Once again, science fiction predicts the future
I’ve long been a fan of Bruce Sterling’s 1998 story Maneki Nekoi
Next morning, Tsuyoshi slept late. He was self-employed, so he kept his own hours. Tsuyoshi was a video format upgrader by trade. He transferred old videos from obsolete formats into the new high-grade storage media. Doing this properly took a craftsman’s eye. Word of Tsuyosh’s skills had gotten out on the network, so he had as much work as he could handle.
At ten A.M., the mailman arrived. Tsuyoshi abandoned his breakfast of raw egg and miso soup, and signed for a shipment of flaking, twentieth-century analog television tapes. The mail also brought a fresh overnight shipment of strawberries, and a homemade jar of pickles.
“Pickles!” his wife enthused. “People are so nice to you when you’re pregnant.”
“Any idea who sent us that?”
“Just someone on the network.”
So I was intrigued to learn about FriendlyFavor.
People seeking a babysitter, job referral or help moving a couch, to name just a few examples, can all use FriendlyFavor for free to ask for help online-sending their request only to the contacts they trust-as can people with favours to offer, such as extra tickets or leftover moving supplies. The platform was designed to eliminate the hassle, wasted time and confusion that can accompany traditional favour requests, providing instead a one-stop site for managing everything from the initial request to the thank-you once a favour has been granted.
Sure, it’s not yet mediated by an AI, but it is certain a predecessor to Sterling’s vision.
And see What Science Fiction Writers Have Learned About Predicting The Future of Technology (via Pasta and Vinegar)