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?
It's great to be back in Chicago (as hot as it is) for another WorldFuture conference. This year we set our eyes on "the next horizon," the twenty-second century.
Preview of Things to Come in July! A WorldFuture Sneak Peek. For this issue of THE FUTURIST, we invited several of our 2013 conference participants to offer us a preview of their forthcoming presentations at WorldFuture 2013: Exploring the Next Horizon:
Editor's Query: Disappearing Futures. What is likely to be here today and gone tomorrow? Many things we once thought we couldn't live without are now hard to find even in antique shops. And not just "things," but institutions, values, resources, diseases, languages, and people have all come and gone from our lives.
As much as some people may not like it, we’re going to need robots to perform a lot of the tasks for which humans are not available. Populations are aging, and human labor is getting more expensive for manufacturing the things that economies want consumers to keep buying, so a fleet of smaller, smarter, more agile robots could be a boon.
We're now just a couple of years away from the 2015 imagined in Back to the Future Part II (BTTF-II), and I'm ashamed to admit that I hadn't seen the movie (directed by Robert Zemeckis, co-written with Bob Gale) since it first hit theaters in 1989.
From the editor's desk: About the May-June 2013 issue of THE FUTURIST
As artificial intelligence technology advances, the event horizon known as the Technological Singularity draws near. Does that mean we must begin preparing for the inevitable domination of our robotic overlords?
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December 12, 2013 - Some food for thought before the arrival of Christmas 2013 and the developing of resolutions for the coming year 2014.
What is in our near future? What I hope and what I think are two different things. As a result I ask and suggest some answers to these three questions:
December 12, 2013 - Yesterday I wrote about Memoir, a smartphone app that creates a living diary of things past and present, organizing what you have seen, where you have been and who you have met without you doin
SYSTEM FAILURE. A simple two-word error message summarizes virtually every major news headline over the past five years. In fact, it is difficult to name a single public institution which we hold in high esteem. Government. Healthcare. Education. Religion. Even libraries are being brought into question regarding their relevance for the future. How did we get here?
December 11, 2013 - Do you keep a diary? I did when I was a lot younger but not today. My daughter continues to keep a diary and goes back to read her entries. In fact on vacations she often brings her diaries as reading material.
How sustainable is cloud computing? That’s a question worth asking following a Cisco engineer’s public forecast that
December 11, 2013 - The world is awash in plastic of which clear polymers represent the dominant material particularly in bottles. The residue of these can take a half millennia to breakdown but not to worry.
December 11, 2013 - In this final installment on Africa's rivers and how climate change may impact the watersheds, biodiversity and human populations that rely on them, we look at Sub-Saharan West Africa including the Niger, Senegal and Volta river basins.
The world around us is changing rapidly, although anyone who has been around a while on this planet recognizes that in one way or another, discontinuous change is the status quo. What really matters is what that change is made of and how much of a role we play in shaping it.