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Future predictions don’t often predict the future

I'm a huge fan of the book and movie Contact by Carl Sagan. I just reread the book recently. It was written in 1985. And it's amazing to me how Sagan's depiction of a futuristic world never happened in reality.

For instance, one of the main characters has grown famous for inventing a “module that, when a television commercial appeared, automatically muted the sound.” This allowed people to not “hear” commercials. But even Sagan couldn't imagine a world where consumers could simply skip commercials all together, by fast forwarding during them, as we all can do now on shows we record or watch on demand.

Also, newspapers are alive, well and thriving in Contact in a futuristic world (though it isn't set in the future).

The book actually gave me hope that we might not be able to predict a future world based on the present we're living now. So many things can happen in between to change the prediction. 

Things might turn out much worse than predicted. Or much, much better.

Stay tuned!

(S-R archives photo)

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Writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., addresses issues facing aging baby boomers and seniors as well as issues of serious illness, death and dying, grief and loss.

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