Modification of the individual has been at the core of the gaming experience since the inception of the role-playing genre. It wasn’t until System Shock (1995), however, that designers started probing the deeper issues beneath these newfound powers. System Shock’s spiritual descendants—the BioShock and Deus Ex series—continue to explore this nexus point where issues of gameplay intersect with one of the developing moral and ethical issues of our time: what it means to be human.
The problem with predicting the future is that there’s so much of it. You can predict some pieces of it because some trends are obvious, but you can’t predict how all the pieces are going to fit together, and even more difficult, you cannot predict what human beings will do with all those different pieces once they have put them together.
The smartphone is a great example. Robert A. Heinlein predicted cell phones in The Star Beast, first published in 1954. Other writers predicted tablets as well. But nobody predicted Twitter or sexting. Those were surprises.
We’re on the threshold of another leap forward in the punctuated evolution of computing technology and the first pieces are starting to appear. I think it’s inevitable that some of these pieces are going to mate, mutate, and evolve into something new.