Are usually wrong. Because it is not about the technology but how we use it and how it shapes us.
From a Freakonomics interview with Clay Shirky:
SHIRKY: …And in fact one of the things that I study when I study social media is they ways in which people got a lot of this right about, you know, a lot of the early theorizing about this network, right about access to data, access to content, and they completely missed or misunderstood the social aggregates, in particular the group communication part inasmuch as it replaces the telegraph, the telephone and the fax machine.
DUBNER: Why do you think that is? I have a theory, which I’m sure is not at all right, but I’m curious to know yours.
SHIRKY: It’s I think for two reasons. One, people have enormous anxieties about social change that they don’t about other kinds of technological change. And I wrote about this a little bit in my first book, “Here Comes Everybody.” I grew up when Popular Mechanics was saying, you know, you’ll fly your flying car to work. And your…
DUBNER: What you don’t?
SHIRKY: Alas, Citibike is about the best I can do at this point. And your housewife, as a wife, will have all plastic furniture that she can hose of. But the idea that gender relations would change, nowhere, nothing in Popular Mechanics ever suggests that anything other than me going to work and my wife staying at home was going to be the norm. And so we would have big arguments about which, is this the Space Age or is this the Nuclear Age? Is this the 1970’s, is this the Space Age or the Nuclear Age? And it turned out it was neither, it was the Transistor Age and the Birth Control Pill Age. Those were the really important technologies. And they were important not because they were big photoready government projects, but what individuals chose to do with them in aggregate lead to social change that no one was in control of. So the idea of trying to guess what a technology will do when regulating in advance is to me I think almost the surest way to guarantee, just by the way the regulation would be structured, that you miss out on the opportunities. You know, when the bioethics group was convened under Bush, this is off the subjects of the Internet, but they made the same mistakes, which is essentially they imagined what we could do with stem cells, sequencing the genome and so forth standing from a position when those things were just barely possible. And that kind of regulatory hand is in general the worst way to figure out what a new technology can do.