The Futurist is so Pastist

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Recently I attended an annual conference for technology teachers. The conference has a theme each year and this one was about cloud computing. The keynote was delivered by a futurist.

A futurist predicts technology trends and how they might affect our lives. They base.their pedictions on emerging trends in science, technology, the economy and society dynamics.

In contrast, fortune tellers, who also predict the future have tarot cards, crystal balls and star charts to enhance their message.

This particular futurist spoke at length about social media. He also demonstrated cloud computing with Powerpoint slides. Behind him was a constant Twitter feed which was meant to enhance his delivery.

Unfortunately, all the feed did was display rude tweets about the futurist whenever his back was turned. This drew lots of giggling and guffaws from the audience.

Everyone was bored by the futurist. Although he promoted himself as a Futurist he was really a ‘Pastist’ because cloud computing is something already widely available.

Which made me wonder how would you prepare yourself for a career as a futurist?

I would watch science fiction movies, read science and technology magazines, network with the folks at MIT and attend TED talks. Alternatively, reading palms, tea leaves and chicken entrails might be equally effective.

So what is the future? I can predict one thing with certainty. Never turn your back on a live Twitter feed!

Sue Bell

Sue Bell is an entertainment writer and author of Backpacked: A mostly true story, Beat Street and When Dreamworks came to Stanley.

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