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May 18, 2014

Why futurologists are always wrong – and why we should be sceptical of techno-utopians


Futurologists are almost always wrong.
Indeed, Clive James invented a word – “Hermie” – to denote an inaccurate prediction by a futurologist. This was an ironic tribute to the cold war strategist and, in later life, pop futurologist Herman Kahn. It was slightly unfair, because Kahn made so many fairly obvious predictions – mobile phones and the like – that it was inevitable quite a few would be right.

Even poppier was Alvin Toffler, with his 1970 book Future Shock,
which suggested that the pace of technological change would cause psychological breakdown and social paralysis, not an obvious feature of the Facebook generation. Most inaccurate of all was Paul R Ehrlich who, in The Population Bomb, predicted that hundreds of millions would die of starvation in the 1970s. Hunger, in fact, has since declined quite rapidly.
New Statesman

Posted by gerardvanderleun at May 18, 2014 10:36 AM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

Your Say

And yet Paul Ehrlich is still a tenured professor at Stanford. That says so much about Academia in general.

Posted by: Darkwater at May 18, 2014 4:15 PM

Please, that Ehrlich is still a manured BS professor at Stanford, says nothing about Academia in general. It does say something about standards at Stanford.
What says a lot about Academia's professorial crass, as supported by numerous surveys, is that by a large margin they lean toward and vote toward the lame-brained Left. Why lame-brained? Because they cannot mount logical arguments on issues calling for comprehensive, adequate facts-in-context. Brandeis University's recent entry into the Hall of Shame is the latest data point describing the bereft Left's lemming leap into moral oblivion. They proliferate in academia doubtless because they are busy mounting each other.

Posted by: Howard Nelson at May 18, 2014 5:47 PM

If time didn't go by so fast I wouldn't dwell so much on the past.

Posted by: chasmatic at May 18, 2014 10:13 PM

Futurists almost invariably hold a left-wing worldview, which immediately corrupts and discredits almost everything they "predict."

Posted by: Don Rodrigo at May 19, 2014 6:53 AM

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