From self-proclaimed "futurists" who hope to sell books and DVDs with their predictions about the decades to come, to cartoon visions of the flying-car, meal-in-a-pill, threehour-workday 21st century so common in the 1950s, to the authors of some of the finest science fiction of the last hundred years - trying to imagine and describe what the future holds keeps a lot of people occupied and makes some wealthy. Without question, cars today, despite their inability to fly, are far better than even the best one driven by futurists in mid-century Blinded by "big technology" and deaf to the importance of economic considerations and marginal adjustments, the futurists failed to imagine terrestrial vehicles with CD/mp3/DVD players, GPS, built-in cell phones, computer-monitored performance, sturdier tires, and enhanced safety devices, not to mention overall quality. Rather than focusing on the big, dramatic technologies and what seem to be their efficiency-enhancing elements, predictors of the future should be thinking more about the everyday things that matter to human beings and trying to imagine how technological change might interact with commerce and culture to produce the weird but still recognizable future.
Why Do Futurists Get So Much Wrong? BY STEVEN HORWITZ
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