The future and why we are terrible at predicting it « You Are Not So Smart

I am listening to the You Are Not So Smart Podcast and reminded of how often Stephen Duncombe and I encounter these faulty visions of the future. Thing like “We’ll never be able to do _______.” or “That’s just not going to happen.” come up in our workshops because we all have such a hard time being able to imagine realities outside our own.

Don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong with you, it’s just how our brains work. However, we do need to work harder to envision alternate futures. Since no one knows what will really happen in the future, pretending there will be an ever-present hegemony, capitalism, racism, or whatever problem is just another form of resignation.

We don’t know what’s possible, so we might as well work toward justice, equality, balance, peace, and a richer humanity.

Here’s some info from the podcast:

If you love educational entertainment – programs about science, nature, history, technology and everything in between – it is a safe bet that the creators of those shows were heavily influenced by the founding fathers of science communication: Carl Sagan, David Attenborough, and James Burke.

In this episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast we sit down with James Burke and discuss the past, the present, and where he sees us heading in the future. Burke says we must soon learn how to deal with a world in which scarcity is scarce, abundance is abundant, and home manufacturing can produce just about anything you desire.

james BurkeJames Burke is a legendary science historian who created the landmark BBC series Connections which provided an alternative view of history and change by replacing the traditional “Great Man” timeline with an interconnected web in which all people influence one another to blindly direct the flow of progress. Burke is currently writing a new book about the coming age of abundance, and he continues to work on his Knowledge Web project.

We also sit down with Matt Novak, creator and curator of Paleofuture, a blog that explores retro futurism, sifting through the many ways people in the past predicted how the future would turn out, sometimes correctly, mostly not.

Together, Burke and Novak help us understand why we are to terrible at predicting the future and what we can learn about how history truly unfolds so we can better imagine who we will be in the decades to come.

After the interview, I discuss a news story about how cigarettes affect the way your brain interprets cigarette advertising.

YANSS Podcast 020 – James Burke and Matt Novak ponder the future and why we are terrible at predicting it « You Are Not So Smart.

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