Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Fantastic Vision Of Futurists

Future Views

Floating Cities: The article says: “A combination of growing populations along with rising sea levels due to climate change could see the creation of floating cities. The reef-like structures would rise above the sea and would be linked to the mainland by huge roads. The notion is seen as the second most likely to become a reality in the decades to come, with one in three (30 per cent) of Britons thinking it is viable.”
Photo Credit & SourceThe Independent

Predicting the future is always risky business, since it is often a projection of today with a fanciful imprint. An article in The Independent says that in Britain culture and economics will influence urban architecture in ways that will alter the skyline, the streets and the waterways. This includes burrowing further into the ground to make multi-level underground basements, developing rooftop farms and building floating cities.

All of these ideas emanate, the article says, from a panel of experts.
It includes award-winning architects Arthur Mamou-Mani and Toby Burgess; urbanist Linda Aitken; and Dr Rhys Morgan, director of engineering and education, the Royal Academy of Engineering.
"We may build downwards, creating additional space through super deep basements, or we may need to create floating conurbations on major rivers or even out to sea. And how we grow and access food, incorporating urban farming into the built environment, as well as harnessing natural energy sources, will result in dramatically different streetscapes and skylines," commented Linda Aitken.
“There is rarely a ‘eureka’ moment,” when it comes to advances, according to Dr Morgan. “Engineering feats which are currently out of reach require time for the pieces to fit together and the minds responsible for developing the ideas to work through all the wrong avenues before achieving what is currently impossible,” he added.
Perhaps, but it is always safe to predict what will take place 100 years from now, since you will no longer be be alive to hear the stinging rebukes that you were wrong, that your predictions were off-base, that they are considered funny,“given what we know today”; and, equally important, memories being what they are, these predictions will be forgotten quickly. (And then recalled decades later, given our ability to access the large data-bank known as the Internet.) Yet, there exists such courageous individuals, who are called futurists, Wikipedia says, “whose specialty is futurology, or the attempt to systematically explore predictions and possibilities about the future and how they can emerge from the present, whether that of human society in particular or of life on Earth in general.” 

Do predictions of the  future increase when society in general feels threatened or under attack? Do people portend a better future when the current one seems gloomy? Does anxiety and alienation increase the need for futurists? These are all good questions for which answers need exploring.

Predicting the future might be in our genes, perhaps as a way to prepare for all possible eventualities. Or the one that is most probable. One hundred years ago, the Victorians made educated guesses of what life would be like at the beginning of the twenty-first century: flying cars, routine trips to the moon, domestic robots and cities in the oceans. 

Then there are the ones made by the science-fiction writer, Arthur C. Clarke, 50 years ago: people being deep-freezed like food and the use of a quantum generator to control matter. Such predictions, like most predictions of the future, are fun and filled with possibilities of advancing our society, but I no longer take them seriously. If do they take place, so much the better for future humanity. But I somehow sense that new problems will crop up, and that some of the old ones will remain.

For more, go to [TheIndepend]

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