The Future of the future; Utopia versus The End Of The World As We Know It Thursday, November 3, 2011
Registration: 18:30-19:00, Conference: 19:00-21:15
Location: Volkskrantgebouw, Wibautstraat 150, 1091 GR Amsterdam [former building of the Volkskrant]
The conference language is English.
The Future of the Future is an examination of the various future vision as portrayed by futurists, academics and scenario thinkers.
Many futurists who try to earn a living telling stories about the future quickly learn that a happy end sells much better than a tale of troubles. Because of this the scenario's futurists tend to publicly talk about tend to be wondrous tales of the Startrek/Jetsons world were our problems have been solved by technology and sensible policies based on rational thinking.
Telling these tales, and support them with a lot of research data is a genuinely good way to help non specialists think beyond the usual limitation of their profession. But there is a danger in the fact that many futurists need to 'sell' their stories may very well be influencing their objectivity.
Just as is it easy to tell a very positive story about the future it is easy to spin a vision were thing end very badly for humanity. Threats from global warming to peakoil to overpopulation to future wars involving biological, nuclear or perhaps even nano-weapons could be quite real. Our more advanced knowledge about the world makes the original seven biblical plagues seem almost provincial.
Cassadra was cursed by the Greek gods with the combination of accurate foresight and the fact that no-one would ever believe here visions of the future. Today is no different. Most people don't like to hear bad news about their own future let alone pay for hearing it. Acting today to prevent 'possible' big problems tomorrow as a society is even harder. This leads to $20 million movie budgets for a movie about meteor-impact while the global annual budget for preventing actual meteor impacts is only $1 million per year.
Can we find better methods for forecasting? And will we want to listen to those forecasts and act on them? This are serious challenges and we need more brains involved in solving it. May we count on you brain?
Concept: Arjen Kamphuis
Andrea Wiegman, Founder & owner, Second Sight
The work futurists do, humanities great potential.