If you could see your future, would you try to make it better? If you were a Soviet in 1980 and you knew that spiraling debt would destroy your country, would you do something to stop it? If you were a German in 1933 and knew that the Decree of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State would lead to a world war, tens of millions of deaths, and the leveling of your nation, would you oppose it?
Its safe to assume that we would all say yes to these questions. Our only excuse in letting these patterns reoccur is a claim that we can't see the future with any degree of certainty, but is this claim true? Couldn't the Soviets have deduced their overwhelmingly probable financial failure based on a combination of proven economic and socio-political models? Couldn't the Germans have deduced from history that support of absolute power always leads to failure? Why would the Germans have supported a document that circumvented their basic human rights when they had hundreds of examples throughout history that such documents are always eventually used for tyranny and oppression? How could Soviets have possibly thought that the government could endlessly support citizens who took more than they gave to the collective without going bankrupt? On top of that, how did they expect their government to survive financially while maintaining a horrendously expensive and unwinnable war in the Middle East? How could they have not seen the future when it was so evident? What good is history if we cannot learn from its mistakes and plot a better course for the future? These are some of the questions that futurology attempts to illuminate.
Futurology also uses aspects of multiple disciplines to anticipate forces of nature and predict how we will react to those forces. In our fight for survival against natural threats, our ability to plan for a future that has no historic precedent gives us an advantage over other life-forms on this planet, including those that were extinguished eons ago. For instance, taking into consideration various aspects of weather forecasting, mathematical probability, economics, and hydraulic engineering, a futurologist could predict that the New Orleans foundation code requiring only seven days of submersion allowance would not be economically sound. This would be based on the likelihood of a category-five hurricane, the engineered strength of the dikes in the face of such a hurricane, the amount of seawater likely to breach the dikes, how long it would take get rid of the water, and how much it would cost to replace the foundations of those structures that were underground for more than seven days. A hundred years ago, foundations in New Orleans were built so that they could withstand being submerged for weeks without losing structural integrity. The building costs associated with that level of stability came to be considered overkill, not because the likelihood of level-five hurricanes diminished, but because of one additional futurology consideration: a hundred years ago, the federal government would never have paid for the rebuilding of New Orleans. Even though Hurricane Katrina was entirely a force of nature, a futurologist must also take into consideration socio-political trends and the needs of his client. In externalizing costs associated with long-term risks, futurologists have become invaluable resources for shaping corporate-sponsored government legislation.
Methods of quantifying the effectiveness of corporate futurologists have become a complex science in itself, one that seeks to objectively define the difference between fantasy, science fiction, and science. This textbook explores those differences and enables society to use the power of strategic forecasting for more than corporate and political gain.
Table of contents
- Introduction to Futurology
In a nutshell
- The differences between science, science fiction, and fantasy
Star Trek vs. the singularity
- Definition of time
Can we really know what time is?
- Obstacles to conventional scientific means
Being our own temporal police
- Free Will
Being your own man.
- Methods and proofs
Using principles of quantum probability to objectify the future
- Unconventional Means of Predicting the Future
the Pseudoscience Approach to Futurology
- Building principles and axioms based on past futurology successes
Can we use the "self-evident" "truths" about human nature that founded successful nations as forecasting agents, or were these assumptions just dumb luck?"
- Predicting which political ideologies, species traits, and commercial paradigms will be most fit to survive
Using the Darwinism method of futurology
- Proofing dystopia and utopia
Can modern methods of futurology prove or disprove the conjectures of Saint Thomas More, Hitler, etc.?
- US Presidential Election 2008: Who Will Win?
Can we tell at this point in time who will be the next Mr. President?
- Cosmological forecasting
At its largest scale, can futurology help humanity plan our potential in the universe, venture to other suns, and avoid the fate of the dinosaurs?
- Norbert Wiener, "Kybernetik. Regelung und Nachrichtenübertragung im Lebewesen und in der Maschine", Düsseldorf (Econ-Verlag) 1992.
- Claude E. Shannon u. Warren Weaver, "The Mathematical Theory of Communication", Urbana/Ill. (University of Illinois Press) 1949.
- James W. Carey, "A cultural approach to communication", Communication 1 (2), 1975.
- Daniel Bell, "Die nachindustrielle Gesellschaft", Frankfurt a.M. (Campus) 1989.
- Walt W. Rostow, "The Stages of Economic Growth. A Non-Communist Manifesto", Cambridge 1960.
- Nicholas Negroponte, "Total digital. Die Welt zwischen 0 und 1 oder Die Zukunft der Kommunikation", München (Bertelsmann) 1995.
- Zbigniew Brzezinski, "Between Two Ages. America's Role in the Technotronic Era", New York (Viking Press) 1969.
- Joseph S. Nye u. William A. Owens, "America's Information Edge", Foreign Affairs 75 (2), 1996.