A Simple Future

John McWhorter has a compelling theory about imagined futures:

[E]ven dystopian visions [of the future] are about simplicity. Orwell’s alternate vision of the 1980s ... depicted a mind control that prevented engagement with complexity and nuance. Or, futurist Ray Kurzweil predicts that in 2045 computers will become more intelligent than people and allow a presently inconceivable superintelligence. The notion of the human essence ceasing to be is unsavory – but also as much about escape as enhancement. Superintelligence will render trivial what confuses us – and possibly even confusion itself. This, again, evades the essence of modernity, in which there are always many answers.