What gets our intellectual and emotional juices flowing? What triggers our imaginations? What turns hindsight into foresight? It's the anticipation, the restlessness, and even the opportunities that spring from the virtual certainty of uncertainty.
Benita Budd, Magdalena de la Teja, Butch Grove, and Rick Smyre
Imagine a college English professor reviewing a freshman English class syllabus—all 12 pages—and spending countless hours creating and refining assignments that will ensure that students meet the learning outcomes of the course. That professor also includes “required” quizzes and essays that will be used to measure students' aptitudes and achievements. Bound on one side by required textbooks and the other by mandatory or model assignments, the professor treads a narrowing path of pedagogy that lacks innovation, imagination, and student involvement. And the students—bored, demoralized, tired—produce equally mediocre work.
When we close our eyes and imagine the world 20 years from now, it is likely that we picture scenes from a science fiction film, filled with omnipotent technology that takes center stage. Perhaps we all become cyborgs, or maybe we will communicate with our minds? Whatever our mental images of the future may be, we often envision a world dominated by technology. While there is no denying that technology will become further integrated into our lives and enable our every move, a scenario about the future that suggests the human element is secondary is neither useful nor plausible.
Stephen Aguilar-Millan, Jason Swanson, Kate Burgess-MacIntosh, and Laura Schlehuber
Much of the policy focus since the onset of the Great Recession in 2008 is based on a return of the global economy to ‘business-as-usual.’ It is assumed that it is both possible and desirable to return to the pre-recession trajectory of the global economy. This is despite evidence to suggest that we created an imbalanced global economy that was neither sustainable from an environmental perspective nor equitable from the perspective of supporting a fair society.
Futures experts are now more divided than ever about the fate of humanity, according to World Future Society president Timothy Mack, whose brain spoke to us from his jar in the Johns Hopkins Medical Lab.
It was two decades ago when it stopped. Everybody knew that it would happen. We were informed regularly about possible approaching changes, and stories were told. Nonetheless, what we did not expect was the velocity and the impact when it occurred.
It was winter 2099. For generations no tourists had traveled to Delphi. Yet it seemed like only yesterday that he had first come and taken his place before Apollo’s temple. Now, as always, he waited for someone else to come, someone he could talk to and share his message with. The simple words he would speak were stored in his memory, ready to be spoken in a hundred different languages if need be to anyone who would listen.
A child born today will bear witness to an epic struggle between technological advancement and natural resource shortages. This long war will be waged in a series of battles that will ultimately determine the course of our species and our habitat.