Thursday, March 26, 2009

Trends I'm Watching

When I get the urge to write fiction, I start sniffing around the books on my shelf, the trends in the news, and the things that drive me up the wall, and then see if I can find a character to throw into a problem based on them. Nothing's coming to mind right now, but here are some of the things I'm tracking:

  • Financial, educational, political, cultural, and geographical separations between different IQ groups (The Bell Curve).
  • The Singularity: accelerating advances in artificial intelligence, genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics.
  • Micro-media outlets: bloggers are becoming the new journalists. Democratization of the media with consequent declines in accuracy and objectivity, with people willingly paying for good, high-quality or high-accuracy media content.
  • "Imperial" armed forces in the West divided into attack ("Leviathan") and constabulary/occupation ("Systems Administration") forces.
  • Declining abilities of nation-states to provide for the general welfare of their citizens; more privatizing of basic services (The Shield of Achilles).
  • Globalized market continues rapid dispersal of ideas, goods, and services, but also diseases, crimes, and terrorists.
  • Space likely to remain an aristocrat's sport, with "aristocrats" defined as super-competent astronauts or super-rich tourists.
  • Declining local cultures in Asia and Latin America; increasing vibrancy of local cultures in Europe.
  • Demographic decline in Western cultures.
  • Increasing science and engineering proficiency in India and China (The World is Flat).
  • Declining science and engineering proficiency in the U.S. (Rising Above the Gathering Storm).

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