Edward Cornish has served as the World Future Society’s lead visionary, founder, first President (1966-2004), and Editor of THE FUTURIST magazine (1967-2010). Since stepping away from daily editorial management, he has remained on the WFS Board and has been our Futurist in Residence, contributing book reviews and essays on “Futurists and Their Ideas.” And he’s come to the office faithfully every day.
We've all seen those personality quizzes on BuzzFeed and places like that (What kind of gemstone are you? Which Disney princess?). They're fun, but obviously don't tell much about you or how to improve yourself.
Our friends over at BBC's Future blog posted an interesting piece by Tom Stafford this morning on How to Win an Argument. Not that I like arguments (and I always have said that the fastest way to end one is to stop talking), but the research findings that are reported in the story have a great lesson for futurists.
Though some may argue that we rely too heavily on technofixes for all our problems, a variety of technological developments are in fact improving medicine and therapeutics, our health and overall physical well-being, and even our sex lives. But the authors in this issue suggest that one of the most important “breakthroughs” in medicine may be better communications and stronger partnerships between doctors and patients.
Learning from Our Mistakes
Things don’t always work out as we hope or plan. Take the Information Revolution, for example. When the Internet was rolled out, that Information Superhighway was supposed to open a global supermarket where everyone could sell more stuff to everyone else. We would all become more knowledgeable, thanks to free, open Web-based encyclopedias and resources, and we could all become famous authors without hassling with picky editors and publishers.
If you have taught, administered, or participated in a futuring course or program, THE FUTURIST magazine would like to hear from you! For its September-October 2014 issue, THE FUTURIST will compile articles, essays, and resources on the teaching and learning of futurism.
Best Predictions of the Year (and the Worst)
In the last issue of THE FUTURIST, the annual Outlook report offered a roundup of the year’s best forecasts appearing in our magazine. In this issue, we see what nonfuturists had to say about the future during 2013.
We were saddened to learn of the death of longtime World Future Society supporter Parker Rossman, an educator and early proponent of the global electronically networked knowledge society. He died on October 18 at the age of 94. (Read: Obituary courtesy of Parker Funeral Service.)
Rossman's work had been featured in THE FUTURIST magazine for a quarter of a century, from 1981 to 2006. Here is a transcript of his last feature article, "Beyond the Book," published in the January-February 2005 issue.
One of the concepts that futurists have been buzzing more about in recent years is the Internet of Things—the idea that interactive communication will extend beyond people and organizations to include objects communicating with each other. For instance, sensors buried on water pipelines would notify a city’s sanitation department if a leak may be imminent.
They say you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone, but I’m more inclined to think the opposite is true: out of sight, out of mind. I am often startled when the landline phone on my desk rings, and then the caller wants to fax something to me. Fax? Do we still have a machine for that? Where is it?
Essays and comments posted in World Future Society and THE FUTURIST magazine blog portion of this site are the intellectual property of the authors, who retain full responsibility for and rights to their content. For permission to publish, distribute copies, use excerpts, etc., please contact the author. The opinions expressed are those of the author. The World Future Society takes no stand on what the future will or should be like.
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Climate change is threatening the credit rating of nations. Standard & Poor's has indicated that the credit ratings of 128 nations are at risk. S&P sees climate change as a more challenging problem than the changing demographics of our human population from aging in the Developed World to surging population in Developing Nations.
Without the ocean Earth would be a pretty inhospitable place even though we lie within our Sun's Goldilocks Zone. Those of you who live by the ocean can probably figure out why that is the case. You see the ocean is a temperature moderator and a heat transport mechanism that evens out the climate across the planet.
The horror of 298 lives snuffed out by a missile is reverberating around the planet this week after last Thursday's downing of a Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777. How could missile technology meant to shoot down warplanes get used to destroy a civilian aircraft?
I remain skeptical about the economics of industrial technologies for carbon capture. Almost every project started has been heavily subsidized by government. But for the operators without government subsidy there seems to be no return on investment. First of all, all existing industrial carbon capture technologies are expensive to implement.
On a recent driving trip, my wife and I became immersed in the audio version of one of Tom Clancy’s last novels, titled “Threat Vector.” Without giving away too much of the plot, a Chinese super-geek villain has hatched a plan to hack into our most secure networks and blackmail people with their darkest secrets to subversively cause chaos and disruption for the American government.
If you work for the post office these days then you already have an inkling of what the 21st century will do to many jobs. Texting, email, and mobile connectivity have forever altered the way we communicate. How many of us still write letters on paper and mail them?
Some of you who know me personally know that in my formative years I started studying geophysics in university before a physical accident laid me up for more than a year and I in an epiphany changed my major to Islamic Studies and Medieval History. So I was both a science and history nerd all at the same time. Well nothing has changed.
The government in South Korea is organizing its manufacturing sector along with academics and ministries to tackle and develop 3D printing as an economic opportunity. Rather than rely on the hits and misses of free enterprise, the South Korean leadership is directing all interested players within the country to come up with a roadmap that will lead to innovation in manufacturing and the creation of new jobs.