21 février 2020

Five Principles for Thinking Like a Futurist

By Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web. Five Principles for Thinking Like a Futurist
Marina Gorbis, EDUCAUSE Review, 2019/04/11
Half of my work involves thinking like a futurist. But my approach to being a futurist is, I think, quite different from what's described in the article. For example, the first recommendation is to "forget about predictions." Why? "Nobody can predict large socio-technical transformations and what exactly these are going to look like." By analogy, "One way to think about this is to look at the difference between waves and tides. Waves are what we see on the surface... Underneath the waves is the tide, causing all kinds of disturbances of which waves are just one sign." But if you can't predict the tides, you're not much of a futurist. Being a futurist is predicting the future. Otherwise, you're an economist.
The article discusses some other facets of being a futurist. One focuses on readiness, another on finding patterns, another on signals, and another on community. All of these have to do not so much with being a futurist but rather with speaking to a particular audience. That is a core skill, but has nothing to do with futurism. Take any proposition P - some people will care about P, others won't. I can make all kinds of predictions about tomorrow, but the odds are you will not care about them. Patterns, signals, readiness, community - all these depend on salience and relevance. More...

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