31 August 2009

Long Bets - There will be a Chernobyl National Park by 2035.

Long Bets - There will be a Chernobyl National Park by 2035.

The minipost - to what extent are our predictions self-fulfilling? We already can see that they reflect the hopes and fears of some people at a given point in history, but how often do predictions such as the one above materialize their own truth, and to what extent does this phenomenon place responsibility in the lap of the speculative author?

It seems to me that the author must not be fettered by any restraints save those of their own personal design, but I also think this is the trivial problem the question raises - most people would agree.

The more troublesome knot is to what extent we should factor our own storytelling into our own telling of what the future might be like? If humans dream of interstellar empires and imperialist wars, they will probably get them if it proves possible. If we envision a future in which our technology escapes our control, it will happen. Except that we have already begun working on imagining futures in which we avoid this fate - the process is recursive, a cultural engine regulator. It obfuscates causation - and so our own storytelling about the future proves to be one of the fog banks obscuring our proper understanding of it.

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