By Ricky Lax
Daily Arts Writer
In 1981, Bruce Sterling, a science fiction writer who specializes in Futurism, wrote a story narrated by a suicidal jihad Arab terrorist who travels to Florida in order to kill a prominent American political figure with bio-warfare powder.
That is what’s nice about Futurism: People only talk about the predictions that came true.
Sterling’s new book, “Tomorrow Now,” went to print last year. In it, Sterling’s predictions included the fact that, along with passports, travelers would get “personally searched down to their shoe soles.” Only months ago, American airports began checking the soles of passenger’s shoes with a special device. Shoes themselves have been the target of inspection ever since the December 2001 “Shoe Bomber” incident.
In “Tomorrow Now,” Sterling gives his predictions in the fields of health, education, war, electronics, pop culture, politics and business for the next half-century. His hypotheses are reasoned, convincing and full of capitalism.
The book’s most compelling passages are written as if the reader lives in 2050, a time when Sterling’s predictions are lived as reality. Following are some of Sterling’s forecasts:
Advances in genetic experimentation are real but not as bad as you may think. “Even though this is a genetically altered world, there are no weird-looking ‘mutants’ or ‘monsters’ in you house, neighborhood or city. They sound really cool and scary, but go ahead, make one. Where is the market?” says Sterling.
The best thing public education will teach our child is how to learn. The process of learning is important because success will come to those who constantly ride the wave of ever-obsolete knowledge – in other words, there would be no real graduation. Students learn to access data on the Internet, their primary information source, which has “no curriculum, no moral values, and no philosophy. It just brings on the data, railroad cars of it, data by the ton.”
Computer-molded objects and consumer electronics will look more and more like Pok