John Shirley "wanted to know about the quality of life in the future." So he asked science fiction writers Cory Doctorow, Pat Murphy, Kim Stanley Robinson, Norman Spinrad, Bruce Sterling and Ken Wharton a series of questions about the future. You can read the questions and answers in this Locus article.
Here are some examples:
1) In the past you've written science-fictionally about the social future. What's changed in your estimate of the social future since then? Do you have a sharper picture of where we're going, socially?
Norman Spinrad: “The biggest change, one which I didn't get at the time, was the rise to dominance of the American Christian fundamentalist far right. Where are we going? If Kerry should be elected, back to the Clintonian middle. But if Bush is re-elected, straight into the worst fascist shitter this country has ever experienced. We're on a cusp like that of the Roman Republic about to degenerate into the Empire. Though in many ways it has already.”
6 ) Will there always be war?
A consensus emerges that war is staying but changing shape. Bruce Sterling: “Well, if you gather in armies and raise a flag, the USA will blow you to shreds, so the trend is to strap a bomb around your waist or pile artillery shells into a car and then blow yourself up. The idea that a 'war on terror' is going to resolve this kind of terror by using lots of warfare is just absurd.”