Monday, July 25, 2011


In this post I want to talk about the subject of futurists that we discussed in today's lesson.

So here is some information that I found in a site about this subject:

The terms most commonly refer to authors, consultants, organizational leaders and others who engage in interdisciplinary and systems thinking to advise private and public organizations on such matters as diverse global trends, plausible scenarios, emerging market opportunities and risk management.

The Oxford English Dictionary identifies earliest use of the term futurism in English as 1842, to refer, in a theological context, the Christian eschatological tendency of that name. The next recorded use is the label adopted by the Italian and Russian futurists, the artistic, literary and political movements of the 1920s and 1930s which sought to reject the past and fervently embrace speed, technology and, often violent, change.

Visionary writers such as Jules Verne, Edward Bellamy and H.G. Wells were not in their day characterized as futurists. The term futurology in its contemporary sense was first coined in the mid-1940s by the German Professor Ossip K. Flechtheim, who proposed a new science of probability. Flechtheim argued that even if systematic forecasting did no more than unveil the subset of statistically highly probable processes of change and charted their advance, it would still be of crucial social value.[1]

In the mid-1940s the first professional "futurist" consulting institutions like RAND and SRI began to engage in long-range planning, systematic trend watching, scenario development, and visioning, at first under WWII military and government contract and, beginning in the 1950s, for private institutions and corporations. The period from the late 1940s to the mid-1960s laid the conceptual and methodological foundations of the modern futures studies field. Bertrand de Jouvenel's The Art of Conjecture in 1963 and Dennis Gabor's Inventing the Future in 1964 are considered key early works, and the first U.S. university course devoted entirely to the future was taught by futurist Alvin Toffler at The New School in 1966.[2]

More generally, the label includes such disparate lay, professional, and academic groups as visionaries, foresight consultants, corporate strategists, policy analysts, cultural critics, planners, marketers, forecasters, prediction market developers, roadmappers, operations researchers, investment managers, actuaries and other risk analyzers, and future-oriented individuals educated in every academic discipline, including anthropology, complexity studies, computer science, economics, engineering, evolutionary biology, history, management, mathematics, philosophy, physical sciences, political science, psychology, sociology, systems theory, technology studies, and other disciplines.


Futurology or "futures studies" is often summarized as being concerned with "three Ps and a W," or possible, probable, and preferable futures, plus wildcards, which are low-probability but high-impact events, should they occur. Even with high-profile probable events, such as the fall of telecom costs, the growth of the internet, or the aging demographics of particular countries, there is often significant uncertainty in the rate or continuation of a trend. Thus a key part of futuring is the managing of uncertainty and risk.

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