a thought or two about the future

what do robots represent if not the future – a utopian future, a dystopian future, any flavor of these two you like or fear.

i work in a business where we’re trying to tell our clients what to do next in a way that gives them the flexibility and power to grow or move forward into the future. but what i can’t do is tell them what their business is going to be like in five years, or what consumers are going to be doing in five years. they don’t know and i don’t know.

but that doesn’t mean the future isn’t worth thinking about.

i have no interest in beginning at the beginning, because that is not the future. and i’m totally obsessed with the future right now. for reals, yo.

i had a bite and a glass of wine with my water-guzzling friend charlotte last summer – our conversations tend to roam a bit but one of the reasons charlotte is a raison de vivre is that we permit ourselves the simple question of ‘why’.

most people i know are descriptive – they’re describers. they’re also squares, but that’s a post for another tag.

the answer i gave to this particular ‘why’ question was: ‘they’re looking backward, not forward. they’re diagnosing, not treating. they’re laying blame, not making plans.’

she liked that answer.


in the 1950s, people believed in the future. little boys could order plans for a hovercraft made from ordinary tools and the vacuum cleaner’s engine for $2. one man tells his story here. it’s very sweet, and i hope i shared FinkBuilt with my dad. he liked the future too.

before Reagan, presidents cared about the future. they invited futurists to come talk about space travel and technology and medicine and how it would be in 50 years. now they invite religious men, who are tethered to the past, and to a sky bully they say gives them an excuse to kill people. that’s me editorializing, again.

now people are skeptical and say that you can’t predict the future. you can’t maybe, i can’t either. but some folks can, like this guy. i wonder if he’s ever been invited to The White House.

like i said, i work in a business where we believe that consumers can’t tell us what they want to do next. but someone said, ‘i want to go to the moon’ a very long time ago. and maybe people laughed at that someone. but then a bunch more someones said the same thing and eventually the world was ready to go.

that’s all that predicting the future means – it doesn’t have to happen tomorrow. but in some tomorrow after that.

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