Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Jobs I Want #3: Futurist

Okay, a long time ago, I wrote about jobs that I want:

Jobs I Want #1: Replay Official
Jobs I Want #2: Substitute Granny

Okay, a long time ago was in January and February, but to a fly, we are talking generations.

I want to be a futurist. This is an actual profession. They have societies, blogs, the whole nine yards. I have linked to a blog, but I have not read it. I don't want to steal from an actual futurist, plus I have a preconception of futurists that I don't want changed. You know, jobs look so good when you don't really know about them.

When I was in sixth grade, we talked about the future. It was in a textbook, and here is what I remember:

1. Because of technology, most work weeks will be four days in 20 years, three days perhaps thereafter.
2. We will receive most of our food from the sea by the year 2000. By most food, I remember a picture of farmers diving for kelp.
3. We will have underground cities because of the limited space above ground.
4. We will have several manned space stations that will be performing many science experiments. Not just "space" experiments, but more dangerous experiments.
5. Our pinkies will get smaller because we don't use them when typing, and most of us will be typing all day.

I don't know about you, but looking at this list, I would say that the futurist that had an impact on the state textbook is 0 for 5. And I will have to admit, part of the allure for this profession is that you are considered a success if you are right only occasionally.

Judging from people I know, I cannot imagine that we will ever be as good as people are in the Star Trek series. Okay, for those of you who want to debate Star Trek, please don't. I am not a trekkie or trekker, and I don't even know the difference. What I do know is that if you know Klingon or have a Star Trek suit and know what your rank is, it will adversely affect your ability to breed. That's all I am going to say on Star Trek fans. But for the series, I don't see a lot of greed. It is not like people are hording money or anything. And, sorry, I can't imagine going from what we are now to a society where money seems to not have much of a place. If that were the case, I just don't know how things would be.

Anyway, that is sort of the benefit of being a futurist – predicting the future. People pay you money, and they can't tell if you are any good for twenty to fifty years, depending on when your predictions are going to come true. Can you imagine having your next performance appraisal twenty years from now?

Okay, I know, as a futurist, you probably need to be entertaining. That is part of it, perhaps a large part of it, but that's not the part on which I am focusing my attention. From what I have read, many people did not know that plastics were going to be big, real big. And from a social perspective, if anyone said that VCRs were going to help the movie industry, people would have thought they were crazy. I can remember reports that the VCR was going to be the downfall of good movies. Why else would anyone go to the theaters? They must have forgot about other possible revenue streams.

My point is this – it would be way cool to just think up stuff all day, and bill whoever for your random thoughts. Because in the grand scheme of things, my random thoughts and someone else's random thought have about the same chance of being correct. And you are depositing paychecks for years before anyone is the wiser.

21 comments:

Mike said...

I've been looking into my future...and it looks like in about 10 minutes I'm heading to work...some future huh?

sjblogger said...

We have a futurist in our office. We all often give him trouble because he pretty much predicts the future in the company so far in advance that he'll be retired and living off his 401(k) long before we ever find out if anything he said is true.

Talk about a great living...

And what of his performance appraisal? "Bob predicts the future... well we'll let you know in 20 years"...

Prata said...

We do have space stations that are manned. The International Space Station conducts experiments currently. That point wasn't entirely wrong. They do conduct more than just "space" experiments, many of the experiments that take place directly relate to Earth and other planets.

Space Station Mir is also a manned space station that conducts research and experiments. It's a Russian station though and I currently am not sure which experiments they perform there (too lazy to look).

SJ said...

Ok I predict that you will owe me a large sum of money in the near future? Wanna bet a million on it?

Edtime Stories said...

Mir, the space tenement, was brought down years ago. The International Space Station replaced it and is much better but behind schedule.

I know an astronaut who has done research on both staitions. I don't know of anything dangerous.

Futurists are good because they can help predict trends but many times it is just as efficient as sci-fi. But it would be a great job.

Leesa said...

mike: you need to look far into your future, mike. Otherwise, it is not as fun.

sjblogger: thanks for the info. I never thought I would get a comment about an actual futurist.

prata: but with the space station I read about in 6th grade, it looked like a city with a bubble over it. There were whole families, space cars to go to work, etc. And most of the experiments deal in some way with space, I would imagine, as real estate on Earth is immensely less expensive to maintain. I have no problem with space experiments - let me be able to eat Tang with a spoon when I was a child.

sj: circular arguement.

ed: good info.

Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

That "ability to breed" statement was HILARIOUS, Leesa! ;)

Excellent post...and excellent career choice too! :)

kathi said...

I see television being replaced by a 3D projection that is interactive.

I see drinking water being as expensive as gasoline.

I see children being scientifically designed and not too much later, there not being a need for actual parents anymore.

I see pets being scientifically designed as well.

I see education becoming a chip that can be surgically implanted into the brain.

Now send me my check.

Leesa said...

stacy: thanks!

kathi: I have news for you; drinking water is already more expensive than gasoline. But it looks like gas is catching up.

Phollower said...

From other posts of yours I'd say you're currently getting more 'Tang' than you could fit on a spoon... Keep up the good work.

jackt said...

Which Star Trek era are you speaking of? Because in the Captain Archer era, they were very much more materialistic and had not ditched the baser human instincts. By the time you get to the Picard and Janeway eras, though, the monetary aspect of society had been all but eliminated given the high efficiency of resource production. :)

OK I'm off to breed now.

Mike said...

Well...I got to come early...with pay...I'm liking this future stuff.

Party Girl said...

"it would be way cool to think stuff up all day and bill whoever for your random thoughts...."

You mean, like blogging?

Man, if I could make money on bloggin, I am so going to quite my day job.

minijonb said...

A company I used to work for did a lot of its long-term reseach thru the Institute for the Future. They produced really thought provoking reports. I've always thought being a futurist would be the bomb.

cadbury_vw said...

i would love to be a futurist too

i worked with a guy who was a futurist once, though

it was at a telco

we were building next generation services off budget and through contractors to hide it because he said what we were building would never work (internet based stuff)

when it worked and made a crapload of money he said it worked because his criticisms had forced us to change our business plans

the VP we reported to wouldn't let us show the futurist guy up as being a liar (our business plan was the same after as before [in writing]) in a large internal meeting

at least the futurist guy is retired now

if somone is a futurist they should just blue sky, not have fingers in real developmental projects

(sorry to exhale bitterness)

i really liked your comment about "Okay, I know, as a futurist, you probably need to be entertaining."

which gets back to your comments about Star Trek and futurists being entertaining

Leesa said...

phollower: funny!

jackt: Captain Archer? Good luck on that breeding thing.

mike: thanks.

PG: the pay part separates this from blogging. At least for me.

minijonb: a second commenter with personal experience. I am impressed.

cadbery: a third personal experience? Wow. But sorry about the experience.

Sheen V said...

Star Trek!

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Heather said...

Hey.. I want THAT job!!