Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Futurism Howto

At its core it's pretty simple really. Since technology is the main driver for societal change, you look at up-and-coming technologies and try to determine which ones will effect the individual and in what ways. Another technique here is looking at a niche, specialized technology that is used by few actors, e.g. military, big companies, and asking the question "what if everyone had access to this technology?".

You see mainframes in 50s, and as "what if everyone had computing like this on their desktops?". Then, in essence, you would be predicting our time now. Same goes for airplanes (what if everyone could fly somewhere?), or massive computing that was a niche thing to do, even during 90s -- now everyone has access to such computing through "the cloud".

That's how Toffler does it; he has a "grand tour" that includes research labs, individuals who work on cutting edge research. You do that, and ask the question "what if" and project to the future.

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