The Futurist

The Futurist, subtitled A Journal of Forecasts, Trends and Ideas About the Future, is a journal that explores social and technological changes, with forecasts, trends and ideas about the future. Founded in 1967, The Futurist is published bimonthly by the World Future Society.Articles focus on the topic of sociology. The Editors of this journal are Edward S. Cornish and Jeff Cornish.

Articles from Vol. 45, No. 6, November-December

Business and Economics
* New metrics will supplement GDP and other economic measures to provide better indicators of quality of life. According to a study by Ethical Markets Media and GlobeScan, many people believe that such economic indicators are limited gauges of a nation's...
Computers and Automation
* Computers will manage our money for us. Electronically enhanced market management could ward off a lot of would-be recessions and market crashes. Economists might use increasingly sophisticated computer simulation models to identify fault lines and...
Connecting People to Their Governments: Mobile Phones May Become Valuable Tools for Empowering the Disadvantaged
The world's less-affluent populations cannot all afford personal computers, but mobile phones are much more within their financial reach. That's why Nicol Turner-Lee, vice president and director of the Media and Technology Institute at the Joint Center...
Energy
* A diverse portfolio of energy technologies will replace our reliance on fossil fuels. Scientists are exploring not just wind and solar energies, but also such esoteric technologies as artificial photosynthesis, traveling wave reactors, and mini black...
Environment and Resources
* Urbanization will increase global warming. As the National Center for Atmospheric Research projects, the influx of rural populations into cities, particularly in developing countries, could further raise greenhouse-gas emissions by another 25% by...
Fighting AIDS through Genome Editing: A New Treatment Might Genetically Adapt Us to Resist HIV
The human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS keeps evolving in the face of new drugs. But a new "genome editing" treatment might enable humans to evolve to resist HIV. The treatment uses enzymes called zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs) to remove problematic...
Habitats
* Advances in fuel cells will enable deep-sea habitation. These fuel cells, which will produce electricity directly, with no toxic fumes, are currently being developed for automobiles. They will eventually allow for the exploration and colonization...
Health and Medicine
* More than half of all baby boomers will live healthy lives beyond 100. So forecasts antiaging physician Ron Klatz. Research suggests that it may be possible to prevent the shortening of telomeres or possibly rejuvenate them. (A telomere is a region...
How the Recession Has Changed the Middle Class: The 2008 Recession Was Hard on Everyone, but It Did Not Distribute Its Woes Evenly
In Pinched, journalist Don Peck paints a portrait of the middle class as jilted lover, nursing feelings of despair and betrayal. After doing everything right, the question this poor sop finds himself asking, over and over, like a funerary wail, is...
Information Society
* The next generation of dating sites will enable people to go on virtual "dates" in cyberspace. Likewise, breakups will happen more often by electronic communications than by in-person discussions. --Arnold Brown, "Relationships, Community, and Identity...
Investigating the Future: Lessons from the "Scene of the Crime": Futurists Investigate Clues and Evidence to Attempt to Answer Difficult Questions, Much like Crime-Scene Investigators. but While CSIs Try to Determine Things That Have Already Happened, Futurists Look to What May Yet Happen, and What We Can Do Now to Influence It
As practitioners of a relatively young profession, futurists are frequently asked to explain what they do. Often, the askers have some skepticism. I personally have lost track of the number of times people have asked to see my crystal ball or my time...
Lifestyles and Values
* We will increasingly treat free time as a general social asset. This free time, or "cognitive surplus" of creativity, insight, and knowledge, could be harnessed for large, communally created projects, thanks to the spread of information technology....
Lost and Found in Japan: While the World Turned Its Attention to the Frightening Prospects of a Nuclear Catastrophe in Post-Tsunami Japan, Another Crisis Was Being Dealt with Quietly, Humbly, and with Pragmatic Determination
The date is April 8, 2011.1 am on a bus to go into the Japanese city of Ishinomaki, a place that consisted of 162,882 souls before the March 11 tsunami struck. On the day of my journey, 2,283 of the city's citizens are feared dead, 2,643 are missing,...
Observing the Next 30 Years of Climate Change
Construction is scheduled to begin in late 2011 on the first long-term continental-scale ecological monitoring system in the United States. The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), consisting of 62 sites across the country, aims to help...
Science and Technology
* Machine vision will become available in the next 5 to 15 years and grow more sophisticated over time. Its range will ultimately exceed that of the human eye. This technology will greatly enhance robotic systems' capabilities. --James H. Irvine and...
The Earthquake Generation
The young Peace Boat volunteers who felt the immediate need to help their fellow Japanese offer an unexpected view of the country's social reality--and its future. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] [ILLUSTRATION...
The Search for Global Solutions: Moving from Vision to Action: What Does It Take to Get an Idea Launched or a Problem Solved? at the World Future Society's 2011 Conference, the Answer Was Inspiration, Collaboration, and the Energy of Forward-Thinking People
How does an idea transform into a goal, and how does a plan inspire people to implement it? What does it take to give a movement its momentum? These were the underlying questions of the 750 futurists who met in Vancouver this past July to consider...
The Smell of Future Video: Scent Transmission Could Add Another Layer to Digital and Streaming Broadcasts
Virtual-reality enthusiasts have long argued that a truly immersive, multisensory entertainment experience needs to fully engage the senses: sight, sound, and smell. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), in collaboration...
Unwasted Energy: Physicists Seek Ways to Harvest "Junk" Energy in the Environment
From the vibrations filling the air when jets take off to the waves generated by radio and television transmitters, our environment is full of largely wasted energy. Now, researchers are seeking ways to capture that energy and turn it into useful sources...
Updating the Global Scorecard: The 2011 State of the Future: The World Could Be Better off in Ten Years Than It Is Today, but Only If Decision Makers Can Work Together to Meet Global Challenges, According to the Millennium Project
The global population in general is richer, healthier, better educated, more peaceful, and better connected than ever before, yet half the world is potentially unstable. Food prices are rising, water tables are falling, corruption and organized crime...
Virtual Games Bring Currency to Real Life: Young Entrepreneur Brian Wong Sees Mobile Games Invading Real Life
Mobile games playable on smartphones, tablet PCs, and other Internet-connected devices are projected to surpass $11 billion in annual revenue by 2014, up from $8 billion in 2011, according to a report by Juniper Research. Twenty-year-old software guru...
Wordbuzz: Jobsolescence: As the U.S. Space Shuttle Program Ended, Twitterers Pondered the Future for a Special Class of Professionals
We recently sent out a call on Twitter for "WordBuzz" suggestions and received a number of interesting neologisms. We selected jobsolescence, one of several idea-forward terms submitted by foresight analyst Richard Yonck (@ryonck) of Seattle, Washington....
World Affairs
* Networks will increasingly become the key to positive political change. The ability to elect a lawmaker or lobby for a cause is built around our capacity to network with one another online, according to science-fiction author Cory Doctorow. This...