Forecast

The only place where perfection can exist is in virtual reality - in other words, in those artificial realities created by us. Inasmuch as we are chasing perfection (and a wide glance at modern trends would suggest that we are), then we should not be surprised by where our quest will inevitably lead us ...

Currently we are still attempting to perfect the real world. We iron out our creases through cosmetic surgery, creams and potions. We are becoming ever more afraid of imperfection, and thus of things that cause imperfections. We deny Nature, that place of messiness, and create sanitised environments that prevent us from having to experience too much imperfection. Surfaces are smoothed, corners rounded off. 

Alongside this we are creating ever more immersive virtual worlds, worlds in which we no longer need to struggle to perfect ourselves or the world around us. These worlds can be as we want them to be; and in them we can be who we want to be. We don't need things like insurance, or cosmetic surgery.

Inasmuch as we remain obsessed with perfection, then eventually we will give up our struggle to perfect the real world, and will give in to the allure of the virtual world.

It is natural that we should try and make things better. But we do not know where to draw the line. It is crucial that we find this line.
 
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Grand Theft Auto will gradually assimilate many other models of video games within itself, and become an all encompassing game - 'The Game.' Games of all types - driving games, first person shooters - and all themes - supernatural, realistic, ultraviolent, historic - will all be woven into its structure. It will also become more 'open-source' - much like Minecraft - allowing users to design their own experiences. As this happens it will become ever more engrossing to the gamer. Gamers will spend more and more time within it, and technological advances will make it more and more immersive.

The dreams that are given to us by films - those unattainable aspirations that work their way within us from an early age - will be given an outlet in The Game. It will become a place where our ever more unsustainable lifestyles can be safely housed. A place where a garage full of sports cars and a house full of trinkets can be entirely disconnected from unfortunate truths like dwindling natural resources and unseen ultra-violence.

Essentially, Grand Theft Auto will become The Matrix. It is happening already.

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The balance of power between companies and consumers will swing ever more rapidly toward the former. Consumer rights will become a thing of the past. Companies will care less and less about complaints. Those companies that have a monopoly or near-monopoly on certain markets will not even have to make a show of responding to consumer concerns. The consumer will be treat with growing disdain.

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Science will become ever more like a religion; it will have stories that must be subscribed to. Alternate voices will be vilified as heretics and burnt at the stake. It will attract followers looking for the comforting certainty of dogma.

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Professionals will become more and more limited in what they can do, due to increasing red tape as a consequence of litigation. In response to this a countercurrent will grow, based on friendship relationships i.e. informal, non-professional, ad-hoc arrangements. More and more people will begin to abandon professional institutions as they become ever more rigid. This applies to all institutions.

In order to help each other - truly help each other - more often than not we have to be non-professional - in other words, go outside of the bounds which our professions lay down. This will become ever more true the more the boundaries of professionalism close in; the more 'professional' we become.

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New insights
will come more and more from 'enthusiastic amateurs' i.e. those on the outside of institutions, the non-professionals. This is because institutions, as they grow and become more solid, will find it harder to incorporate new information, especially when it flies in the face of current paradigms.

The emphasis, then, is on those 'free radicals' who act independently of institutions.

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We will come to accept that there is great wisdom and understanding in ancient knowledge traditions, and that we weren't able to see this because of our current limited perspective. Things we once dismissed as unscientific and superstitious will be seen in a new light, through new knowledge and understanding.

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