The Origins and Nature of Futurology

Futurology also tries to understand and evaluate possible future events. Like Seldon’s psychohistory, the science is incorporated by her, somewhat ground-breaking when it comes to details, and is in fact vulnerable to random occasions. Unlike psychohistory, futurology is as much about instinct and art as it is about science.

As anyone who’s been on the track, frequented Tomorrowland, or even gone through an old Popular Mechanics problem will be able to let you know, predicting the future is actually a tricky thing. In the absence of a time machine or even a functioning crystal ball, we sketch inferences from current events and past trends – hence all the illustrations of individual helicopters.

Also, when the outlines of future technology are nailed down by us, we usually misunderstand the reactions of society. For example, a few commentators predicted that cars would open up a whole new independence of movement, but few predict the arrival of dormitory communities, boring suburbs and outlying towns. Neither did anyone foresee the eventual urban sprawl of the American Southwest, the interstate criminal sprees of John Dillinger or perhaps Clyde and Bonnie, or perhaps the changes in sexual mores influenced by the semi-backseat. private and accessible.

The technological advancements to come are implicit in the technology of these days, just as the mobile phone was born from the telegraph, which springs, via a twisted road, from the drum as well as the smoke signal. It is this twist, caused by the forces of human nature colliding with the laws of physics, that confuses futurology. Researchers show the possible, inventors dream it exists, engineers develop it, and marketers show us that we need to buy a lot more. Human nature, however, in most of its inconstant complexity, has the final say over what strikes, what sticks, … and what falls into the trash of the historical past.

Therefore, the best forecast should take human, technological, political and economic factors into consideration and should do so systematically. Futurists give the best of themselves.

Although hints of futurology arose in the early days of science fiction and utopian literature, the area did not solidify until the last days of WWII, once the U.S. military developed technological forecasts. While these are probably the best, the technologies of warfare were evolving faster than ever before, requiring new methods? This was uncharted territory, so any way officials chose would require a significant investment of money and time. They couldn’t pay to be incorrect.

The origins of futurology can also be traced back to RAND Corp., which emerged from a joint venture between the US Air Force and Douglas Aircraft in 1946. Among other contributions, RAND improved consensus building by inventing the Delphi method. and also created the analysis of methods to produce much better scenarios (imagined sequences of events). The ability to calculate numbers of computer systems as well as the improvement of the principle of the game have raised these 2 techniques to new levels.

As the Cold War wore on, nuclear strategists like RAND’s Herman Kahn achieved a degree of fame. In 1961, after publishing his seminal book, “On Thermonuclear War,” RAND was left by Kahn to develop the Hudson Institute, where he tackled community forecasting as well as public policy. His work culminated in a 1967 publication, “The Year 2000: A Framework for Speculation on the Next Thirty Three Years”, which sparked great controversy and inspired futuristic features as important (and controversial) as “The Limits to” Mankind and Growth “at the Turning Point,” each commissioned by a global nonprofit think tank, the Club of Rome.

“Limits to Growth,” published in 1972 by environmental researcher Donella H. Meadows and colleagues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, propelled futurology and scenarios into public consciousness. Based on computer models depicting the interplay of global socio-economic trends, the guide painted an apocalyptic picture of the global collapse brought on by population growth, expanding manufacturing, increasing pollution, food production deficits as well as the depletion of natural resources.

Meanwhile, two of Kahn’s RAND colleagues, Olaf Helmer as well as TJ Gordon, had established the Institute for the Future. Driven by the fury over Kahn’s books, they – along with participants from the Stanford Research Institute Futures Group and also the California Institute of Technology – pioneered the use of scenarios in later studies.

Companies, starting with Royal Dutch Shell, quickly discovered the importance of scenarios. I love it, futurology came out of army think tanks to go to the market of ideas

Source by Martin Hahn

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