Alvin Toffler’s book Future Shock, was quite a hit in 1970. Amongst other things, he and his co-author wife Heidi, predicted that the world’s population would double in eleven years, parents would be handing the keys to the family spacecraft to their teenage children, and people would be wearing throw away clothes like Kleenex. On a positive note, they did speculate that artificial intelligence would expand, and social interaction of people would change. Regardless of the accuracy of the predictions, Toffler continued a long tradition of people, futurists, trying to make sense of the future based on the past and their present. Dating back to the 1800’s authors like Jules Verne, Edward Bellamy, and H.G.Wells, tried to share their visionary ideas. By the 1940’s the new science of probability evolved to the point where institutions like RAND and SRI engaged in systematic trend watching and visioning. Futurists deal with the three “ P’s and a W”, “possible, probable, and preferable” futures, plus “wildcards” or events which could happen to upset the flow of the vision.
We are all futurists–predicting just about everything about our life. Like the Tofflers, not all of our predictions will be accurate. We have plans but it’s the “wildcard” that often changes things. Therefore, let the futurists continue to enjoy their predictions and we have to continue to put one foot in front of the other every day. We are all futurists because we are part of that dimension. C. S. Lewis stated, “ The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is”. So, the immediate solution for the futurists, which includes us all, is not to quarrel with the present and the past because it might distract us from seeing the future. No one needs to be worried about the future, just prepared for it!