I'm writing and publishing this article to announce openly that I'm a Futurist!
I'm a registered member of several Futurist organizations. I attend Futurist conferences. I highlight and interview Futurist in my productions and I constantly read books by Futurists. I'm reading McAfee and Brynjolfsson's book "The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies".
Yes, I'm a Futurist and I'm proud of it.
My close friends and network may have suspected it as they receive my links and articles about IT, computers and the potential of a jobless future. I suspect that my contacts did not email me asking why I sent them these obscure articles about things that haven't happened nor did I get my emails blocked! Now, did they erase my emails without reading them? Perhaps, but I'm not discouraged and I'll keep talking about what has a high probability of happening.
I mention that I was not discouraged to continue talking and writing about the future because all dedicated and passionate persons studying upcoming trends commonly find themselves being labeled as odd or strange. I can truly understand why persons may think Futurists are "bordering on lunacy". We talk about the probability of using flying cars and using large 3-D printers to build houses. We look into the idea of having miniature robots enter our bodies to battle with cancer cells or moving the thoughts of a human into machines when the body finally wears out.
Many persons make it a point to prove to me once and for all that the future cannot be predicted. I prefer to invest my time to find and meet with other Futurist and thus I respect the naysayers and go forth with my investigations.
I want to clarify that I stated that I'm a Futurist and not a prophet nor a clairvoyant. I look for answers in information -- referred to as data or analytics -- instead of trying to connect with some mystical being.
I became a Futurist that actively and constantly seeks information about Tomorrowland by chance. It started when I was a college freshman at Claremont Men's College -- now Claremont McKenna -- in my macroeconomics course. The professor assigned a research project where we had to "predict" what the country would be like if almost a third of its population were unemployed and retired. That assignment was 45 years ago.
Back then I thought it was a class project was just a way to confuse us with useless information.
I did the research and I did it grudgingly. I didn't realize that is exactly what has happen today given the high number of baby boomers that are retiring plus the number of persons that have failed to enter or have dropped out of the workforce altogether.
While I was taking that course I felt I was wasting a great deal of my time in the library going through tons of dry statistical information. My view that I wasted my time disappeared when I invited Dr. David Hayes Bautista, from UCLA, to be a presenter at my conferences during the closing months of the 20th Century. His presentation showed us how persons like my college professor and Dr. Hayes-Bautista, to name a few, can go through large amounts of data and make insightful projections of what's to come. He used information from the U.S. Census to highlight how Latino children would become the majority in our schools. His book was published in 1992 and his projection was realized 23 years later.
To be a viable Futurist, one has to constantly read a great deal of information, search and listen to policy-makers, do broad base research in many areas and communicate constantly with others in-kind. Additionally, one must be comfortable letting one's imagination run wild. You can spot who is a student of the future because they are constantly asking, "What would happen if....."
Being a Futurist is a very difficult and time consuming activity because the probability of doing a great deal of analyzing and arriving to the wrong conclusion can be the norm. Trends in society, locally and internationally, are changing very quickly and making viable predictions is becoming more difficult.
I've been able to do this over many years because I work hard to ignoring the memory of the many times that I missed the mark.
So why go through all the trouble in spite of the high possibility of getting the prediction completely wrong? "The answer is: The rewards of getting it right can be tremendous."
Getting the right conclusion means making decisions that are financially rewarding. Reaching the right outcome can guide one as to where to go and what to avoid. Getting on the correct direction is empowering and places one on the position of moving toward a proactive position.
It's wonderful to be living in this period of time that there is so much information easily available and it can be be accessed worldwide via the Internet. Yet, it's critically important to tell the difference between good and mythical information. It's important to figure out who is making predictions based on tea leafs or tarot cards from those that are doing their in-depth studies and many hours of homework. Once you find the best persons with years of study then you get as much information as they provide and apply it to your life.
I invite encourage everyone to also become Futurist. It's not a matter of finding something to kill time or simply to stay busy. It's an issue of making sense of what's to come quite rapidly. It's important to be informed as we manage our finances and health in the coming years. We also want to provide the best advice and plans for our family and kids. I've written and shared several articles on the topic of guiding our kids to prepare themselves to become employers instead of employees.
We want to protect our gains and focus on increase them. I want to take full advantage of the new opportunities that are coming thus studying and future trends must be a continuous activity. There is always homework to do. I will continue to do seminars on how to become a Futurist and I'm always looking forward to networking with others who are also energized and seeking opportunities amongst the vast amount of substantive information that is at our fingertips.
While studying about the future is not a guarantee for success, it does help us improve our ability to find and recognize important trends that can point us toward a better life.