17 March 2012

The origins of futurism

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Bruce Sterling, the celebrated science fiction writer and author of Tomorrow Now, explains why you don’t need to be clairvoyant to predict the future. The article is part of the Futurism series in Smithsonian Magazine.

“The fifth and final method [to forecast the future] is the most effective of all. If individuals have never encountered modernity, then you can tell them about real, genuine things that already are happening now—for them, that is the future.

Put another way, the future is already upon us, but is happening in niches. The inhabitants of that niche may be saint-like pioneers with practical plans for applying technology to eliminate hunger or preserve the environment. Far more commonly, they’re weird people with weird ideas and practices, and are objects of ridicule.”

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