First of all, I don't consider myself a futurist - and hope not to be labeled as such.
Sure I enjoy the musings associated with speculating over the direction of where we can and/or shouldn't go - although I don't see it as as an act that needs a specific label.
I want to tell you my own encounters with the future - and yes I've actually been there.
No seriously! I am talking to you from the perspective of a man that once was a boy. A boy that is now a reflection of my future self. To that boy, present day "me" is actually the future to him. With every keystroke and with every word you read, you absorb a message that I'm sending to you from the future - since the remainder of this message lies in your future... Which is now my past ;-)
Enough with the loopy mindgames though - let's dive into the heart of the matter!
When we deal with the future we can always examine the probabilities of predictions of what might happen next. Yet what happens next is only something to help you get through your day. I believe forecasting the future is a mechanism that helps us feel better about the present. A mental illusion that we are in control of our lives, and most importantly our destiny. But what if I told you that your future projections were all but a set of elaborate illusions constructed by your mind. What then?
- Will you whip out your graphs and proceed to counter my argument with carefully crafted "predictions"?
- Will you tell me that your model is nearly 100% based on the data of past events you collected?
- Afterwards will you tell me your graphs, data and charts were more correct and I was wrong?
- Will you begin to believe your future forecast will always be better than mine?
No! Of course you will, because somewhere inside of you is a need to own the future. Well, guess what buddy - I'm here to tell you that, "You don't own the future."
When dealing with a point that raptures all rational thinking of it, you have to wonder how close any single idea can come to what truly lies in the future. When I think about anything from real to abstract, I tend to believe that I'm not just reflecting on the objective reality, but also projecting onto reality. For instance, this article is a creation of my mind projected out into objective reality - a reflection of what I have observed about reality. Everything we have been able to think about - from unicorns to fairies and magical beings - are creations of the mind. Creations of words, movies, paintings, and speeches that have been projected out into the objective reality.
This process of observation and projection has defined our reality up to this point. Yes, every single television show, movie, and even children's books once only existed in the mind of an individual - and over time, through self expression, it manifested into object reality.
This is how it works, but this wont be how it will work.
See, on the horizon lies a scary beast called the Singularity. This point not only represents the rise of greater than human intelligence, but also the rise of greater-than-human imagination. The true gift of intelligence lies not in what you can calculate, but in what you can dream up.
I will conclude with my current problem about futurism and futurist alike. If the singularity point represents a limit to human rationality of what is possible, then one must assume that everything we believe would be possible and can be possible - no matter how absurd. Everyone, in this case, is a futurist and any one claim of what the future will be is not any more correct than any one else.
Once again I tell you, "You don't own the future".
I can walk up to a homeless person and ask them what they would see the future like, and no matter how unqualified this person represents to the field of futurism, their response would most likely be correct. What needs to be understood here is that we are approaching a future where anything will be possible in real or virtual environments, or even "virtually real" environments. Anything you can dream up will be possible in one way or another as it all plays itself out.
So while you sit there forecasting and creating models of the future I will sit here creating it. You can remain a futurist, but I am a co-creater. I can't own all of the creation but I will help create it.