Driss and Fatima pull a buble from the panoptic shard, guessing what it might contain: some strange knowledge. Instead, they find themselves.
Two centuries years earlier, Jen and Hog send out the shards to learn something about the future. It just contains visual images, but they glean information from that--whether the future is live-able and how.
Then they receive a vision of a near-future that seems to offer certain doom.
Discussion with spoilers:Baker offers a great speculative conceit. It begs the question of how our actions affect the future. The last image is affecting, perhaps illustrative of what many hope will happen revolutionarily to our present society.
Problematic is that the protagonists have little impact on the narrative, swept along on a techno-mystical wave. However, that suggest something thematically intriguing: that we have little impact. Maybe it will all turn out right in the end, but a god-in-the-machine will resolve. Contrary to popular opinion today, you don't have to agree with a particular theme for it to stimulate thought.