> Essays > Change > Octopus | Tomorrow | Arts | Governance | America's Futures | Borders
>> Catalog of Tomorrow Rough Drafts: Deep Sea | SETI | Deep Space

The Muse of Change

Futurists are, in some fundamental sense, dilettantes: they must forever graze lightly over fields established by scholars, researchers, and writers with more profound and focussed expertise. Perhaps a better metaphor is that of the butterfly -- we move from flowering idea to flowering idea, not only gathering information about change and its potentials, but also cross-pollinating ideas.

Thus I make no claim to specialization in oceanography, or aerospace engineering, or astronomy, or nanotechnology, or genomics -- or any of the specific fields from whence emerge the changes and innovations I describe. On the other hand, I may fairly lay claim to expertise in exploring the potential impacts of those changes, and their effects and interrelationships with each other, society, and the environment.

The essays presented here all describe trends and emerging issues of change, and explore to varying degrees their potential long-term effects and impacts on us, on our society, on our biosphere, and our universe.

The Octopus' Garden 2030: this essay was written for the World Futures Studies Federation's World Conference in Kure, Japan, in November 2002. As will be very obvious, it draws heavily on the research and writing completed for the "Deep Sea Exploration" essay mentioned below. As the WFSF put no page limitations on authors, I was able to include much more material -- historical, emergent and critical -- allowing greater detail in elaborating impacts. Draft: work in progress.

For the past six summers, I have had the absolute delight to teach in the summer residential intensive program of the MS in Studies of the Future at the University of Houston - Clear Lake. This program draws extraordinary people from all walks of life from all over the world; the 2002 class exemplified this. One of its members, Andrew Zolli, had been drafted by Que Publishing to create a volume of collected essays about emerging issues in science, technology, exploration, and social change. He, in turn, drafted me to write three of those essays (for which I am in his debt). After five years of reading and writing too much academic-speak, it was a total delight. Here, then, are the expanded versions of my three essays for TechTV's Catalog of Tomorrow (ed. Andrew Zolli) -- I of course found myself completely unable to keep to the 750-word limit.

"Writer's cut" of my essays for TechTV's Catalog of Tomorrow (bonus material not included in the book!).
Warning: these are graphic-intensive pages.

It's tough to be an academic in the watershed era between literacy and mediacy. When you're immersed in words and text, the segue from the verbal to the visual can be tough. I've been trying to think of powerpoint less in terms of an outline of ideas and concepts, and more as a vivid slide show. The presentation on innovation and the arts ("Emerging Change and the Arts of the Future") which I prepared for the University of Industrial Arts, Helsinki (UIAH: Taideteollinen Korkeakoulu) represents a conscious effort to focus on image and idea in conveying the sources of new opportunities for design, materials, and production in the arts.

Intimate Governance is published here as a protest against the censorship it underwent at the hands of Dr. Tae-chang Kim of the Future Generations Alliance, who insisted that all instances of the word "governance" be edited out of the proceedings volume of the FGA conference on the future of political systems. Hence it was published in that volume as "Intimate Politics," which implies something else entirely. This is also an expanded version of that essay, on the future of systems of governance, using arguments, models, ideas, and examples from modern utopian and speculative fiction.

Finally, here are some essays -- dated 1994 -- from my days as research staff at the Hawai'i Research Center for Futures Studies. America's Alternative Futures -- and yes, I begin the essay with an apology for the use of the shorthand "America" when referring only to the United States of America -- offers an historical survey of preferred images of the future for the United States, but also discusses the rationale for studying images of the future in futures research. At the time Borders of the Heart, Passports of the Mind was written, the emerging issues of change it discusses were still emerging; now they are hardly even trends: more conditions of present life.


> Essays > Change > Octopus | Tomorrow | Arts | Governance | America's Futures | Borders
>> Catalog of Tomorrow Rough Drafts: Deep Sea | SETI | Deep Space

15 February 2003. Email IF.
Copyright © 2003, Wendy L. Schultz
All rights reserved.
Since 1/15/2003, over [an error occurred while processing this directive]
people have explored our infinite futures.

(in addition to the 17,500+ visitors from 10/1/2001-12/15/2002).