I used to be a confirmed futurist and believed that the future would always be a better place. We’d learn from history and we’d cure disease and eradicate hunger poverty and want.As I got older my naivety gave way to perceiving infinite shades of grey and seeing the complexities of failed politics.
The recent passing of sci fi guru Arthur C Clarke reminded me of a non fiction book of his I read of his called Profiles of the Future; an Inquiry into the Limits of the Possible, a book that has been revised and updated many times over the years in which he runs through a potted history of events and discoveries that were expected vs changes and breakthroughs that came out of left field or were always presumed to be in the realms of fantasy but were eventually made fact.
For instance it has always long been assumed that man would one day travel to the moon (which has happened) and to the stars (now looking increasingly unlikely) and that sources of limitless free energy (yet to happen) would be discovered and after the second world war we would see an end to wars (nuff said).
As a society we probably all do a lot less crystal ball gazing as more of us assume that the future is likely to be more of a realised dystopia than a bright white utopia.
We do seem overdue for a great technological discovery or socio-political movement. I often wonder what it will be. What will the next great leap forward be or are we too preoccupied with how mind blowing the next great mobile phone model will turn out to be?