Jump to content

Welcome to FutureTimeline.forum
Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. If you already have an account, login here - otherwise create an account for free today!
Photo

Futurism Is Dead

Futurism

  • Please log in to reply
31 replies to this topic

#1
Cloned

Cloned

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 33 posts
  • LocationEU

https://www.wired.co...urism-is-dead/#

 

Long gone are the days when Isaac Asimov, Buckminster Fuller, and Arthur C. Clarke made headlines with their prophesies. Today, we have Joéo Pedro de Magalhées, who says that if we eliminate age-related diseases, we can expect an unlimited lifespan (a tautology). We have H. Paul Shuch, who says that earthlings should abandon planetary paranoia and transmit warm greetings to other young civilizations in space. We have Susan Clayton, who predicts that in the next decade or two, we'll be able to talk to animals - in their language.
 
Futurism is doomed and not just because fools are endemic to the field. It's doomed because the loosely informed, jack-of-all-trades, trend-watching pontificator (read: professional futurist) is obsolete.
 
 
This is because we think faster computers are progress. And after the collapse of the Soviet Union, social development was completely forgotten.
What new economies do economists and philosophers offer? I found one:
 
An empathy-based system
 
One alternative would be to build the foundations of something new, by taking the best aspects of many economic models. This alternative could be named the “empathicalism” system. It would represent an economic system that fosters innovation and entrepreneurship, through capital and well-established incentive structures, but that uses money and other resources as tools only in the interest of developing a human-centered society. It would prioritize shared prosperity, while suppressing extreme inequality.

 

 

Sounds like a scientific approach, isn't it?  :bye: 
We are doomed.



#2
Outlook

Outlook

    Arab Muslim

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,176 posts
  • LocationBarbary Lands
The article is 16 years old and outdated, and I don't understand what you're trying to say.
  • wjfox likes this

Outlook's secret song of the ~week: https://youtu.be/DGe_Sluth3A


#3
Cloned

Cloned

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 33 posts
  • LocationEU

Once upon a time, the futurists were the vanguard of mankind. Unfortunately, futurism as an influential way of thinking collapsed twenty years ago.

The reason - lack of real progress.

What problems do futurists worry today?

Brexit, Trump, fake news, populism, political correctness, sex mannequins. Do we have any objective other than making more money and enjoying cheap gadgets?

 

50 years ago, we flew to the moon. Today, America's only hope is an immigrant from Africa named Elon.

Did the futurists predict this 50 years ago? Where is Ray Kurzweil and his "law of accelerating returns" ?

 

I'm seriously disappointed.

 

930494f0cd0f04f6cd1361ed07cd8bf7.jpg



#4
tomasth

tomasth

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 238 posts

"What problems do futurists worry today?"

Not the ones you mentioned , this is just buttom of the sewage barrel.

 

Can you be more specific about what you expect are whay you see ?



#5
caltrek

caltrek

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,930 posts

The article reminds me of the proclamation once made concerning socialism - that it is the god that failed.

 

Futurism, as described in the article, didn't even have quite the impact that socialism had on academic thought. It is not so much that it is dead as that the field has been taken over by scientists and engineers whose method is to usher in the future one invention or innovation at a time.  The marketplace (or sometimes government policy) then selects the winners from the losers.  I suppose Wall Street speculators and those who control venture capital funds also play their role. Also on that list of those helping to shape the future are the Madison Avenue type advertisers. 

 

Aside from the idea of establishing a speculative Future Timeline, there is really not a whole lot that can hold futurism together as a school of thought. Some will be hailed for the accuracy of their vision of what the future will look like, and others will be cast aside for the absurdity of their views. No coherent methodology has emerged to serve as a guideline for predicting the future.  Scientific socialism made the attempt, but subscribers to letting the free hand of the market place do its thing won out.  Of course, that free hand is often guided, or at least heavily influenced, by government policies that in turn serve the wealthy and powerful elite of our supposedly capitalist societies.  All of these forces work together to collectively shape the future, but the challenge to develop an analysis of exactly how these forces play out continues.  

 

Some have hopes that a super AI can do the trick. One problem there is that in attempting to describe the future, such an AI will influence that future, perhaps in ways that even no AI can accurately predict.  I also wonder if something as fundamentally irrational as human beings acting together socially can really be subject to rational analysis.  Who knows what quirky ideas might percolate up through the collective unconscious to see the light of day? Who knows what school of theology or philosophy will be suddenly embraced by a significant segment of humanity?  How can even a super-smart AI be expected to predict such things, given the near infinite possibilities?


