Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Future Files


Sneak preview: Future Files: A History of the Next 50 Years by Richard Watson
Ross Dawson, August 30, 2007 9:40 PM US PT
Do you want to have your brain vigorously shaken? Those in search of serious provocation on what the future holds need look no further than Future Files: A History of the Next 50 Years, by the inimitable Richard Watson, Chief Futurist at Future Exploration Network. The book is not out until next week, so you’re privileged to get a sneak preview at the book website. Don’t miss the free download of Chapter 1 of the book.

The heart of the book is 11 chapters, each exploring the future of a key aspect of our lives and future.
1 Society and Culture: why we’ll take longer baths in the future
2 Government and Politics: us and them
3 Science and Technology: the rise of the machines
4 Media and Entertainment: have it your way
5 Money and Financial Services: everyone is a bank
6 Automotive and Transport: the end of the road as we know it
7 Food and Drink: faster and slower
8 Retail and Shopping: what we’ll buy when we’ve got it already
9 Healthcare and Medicine: older and wiser
10 Travel and Tourism: ‘Sorry, this country is full.’
11 Work and Business: the new right-brain economy

Each chapter is filled with startling facts from the present, from which Richard derives staggering insights about the future. As with much of Richard’s work, it shouldn’t all be taken overly seriously, but being prepared to make a few supersonic flights of logic is what helps take us into new ways of thinking about the future, and responding to it more effectively.

Go out and get a copy! For now, I’ve snatched a few paragraphs from the first chapter to whet your appetite:

What will people be running away from in the future? What will we be afraid of in the year 2050? The answer is reality. People will be disorientated and uncomfortable due to the level and speed of change, so they will seek refuge in other places (holidays, books, games, films, and so on). The entertainment industry will therefore become the biggest game in town. Add to this the natural human inclination to see what’s next, and you have a society that will refuse to tackle current problems such as debt, education, healthcare, and transport, while simultaneously worrying about things that happened in the past or might happen in the future (such as asteroid strikes). We will be afraid of not knowing. We will be afraid of things that are outside our control. We will be afraid of uncertainty. Most of all, perhaps we will be afraid of ‘them’ — people who come from somewhere else, and I don’t mean the planet Mars. These fears will drive the accumulation of information. We will crave ‘scientific’ data on the statistical probability of everything while simultaneously seeking out the personal stories of people, products, and organisations as some kind of faux reassurance.
By the year 2020 people, products, and organisations will have reliability ratings. These will be ratings of honesty, integrity, and transparency created by and available to everyone. You will be able to rank everything from politicians to personal computers based on past claims, actions, and performance, much in the same way that buyers and sellers are currently rated on eBay. Reputations will therefore be actively managed and, in some cases, even traded or stolen.

However, as an interesting counterpoint, it will be almost impossible to maintain a perfect record because everything you say and do and everywhere you go will be monitored and recorded. Secrecy will be history, in the future. People, products, and corporations will therefore be assumed guilty until investigated. This will eventually give rise to the idea of ethical bankruptcy, which will be a clean slate for reputations.

Courtesy of www.rossdawsonblog.com

No comments: