How Far Away Is The Future?

May 20, 2012 in Daily Bulletin, Signature

io9 looked at various works of science fiction between 1880 and 2010 to determine how far into the future authors imagine our society’s progress. They divided their data into three types: science fiction that is set 0-50 years into the future, 51-500 years into the future, and 501+ years into the future. Some of their results include:

  • After the great depression in the 1930s and the economic and terrorist woes of the 2000s there were spikes in the number of science fiction stories set more than 500 years into the future. This is possibly because society prefers to get away from the present during times of distress and uncertainty.
  • In the 1900s and 1980s there was a surge of science fiction stories set between 0 and 50 years into the future. Both these times were periods of rapid technological progress and authors might have been inspired to look at where the technology would lead us next.
  • During the 1920s and 1960s future stories were evenly distributed across the various categories. Both were periods of liberalizations in the United States and this might have caused society to envision its near-term, medium-term, and long-term futures.
  • Stories set between 100-200 years into the future are the most common.

To read more results and to look at some beautifully rendered graphs and charts click here.

Source: io9

Via: Marginal Revolution