As some of you probably did, I got a blast from the past this week when an old 1997 article from Wired magazine resurfaced. The article was probably one of the first mainstream design fiction stories, painting a few scenarios for the future. One of the scenarios was called the Long Boom. It described how progress could turn wrong around a few critical events and place us in a dystopic future.
This terrible future is now. In summer 2022, all these tongue-in-the-cheek predictions from 25 years ago look like a meticulously checked-out bingo card. Oops.
The core assumption for many is that progress is a law of nature, like gravity or the speed of light. Humanity invented technology and progressed from barely being primates fearing the dark to being able to order pizza through geostationary satellites and be delivered within minutes.
What can go wrong, and (most importantly) how could it stop getting worse?