Has Futurism Failed?
The effort to think systematically about the future began little more than a half-century ago, and the results so far have not been impressive. Today’s futurists hope that more sophisticated methods will allow them to provide a better picture of what tomorrow may bring.
To be human is to ponder the future. from their very beginnings, human beings have tried to anticipate tomorrow. They noted the cycles of the seasons and fertility, the phases of the moon, and the changing of the tides. They looked for omens and portents, consulted seers and oracles, read entrails, and strove to find their fate in the stars. Many of these methods were, to put it mildly, suspect. In millennia of human existence, celestial calendars such as those erected at Stonehenge and New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon stand out as rare examples of methods that transcended superstition and guesswork.
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David Rejeski is director of the Wilson Center’s Foresight and Governance Project and the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, a partnership with the Pew Charitable Trusts.
Robert L. Olson is a senior fellow at the Institute for Alternative Futures in Alexandria, Virginia.more from this author >>