I came across a great infographic recently by Michell Zappa that combines two of my passions in a way that really helps my writing as a speculative fiction author: infographics and futurism. The elegance of it is amazing. Just click the photo below to have a closer look.
First, in gray concentric circles, he plots out future years and decades, starting from the center/present. Then he groups technological disciplines by color. Each specific development, or “node” is situated on the year-ring the technology is predicted to emerge. Last, he attempts to estimate the relative impact of that technology by the size of the node.
What I really like about this as a writer is how I can use the year rings to see what technologies might be present at the same time. Not only will that help paint a richer setting of a near-future story, it can also help spark ideas.
For instance in roughly the 2025 time frame independent developments in robotics, biotechnology, and artificial intelligence might lead to a combination where the doctor’s office comes to you in the form of a robotic self-driving ambulance. You can get friendly, personalized treatment on your driveway with no waiting and at the fraction of the cost.
The question speculative fiction writers can then attempt to answer is “what if?”. And not just “what if?” but all the philosophical and ethical questions that come to mind in that imagined situation. So, put on your thinking caps: What if mobile robotic medical services roll out in 15 years? What do you think might be a result?