They don’t want the future

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

When people came to Frank Herbert and asked him about the future, they didn’t want the future:

What most people want when they talk about futurism — all the companies that hire me to play futurist for them — they don’t want the future, they want now locked in.  FDR, he did it.  In 1933 he appointed a committee called the Brain Trust.  They were given the primary job of “determining” what the course of technological development and innovation would be for the next 25 years and what influence this would have on our lives.  What had they not come up with?  That’s the fascinating thing.  Faster-than-sound travel, transistors, antibiotics, atomic power, World War II, are just a few small items that these Brain Trusters missed.  What does this say to us?  It says that if you look at history carefully the surprises are the things that turn us upside down as a society.  Asimov in his Foundation Trilogy has the Second Foundation, which can predict the course of the future, and he has his character the Mule in there, his wild card, but again totally within scientifically predictable norms.  Horseshit!


  1. Bruce says:

    But as Reginald Bretnor said, we live in utopia with railways connecting all major cities, a bicycle in every apartment, and women allowed to be doctors- even doctors of philosophy!

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