Futurists in the Media: What it Means to be a Futurist

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Futurist may not predict the future, but we can anticipate one question we will all get: What does a futurist do or What is a Futurist? In fact, we practice Elevator Speeches in our curriculum to have a ready response. It’s interesting to learn about how professionals respond. Marketplace.org asked that very question and similar others to futurist Amy Webb in “What it means to be a Futurist.” Amy is the author of “The Signals Are Talking: Why Today’s Fringe is Tomorrow’s Mainstream” a new book on tech trend prediction and she owns her own firm , the Future Today Institute, specializes in forecasting trends in technology.

When asked what futurists do, Amy replied “Futurists are people who specialize in lots of different disciplines and the focus is not to predict what might happen next, but instead to forecast given what we know to be true today and doing extensive modeling using evidence and data, what might be the possible scenarios tomorrow and what do we do about it?

Another interesting response was to: “do you ever look backwards?” She answered ” Of course I look backwards. That’s another really, really fascinating thing to me. Everybody has fetishizes the future and yet they forget the past. So we’re in a cycle of people freaking out about AI, but this exact same cycle goes all the way back to the invention of the light bulb and then again with cars. And then again with computers but none of these technologies happen over night. That’s the whole point of the book, and the clear message I think for anybody in business and that is you have to pay attention to what’s happening right now, you have to look back in time, to what has already happened, and you also have to be paying attention to what’s possible, what might happen in the future.”

More articles like this can really help raise awareness and about what futurists do and how we can help. — Waylon Edens

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