quarta-feira, 13 de fevereiro de 2013

Future of the future


"This off -the-beaten-track aspect of futurism can be most readily seen within science fi ction, the primary launching pad of twisted tomorrows over the past century. The standard tools of the sci-fi trade have served as some of the most familiar tropes of futurism, these not just an entertaining diversion but a way to safely contain the darkest side of our imagination. Mad scientists, master races, mutation, barbarism, and disembodied heads are just a few scenarios of future-gone-bad, most of these kinds of narratives not much more meaningful than those found in your typical horror movie of the week. The granddaddy of dystopia, however, is the creation of machines more intelligent or powerful than ourselves, this one refl ecting our real-life (and, according to some current futurists, justifi able) fear of technology run amok. Not surprisingly, then, the robot or automatic man has been a ubiquitous fi gure in the recent history of the future, both appealing to our quest for perfection and acknowledging the threat that we may lose the essence of what makes us human." (p. 21)

"it has been futurists’ failure to anticipate major social change, most egregiously the women’s and civil rights movements of the twentieth century, that has most seriously and justifi ably damaged the reputation of the fi eld. The bias toward predicting technological versus social progress has been and continues to be the Achilles’ heel of futurism, the next wave of gadgets and gizmos easier to see coming than a cultural tsunami. It is, as Arnold Toynbee has pointed out, ideas, not technology, that have stirred the biggest changes in history, something that more futurists could and should have taken to heart." (p. 25)

"As well, there was now the possibility, even probability, that machines and processes not yet imagined could, in a half-century or much less, be creating new things not yet imagined, a rather frightening revelation for those used to change occurring at glacial speed." (p.36)

"At the beginning of a new century and millennium, the future of the future is undoubtedly a promising one as it gets increasingly compressed and driven forward by exponential change." (p.44)

Lawrence Samuel (2009). Future: A Recent History. Austin: University of Texas Press.

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