This speech by Charlie Stross matches the painful assessments I’ve slowly come to in my decades reading SF and watching the tech boom. I didn’t *want* to go to a cyberpunk dystopia so much as thought it was inevitable we would end up there. But no destination is inevitable. Human beings can steer. We can change course.
It’s becoming increasingly unusual to read a report of a new technology or scientific discovery that doesn’t breathlessly use the phrase “it seems like science fiction”. The news cycle is currently dominated by hype about artificial intelligence (a gross mis-characterisation of machine learning algorithms and large language models). A couple of years ago it was breathless hype about cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies—which turned out to be a financial services bubble that drained a lot of small investors’ savings accounts into the pockets of people like convicted fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried.