What if design fiction is actually ruining the future? We’re not be victims now, but maybe our children will be.

Problems may arise when our successors either accept or reject proposals that we make today. We don’t have all of the facts about the future right now, and creating fictions in response to incomplete knowledge can only result in three outcomes.

One: these fictions are taken as gospel. “Although technologically inferior, people of the past had access to wisdom we’ll never be able to understand; we should hang on to their every word”. Blind acceptance leads to incuriosity.

Two: these fictions are dismissed as naïve. “Times have changed, people have changed, and any ideas our ancestors had about us were obviously wrong and created for purely academic reasons; it is irresponsible to heed any of their advice”. Blind rejection leads to arrogance.

Three: these fictions are ignored. “Why were they even discussed at all”? Ignorance leads to repeated work.

Some of this can even be seen today, in response to science fiction of the past — Flying saucers are real: people saw them before the government was prone to lying; Aliens are obviously not humanoid and green/gray with giant heads: Hollywood made that up. Either could be completely true, false, or anywhere on that spectrum, but because they’ve been discussed already, consensus will never be reached and complete knowledge will never be gained.


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