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What Futurists Are Talking About…2013, 2020 and Robots

What Futurists Are Talking About…2013, 2020 and Robots

The New Year always brings an abundance of prognostications, predictions and pontifications about what lies ahead. Those with futurist in their titles are in high demand as media outlets scramble for story sources who will venture into the fantastic and risky world of forecasting what the next 12 months — or the next decade — might bring.

Since 1985, the World Futures Society has published anannual report entitled Outlook, focusing on trends expected to shape the future. This year, a sampling of the popular report was posted across social media channels, entitled Top 10 Forecasts for 2013 and Beyond. The broad range of contributing futurists cited in Outlook tell us many recently lost jobs may never return, but others will fill the void; you and I may soon be harvesting energy from the air to power small devices; breathalyzers will help us detect disease or infectious microbes; neuroscientists have learned to predict what you’ll do before you do it; and “adventure capitalists” are likely to initiate the next space age by 2020.

Are you curious to see how accurately the World Future Society’s forecasts have been over the years? The organization boasts some 25,000 members in 80 countries, and recently made public the contents from Outlook 2006 through 2012, including more than 400 forecasts relating to 2013 and beyond.

In comparison, look to the Jan. 2013 issue of Wired, one of my personal go-to sources for all things futuristic, for an informative round-up cover story on how and when robots will take over your job and the planet. It may just be a good thing…

Pam (McConathy) Schied
MA Future Studies in Commerce
University of Houston
Principal, Foresight Communications Group

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