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. 37, No. 5, September-October

Changing Our Minds about the Future
Futurists have the prerogative--and the duty--to occasionally change their minds about the future. For example, when the much-vaunted prediction of a paperless office in the Information Age didn't come to pass (at least, not yet), futurists set out...
Cohabitation Breakups Rise
Half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce, a statistic that has remained constant for the last two decades. A modest increase, however, is occurring in the instability of first unions, which includes cohabiting as well as married couples....
Counting Intangible Assets
Garden.com, Webvan, and Red Hat are three cautionary tales about the startup frenzy of the 1990s. All three had wildly successful initial public offerings (IPOs), and all three crashed and burned. While IPOs have contributed a good deal to the development...
Creative Resources on the Futurist Bookshelf
Here are some books available through the Futurist Bookshelf to stimulate creativity. Visit www.wfs.org/ bkshelf.htm for ordering information. Cracking Creativity: The Secrets of Creative Genius by Michael Michalko. Ten Speed Press. 1998. 352 pages....
Doug Michels: Visionary Architect: From a Doll's House to the White House, from Cadillacs Buried in Texas to Dolphin-Astronauts Swimming in Space, Architect Doug Michels's Visions Embraced Big Ideas in the Most Individualistic, Awe-Inspiring, and Mind-Expanding Ways
Doug Michels was gearing up for his big sixtieth-birthday bash at the end of June when he died in a rock-climbing accident in Australia. He had been working with a production crew on a film about whales and fell while climbing to an observation point...
Farming's Changing Role in the Economy: Improved Farm Productivity Has Allowed Consumers to Reduce Their Overall Spending on Food-To the Benefit of Other Sectors of the Economy. That Boom Could Be over Unless Farming Again Comes to the Rescue
To understand the changes under way in U.S. agriculture, we must examine the farm sector's relationship with the general U.S. economy. Rapid technological change in the U.S. farm sector has contributed to a decline in the prices of farm products--by...
Fewer Refugees, More Displaced Persons: Dams and Disasters Send More People Fleeing Than Political Persecution
Individuals uprooted from their homes but still living within their home countries outnumber international refugees by two to one, but they receive very little assistance from humanitarian aid groups, according to the Worldwatch Institute's Vital Signs...
Food and Agriculture in the 21st Century: Rethinking Our Paradigms: Squabbles over Genetically Modified Food and Pork-Barrel Subsidies for Farmers Are Just the Tip of the Iceberg for Policy Makers Grappling with Increasingly Complex Agricultural Problems
Rarely do truly giant jumps in the applied sciences occur. When they do, they drastically alter the entire foundation--the paradigm--on which society and leaders must base their choices for the future. We are at a point in history where breakthroughs...
From Bright Ideas to Right Ideas: Capturing the Creative Spark: Thinking in New Ways Opens the Mind to Boundless Possibilities and Creative Solutions
Say one person in a boardroom comes up with brilliant ideas--new ways of doing things, innovative approaches, fresh concepts--but the CEO at the head of the table constantly dismisses them. Fairly shortly, everyone in the room will stop bringing new...
Government of the Apathetic, for the Apathetic
Americans seem destined to become less and less involved in political decision making. University of Nebraska-Lincoln political-science professors report that most citizens do not care about most policies and therefore are content to turn decision...
Impact! Simulating an Asteroid Hit: What If an Asteroid Splashed into the Atlantic Ocean? Researchers Are Creating Scenarios to Analyze the Potential Impacts
On March 16, 2880, an asteroid known as 1950 DA will swing dangerously close to Earth and could slam into the Atlantic Ocean. Will it happen? Perhaps not, though collisions of this magnitude have happened in Earth's history, point out researchers Steven...
Money and Brains: Behavioral Economics Scrutinizes the Battle between Emotions and Reason
Me: "Look, there's ten bucks on the ground. Let's split it." You: "Okay." Me: "Great. Here's your dollar." Which is your response: "Thank you," or "Forget it, you jerk"? Rejecting my "unfair" offer means you don't get anything--an emotional...
Our Mission on Mars: A Human Mission to Mars-And a Deadline for Achieving It-Could Inspire All of Humanity to Reach for the Stars
Sitting in the VIP stands for the night launch of Apollo 17 in 1972 was a very special guest. His name was Charlie Smith. He was born a slave. Has any human soul ever come closer to time travel than this man on that day? "Just as the astronaut became...
Plasma Sterilization
Move over, autoclave. Step aside, toxic chemicals. There's a new type of sterilization so effective and versatile that it can kill bacteria on everything from food packaging to spacecraft. Plasma sterilization, developed by researchers at Old Dominion...
The Coming Labor Shortage: Current Trends Point to a Shortage of Qualified Labor in the Immediate Future. Here Are Some Ways to Cope with It
Unemployment in the United States hovers near 6%--nearly double the 31-year low of just three years ago. In places like Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and Silicon Valley, unemployment rates are well above the national average in the wake of the technology...
The Future of the Book in a Digital Age
The book is still thriving in the digital age, but the physical entity that contains information, inspiration, and ideas is being transformed by the technology that was supposed to replace it. A scholar studying the history of technology looks at two...
The Growing Water Crisis: Given the Growing Scarcity of Water, It's Time to Change Water Policies Worldwide
The future of water and food is highly uncertain, say the authors of a new International Food Policy Research Institute report. "In the coming decades, the world's farmers will need to produce enough food to feed many millions more people, yet there...
The Holistic Future of Aging: Baby Boomers Will Put a New, Active, Empowered Face on Aging
Throughout history, "elders" have been revered for their wisdom, accomplishments, and ability to endure. Today, the West seems blind to the beauty and significance of old age. Youth is worshipped, billions are spent in the effort to deny aging, and...
The Use and Abuse of Models: Some Models May Be Little More Than Smoke and Mirrors. Here's How to Ensure the Viability of the Models We Use in Everyday Life and Work
From weather maps to road maps, mathematical equations to everyday language, we rely on models--miniature representations of things--to navigate our lives. They can simplify complex ideas, provide meaningful insight, and communicate difficult concepts--particularly...
U.S. Energy Demand Continues Upswing
Americans will continue to be dependent on imported oil in the coming decades, while the downturn in nuclear generating capacity is expected to slow. These are among the key findings of the Annual Energy Outlook from the U.S Department of Energy, which...
World Future Society
The World Future Society is a nonprofit educational and scientific organization chartered in the District of Columbia, U.S.A., and is recognized by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt organization. The Society has about 25,000 members...