Historians versus Futurists – Who is More Valuable?

JAN 3, 2013 7:00am ET

Futurists enjoy taking out their crystal ball and projecting future innovations, but they are typically wrong. For example, George Orwell’s book, “1984,” which was published in 1949, did not come close with its projections. And in the 1960s, I recall a Walt Disney television show describing automobiles that required no driver and were guided by a magnet-like strip imbedded in the street’s or highway’s roadbed. Nice try.

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Comments (3)
Some of the best futurists have been historians, particularly in the areas of urbanism, science, and technology.
Posted by James M | Thursday, January 03 2013 at 2:14PM ET
The best futurists are good historians. A futurist who predicts the future without insight based on the past is at best a good writer of fiction. People such as Ray Kurzweil (The Singularity is Near), who look at the entirety of human history and extrapolate past today to future years, make the best futurists.
Posted by Kal Y | Thursday, January 03 2013 at 3:54PM ET
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