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About twelve years ago I started writing The Religion War, a sequel to God's Debris. It was published ten years ago.

The story was set in the not-too-distant future. I chose that timeframe in part because I wanted to be alive to see how my fiction-predictions turned out. Let's see how I did.

My main fiction-prediction was that a charismatic Muslim leader would unite the Muslim countries and create a Caliphate. In the book, that leader was named Al-Zee. In the real world, a leader named Al-Baghdadi has carved out a caliphate from parts of Syria and Iraq. He's calling for all Muslims to unite. I don't think he'll unite all Muslims, but he might someday succeed in killing the ones who disagree with his plan.

In the book, Al-Zee allowed his terrorist lackeys to use hobby-sized drones to bomb American cities on an ongoing basis to keep morale high at the Caliphate while Al-Zee publicly denied any involvement. We know terrorists are interested in drones. That part of the prediction seems assured. And in the book they have access to chemical weapons to arm the drones. The real-world Caliphate includes parts of Syria, so chemical weapons on hobby drones can't be far behind.

A key plot background in the book is the existence of what we now call Big Data. The protagonist uses big data to search for the Prime Influencer - the one person who, by virtue of personality and connections, can kick-start an idea that will become viral. I would think Facebook is close to knowing who the Prime Influencers are. The common view today is that virality springs from the qualities of the content, e.g. funny, shocking, or surprising. But I think someday we'll realize those are minimum requirements and what matters more for virality is who started the ball rolling.

The Religion War imagines a military general rising to power in the United States. His last name is Cruz, and he's a conservative extremist. General Cruz pursues a military strategy of containment and then extermination of the entire Caliphate because anything short of that is unlikely to stop the drone attacks in the long run. But first Cruz has to grab power from his own weak civilian government, which he accomplishes by using a false flag attack.

Today, public support for the President of the United States and Congress are at historic low points. And Senator Ted Cruz from Texas is a leading voice in the conservative movement, thus making him a potential candidate for President. If the homeland is continually attacked by drones, citizens will quickly become conservative and militant. By the time Cruz becomes President, the Caliphate will have consolidated power and only severe military action is likely to stop the continuous drone attacks. How would he respond?

In the book I imagined that the government would combat terrorism by strictly limiting digital communications. If someone is not on your approved list you can't call, text, or email with them. If you want to add someone to your list, there's a bureaucratic process to do that. That part of the prediction is unlikely to happen because the NSA can monitor every form of communication, and that's a more effective solution. I didn't see that coming. But I'll take partial credit for predicting that the government wouldn't allow unfettered private conversations over networks in the future.

_____________________________________________

Scott Adams

Co-founder of CalendarTree.com

Author of this book

 


 

 
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Jul 14, 2014
And Hamas now has drones, so it's safe to say that the hobby drones part is close enough to being true to call it.

This talks about it:
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/07/14/the-hamas-surprise-israel-knocked-out-of-the-sky-but-its-potential-as-a-weapon-is-frightening/

Bottom part of this mentions it:
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/15/world/middleeast/israel-gaza-conflict.html?_r=0

 
 
Jul 10, 2014
Scott - my bet is that you are the Prime Influencer. There is no other single social media personality that is as widely read among engineers and scientists as you. Perhaps you could say Mr. Tyson, but he tends to stick to scientific theory and evidence, where you are unencumbered by these things. Rightly so, since as a futurist and thought experimentalist (yes I just invented that word - deal with it) you need to think beyond our current boundaries.

Since we know the Prime Influencer doesn't know who they are, please deny that you are this person, which will confirm the truth of it.
 
 
Jul 5, 2014
[ If the homeland is continually attacked by drones, citizens will quickly become conservative and militant. ]

I have become convinced that most progressive leopards cannot change their spots to conservative, even when under attack. To me, it's counter-intuitive, but saw this after 9/11. Small sample here, 2 families with lost relatives, and the reaction was indeed militant, but the blame-America-first mantra was unchanged. They changed from smug progressives to angry progressives that wanted to nuke the perpetrator, but the militant desires were somehow compartmentalized and their progressive policy views remained intact. Their personal loss was somehow "different". America was still blamed, no matter who attacked us or why. I think attack and loss just hardens one's basic public policy position.
 
