One of my favorite genres of books and movies is science fiction which is defined as: "fiction based on imagined future scientific or technological advances and major social or environmental changes, frequently portraying space or time travel and life on other planets." Over the years there has been a multitude of great science fiction books and movies that have been released. Authors like H.G. Wells, George Orwell, Philip Dick and Orson Scott have created fantastic futuristic worlds for us to think about. Movies such as The Matrix, Avatar, Interstellar and Total Recall have been very popular entertainment. Today we are seeing a huge resurgence of science fiction with books like Ready Player One and The Expanse being turned into major motion pictures. Although many of us look at science fiction as...fiction, few of us realize that they can indeed help us understand what the future of work and life may look like. They have allowed us to see things like robots, AI, connected devices and self driving cars before they were mainstream realities.
Today, when most of us read, see, or hear about future scenarios for how we can live and work we are accessing content from research firms or think tanks that conduct studies, host surveys, and generate forecasts. Although these things are all important to do, it's hard for us to connect with a piece of data or research that attempts to show us a glimpse of the word in 10 to 20 years out (or beyond). It's another thing completely to be able to physically view practical (or extreme) ways in which different technologies and advancements could be implemented into our world as told through the lens of story with actual scenarios and concepts that bring these things to life.
If you want to know what a world may look like if we create AI that is smarter than humans then watch something like The Matrix. If you're curious to learn about how math and science might be used to predict the future of the human race then read The Foundation series. What will happen if virtual reality becomes so mainstream and addictive that most of us will prefer to live in the virtual world as opposed to the physical world? Check out Ready Player One.
So the next time you are wondering what the future may hold, pick up a good science fiction book or go out and see a science fiction movie. You may get a good glimpse into what's to come.