People generally expect the future to be much like the present, but with shinier toys. They expect their lives to look like the lives of their parents, albeit with those shinier toys, and are deeply skeptical of predictions of radical change. At one and the same time, these folk take for granted the radical change that has taken place across their lives to date, and that was neither forseen nor expected by their parents:
While going through old SF magazines, I found mention of Atlantic Richfield's ad campaign requesting vision statements from Americans of what life might be like in the Tricentennial [in 2076]. ARCO received some 60,000 responses and in 1977 published an 80-page booklet summarizing those visions. The SF reviewer stated that most of the visions listed therein would have seemed old-hat to SF fans in the 70s. As in 20 to 30 years out of date.
In short, [people predicted that] life would be like 1976 in 2076, only more so.
No hint of the telecommunications revolution that was already well underway in 1976. No hint of the things young men named Gates and Jobs were up to. Nor any discussion about what that then newfangled computer network, the Arpanet, might grow into.
Curiously enough, when discussing the idea of a Technological Singularity on most public discussion boards today, I find most participants wear the same blinders the American people did 1/3 of a century ago.
The present day US stands a world and a culture away from from the US of 40 years ago. It is a profoundly transformed society, capably employing the technologies that enabled that transformation - such as ubiquitous, next-to-free instant communication and mass publishing, or more low-cost computing power than most people seem to know what to do with.
Today the trajectory of biotechnology is arguably more obvious than the trajectory of computer hardware and software in 1976. It's in many ways more of the same: bigger and better hardware driving ever greater capabilities in an information-based field. Yet people expect the past gentle trends in life expectancy or the introduction of new medical therapies to continue much as they have. This is, on the face of it, ridiculous, but convincing folk that other futures are possible and plausible if they'd just pitch in and help remains an uphill battle.