Monday, December 10, 2007

The future of futurology

Robert Cottrell, deputy editor of, has written an article on 'the future' that urges futurists to 'Think small, think short' instead of going for the grand cosmic style of predictions... a kind of more localised futurism:

Small wonder that futurology as we knew it 30 or 40 years ago—the heyday of Alvin Toffler’s “Future Shock”, the most popular work of prophecy since Nostradamus—is all but dead. The word “futurologist” has more or less disappeared from the business and academic world, and with it the implication that there might be some established discipline called “futurology”. Futurologists prefer to call themselves “futurists”, and they have stopped claiming to predict what “will” happen. They say that they “tell stories” about what might happen...

...A third piece of advice: say you don’t know. Uncertainty looks smarter than ever before. Even politicians are seeing the use of it: governments that signed the Kyoto protocol on climate change said, in effect: “We don’t know for sure, but best to be on the safe side”—and they have come to look a lot smarter than countries such as America and Australia which claimed to understand climate change well enough to see no need for action.

Read full article - 'The future of futurology'


No comments: