Episode 12 - Perspectives on the Future

In this episode we tackle some big questions about the future.

What is it?
How do we think about it?
How do I get a job as a "futurist"?
As leaders for change, how do we orient ourselves towards it?

And if you're wondering why the image for this post is a piece of repaired pottery, you'll need to listen to the episode.

Kintsugi, Centuries Old Japanese Method of Repairing Pottery with Gold

Translated to “golden joinery,” Kintsugi (or Kintsukuroi, which means “golden repair”) is the centuries-old Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with a special lacquer dusted with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. Beautiful seams of gold glint in the cracks of ceramic ware, giving a unique appearance to the piece.

“As you imagine the consequences of peripheral trends in the future, go beyond the first-degree impact. For example, consider the driverless cars that Google, BMW, and others are working on. Obviously cars without drivers could change driving patterns, which could affect auto manufacturers. Presumably they will crash less frequently, which could enable dramatically different designs that are much lighter weight, affecting material companies. Lighter cars will get much better mileage, affecting gas companies. If cars don’t crash, why would we need auto insurance, at least in its current form? And what about local governments that earn revenue from handing out speeding tickets? Or urban planners that allocate prime real estate to parking lots? Finally, consider employment implications. One million people in the U.S. work as truck drivers. What happens when they are displaced by robots?” Read more here.

Famous Quotes about the Future

'The Bomb will never go off; I speak as an expert in explosives."
- - Admiral William Leahy , US Atomic Bomb Project
"There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom."-- Robert Millikan, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1923 

"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons." -- Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." -- Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

"I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year." -- The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957 

"But what is it good for?" -- Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip. 

"640K ought to be enough for anybody." -- Bill Gates, 1981 

This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us" -- Western Union internal memo, 1876. 

"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?"-- David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s. 

"The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a 'C,' the idea must be feasible" -- A Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith's paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.) 

"I'm just glad it'll be Clark Gable who's falling on his face and not Gary Cooper" -- Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role in "Gone With The Wind." 

"We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out" -- Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962. 

"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible" -- Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895. 

"If I had thought about it, I wouldn't have done the experiment. The literature was full of examples that said you can't do this" - - Spencer Silver on the work that led to the unique adhesives for 3-M "Post-It" Notepads . 

"Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy" -- Drillers who Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil in 1859.

"Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value" -- Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre , France .

"Everything that can be invented has been invented"-- Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, US Office of Patents, 1899. 

"The super computer is technologically impossible.It would take all of the water that flows over Niagara Falls to cool the heat generated by the number of vacuum tubes required." -- Professor of Electrical Engineering, New York University 

"I don't know what use any one could find for a machine that would make copies of documents. It certainly couldn't be a feasible business by itself." -- the head of IBM, refusing to back the idea, forcing the inventor to found Xerox. 

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." -- Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977

Listen here.
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