  • Outlook likes this

The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#6
Alislaws

Alislaws

    Democratic Socialist Materialist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,024 posts
  • LocationLondon

I think the point Cloned is making (sorry to try to speak for you, correct me if i'm wrong!) is that in the past futurists imagined entire systemic changes to the way we live, and worked out detailed ideas for how the future might look and feel, and then these sorts of predictions and ideas were (somewhat) widely discussed. 

 

In the modern era of futurism you tend to get more singular and short term predictions (Gadget X will be Y times better by year Z, Gadget A will be available by year B etc.) and no one seems to hold out much hope (or is willing to make any predictions) for any sort of radically improved or different future societal structure. Those that do discuss paradigm shifts in society haven't carefully thought out how the new society will improve on what we have, but instead (as in the example) can be boiled down to "The future should totally be better for like, everyone in the future" 

 

I think part of the issue here is that the older people the article author quotes as futurists are in fact hard sci-fi authors (And Buckminster fuller who is: "American architect, systems theorist, author, designer, inventor, and futurist who published more than 30 books"), and a lot of the more recent futurists are not. If you're writing a novel, you'll spend years thinking about the world you're building if your writing a futurism blog, you're not going to go into that kind of depth.

 

(The article author then goes on a rant where he more or less claims that all successful futurist predictions are too easy and so don't count and all failed futurist predictions are not errors by the individual futurist, but instead proof the whole field is flawed his example was basically "a futurist predicted that the US mail would be able to offer email, and was wrong because they decided not to, because they couldn't figure out how to make money off it, and the fact that email replaced a huge amount of letter traffic at around the same time was irrelevant")

 

----

 

I would say that because of the incredible work done in Sci-Fi over the years, we now have an issue where most modern sci-fi authors are writing books based on older sci-fi books they have read, with no real attempt to map the future at all. So a lot​ of modern sci fi is basically set in "generic sci-fi future based on famous works of sci fi". (Usually this is more "space opera" than "sci-fi" but most people don't note a difference between the two)

 

Anyone who follows futurism and enjoys sci-fi (a common crossover right?) will have encountered many sci-fi books where some things that are already possible will be ignored. 

The classic example is the traditional space submarine. Basically 100 years ago the best way to build a space ship was more or less to make a submarine-ish thing full of people and fire it into space. 5 minutes of research today would tell you that by 2100 it looks like it would be easiest and safest and cheapest and most efficient to send a drone out with no human crew and control robots remotely to get things done.

 

You won't read many sci fi stories where this happens though because the authors all grew up watching star trek. Because of the scale of potential future changes any realistic sci-fi is going to have to spend 80% of its time world building. The classic "like today but with the following key differences" is looking less and less likely which makes any attempt at an in depth view of the future far more work than one person can reasonably do. 


  • caltrek and Cloned like this

#7
caltrek

caltrek

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,930 posts

I recently read Susan Sontag's essay The Aesthetics of Silence which appears in her 1966 book Styles or Radical Will.  Of particular relevance:

 

 

It's scarcely possible for the artist to write a word (or render an image or make a gesture) that doesn't remind him of something already achieved....

 

Language is experienced not merely as something shared but as something corrupted, weighed down by historical accumulation.


  • Alislaws likes this

The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#8
Cloned

Cloned

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 33 posts
  • LocationEU

Alislaws
I think the point Cloned is making (sorry to try to speak for you, correct me if i'm wrong!) is that in the past futurists imagined entire systemic changes to the way we live, and worked out detailed ideas for how the future might look and feel, and then these sorts of predictions and ideas were (somewhat) widely discussed. 

 

 

Exactly. 

Global thinking is gone - only faceless globalization remains. This means that corporations will decide what is good for us.
Right here, right now, forum owners are more afraid of Google than the government. 
What's the point of the latest computer or smartphone if Google can remove monetization without any explanation? To whom you will complain?

Still looks like a free market and democracy?

 

It will be everywhere in the very near future. In medicine for example. Because absolute power corrupts absolutely.

No one will let you discuss these issues. Discuss Trump vs. Biden. That's the Futurism 2020.

3KSbfbr.png

Really, Google?


  • Yuli Ban likes this

#9
tomasth

tomasth

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 238 posts

Some sci-fi is about prediction so there is indeed common crossover.

 

But both can be about wanted future , original ideas , aspirational-visionary future.

 

Or is the problem originality in both ? (not necessary visionary or aspirational)



#10
caltrek

caltrek

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,930 posts

Some sci-fi is about prediction so there is indeed common crossover.

