THE FUTURE WORLD
The future is a space in which we can plan, strategise, dream and invest. It is probably our greatest asset and yet one of the most misunderstood, underestimated and neglected resources in the world.
One of the first serious futurists was the science fiction writer and novelist, HG Wells, who wrote his great non-fictional work Anticipations in 1901 to share a vision of how he foresaw the rest of the 20th century unfolding. He described how the century would be dominated by new transport systems based on motorisation and aviation. We can look back and say that these specific long-range predictions were spot-on. By contrast, his novels of future technologies and conflicts create large-scale scenarios for us to enjoy.
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Futurists use such methods as scenario-planning, forecasts, trends watching and big data analysis. The word scenario was, in fact, taken from the movie industry, referring to scenes in the storyboard which are to be captured on film. Like the screenplay writer, the futurist can paint mental pictures of future possibilities and probabilities.
While the past may be studied and known as fact, it cannot be changed. That is its great limit. By contrast, the future is still open to possibilities. In the space of the future we can be free to imagine and to think in fresh ways about our world and our lives. This enables the futurist to adopt a creative and proactive approach to life, to maintain a spirit of adventure.
Humans are unique in having an evolutionary ability for mental time travel – travel to the past through memories and travel into the future through imagination and anticipation. Futurists are essentially licensed time travellers. Through imagination and reasoning, we can be transported to other places and other times. This expands our horizons and improves our chances of survival as a species.
So, please travel with me into the future by reading the books in this section. If you want to know why the 4D space-time, revealed by Einstein, opens the way to study of the future, you may wish to delve into Knowing our Future, which outlines the philosophy, logic and epistemology making scientific study of the future possible. If you wish to have at your disposal a full causal model for understanding the real causes of the future, you will benefit from reading Codebreaking our Future. If you are into science fiction and want to know more about how artificial intelligence and the emergence of cyborgs may influence humanity and society in the medium-term future, I suggest you enjoy the futuristic story Strange Time in Tokyo.
A futurist enjoys seeing ahead in time. He/she works with anticipation and systematic foresight. But there is no disconnect between future and past, as a result of the principle of the continuity of time (past, present and future) which has been operational since time was created at the Big Bang. The future ALWAYS emerges from the past’s conditions embedded in the present.
In a world suffocating in the post-modernist stupor of uncertainty about the future, which many mistakenly think arrives in some random, mysterious, a-historical process, we should return to the faith HG Wells once had that it is possible to create a social science about the future (whether you call it futurology, futures studies or futuristics).
Never has the future been more needed than it is now.