I found a few articles recently that definitely seemed like ready made near future sci-fi plots or devices that might inspire you to start writing a new story or give one a new direction to grow into:
- A company in Japan is apparently planning to actually build a space elevator by 2050. There is some nice information in the Slashdot comments to describe some of the limitations and difficulties of such a venture.
- This gadget would make an interesting device in a sci-fi thriller or spy type of story. But you might want to disguise it as something a little more subtle before your character starts depositing them all over the city.
- I never knew that Google provided access to public transportation stuff on their maps. That information will get better as the years go by and maybe with some kind of neural HUD, would be a great way to escape someone or get somewhere important in a very short amount of time. Or maybe the information gets so relied upon that the providers might not be quite reliable. Maybe all of the routes start leading you past a new restaurant that knows how to buy the best kind of advertising. Or perhaps a bad guy learns how to hack the system and instead of fleeing from him, you are actually moving right where he wanted you to go all along.
Whether you use these ideas or some of your own, get writing!