Yesterday with The Futurist

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As if to illustrate my earlier criticism of The Futurist the current issue contains a brief article that illustrates some of my frustrations with it. "News in the Digital Age" is about newspapers in an online world and how they should adapt. The thrust of the story is about weblogs and whether they form "a powerful new form of amateur journalism." While I grudgingly acknowledge that this old idea is still being debated I don't expect a futurist journal to be introducing weblogs (6+ years old?) or an already hackneyed argument. The Futurist should be among the first wave of media, not the third or fourth.

One, inadequate, defensive argument would be the long lead times of a monthly print publication -- see also this issue's article on New York's waste that doesn't mention July's announcement by Mayor Bloomberg that the city's recycling programmes will be "suspended." The obvious counter is, of course, why doesn't the WFS have a weblog then?

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You've also mentioned the 'cringe-worthy x factor' in an earlier posting about the World Future Society -

I've been struck by it too when I've met any American (or Canadian) consultants who do futurist work.

I think the complacency comes from a very strong shared world view, which comes from only talking to certain people and ignoring large parts of the world.

It's a bit like meeting American evangelists who think they've got all aspects of sin and salvation covered, but who in fact work from a very narrow text and have closed themselves off from much of human experience.

I'm not sure to what extent this is inevitable. The future is a very large subject, so it's only possible to get a handle on it by adopting a restricted set of methods, and then forming a clique around them.

But what this has produced is a culturally-specific American futurism, which tends to be unimaginative about what people will end up doing, and often politically naive.