I find it fascinating looking at old predictions for what the future would look like. It is interesting the types of change people do and don't predict. There's always a built in optimism and plenty of changes to the physical tools we use, but rarely do people predict a shift to the way we live. Looking back at old predictions from the 60's, they talk about bigger TV's and robots - but no mobile phones or anything digital.
In part, this is driven by people looking at historical rates of change to predict the future. The risk of this approach is that it doesn't take into account the potential for genuine new innovation, like the internet. Another thing to factor in is that the more established an industry, the more tightly regulated it is likely to be. Most of the exciting innovation of the last decade has been in newer, and less regulated, digital sectors.
That's why I find it so interesting that over the last few years we've seen a real swing back to entrepreneurs looking to innovate in well-established industries. My favourite new example is Musk looking to disrupt transportation and build a huge network of tunnels. He is though rapidly running up against regulation - his first test tunnel can't even extend past the parking lot without a permit.
If we're going to see as much innovation over the next 50 years as we have in the past, something will have to give. Either regulators need to get out of the way and let incumbents be disrupted, or somebody needs to invent something genuinely novel that can be the next internet.
Musk chose the SpaceX parking lot as the site of his first dig, mostly because it was convenient and he could legally do so without city permits.