Predicting the Future, NOT

5 Apr

Back in the mid-1960s, Dan Gardner reports, Olaf Helmer directed a group of RAND Corporation experts in forecasting the state of this that and the other in the year 2000, which is now well behind us. The following were deemed “very probable”:

Controlled thermonuclear power [fusion power] will be economically competitive with other sources of power.

It will be possible to control the weather regionally to a large extent.

Ocean mining on a large scale will be in progress.

Artificial life will have been created in a test tube.

Immunization against all bacterial and viral diseases will be available.

Highly intelligent machines will exist that will act as effective collaborators of scientists and engineers.

I don’t know about life in a test tube, but, by my lights, none of the others have come to pass. What’s the chance that we can predict the effects of producing more nuclear power plants, more waste, etc.?



2 Responses to “Predicting the Future, NOT”

  1. Charlie Keil April 6, 2011 at 6:08 am #

    Knowing what we know now, which is very little, but more than we knew in the 1960s, would we really want ANY of those eventualities to come to pass?
    Why would we want to control the weather?
    More fusion energy to be used for destroying the planet?
    By mining the oceans?
    I’m thinking that “Truth & Traditions Party” is a better name for what we’re trying to do, because there is so much typhos, fog of lies, denial, fatalism going on. AND we want to be helping the “transition” movement, not adding to the confusion.

  2. kubla April 6, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    Well, perhaps you’re right about the name. OTOH, we don’t want to create troublesome ‘cross-talk’ for the boots-on-the-ground Transitioners. OTOH “”Truth and Traditions” seems like a more direct name for a political party. Though ‘truth’ is kinda’ radical for politikers, no?

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