Sunday, November 3, 2013

Can We Predict The Future?

No. Time and time again when ever pundits try to predict the future they get it wrong. The longer the prediction the "wronger" it gets! This weekend in Environmental Studies class we looked at the beginning of the movie Soylent Green, made in the 1970's and plotted in the 2020's. New York in 2020 had 40 million people and all vegetation had disappear from the surface of the earth. As the class made comments about the way that the beginning of the picture was presented one underlying idea was in everybody's mind: the technology was in no way we see today and for sure nothing like we will see in a few years in 2020. Thinking that in the 70's there was nothing like we have today related to mobil electronics and communications it is difficult to imagine how they could have predicted what we have now. So if we can't predict the future how can we plan?

Planning has to be done based on the relationship between what we want and what we can accomplish. Based on principles and values of a society that allow investments that lead to a better future. Think of the time where people in the USA were optimistic and had a tendency to "think big" both in the public and private sector. Governments got involved in huge infrastructural projects like dams, highways/roads, levies, ports, and other related to communication including the space program. Private enterprise got into the military industry, aviation, and in general production of goods and supplies.

And then there was the mixed effort where cities like Portland OR were able to bring together the public and private sectors to set the parameters that would allow growth of the city while guaranteeing livability for its citizens. Nohad Toulan who passed away a few days ago due to a unfortunate car accident in South America is an example of leadership, you can read more about him here:

This is an interesting video:

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