After reading the Wired News story: The Future Needs Futursts, my responce was: Finally!. Companies, politicians, think tanks, NGOs - all have been making various trend analysis and prognosis for many decades now - but with the incresing speed of changes, limiting oneself to only one or few areas is a sure recipe for being wrong, especially on any time scale larger then few months. It is high time futurists got the respect (and paychecks) they deserve.
But not everybody can be a good futurist. Imagination is not enough. Even being a sci-fi fan is not enough (although it is important - I doubt you can make a good futurist without reading it). Extensive knowledge in ALL fields is essential, and when we need to look at the future not as specialists, but as generalists, it means that a good futurist has to be know a lot of stuff - from physics to economics, from history to geography... In other words, we need polymath aka 'renaissance man' again. Extensive editing on Wikipedia is definetly a good way to expand your horizons, when I come to think of it :)
Btw, I was fairly suprised having read in the WN article that "The University of Houston Clear Lake and the University of Hawaii at Manoa run two of the better-known programs offering master's degrees in futures studies and alternative futures, respectively." That's a good sign - I'd love to see their syllabuses.
But honestly, I wonder if anybody can be a perfect polymath now. While there are some good ones, like Alvin Toffler or Ray Kurzweil, I would think that the best results would be created by a think tank of several futurists. I wonder if there are any? That's definetly worth doing some research.
In any case, I am looking forward to the future - I think it will be bright.
Expect more predictions soon.
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