Technology is a particularly fine example. Since the eighteenth century, we have been taught to expect near constant change as a result of ever-improving science and technology. Each generation has reheated breathless futurology; our current age is no exception. The assumption of perpetual technological progress is employed to support both utopian and dystopian visions of the future. The coming of artificial intelligence is said to bring either a leisure- filled, post-scarcity future or the extinction of the human race.
So our idea of the future is quite old-fashioned. Physical space, nations, distances, manufacturing and objects, so the argument goes, become less important. Replacing them is a world defined by ideas, brands and services that can be transmitted instantaneously and at no cost between increasingly identical parts of the world. But the knowledge economy has existed for hundreds of years. We still live in a world in which huge amounts of raw materials are shipped around the globe, where nations and national identity still matter. This future has never arrived, yet the vision is still with us.