October 3rd, 2011

The Futurist’s Dilemma

Found on Kevin Kelly’s blog section The Technicum: “In this 1964 clip from the BBC Horizon show, Arthur C. Clarke makes a fairly precise prediction, but one that is only half right. “We’ll no longer commute in cities,” he says, “we’ll communicate instead.” He also says, “I am perfectly serious when I suggest that you’ll be able to call a man and not know where he is, whether he is in Tahiti or Bali or London.” He got that part right, with cell phones everywhere, but on average we still do commute in cities.

However it is the preamble to his prediction, where he hedges his bets, that I think he is the most insightful. Clarke says that if you find a prediction reasonable, than it is probably wrong, because the future is not reasonable; it is fantastic! But if you could return from the future with the exact truth about what will happen, no one would believe you because the future is …read on.”

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