I was thinking just a few days ago about how much fun it would be to go back in time six years and dump everything futurism-related onto my past self (2010 being the last year before I discovered futurology).
Self-driving cars? The concept had never even crossed my mind.
Virtual Reality? I knew what it was, but never thought about it, ever. Just something that showed up in sci-fi now and then.
Gene therapy and gene sequencing? Never heard of them.
Artificial Intelligence? Well, I know there's AI in videogames... does it mean anything beyond that?
Quantum computers? Huh? What's that?
3D printers? The printer I have for the computer is three-dimensional, is that what you mean?
Universal Basic Income? Never heard of it.
Technological automation and unemployment? Never crossed my mind.
So many terms and concepts that have become part of my daily vernacular were completely foreign to me. I just assumed that life would always be more or less the same. My feelings towards the various emerging technologies and scientific fields have become more nuanced over the years - some areas I think deserve plenty of optimism and excitement, others less so - but on the whole there's a lot that I'm excited about. I'm glad that FutureTimeline introduced me to the idea of the future being an infinitely different thing from what my 23 and younger self believed it would be.
This is what I've been saying myself.
I believe I even created a thread on it somewhere.
Pre-Posting Edit: After a bit of searching, I've come to the conclusion that it was the Future Shock thread, but I retroactively put words onto the screen that weren't actually there, so let me explain.
I've always been a "futurist", going as far back as when I was 8 years old, but I didn't become a futurologist until 2014 (the Born-Again Singularitarian thing)— I didn't even discover the Future Timeline until 2011.
So while I've had interests in the future since at least 2002-2003, it took a decade for that to sprout into a legitimate passion. And despite all that, I still wouldn't believe you if you told me all these things would exist by 2016.
Actually, I think it's because I was so intrigued by future sci-tech that I would not have believed you.
Unlike Casey, in 2010 I had more of an idea of these sorts of things, but I woefully underestimated when they'd be important. And you hafta remember— 2010 was just 6 years ago. It was part of the same decade. That's how much things have changed!
I distinctly remember visiting a YouTube video discussing communism during the summer of 2010. This was during my Glenn Beck days, so I was a virulent anti-communist. Despite that, I actually defended communism by saying there was one possible way for it to work— with robots. Those debating with me shot that down, telling me to take off my tinfoil hat. And even I said that, by the 2100s, this might be possible. Not the 2020s or 2030s, like you'd hear me say now— the 2100s.
What really shocked me is something I found out last month. Back in 2009, I was writing this crappy story that was set in 2017. I wanted to find some pictures of tech that would exist by then. What did I see? I very distinctly remember seeing stuff like: smart watches, flexible phones, touch screens, space planes, holograms, and whatnot. I went "Pfft. Yeah right, maybe in the 2100s." When I imagined 2017, I imagined something a bit more like Tokyo, Japan as it was back in the 2000s, except spread across the world. Nothing too futuristic.
I noticed a few weeks ago when I had googled "2017 technology" that almost all of the things I googled back then are either real or plausible— you can even find my post about it on reddit.
Back in 2012 and 2013, whenever I image searched for creative ideas of what near-future tech would look like, I always wrote off what I saw as being too futuristic for that particular year. 2020, for example, came across as being ridiculously futuristic on too many fronts. It seemed like you had to add 40 or 50 years before such gadgets would become real. And now? Well....