 
Jul 4, 2014
Correction to my previous comment:
Ted Cruz ceased to be a Canadian citizen May14, 2014
 
 
Jul 4, 2014
One slight problem with Ted Cruz becoming President of the United States. He is foreign born. Yep, he was born in Calgary , Alberta, CANADA !!
And as of the date of this posting, he is still a Canadian citizen.
 
 
Jul 4, 2014
@Kingfisher: Thank you.

@Phantom II: See above. Also, your diatribes are veering more and more into Troll territory. I fully support your ability (not your "right", since this is a privately moderated personal blog) to express your disagreement and dissatisfaction in general, until you begin attacking, flaming, baiting and/or trolling. Then it detracts from discussion and blah blah stop p*ssing in everyone's Cheerios.
 
 
Jul 3, 2014
@Phantom II
You're labeling of Scott as one-sided and two-dimensional is a little bit of the Pot calling the Kettle Black, and I'd hardly call Scott a 'Liberal' by most metrics. Libertarian maybe, but not Liberal.

I think it is fair to say that the last 4 presidents, and likely some before them, share a considerable amount of blame for the state of Terrorism in the globe. All of them could have made different choices that may or may not have led to a better present situation than the one we have today. Since you only ever get one shot at history, we will never really know if they made the right choices or not.

Regardless, I feel that 'right', 'left', 'conservative', and 'liberal' are false binaries that are little more than slurs hurled at people who happen to disagree with each other. People make mistakes, and sometimes they learn from them, and sometimes not. In truth the real choice is whether we work through our differences, or fight over them.

An extremist is one who chooses the latter nearly all the time. To an extremist there can be no compromise, and no coexistence with those who are 'wrong'. Extremists exist for most opinions out there, from eco-terrorists who sabotage logging operations, to activists who harass women choosing abortions, to Marxists who support class warfare at its ugliest.

It is not helpful to label people extremists when they are attempting compromise, and is in a sense a form of extremism itself - because it draws an battle line and states that those on the other side are enemies, in one sense or another. That a good chunk of Americans believe President Obama is a Liberal extremist, while most of the rest of the world sees him as a right-leaning conciliator says something pretty disturbing about where most of the real extremists are in the U.S.
 
 
+7 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 2, 2014
Nostradilbert.
 
 
Jul 2, 2014
It's interesting that you would choose the term "conservative extremist" to characterize your Constitution-destroying General. I wonder if you have ever, or would ever, use the term "liberal extremist?"

This kind of military bashing has been part and parcel of liberal authors for longer than you've been alive. In 1962, a book was published that, two years later, became an eponymous movie titled, "Seven Days In May," about a US military coup. And who could forget the insane military creations of "Dr. Strangelove?"

You do a disservice to our men and women in uniform. They are the defenders of the Constitution, not the destroyers of it. If you'd like to see someone who violates the Constitution, at least according to the Supreme Court, just take a look at the current resident of the White House. Your novel would have paralleled reality more closely if you had had politicians, rather than military members, looking to go around the supreme law of the land.

I have long held the belief that liberals don't like small wars, but they love big ones. If they didn't, then why would they wait to take action until there is no choice? Why did President Clinton allow himself to be persuaded by Susan Rice to rebuff Sudan's offer to turn over Osama bin Laden? Why did President Obama pull all our troops out of Iraq, and take no action in Syria, allowing ISIS to establish their baby Caliphate?

The old saying, "A stitch in time saves nine," seems to be lost on today's liberals. Appease, ignore and withdraw seems to be their mantra, until planes fly into towers and 3,000 Americans die. Then, liberals vote to go into Iraq, and then promptly start to trash the war effort, the then-president, and, oh yes, the military.

