From George Orwell’s 1984 to the tablet’s precursor on Star Trek: The Next Generation, it’s often said that science fiction predicts the future. But one of today’s most popular sci-fi authors disagrees. Cory Doctorow argues today’s technology run amok doesn’t make a dystopian future tomorrow inevitable.
The author of Radicalized: Four Tales of Our Present Moment tells me, “I think the future is contestable.” Doctorow’s fear is that if we believe the outcomes predicted in science fiction are seen as fate, we’ll give up trying. Besides, sci-fi doesn’t always get it right.
The two-time John W. Campbell award winner doubts his ability to forecast the future. “Science fiction has made a lot of predictions and if none of them came true, it would be pretty remarkable,” but he adds, “we significantly underperform random chance.”
In the season finale of Futurithmic, Doctorow stresses, “We always have agency. We always have the ability to change the future.”
We just need to fight for the future we want.