 

But both can be about wanted future , original ideas , aspirational-visionary future.

 

Or is the problem originality in both ? (not necessary visionary or aspirational)

 

 

As I have said before in a different context, I am an all of the above sort of guy. All the variables you identify are probably important factors.  Personally, I couldn't give you an accurate assessment as to how much weight to give to each variable.  


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#11
Miky617

Miky617

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 28 posts

I feel as though part of the reason that futurism appears to have lost the romance that it had before is that many people realize how volatile predicting the future is. I believe this has something to do with the concept of "The Singularity" emerging to the front, and with it there comes the barrier to what can be imagined past whatever point that's expected to take place. Previous authors of futurism were able to imagine a more steady transition and thus they were able to play out the logic of what they envisioned without such a heavy "butterfly effect" influence.

 

With the pace of advancement in certain technological spheres accelerating faster and faster, it gets harder to predict what the future will look like and at this point I personally feel that whether it's 100 years in the future or 1000 or even 5000 years, it's all the same because the change that's breathing down our neck is too heavy to see past the next few years anyway.

 

However, certain spheres such as politics and social justice evolve much more slowly and in fact these spheres carry vast ramifications for what the results of technological developments are. It's not hard to say that in a few years cameras will be better than they are now by a factor of X or Y, but the more contentious discussion is whether these future cameras will be used in surveillance states to monitor citizens, for example. The implementation of technology cannot be separated from the cultural and political context present at the time discussed, and that represents a hot topic for anyone trying to imagine the future.

 

Another reason that I think futurism has become more mundane is that the new paradigms of technology, at least the ones that we're seeing right now, are pretty predictable in their development. I mean it's not hard to imagine the maturity of AR or VR, or even a field like language processing and machine learning. There's just nothing that we see in the works that's utterly earth-shattering in its potential that hasn't already been beat to death. We can sit here and talk all day about what AI is going to be like or space travel, etc., but it's all going to sound pretty much the same, except in the case that we account for the above, the political, economic, social issues that could accelerate, stunt, or otherwise steer the way these technologies are used. It's no secret that technology advances regardless of society's problems or hot topics but in the end, the things that Cloned is complaining about, Brexit, populism, fake news, etc. represent one of the most accessible yet impactful and "fresh" frontiers in setting predictions about the future. Yeah it's not as exciting as the grand predictions people from decades past have made, but there's not much else to talk about that hasn't already been thoroughly discussed.

 

If some sort of new, unexpected technology comes out that changes everything, like the internet did, then I think futurism will experience a revival as everyone runs wild trying to explore every possible impact this emerging tech can have. Maybe then we'll see some more fresh, exciting predictions


  • caltrek likes this

#12
zEVerzan

zEVerzan

    Orange Animating Android

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,705 posts
  • LocationSome Underground Sweatshop Probably

Once upon a time, the futurists were the vanguard of mankind. Unfortunately, futurism as an influential way of thinking collapsed twenty years ago.

The reason - lack of real progress.

What problems do futurists worry today?

Brexit, Trump, fake news, populism, political correctness, sex mannequins. Do we have any objective other than making more money and enjoying cheap gadgets?

 

You're starting to sound like a communist.   :spiteful:

You just described every problem the Far Left has with the technocratic neoliberal ruling class.


I always imagined the future as a time of more reason, empathy, and peace, not less. It's time for a change.
Attention is currency in the "free marketplace of ideas".
I do other stuff besides gripe about the future! Twitter Youtube DeviantArt +-PATREON-+

#13
PhoenixRu

PhoenixRu

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 615 posts

You're starting to sound like a communist.   :spiteful:

 

And not just that, he also clear-sightedly pointed the root of problem:

 

And after the collapse of the Soviet Union, social development was completely forgotten.

 

Collapse of the Soviet Union have destroyed the only universal ideological challenge to capitalist world. The keyword here is "universal". Soviet communistm was going to offer the qualitatively different way (no matter good or bad) for the whole humankind. Modern alternatives, be it "socialism with Chinese characteristics" or political Islam, can not (nor even striving to) do that.

 

And without challenge, there is no any reason to move forward. This is far from coincidence that right after the Soviet collapse, Western social thinkers came to the concept of "End of History" praising exactly what topic-starter worries about: our social development is over, we've reached the fnal point, the currnt state of things perfectly fits the human nature and any further changes are undesirable. And therefore, any future progress will be entirely about technology plus some minor tweaks here and there...

