There might be more than a grain of truth in the old Soviet joke
‘the future is certain, it is the past that is unpredictable,’
referring to totalitarianism controlling not only the future but
also the past. Interestingly, what is assumed through the same joke
is an inversion of conventional sense of time.
Perhaps it is not a coincidence then, that the familiar CCTV dome camera
looks like an upside-down crystal ball; the collective memory of a surveillance
network can, to a certain degree, determine future behavior. Also similar to
a crystal ball is the magic 8-ball, a novelty item used for fortune telling.
Of its twenty possible responses, ‘it is certain’ is most iconic.