On Futurists

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It seems to me that there are broadly two types of futurist (or futurologist) around at the moment. One is the doomsday or Apocalyptic futurist. Climate change, population growth, global pandemics, peak water, rogue asteroids, artificial intelligence, Generation Y — they are all out to get us. Pick your favourite doomsday scenario, pull up a comfy chair, pour yourself a nice glass of wine and wait patiently for the end of the world. And, of course, these merchants of gloom have their talismans (and women). Here, for instance, is a quote from James Lovelock.

“A billion could live off the earth; 6 billion living as we do is far too many, and you run out of planet in no time.”

The second type of futurist is what I’d call the e-vangelical futurist. These are usually people aged under-thirty that fawn and gush at the sight of any new electronic device. They are, more often than not, Twits. Twits as in people that are totally addicted to Twitter. And they have their Talismans too. Here’s one from Richard Thieme, a technology expert.

“I’m not a futurist. I only describe the present to the 98% of people who are not there yet.”

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