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Flipping channels today on CNN, MSNBC and elsewhere I’m reminded of a famous book in social psychology. Social Psychologist Leon Festinger, the same researcher who coined “cognitive dissonance,” released a fascinating book in 1956 called When Prophecy Fails. When prophecies fail, the most fervent believers often double-down on their original beliefs, asserting that their very actions and diligence were precisely what prevented the dire prophecy itself. That is, bad things would have come true had…

I’ve always been fascinated by past visions of the future. Science fiction uses the future to tell us something about ourselves, so looking back on past visions of the future, we can learn something about that age and the values, myopia, optimism and fears of the time. It’s also healthy to continually do cross-checks on “how accurate was that prediction” and “what did we miss?” so that we can improve the accuracy of futuristic predictions over…