This article at the San Francisco Chronicle is by Jon Christensen.
Dystopian scenarios encourage us to act in such a way that the dystopia does not come to be.
Professor Christensen has written more recently about this as well.
This continues an idea documented by Buckminster Fuller in his book Utopia or Oblivion:
Whether it is to be Utopia or Oblivion will be a touch-and-go relay race right up to the final moment. . . . Humanity is in ‘final exam’ as to whether or not it qualifies for continuance in Universe