Chicken Little ran around screaming, "The sky is falling!" like a chicken with its head cut off. And then we had KFC for dinner.
Prophets, oracles, soothsayers, seers - they're people who say they can predict the future. And then there's time travelers who say they come from the future with knowledge of what's to come. Throughout history and fiction, we've always had figures who somehow predicted future events, whether through supernatural or science-backed means. And there's never a shortage of people claiming to have the gift of foresight, who say they know exactly how and when the world will end. It's the oldest story in the book, before there were even books.
With modern technology in its prime, we have more accurate means of predictive modeling, with a slew of experts including scientists, economists and tech entrepreneurs telling us that the writing's on the wall and how we need to prepare for disaster. But instead of heeding their warnings, we tend to shoot the messenger. Moreover, these days, we always seem to end up in a rabbithole of conspiracy theories whenever we bring up predictions about anything, from the weather to the US presidential election.
Both predictions and conspiracy theories are irrevocably linked, rooted in fact and fiction. And we're now at a critical juncture of these forces colliding that may ultimately predict how the future will actually pan out.
We'll take a look at the phenomenon of seeing the future, known as the Cassandra Complex, that appears throughout storytelling and is often referenced in science fiction. We'll compare it to the predominance of conspiracy theory within the current Zeitgeist and tackle some ways to better intuit whether these self-proclaimed prophets are selling us snake oil... or saving our lives.
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