Does anyone remember a commercial that said, “The future is now”? Seems like an odd thing to say, especially if you have any grasp of physics. Yet, the statement is not entirely without merit. As far as technology goes, the future is, indeed, now. What is being created and tested in research and development labs around the world is our future. The technology works now, and will be released, maybe, at some point in time.
What prevents these technologies from being the here and now? Most of it comes down to money. Money to market the product, money for proper consumer safety testing, money for the mass production. Sure, there are other factors as well. In some cases, the inventor just isn’t sure if the world is ready for it. Take, for example, the microwave oven.
The microwave oven was released as a commercial product in 1954. The convenience of nuking your food could be yours for somewhere between $2000 and $3000 dollars. Obviously, the public wasn’t ready to pay that much fast food in the home. The technology was shelved for awhile longer.
Let’s move on and take a look at some of the best sites to see future predictions about the world.
Don’t let the title put you off. I’m not exactly Puritanical, however, my own beliefs don’t mesh with what most people would consider hedonism. Fortunately, The Hedonistic Imperative is taking the name literally. They are looking to create a life of pleasure through the absence of pain.
More philosophical in nature, THI still presents strong pharmaceutical evidence that life where varying states of bliss are what motivates a human, rather than avoiding varying levels of pain, is possible! At first glance that sounds like a pipe dream, however, as you delve further into the HedWeb, as they call it, the layperson can begin to see that it could be a reality. Honestly, I don’t think I can do the site justice in a few words. I don’t support everything they say, however, it is worth reading.
As the name would suggest, the World Future Society (WFS) is a sort of professional and amateur futurist organization. Many of the world’s leading futurists submit articles and share their future predictions about the world, or even how they think it should be.
Here you’ll find articles on future forecasts for everything from nanotechnology to the H1N1 virus. These are not merely the meanderings of of people with too much time on their hands. Some of their contributors are recognized leaders in their fields such as Wall Street Journal columnist Alexandra Levit, Dr. Karl Albrecht (not the German billionaire) and Tsvi Bisk.
Possibly the most innovative of the futurist sites, ZiiTrend combines the forward -looking principles of futurism with the power of social networking and trending.
Questions about the future are posed by users in a myriad of different categories ranging from technology to stocks to sports events. Then, the community replies to the question with their thoughts and research and vote as to how likely an event is to happen. An overall prediction is applied, something like Most Likely or Unlikely and then shows the percentage of votes for the likelihood of the outcome. I like this site so much, I’m probably going to join.
This is a group I’d actually heard of before researching the article. In tin-hatter circles, The Club of Rome is considered to be the think tank behind what technology the New World Order or Illuminati is going to use to take over the world. Of course, I don’t believe that stuff. I just find it entertaining.
What The Club of Rome really is, is a think-tank of ridiculously intelligent people. They try to come up with ways to make the world a better place through their Systems Integration Programmes. These fields are broken into the areas of Social Transformation, Peace and Security, Environment and Resources, Globalisation and International Development. The Club does definitely have political sway! Your group would too if it had the brainwaves of some of the most intelligent people in the world. A fair number of their policies are adapted by governments and organizations around the world.
This is the site that makes futurists, forecasters and predicters put their money where their mouth is. Real people make future predictions about the world on the site and offer up a real cash bet that it will either come true or not, in a specific time frame. The money from the bet goes to a charity of the bettors choosing, thus making it more of a fun, altruistic game.
This isn’t any back-parlor betting though, folks. Luminaries such as Warren Buffett and Ray Kurzweil are throwing down some serious greenbacks here! Here’s a good example: “By 2029 no computer – or “machine intelligence” – will have passed the Turing Test.” The bettors are Ray Kurzweil (against) and Mitchell Kapor (for). The stakes? $20,000.
Not rich enough for you? Try out this bet: “Over a ten-year period commencing on January 1, 2008, and ending on December 31, 2017, the S & P 500 will outperform a portfolio of funds of hedge funds, when performance is measured on a basis net of fees, costs and expenses.” Warren Buffet (for) and Protege Partners, Jeffrey Tarrant and Scott Bessent (against) are throwing down One Million Dollars!
You can go and read why each person thinks they are making the right bet and join in on the discussion about it. Since these are real players you should also gain some great insight into what might happen in the future. Making the future IS their business.
Make the future now. Tell us what you think tomorrow holds. Let us know where you turn to get a glimpse of tomorrow, in the comments below.