What will our world look like in 25 years?
We are not the first to ask this question. In 1955, Fortune magazine published The Fabulous Future: America in 1980, which brought together some of most influential Americans to speculate on the world to come.
It is no surprise that technology will shape our future. Political scientist and ambassador Robert Gallucci worries that technological change may create unexpected vulnerabilities among nations, as small countries acquire ways of wreaking havoc. And then there are the possible and highly destructive events called black swans: a new plague, the disintegration of China, or the detonation of nuclear bombs in major cities that could make slow economic growth the least of our problems.
Will we ever address climate change, individual rights, and other issues if we never hear about them? Author and media entrepreneur Arianna Huffington points to a revolution in communication technology as a way to uncover the truth. On the other hand, it is becoming easier to perpetrate the latest big lie. According to sociologist Barry Glassner, focusing on the wrong fears has a long history. While particular worries will change, the methods employed to exaggerate dangers will remain. No wonder, as Kaminer argues, so many of us are scared to the point where we trade civil liberties for anything called “national security.”
They’ve been wildly wrong before, but experts looking at our future are surprisingly optimistic. The future just won’t stay still. We imagine we can predict it and that we can mitigate the power of the radically unknown. Almost always, events prove us wrong. Then we forget these mistakes […]