Since time immemorial, people have tried to predict the future. In the second half of the 20th century, these efforts grew more ambitious and sophisticated. Improvements in computational power, data gathering, and analysis were all put to work to try to lift the veil on the future.
But the last decade has not been kind to futurology. Bankers' and insurers' forecasts of risk turned out to be drastically wrong, torpedoing the financial system and ushering in a long stagnation. Politicians' visions of long-term stable economic growth evaporated. Perhaps relatedly, scathing critiques of our ability to foresee the future rose to the top of bestseller lists.
In this newly self-conscious mood, Nesta funded research that tries to get under the surface of different ways of talking about the future. This paper leans on that research, defending some forms of futurology.
Accompanying Guardian post
on uncertainty being the only certainty.
Heavily influenced by samurai films from film makers such as Akira Kurosawa, French/Burkinabe filmmaker Cédric Ido
produced a short award winning film, Hasaki Ya Suda
(The Three Black Samurai) set in the future. Its synopsis reads
It is 2100. In the world engulfed in chaos and war whose residents are consumed by terrible hunger, the last fertile land became the subject of fierce battles. Three warriors: noble Wurubenba (Jacky Ido), Shandaru (Cedric Ido), who wants to avenge his father’s death, and Kapkaru (Min Man Ma) craving for power, will face one another in a fight for life and death.
Watch the full 25-minute
Hasaki Ya Suda short film (available only with French subtitles at the moment) or the 1 minute teaser
. Interview with Cedric
Mohandas K. Gandhi’s critique of the modern identification of society with the state was devastating. He believed that it disabled citizens, subjecting mind and body to the control of professional experts when the purpose of a civilization should be to enhance its members’ sense of their own self-reliance. He proposed instead that every human being is a unique personality and participates with the rest of humanity in an encompassing whole. Between these extremes lie proliferating associations of great variety. [...] But what is most relevant to us is his existentialist project. If the world of society and nature is devoid of meaning, each of us is left feeling small, isolated and vulnerable. How do we bridge the gap between a puny self and a vast, unknowable world? The answer is to scale down the world, to scale up the self or a combination of both, so that a meaningful relationship might be established between the two. Gandhi devoted a large part of his philosophy to building up the personal resources of individuals. Our task is to bring this project up to date. ~ From The Digital Revolution and me
by John Keith Hart
Today is R. Buckminster Fuller's 113th birthday. Visionary
, designer, inventor, engineer - 'Bucky
' continues to inspire us
. Known as the grandfather
of sustainability, even today we discover
that we've barely scratched
the surface of his thinking
and still have far
to go and much
to learn about managing
Spaceship Earth. [ previously
7/7/7 marks the
100th birthday of Grandmaster Robert Anson Heinlein
, born July 7th 1907. Long live Lazarus Long
While any attempt
at a tribute
would but naturally turn into a passionate link infested paean
to this visionary genius
, one of the Big 3, along with Asimov and Clarke, one must honour
his contribution with a pointer to the Heinlein Concordance
, a portal of his stories, characters, concepts and timelines.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
~ Robert A. Heinlein 1907 - 1988