To write fully believable, near future science fiction today, you almost need to be voracious antisocial polymath, deeply conversant in half a dozen technical fields, as well as familiar with ongoing social, economic, and environmental change.
And that’s the burden of the modern science fiction writer. If you want to write believable near-future fiction, you can’t choose a single point of advancement. You need to have a good understanding of advances in many different fields, and you need to be able to imagine how these can come together, for good or for bad. And to be really believable, you’ll need to know more than you ever wanted to know about how the world works, economically and socially, as well as where the trends are heading.
This is actually pretty close to being my ideal career - a sort of polymath technocrat who spends half his time researching and half his time writing stories. Jeremiah Tolbert disagrees [again via Futurismic], saying that:
I take exception to is the notion that you need to be deeply conversant in anything. I think you just need to do research to the point where what you have to say doesn’t break the suspension of disbelief and I think that’s a long ways from being a polymath. You don’t need to be an expert on anything but people.
Well I agree with this as well. I wouldn't be adverse to doing the whole bleached-skin, eccentric-reclusive paranoiac thing (like Neo in the first Matrix movie or the oil rig dude in The Star Fraction) but I would like to get out sometime.