Fiction | 10 most outstanding modern futurologists




Fiction | 10 most outstanding modern futurologists

In 1900, the curator of the Smithsonian Institution, John Elfreth Watkins wrote an article for The Ladies’ Home titled “What can happen in the next hundred years,” which racpisal so implausible at the time predicted that readers literally stoned him with rotten tomatoes. Of course, Watkins was wrong in many ways. He believed that the letters C, X and Q will disappear from the alphabet, the streets will go into the ground, and on farms to grow strawberries the size of an apple. But far more interesting are his predictions that have come to pass: the wireless telephone network, Global TV, MRI machines, the war in the air and high-speed trains. Watkins even predicted influx of trucks, razvozyaschih food across the country.

How do futurologists we have already mentioned . Today, they tend to predict trends, inventions and events that svershatsya in the coming decades. Such prophets themselves. But unlike Watkins, who seems to have made a big bet on his own imagination and decided to wishful thinking, modern predictors developed more sophisticated methods of prediction. As told Timothy Mack, president of the World Future Society, futurologists constantly scan the news media and the published results of research carried out carefully structured interviews Delphi, and generally rely more on science than astrology. Many of them are also creating computer simulations and even role-playing games to predict certain events and trends. The only thing that stands in their way – random events whose causes are difficult to track in time.

Futurologists – whose work is encouraged by large companies and government agencies who need to anticipate problems and future trends – also known that their predictions can shape the world of the future.

“The main goal of the study of the future – an analysis of what might happen if current trends continue, decide whether it is good, and if not – change” – explains Mack.

Here is a ten futurists who can be called the most influential in modern society: they know what will happen next.
Alvin Toffler

Элвин Тоффлер

If you are puzzled by corporate executives and politicians who constantly express themselves slang phrases like “change the rules of the game”, say thanks Alvin Toffler, who has a business journalist and consultant to Fortune magazine technology companies such as IBM, Xerox and AT & T. His 1970 book “Future Shock” popularized the idea that the increase in the rate of technological progress – in particular, the growth of computers – can have devastating consequences for society, because many people can not keep up with the progress and remain on the fringes of modernity, confused and disoriented .

Toffler also put forward the idea that the rapid change can fundamentally change the way people interact with each other. And what is the result? There is a state of being which Toffler calls “high transience” when the relationship lasts less and less, and the people, ideas and organizations become obsolete faster and faster. In this world of increasing volatility, according to the prediction Toffler, users evolve into a society of growing consumption, which is buying disposable products to meet the needs of the time, being constantly exposed to hypnosis to buy more and more.

After the publication of “Future Shock” showed a dark antiutopichnoe society in which high-tech elite will seek to keep the masses under control. But after a decade, we have seen that Toffler’s predictions were true in many cases, from mobile phones, changing once a year, to virtual corporations who are going for a short while in order to achieve the same goal, and then suddenly disappear.
Michio Kaku

Мичио Каку

Scientist Kaku is professor of theoretical physics at the City University of New York. He made important contributions to the development of string theory, which attempts to reconcile Einstein’s relativity and quantum mechanics. He is best known as the author of the bestselling book “Physics of the Impossible”, which explains how the science and technology of today transformed into a distant and not very future.

In another of his books in 2011, “Physics of the Future: How Science will determine the fate of man and our daily lives in the year 2100,” Kaku relies heavily on Delphi survey, conducted in an informal setting with experts in various fields of science. He has visited many laboratories and learned a lot of prototypes of inventions that already exist, to try to predict what will happen in the future. Based on data Kaku has created a hypothetical society of the future with technologies that seem science fiction, even today.

Kaku predicts that computers will be able to read our minds, and this, in turn, will allow us to move objects and control the machines simply by thought . He also predicts advances in biotechnology that will allow people to increase life expectancy and create new organisms, which do not exist. Nanotechnology will give us the opportunity to take one material and turn into a totally different at the molecular level – is not the philosopher’s stone? By 2100, according to Kaku, all cross-national differences will disappear, and the world will turn into a single planetary civilization.
Christopher Ahlberg

Кристофер Альберг

The former Swedish Army Ranger with a PhD, is the executive director of the Arlberg Recorded Future, Cambridge firm that pioneered the use of the Internet in real time to predict future events. Computers Recorded Future study tens of thousands of websites, blogs and Twitter accounts, and with the help of clever analytical software trying to “invisible links” between separate things being talked about different people in order to predict the event. Recorded Future also uses this information to know when that might happen event.