 

I would write a lot more but, after all, I'm just the crafty (but immediately revealed and strictly warned) Russian infiltrator:

 

Russians do not understand such things as democracy, human rights or laws... most of the international forums participants russians are paid trolls - I noticed this immediately after joining this forum. So don't try to use my posts for your propaganda.

 

Therefore, I'll better stop here...


  • Yuli Ban and Alislaws like this

#14
caltrek

caltrek

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,930 posts

For me, far more hope was held out by the notion of extending democratic rights under a system like what we have in the United States.  Unfortunately, that hope has yet to be realized. Things like voter suppression, defining corporations as having the same rights as persons, gerrymandering, and corruption of the system through campaign contributions by a wealthy and or powerful elite have pushed us in the wrong direction.  In that sense, I suppose it has been every bit as much a failure as the Soviet Union, although I prefer living on this side of that geographic divide. If only because a certain middle class level of comfort is still possible. At least for the present moment. 


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#15
tomasth

tomasth

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 238 posts
Miky617

"Previous authors of futurism were able to imagine a more steady transition and thus they were able to play out the logic of what they envisioned"

But they were wrong mostly , and they knew that "prediction is hard especially about the future". They spun many option knowing that few could stick.

 

"There's just nothing that we see in the works that's utterly earth-shattering in its potential that hasn't already been beat to death"

Were any of their prediction "utterly earth-shattering in its potential" ? Could you give example of what you mean by that ?

 

"most accessible yet impactful and "fresh" frontiers in setting predictions about the future"

Were those discussed to death as well ?

 

"it's not as exciting as the grand predictions people from decades past have made"

The more realistic prospects of many new technologies from space advancement to autonomous cars to 3d printing and automation to many others , no as exciting ? What were the grandness in their prediction they is more exiting then ones today ?

 

 

"Maybe then we'll see some more fresh, exciting predictions"

Yes , but that is IN ADDITION to other things. One could say that on their prediction , that it could have being more exiting if they added "new unexpected technology comes out that changes everything".

You give the internet as an example which THEY didn't predict (while being exiting).

It seems that the future turn out more exciting then their prediction become of the internet (which you defined as "new unexpected technology comes out that changes everything").

 

 

 

Did all the exciting prediction got used up before the (more exciting prospect ?) of the singularity ? And we are in the middle , after exciting prediction but before exciting lives ?

 

Maybe new genres are in order for sci fi , and for futurism new aspiration standards rethinking many of the certainties that are needed for thinking about the society.



#16
caltrek

caltrek

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,930 posts

I also wonder about whether we are being unfair to the current generation of sci-fi writers.  We have old favorites, by why ignore  our very own Yuli Ban and others on the scene today?

 

Has the science fiction genre completely dried up, or is it that we just do not recognize who are the geniuses of today? 

 

I suspect in the future we may realize that some of today's writers were really on to something.  Having a natural inclination to study history, I am reminded of an old theme.  Some artist dies in poverty and relative obscurity, sometimes feeling themselves to be a complete failure.    WIth the passage of time, the work of that artist gains in stature until he obtains "rock star" status. In that process, we often forget how hard that artist struggled just to make a living in his (or her) own time. Will the same thing happen to some of today's futurists?


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#17
tomasth

tomasth

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 238 posts
Today futurists can post online for everyone to see , so they are not as obscure.

What about non western authors , like chinese , are they original , comparable ? They certainly seem more optimistic.

#18
caltrek

caltrek

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,930 posts

 

Today futurists can post online for everyone to see , so they are not as obscure.

 

Well, yes, but yesterday they could see their short stories published in sci-fi journals, or if they had the resources use vanity press publishing houses to print their works.  It does no good for everyone to be able to see if nobody (beyond an immediate circle of friends) pays any attention.

 

 

What about non western authors , like chinese , are they original , comparable?

 

Good question.

 

 

They certainly seem more optimistic.

 

I can't speak to that as I am not literate in the Chinese (etc.) language(s). I have also not read any English translations.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#19
PhoenixRu

PhoenixRu

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 615 posts

What about non western authors , like chinese , are they original , comparable ?

 

I have also not read any English translations.

 

I've read only Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin. That made on me a very mixed impression: well-written, fresh and interesting ideas (the main of them was concept of "Dark Forest" as explanation for Fermi Paradox), but also with a bunch of naive scientific and (what's worse) logical mistakes...



#20
caltrek

caltrek

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,930 posts

 

 

I've read only Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin. 

 

In Chinese, English, or Russian?


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Futurism

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users