Let's face it. We're pretty obsessed these days with the Internet and the capabilities of global social networking. But what is next? Here are a few ideas from reality. Expand them out. Either negatively or positively, try to envision what the future could look like. Good science fiction writes the world and its rules first before jumping into the story of the novel. So what will Earth look like in 20, 50, 100 years based on these current innovations/ideas:
1. Amazon hopes that drones could be used for product delivery. How would you sign for your package? Would the drone have access to your house? Where would the drone leave your items? If it's a Staples desk, will the drone put it together for you? What would the black market be like for drones that were shot out of the sky? Would we ever leave our houses again? Maybe even merge this with 3-D printing, and you can have anything you want at any time, delivered to your home. No warehouses, no stores. What would society do with all that commercial real estate?
1.a. I'm tacking this on as 1a. It can be its own thought experiment, or you could merge it with the one above. The U.S. Postal Service is in dire straights. It's a quasi-governmental institution with a long history of important service. But if it is insolvent, and the government won't subsidize it any more, what is to become of it? What if Amazon were to agree to 'acquire' it? Crazy idea, but still, what if?
2. Terms & Conditions. No one reads these documents. We just immediately agree to them without thinking about the consequences. Recently a woman posted a negative review about an online retailer who screwed up her order. She was surprised to receive a $3,500 penalty imposed on her, because the terms and conditions of using their website included an agreement not to disparage them. What else could be lurking in those contracts that no one reads? This is definitely a thought that could lead to humorously scary science fiction ideas, but it could also be amazingly scary.
Well, I'll try to come up with some other ones, but there's enough to think about for now. Draw out how we got there, what the world is like in your future, and then and only then, start thinking about a character to live in that world. Enjoy.