At Recorded Future technologies such potential that Google and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency became investors of the company. But as noted Arlberg in 2011, software has limitations: some predictions it better than others. In the case of events is often the technology works perfectly, like assessment of market volatility, but not so well with rare events, such as elections. And random events such as “black swans” is also difficult to predict.
Dirk Helbing

Дирк Хельбиг

As Ahlberg with Recorded Future, Helbing – German-born physicist, mathematician and sociologist – hopes to use computer software to achieve a level of foresight that the priests of the Oracle of Delphi would smoke nervously on the sidelines. However Helbing decided to go ahead and create a wider network for data analysis in order to get an idea not only of the individual events, but also long-term changes that affect people all over the planet.

Helbing creates a project simulation of the living Earth (Living Earth Simulator Project) in the laboratory of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. The venture is worth $ 1.4 billion and includes the creation of super-massive computer system that can simulate almost any event that may occur on the planet. LES, which Helbing calls “the nervous system of the planet” will collect everything from aggregates of individual state to tweet your neighbor Lucy. In addition, he will be able to use data from a computer connected to the Internet and browse the photos you’ve uploaded to the Web with a smartphone camera.

To make sense of this chaos, seemingly unrelated things, LES uses sophisticated algorithms such predictions themselves equation to find the relationship between different, at first glance, things. Helbing believes that the simulator can predict large-scale events such as wars and financial crises, epidemics and pandemics. Ideally – long before their accomplishments, the political leaders and the country as a whole failed to prevent the devastating effects of such disasters.
Ray Kurzweil

Рэй Курцвейл

At age 13, a native of New York, boy Ray used the phone to collect a calculator that will calculate the square roots. In the late 60s he was at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and later founded a successful company in the field of analytical software in order to sell it for $ 100 000. Decades later, Kurzweil foresaw the many innovations that have changed the world of optical character recognition to the voice and music synthesizers. But the man who is perhaps the greatest living American inventor – the magazine Inc. once called him “the rightful heir to Thomas Edison”, which also was known as a master of all trades – better known as a futurist.

Kurzweil was not the first one who decided that the machines will eventually eclipse the power of the human mind, but he boldly approved the date technological singularity . In 2005, Kurzweil declared that “non-biological intelligence” appears in 2045 and not only surpass human thinking ability, but also will be a billion times smarter than all of humanity today. With all this Kurzweil is not concerned that some evil machine will decide to destroy humanity, as in “The Terminator.” In contrast, in the future, man and machine will be closely linked to achieve incredible stages of progress and innovation. Kurzweil believes that people will become more involved in artificial intelligence than we can imagine, and in 2030 many of our bodies are replaced by tiny robots that will work longer than ours, and much more efficiently.
William Gibson

Уильям Гибсон

In contrast, predictors that rely on data from South Carolina Gibson – author of the novels “Neuromancer”, “Virtual Light”, “Pattern Recognition” and the recently released “Zero History” – writes in the style of a modern Jules Verne, using their imagination to represent science-fiction future. Gibson, who is now living in Canada, began his writing career in the early 1980s to more old-fashioned typewriter. And it did not stop him imagine a planet where people are connected, global computer network and spend most of their time in “cyberspace” – a term the author of Gibson.

His imagination has created an incredible resemblance to modern multimedia internet, which then existed only in the form of a skeleton, linking several universities and research institutions. As aptly noted journalist Pagan Kennedy in 2012, “ten years later, when we stepped out into cyberspace, the word was true.” Gibson’s bleak future sketches and antiutopichno not promising anything. In the 1988 book “Mona Lisa Overdrive”, for example, describes a phenomenon called “nevroelektronnoy” attachment when “provodogolovye” is so addicted to digital content, which turned into a comatose zombie connected to modems. It is worth noting that Gibson had predicted and more hopeful impact of technology. In the 1997 novel “Idoru” the author portrayed the Chinese city, completely demolished by the authorities in order to revive it in cyberspace as an online oasis of political and creative freedom.
Aubrey de Grey

Обри ди Грей

Many years ago, the Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon was looking for the mythical fountain of youth, whose waters are believed could reverse the destructive aging. Today, he is born in the UK de Grey predicts a future in which we will be able to change your body at the cellular and molecular level to repair damage, or even prevent aging. In this case, de Grey led studies that seek to bring to reality the dream of human beings to live much longer than normal today.

