the displaced workers did not sit idle. Instead, automation created hundreds of millions of jobs in entirely new fields. Those who once farmed were now manning the legions of factories that churned out farm equipment, cars, and other industrial products. Since then, wave upon wave of new occupations have arrived—appliance repairman, offset printer, food chemist, photographer, web designer—each building on previous automation. Today, the vast majority of us are doing jobs that no farmer from the 1800s could have imagined.

It may be hard to believe, but before the end of this century, 70 percent of today’s occupations will likewise be replaced by automation. Yes, dear reader, even you will have your job taken away by machines. In other words, robot replacement is just a matter of time. This upheaval is being led by a second wave of automation, one that is centered on artificial cognition, cheap sensors, machine learning, and distributed smarts. This deep automation will touch all jobs, from manual labor to knowledge work.-Kevin Kelly, Wired

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about someone whose job is taken over by a robot.

Journaling Prompt: Write about your job and speculate on what parts of it could be automated.

Art Prompt: Robot Workforce

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about the jobs of future and the skills people should be developing now to ensure their continued employment.

Photo Credit: JD Hancock on Flickr

Abstract Family

“When we rely on our feelings, what feels ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ summarizes all the knowledge and information that we have acquired consciously and unconsciously about the world around us. It is this cumulative knowledge, which our feelings summarize for us, that allows us make better predictions. In a sense, our feelings give us access to a privileged window of knowledge and information — a window that a more analytical form of reasoning blocks us from.”

In accordance with the privileged window hypothesis, the researchers caution that some amount of relevant knowledge appears to be required to more accurately forecast the future. For example, in one study participants were asked to predict the weather. While participants who trusted their feelings were again better able to predict the weather, they were only able to do so for the weather in their own zip codes, not for the weather in Beijing or Melbourne. Professor Leonard Lee explains this is because “…they don’t possess a knowledge base that would help them to make those predictions.” As another example, only participants who had some background knowledge about the current football season benefited from trust in feelings in predicting the winner of the national college football BCS game.

Thus, if we have a proper knowledge base, the future need not be totally indecipherable if we simply learn to trust our feelings. –Science Daily

Writing Prompt: Write a scene about a character who is in touch with his or her feelings and is able to predict the futures of friends and family.

Journaling Prompt: How does journaling help you listen to your feelings?

Art Prompt: Intuition

Photo Credit: Rob Lee on Flickr


I record these words for a posterity that will not exist. –Zachary Jernigan, Pairs, Asimov’s Science Fiction Aug 2011

Writing Prompt: Write a story, scene or poem inspired by the quote above.

Journaling Prompt: Write the journal entry you would want to leave as your last entry for your descendents to read.

Art Prompt: End of the World

Photo Credit: John Althouse Cohen on Flickr

Macaque - Monkey Cave Temple - Thailand

What does it mean for a civilization to be a million years old? We have had radio telescopes and spaceships for a few decades; our technical civilization is a few hundred years old … an advanced civilization millions of years old is as much beyond us as we are beyond a bushbaby or a macaque. -Carl Sagan

Writing Prompt: Write a story, scene, or poem about a civilization that is millions of years old.

Journaling Prompt: Write about what you believe our world will be like in 50 years.

Art Prompt: Ancient civilization

Photo Credit: Pavel Sigarteu on Flickr
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What if you had eternity to live? How would you stay joyful?
Growing old, for us, isn’t a matter so much of bodily decay—that is fended off by efficient processes of automatic bioenergetic correction—as of increasing inward rigidity, a creakiness of the soul, a corrugation of the psyche, a stiffening of the spiritual synapses. One starts to feel sour and petty and crabbed. Life loses its joy and its juice. -Robert Silverberg, Travelers (free to read at Lightspeed magazine)

Writing Prompt: Write a scene about eternity from the point of view of an immortal character.

Journaling Prompt: If you could live forever, what would you change today?

Art Prompt: Immortality

Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a humorous story about getting old.

Photo Credit: h.koppdelaney on Flickr
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seer with crystal ball

Science fiction is my favorite genre to read. For one thing, a writer can deal with ethical, moral, and culture issues that often are too touchy to take on in a standard literary form. But more interestingly, science fiction writers must study today’s science and predict the future. 

In an essay titled “Futuristics,” Isaac Asimov pointed out that the obvious prediction is not the most interesting one. It was easy to predict the automobile; what was difficult to predict was the traffic jam. It was easy to predict radio; what was difficult was the soap opera. It was easy to predict the income tax; what was difficult was the expense account. Equally, it was easy to predict the cell phone—Dick Tracy had his wrist radio back in the 1930s—but what was difficult to predict is that users would become so attached to them that they would step into traffic or allow their cars to drift out of control….
Science fiction might well be considered the literature of unanticipated consequences….In fact, to write an effective science-fiction story, all you need is something that the world thinks is an unmitigated boon and to focus on the unforeseen problems that it might create. -Science Fiction Imagines the Digital Future by James Gunn in Analog Science Fiction and Fact magazine

Writing Prompt: Go to your favorite news site, read a science story, predict an unanticipated consequence that will happen if that science is developed, and write a story about it.

Journaling Prompt: Do you read science fiction? Why or why not?

Art Prompt: Science

Nonfiction / Speech Writing Prompt: Write about an invention in your lifetime that has had unexpected consequences.

Photo Credit: Kraetzsche (busy) on Flickr


When our civilization dies, what will die with it?
Civilizations rise, exist, and fall, each taking with it into the limbo of forgotten things some of the discoveries which made it great. -Andre Norton, The Time Traders (free for your Kindle or Kindle software)
Writing Prompt: Write a scene set in the future where archaeologists are uncovering a great discovery of our civilization that had been lost.
Journaling Prompt: What is the most important thing that we should preserve about our civilization?
Art Prompt: Ruins
Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience the story of some of the relics our civilization will leave behind from the POV of a future archaeologist.
Photo Credit: Alun Salt on Flickr


I admit it. I’m a sci fi geek. Time travel is awesome, and I want to try it. Barring that, I want to read and write about it.

…apparently the very first written time travel story is Memoirs of the Twentieth Century, written in 1733 by Samuel Madden, about an angel from the year 1997 who journeys over 250 years into the past to give documents to a British ambassador that describe the world of the future. -Michio Kaku, Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel

Writing Prompt: Take your protagonist on a short trip via time travel. Where and when will she go? Who will she meet? What will she do?

Journaling Prompt: If you could time travel, where and when would you go and why?

Art Prompt: Time Travel
Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience where you would go if you could travel through time and who you would want to meet there.