Tuesday, April 5, 2011

How to Be a Futurist...

Wanna be a futurist, like Faith Popcorn?  It's easy!  And Profitable!

Predicting the future is a skill that everyone would like to have.  But wait, chances are, you already have this skill!

What's that, you say?  Your prognostication skills have been lacking as of late?  Well, it is only because you haven't put the right spin on them!

It ain't hard to do!  Just follow these simple steps!
1.  Change your name to something alarming and trendy.  Don't worry if it sounds utterly stupid or if you name yourself after a snack food.  The key is for people to remember your name!

2.  Make lots of predictions - not all of them need be rational.  Genetically engineered dogs!  Personal Robots!  Electronic Hugging Booths!  Whatever comes into your mind.

3.  Write a book with a catchy title!

4.  Selectively choose which predictions you want to say "came true" by picking ones that seem most plausible and then finding selective evidence to "prove" them true.

5.  Ignore predictions that haven't come true, or just say that they are still evolving, your timing is off, or they haven't materialized....yet!  Yes, the future is an open book, so you are never, ever, necessarily "wrong" - just "ahead of your time!"

6.  Cash all those huge consulting fee checks!
This is such a cushy gig that you have to wonder why we all don't cash in on it.

On the other hand, if you really want a peek at the future, check out published pending Patent Applications.  I worked on technologies back in the early 1990's, such as in-car traffic monitoring and display, that are just now working their way into the mainstream.

I remember explaining that technology to someone back in 1992 and having them say, "Why would anyone want that?" - and now it is available in a $200 GPS unit at Costco.

Perhaps it is not as sexy as robotic hugging machines or "Manity" but hey, maybe a little more realistic.

UPDATE:  June 26, 2011:  Mea Culpa!  Faith Popcorn appears to be an utter genius after all!  The robotic hugging machine is now, in fact a reality.  Oh Brave New World!