A graduate of the University of Cambridge, Aubrey began his work in the field of computer science, but was switched to the region biogerontologii. De Grey sketched in outline plan for rejuvenation of the human body, calling it a strategy for the development of anti-aging (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence, SENS), which divides the phenomenon of aging on seven specific classes of damage and identifies rigorous approach to solving the problems of each. De Grey now heads the company SENS Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports research and is editor in chief of research for rejuvenation, reviewing the relevant scientific journal. In an interview in 2010 the magazine Guardian de Grey said that he believes that the term given to man to life can be extended up to 1000 years, and that there are 30 to 40 percent chance that the first survivor-tysyacheletnik already walking on the planet.
Paul Roberts

Пол Робертс

In 1983, Roberts graduated from the University of Washington and became a journalist who writes for National Geographic magazine and other publications. He is engaged in a complex juxtaposition of economy, technology and nature. Roberts is one of the most famous forecasters so-called “peak oil”, which holds that the world may have already reached the maximum threshold for the production of gasoline, which means that the number of natural reserves of raw material can dry out in the next ten to twenty years.

In his book “The End of Oil” Roberts predicts that demand for energy will continue to grow as people in developing countries will pamper themselves in cars, big houses with air conditioning and other technological gadgets that are available in developed countries. Intense competition for the reduction of fuel and other natural sources of energy will flare up in full, which will lead to conflict and political instability. At the same time, climate change, provoked by people burning gasoline and other fuels, will lead us to the incredible destruction.

Roberts believes that the main duty of the United States, as a major consumer of energy in the world, should be to find and develop more effective alternative energy sources that can replace oil and other fossil fuels.
Faith Popcorn

Фейт Попкорн

Over the past few decades, a native of New York Faith Popcorn has received the title of “Nostradamus of marketing” and her firm BrainReserve helped out a lucrative franchise, providing consultancy company from Johnson & Johnson and IBM to Dunkin ‘Donuts on track trends and changes in human behavior. Popcorn prediction method described in the LA Times article in 1998, is associated with a systematic scanning of hundreds of magazines, newspapers and other publications, as well as consulting the data of thousands of experts in various fields of employment.

Popcorn has become known for his prediction of the birth trends “cocoon” where people overloaded stimulation decide to stay at home and watch videos, instead of going to the movies, order food from restaurants, instead of fresh air. It also accurately guessed that many women are disappointed in the corporate “rat race” and want a simple and healthy life. Since then, many times Popcorn predicted future trends of the consumer. Some of them, such as growth in demand for cosmetic surgery, tattoos and other forms of body modification, have already come true. Others – for example, that young people will reject the names of famous brands in favor of simple and high-quality clothing to express their individuality – even coming up.
John Naisbitt

Джон Нейсбит

Former U.S. Marine and head of IBM and Kodak, Naisbitt served as an advisor to two presidents, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson before being posted bestseller “Megatrends” in 1982, which predicted the rapid growth of the world economy and society, for which the product information will be on a par with the manufactured products. In the days when the news is not published on the web, Naisbitt worked foresight based on a paper form “google”: together with colleagues to search through more than 200 newspapers a day in search of recurring events and motives of public behavior.

Since then Naisbitt wrote many other books, including the continuation of the “megatrend” in 1990, focused on women, and in 2010 and “Chinese megatrends” in which Naisbitt expressed the idea that China will eventually entirely new social and economic system , which is an alternative to Western democracy. Neybsti also predicted, along with other things, the growth of intellectual freedom in China and the growth of the Chinese version of country music.

Read also about the ten most interesting predictions about the future of technology futurists.
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