So as far as your predictions go, you are way off the mark. You set up your strawman General, while ignoring the head-in-the-sand thinking and inaction that, had your novel been less facile, would have showed what led to such a Caliphate being able to exist in the first place.

Get real, Scott. Your two-dimensional, one-sided pipe dreams do not provide any meaningful enlightenment to anyone.

[You spend a lot of time defending your association with lunatics. That's the problem with being a joiner. -- Scott]
 
 
Jul 2, 2014
Weird how live sometimes imitates art.

Also it is extremely unlikely Ted Cruz will get elected, and I'm saying this as a conservative. The establishment hates him and it is their guy who often gets the nomination. The establishment for better or worse always picks someone who is as moderate as possible (McCain) and can pretend to be just republican enough to escape the primaries.
 
 
Jul 2, 2014
I loved the book, but you're wrong about drones and Cruz. There have been no terrorist attacks with drones, interest doesn't count (yet). Cruz is a senator, not a military man, and is ineligible for the Presidency since he was born in Canada.
 
 
Jul 2, 2014
@ flex727 - The books have been out on kindle for a while. I bought them both this spring. As far as the predictions are concerned, I believe you are smart enough (Scott Adams) to make an educated guess. we live in the "United States" and they weren't always united. Most large nations were once broken into smaller groups until someone with enough power and persuasive ability recognized a way to unite the masses under a a single religious idea, or to fight a common enemy. I just hope you're wrong about the deadly mini-drones...
 
 
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 2, 2014
I know you're an optimist, but it seems that you're giving yourself credit for things that still *might* happen rather than any that have. The "Cruz" name is a nice coincidence, but he's probably already passed his zenith. Now he'll probably become another Sarah Palin.

Let's check back when any of your predictions actually happen.
 
 
+8 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 2, 2014
I remember that Robert Heinlein in 1950 made 17 predictions that he thought would come true by 2000. In 1980, he revisited his list, and 16 had come true (public nudity was not yet acceptable, and I'd argue that while it is more acceptable it was his one flub).
Futurists have had such insane ideas as robot doctors (IBM now has a computer Oncologist that is more accurate than humans, surgeons now can perform remote operations in rural areas using robots), submarines, rockets, visits to the moon, satellites, etc.
Isaac Asimov once explained that reading science fiction helped prepare people for change, and that while only 5% of the general population read his books, 50% of scientists read his books, so reading science fiction apparently encouraged kids to get into STEM fields.
Anyone who isn't coming up with predictions for the future is behind the power curve.
(My prediction, that in the next 50 years the USS Bush is sunk by the Chinese).
 
 
Jul 2, 2014
Ten years later and still wondering why I can't buy this book for my Kindle. (Okay, the Kindle has only been out for 7 years, but still looking for an answer)
 
 
Jul 2, 2014
@Tigerfan:

[That was like reading a horoscope.]

Off-topic, but when I wan in college I took a psych class, and the teacher had everyone take a personality test. He then printed out and gave each student their results. He asked the class who thinks the results describe them well, and 90% of the students raised their hands. He then started reading his personality test result, and it was identical to everyone else in the class, word for word (he disguised this by breaking up the paragraphs).

Turns out, the results pretty much said "You are happy when good things happen, but sometimes you get sad," but in a way that makes it sound more personal. Horoscopes are the same way. Unless it's the Onion, those horoscopes are pure gold.
 
 
+22 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 2, 2014
That was like reading a horoscope. Yeah some of your predictions might come true but we are "close" on cold fusion too.

Let's see, in ten years I predict strife in the middle east, it will have a religious overtone, and various terrorist groups will try to attack america. I wonder how accurate I will be?

The Cruz part is pretty cool though. Though be honest, you there thinking "Tom" not "Ted."
 
 
Jul 2, 2014
You couldn't wait to post on this topic? Seems were still waiting to see how Al-Baghdadis moves will pan out and how the next presidential election will go. We wont really have a good idea of how well you did for years yet.
 
 
 
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