This cynicism regarding technological advancement is what makes Hugo award winner Charlie Stross's predictions for the near future so compelling to me. In his predictions, Charlie intentionally doesn't account for the emergence of any new technologies, or for major breakthroughs in any of the leading-edge fields of today (genetics, nanotechnology, et cetera). Instead he focuses on following existing trends with existing technologies, such as computers and the Internet.
Part of his conclusion:
Meet your descendants. They don't know what it's like to be involuntarily lost, don't understand what we mean by the word "privacy", and will have access (sooner or later) to a historical representation of our species that defies understanding. They live in a world where history has a sharply-drawn start line, and everything they individually do or say will sooner or later be visible to everyone who comes after them, forever. They are incredibly alien to us.
Is anyone else reminded of the Hive Queen from ENDER's GAME? As alien as the lives of modern humans would be to world citizens from even a few hundred years ago, that's how alien the lives of our descendants are likely to be -- with or without hover cars and relativistic space flight. I've never thought of the evolution of our society in quite these terms before, but if Charlie Stross is right, the future might just be closer than we think (and different than we expect, as always).