How's the future?
July 17, 2005 3:28 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a website or websites that can show me what to expect in the future.

What is known based on trends, technological progression, scientific discovery, politics, intelligent speculation, futures markets, etc..? I feel like there is a lot known about the directions in which we are heading but I can't seem to find any comprehensive sites. Short-term predictions are good but long-term would be even better. Anything wiki (or open-source) would be great too.

Future Brief and NASA Funded Studies are a good start but narrow in scope.
posted by foraneagle2 to Technology (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
How about the Institute for the Future.
posted by JPowers at 4:18 PM on July 17, 2005

There's Long Bets, where you can bet on and discuss future predictions.
posted by deep_sea_diving_suit at 4:43 PM on July 17, 2005

Ray Kurzweil is the man. His web site isn't updated regularly but he has a daily email newsletter that contains interesting links.
posted by darkmatter at 4:49 PM on July 17, 2005

There are many think tanks whose job this is specifically.

I posted about 2020 Project earlier. There was also a post to a report by UK's Foresight group.
posted by Gyan at 4:50 PM on July 17, 2005

Jeff Harrow has thought provoking reports.
posted by darkmatter at 4:54 PM on July 17, 2005

Thanks for the great links so far, guys. Some more sites worth mentioning:
Journal of Evolution and Technology
Edge Video
Nanotechnology News
posted by foraneagle2 at 5:02 PM on July 17, 2005

I haven't seen either of these in ages, but your question reminded me of two things I used to adore:
(1) Futurist magazine, still going strong;
(2) the 80s Australian TV series Beyond 2000 -- apparently recently relaunched as Beyond Tomorrow. A bit more gadgety and "Popular Science"-esque than perhaps you are looking for, but there it is.
posted by skyboy at 10:38 PM on July 17, 2005

It would be interesting to look back at episodes of Beyond 2000 from the 80s and 90s. Comparing my memory of it to what has actually happened, I suspect it was an utterly clueless portrayal of future techonology and applications :)
(Though to be fair, the name is a bit misleading - it wasn't about predicting the future so much as showing interesting developments in technology and suggesting (usually incorrectly) where they might lead).

I think this kind of exercise would help with the original question too - as I have a suspicion that it's often the same mistakes being made in people's predictions (eg one common one I can think of is the mistake of thinking that a better computer architecture makes a better computer, when it's clearly always been support and software availibility that makes a better computer)
posted by -harlequin- at 10:50 PM on July 17, 2005

i believe the official term for this (at least from a business perspective) is scenario planning as created by Shell. (adding this term in may help your googling.)
posted by kathryn at 11:07 PM on July 17, 2005

World Future Society
Started by William Halal of George Washington University. It ought to be quite interesting. I wrote the original backend of a website for this guy when my partner was his student, involved in opinion on future technology. Quite a fascinating subject.
posted by Goofyy at 11:46 PM on July 17, 2005

A word of caution: while it's fun and educational to speculate about such things, nobody actually knows what's going to happen, and the future always surprises us. This is why it's such a misunderstanding when people think science fiction writers "predict the future" -- what they do (among other things) is think up all sorts of possible futures, so that sf readers get in the habit of anticipating change and thinking about various possibilities. To say "there is a lot known about the directions in which we are heading" is to vastly overstate the case. Not saying you shouldn't read and think about all these recommended writers, but bear in mind that they're all going to turn out to be wrong to a greater or lesser extent. (In other words, have fun but don't bet actual money.)
posted by languagehat at 7:37 AM on July 18, 2005

To say "there is a lot known about the directions in which we are heading" is to vastly overstate the case.

There is plenty known about the directions.

And Columbus knew he was heading west.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 7:56 AM on July 18, 2005

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