Saturday, 26 December 2015

Futurists >>> and the promises of science and technology >>> Part one: "Emerging from wishful thinking"

There is an increasing interest in 'the future' - but the idea has been around for some time:

Futurists or futurologists are scientists and social scientists whose specialty is futurology, or the attempt to systematically explore predictions and possibilities about the future and how they can emerge from the present, whether that of human society in particular or of life on Earth in general.
The term "futurist" most commonly refers to authors, consultants, organizational leaders and others who engage in interdisciplinary and systems thinking to advise private and public organizations on such matters as diverse global trends, possible scenarios, emerging market opportunities and risk management. (Futurist is not in the sense of the art movementf uturism.)

The Oxford English Dictionary identifies the earliest use of the term futurism in English as 1842, to refer, in a theological context, to the Christian eschatological tendency of that time. The next recorded use is the label adopted by the Italian and Russian futurists, the artistic, literary and political movements of the 1920s and 1930s which sought to reject the past and fervently embrace speed, technology and, often violent, change.

Visionary writers such as Jules Verne, Edward Bellamy and H. G. Wells were not in their day characterized as futurists. The term futurology in its contemporary sense was first coined in the mid‑1940s by the German Professor Ossip K. Flechtheim, who proposed a new science of probability. Flechtheim argued that even if systematic forecasting did no more than unveil the subset of statistically highly probable processes of change and charted their advance, it would still be of crucial social value.[1]

In the mid‑1940s the first professional "futurist" consulting institutions like RAND and SRI began to engage in long-range planning, systematic trend watching, scenario development, and visioning, at first under World War II military and government contract and, beginning in the 1950s, for private institutions and corporations. The period from the late 1940s to the mid‑1960s laid the conceptual and methodological foundations of the modern futures studiesfield. Bertrand de Jouvenel's The Art of Conjecture in 1963 and Dennis Gabor's Inventing the Future in 1964 are considered key early works, and the first U.S. university course devoted entirely to the future was taught by futurist Alvin Toffler at The New School in 1966.[2]

More generally, the label includes such disparate lay, professional, and academic groups as visionaries, foresight consultants, corporate strategists, policy analysts, cultural critics, planners, marketers, forecasters, prediction market developers, roadmappers, operations researchers, investment managers, actuaries and other risk analyzers, and future-oriented individuals educated in every academic discipline, including anthropology, complexity studies, computer science, economics, engineering, Urban design, evolutionary biology, history, management, mathematics, philosophy, physical sciences, political science, psychology, sociology, systems theory, technology studies, and other disciplines.

Futurist - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

There are specific organisations for people who study, envision and create potential futures:

World Future Society | Tomorrow is built today.

London Futurists

This group is for people who are interested in the future and maybe want to help shape it.

The acceleration of technology means that the near future may bring radical changes to all of us. Major developments in technologies like anti-aging, nanotech, genetics, computing,robotics, and geo-engineering are going to make the next few years very exciting - and possibly also very dangerous. We could gain god-like powers - but we might also lose sight of our humanity, and destroy everything that we used to hold dear.

What's your view? Are things improving? Too slowly or too quickly? Are we are entering a new golden age? Or is the potential "Technological Singularity" something to fear? What does it mean to talk about "Human 2.0" and "Humanity+"? Or perhaps you view such talk as techno-hype? Maybe you just like the practical side of technology and want to find out more about possible paradigm shifts?

London Futurists (London, England) - Meetup
London Futurists - YouTube

2015-16 The State of the Future - YouTube

Global Futures Studies & Research by The Millennium Project

No comments: