Talk:Futures studies

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Move to futures studies[edit]

As one of the original authors of the Futures Studies entry I find the term futurology unacceptable. It is not the term used in either academic or professional contexts. The term futurology is certainly worthy of an entry, but it is not the primary point of entry into the field of futures studies as currently used by people in both the academic and professional futures studies community. Rielm (talk) 12:21, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

Lead section[edit]

Lead section is a bit rambling, and needs to be edited for wordiness. The Transhumanist (talk) 23:25, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Done - moved most of the paragraphs to relevant sections. The Transhumanist (talk) 00:12, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Move to futures studies?[edit]

In the archives, Nectarflowed and Paranoid both made extremely valid arguments for why this article should in fact be called Future Studies. Futurology is long forgotten in academic circles, and I can not think of many pop futurists who call themselves futurologists. Please explain why you continue to use the Futurology title! —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.97.184.11 (talk) 01:07, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

I second this comment but with a caveat. The long-accepted term of practice is Futures, not "Future" studies. I'm a member of the Association of Professional Futurists and a graduate of the University of Houston MS program in Futures Studies. No one that I know of uses the phrase "futurology" today. It is of historical but not current importance. Writers who occasionally use it show their unawareness of both the academic and practitioner communities. Likewise, in those communities, "Futures" studies (in plural) has been the accepted parlance (not "Future" studies) for roughly twenty five years (the World Futures Studies Federation, for example, added the "s" to "Future" its name back in 1987), as leading practitioners emphasize that there are a plurality of possible and actual futures, as well as cultural, organizational, and individual preferences with respect to the future. Articulating those is one important aspect (alternative futures) of both academic and professional futures work. JohnMSmart (talk) 20:11, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
What's "extreme" about the validity of their arguments? The term "futurology" appears to be in wider common usage, and may even be an umbrella term. It is defined all over the Web, and there's a futurology article in both Encarta and Brittanica - I could find no definition of "futures studies" or (this context of ) "futures" in any of the major on-line dictionaries, and neither of the two encyclopedias just cited has an article with these names. Google search also shows that "futurology" is in far greater use than "futures studies". The corresponding article in the HighBeam Encyclopedia is also named "futurology", and presents the definition published in A Dictionary of Sociology 1998, published by Oxford University Press 1998. Users of Wikipedia are much more likely to search for "futurology" than the other terms. Presenting the subject as "futures studies" may be giving it undue weight over "futurology" which is the more popular term. The Transhumanist 22:19, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

I can't help but notice how Nectarflowed and Paranoid's comments have been deleted or otherwise removed from the archives of this discussion. First, the international organization, WFSF, is called the World Future Studies Federation and obviously prefer the term Futures Studies. WFS is the World Futures Society and they use the term Futures Studies. Their magazine is called The Futurist not the Futurologist. Also, the APF or Association of Professional Futurists uses the term Future Studies along with the three American universities which offer graduate degrees, University of Houston, Regent University, and University of Hawaii. The Australian universities prefer the term Strategic Forecasting. Does Wikipedia prefer representing its subjects according to how they are viewed in mass media or according to how the subjects actually represent themselves? So question for The Transhumanist, are you a "transhumanist" or just a comic book dork? No slander intended. Simply proving my point. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.97.184.11 (talk) 20:33, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

The links to the archives of this discussion are at the top of this page.
Specialists in a field use specialized terms. But, the policy Wikipedia:Naming conventions clearly states:
"The names of Wikipedia articles should be optimized for readers over editors, and for a general audience over specialists."
If mass media and the reference work publication field (encyclopedias, dictionaires, etc.), who serve the general public, use the term "futurology", then that appears to be the right term for the article. If "futures studies" were the more popular term, then you'd expect Encarta and Britannica to name its articles that instead of "futurology". The NPOV policy section WP:UNDUEWEIGHT also applies.
If you'd like we could bring this discussion to the talk page of the naming conventions policy, to see what the editors there say. Or to the policy discussion page of the Village pump where Wikipedia's policy gurus hang out. Or both. I'm sure they'll be able to help determine what the correct policy-based course of action is.
The Transhumanist 02:45, 14 February 2008 (UTC)


I to am a member of the Association of Professional Futurists. The term futurology was used before and initially described the ability to foresee the future through a study of macrotrends. It’s root lies with Auguste Comte (1798-1857), a historical positivist, who saw, like John Stuart Mill, the unfolding of history as an absolute trend that according to Mill is rooted in the human trait of seeking to expand our material wealth and prosper. It was Comte who introduced the notion that one, in alignment with the positivist’s creed, on the basis of laws could foresee the future (“prévision rationelle”). This has since been refuted in modern future studies theory. The term still exists, but should rightfully as pointed out by the other gentlemen be transformed to futures studies. Future studies is a discipline but not an exact science which the term futurology studies entails to people who know the history of future studies. One can maintain the two different terms but then the difference between them should be emphasized.(217.157.144.106 (talk) 11:58, 14 October 2009 (UTC)).

Foresight (future studies) merger[edit]

There seems to be another article on future studies, and should be considered for merging. My recommendation is to merge the two articles back under the title Future studies as it seems to be the current professional standard, and the term leading and defining the articles, though I acknowledge the WP:UNDUEWIGHT argument, above. Thoughts? --Yamara 17:28, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

Strategic Foresight, Futures Studies, and Futurology are all different studies, but "integral futures" brings them all together. So, a merger would be good, but there needs to be more about their distinct histories in my opinion along with their more similar present. Actually, the European school of thought which dominates Futurology may not really have integrated much of the American Futures Studies or even the Australasian Strategic Foresight. The latter two of which have integrated considerably. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 210.185.12.208 (talk) 21:56, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Lists moved[edit]

I moved the extensive embedded lists to List of futurology topics.

The Transhumanist (talk) 11:58, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Psychohistory?[edit]

In Isaac Asimov's "Foundation" series, his character Hari Seldon develops a system he calls "Psychohistory" through which he is able to predict, with great accuracy, future events. Psychohistory is described as essentially a fusion of sociology and statistics, whereby Seldon determines the most likely path humanity will follow (and he even manages to set events in motion during his lifetime to help improve the odds of the optimal outcome).

While Asimov himself also engaged in futurology to an extent (virtually all sci-fi writers do), I was wondering if it would be worth adding a mention of Psychohistory to the article. In a way, it's Asimov as a futurist predicting the rise of an even more advanced form of futurology. EJSawyer (talk) 18:39, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

You describe an interesting piece of information EJSawyer, but do you not feel that your conclusion (being that through writing his fiction Asimov is wilfully predicting something) is false? Unless, of course confirmed by Asimov, in which case what I am typing I accept is irrelevant and you should reference Asimov to support your conclusion. I would like to display that my issue is with how you have attempted to understand the mind of Asmiov in a way that we simply cannot do with the information available to us as the reader and thus in turn this makes the conclusion more incredulous, something which you can fix easily! I feel that it is positive to not make conclusions that can be so simply stated, ambiguity so easily removed. You find the answer or you don't... Unless we otherwise attribute to the author prophetic powers he is not in control of? BoredextraWorkvidid (talk) 08:31, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

On September 25, 1987, Asimov gave an interview to Terry Gross on her National Public Radio program, Fresh Air.[1] In it, Gross asked him about psychohistory:

Gross: "What did you have in mind when you coined the term and the concept?" Asimov: "Well, I wanted to write a short story about the fall of the Galactic Empire. I had just finished reading the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire [for] the second time, and I thought I might as well adapt it on a much larger scale to the Galactic Empire and get a story out of it. And my editor John Campbell was much taken with the idea, and said he didn't want it wasted on a short story. He wanted an open-ended series so it lasts forever, perhaps. And so I started doing that. In order to keep the story going from story to story, I was essentially writing future history, and I had to make it sufficiently different from modern history to give it that science fictional touch. And so I assumed that the time would come when there would be a science in which things could be predicted on a probabilistic or statistical basis." Gross: "Do you think that would be good if there really was such a science?" Asimov: "Well, I can't help but think it would be good, except that in my stories, I always have opposing views. In other words, people argue all possible... all possible... ways of looking at psychohistory and deciding whether it is good or bad. So you can't really tell. I happen to feel sort of on the optimistic side. I think if we can somehow get across some of the problems that face us now, humanity has a glorious future, and that if we could use the tenets of psychohistory to guide ourselves we might avoid a great many troubles. But on the other hand, it might create troubles. It's impossible to tell in advance."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychohistory_(fictional) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Suzy Butterfly (talkcontribs) 19:28, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

A good picture[edit]

Of something like early futurologists or something.
ThisMunkey (talk) 12:43, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Inappropriate tone tag[edit]

Instances of weasel words, peacock terms, and casual speech can be found throughout the article. --Yamara 16:59, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

Perhaps you could explain a little more and use a little less terms like 'weasel words' ? As a concept I wonder are weasel words recognised seriously, academically / whateverly? Because simply by looking at the Wikipedia article on the topic, I believe I can tell of numerous issues with this way of labelling a type of idea. This being incorrect labelling and in turn treatment of ideas based on the numerous obvious factors people clearly have ignored being what a great impact society has on how we value things for one. I mean is Societies viewpoint or the elites viewpoint not something which can change like the weather in the test of time?

Why not instead focus on the correct viewpoint formed from positive mental controls, methods, attitudes? It seems a negative thinking process to propagate on Wikipedia, a tool which I hold in the highest regards. Presenting this (the concept of Weasel-words) as something intrinsically true about something, when its not! Or, am I taking meaning from this that simply doest not exist?
Furthermore I would like to disclaim that if the Wikipedia articles are misleading (the ones I reference to form my opinion) then similarly my responses will be misleading as I believe I can really only correctly cross reference by being in line WITH how we regulate ourselves in the 'correctness' of our definitions (I realise we are not a dictionary...), otherwise the entire thinking behind how this site is run would be flawed. Then further I would say if the response to my question of 'Why is this not addressed ?' is "Well it simply happens due to the size of Wikipedia, we need more staff, we're free not a business ....." etc., then maybe that should be something which is looked into as I believe it will lead to Wikipedia being inaccurate, and to extrapolate I believe that at a minimum you could find thousands more examples of this if what I conclude or specify in the above text is accepted as a 'Truth' BoredextraWorkvidid (talk) 08:58, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

Factual errors - watchlist[edit]

One prominent international "business futurist", Frank Feather, coined the phrase "Thinking Globally, Acting Locally" in 1979.

(This is not the consensus on the "Thinking Globally, Acting Locally" page. Someone should produce a friends of the earth newsletter or correspondence from 1979 showing where Frank Feather might have received it.

References: (1976) - http://books.google.com/books?id=QTw5AAAAMAAJ&q=act-locally+%22think+globally%22+date:1900-1978&dq=act-locally+%22think+globally%22+date:1900-1978&lr=&as_brr=0&ei=69wiScf2HIjiNLvRgZwO&pgis=1

(1975) http://books.google.com/books?id=IitcAAAAMAAJ&q=act-locally+%22think+globally%22+date:1900-1978&dq=act-locally+%22think+globally%22+date:1900-1978&lr=&as_brr=0&ei=69wiScf2HIjiNLvRgZwO&pgis=1 ) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Wikip rhyre (talkcontribs) 15:22, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

Foresight, art[edit]

I want to change the article so that these words are given their proper context. At present they are equated (portrayed as one and the same thing as futurology) but in actual fact they are closely related topics. Foresight (in a manner) requires futurology (of course foresight can be accomplished without futurology but at the optimum level, futurology is its right arm). Art is often entwined with futurology by practitioners. Can anyone give more than a broken link to Wordnet to show futurology, foresight and art to be one and the same thing? ~ R.T.G 15:11, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

Futures studies[edit]

Why is the current article named "futurology" instead of "futures studies"? Viriditas (talk) 16:38, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

Try reading Strategic foresight ~ R.T.G 09:09, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
That isn't helpful. "Futurology" does not appear to be primary term in use anymore, much in the same way that astrobiology replaced or supplanted the terms bioastronomy and exobiology. This article should be called "Futures studies", not futurology. Viriditas (talk) 12:18, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
Futures studies is scarcely English, perhaps something created by a non-native speaker. Futurology is widely used and idiomatic. The article's name should be changed to that. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 80.189.103.145 (talk) 07:14, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

Futurism is an early 20th-century art movement, not this.[edit]

This is ridiculous, really. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.145.91.229 (talk) 14:06, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

This is the talkpage for the article about predicting the future, which is Futurology . The article on the early 20th-century art movement Futurism is, not surprisingly, Futurism.  Skomorokh, barbarian  14:11, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

I Strongly believe this needs to be cleaned up.[edit]

"11. Sustainability was a given. It almost didn’t need to be mentioned. Sustainable futures, understood as making decisions that do not reduce the options of future generations, that thus include the long term, the impact of policies on nature, gender and the other, appears to be the accepted paradigm. This is so for the corporate futurist and the NGO. Moreover, sustainability, in its green sense, appears to have been reconciled with the technological, spiritual and post-structural ideal of transformation. It is thus not a simplistic ideal of sustainability (i.e., back to nature) but rather a paradigm that is inclusive of technological and cultural change."

This has perhaps the 'chattiest' opening I have ever read in Wikipedia, are these points simply a description and then copying of the actual experts, recognised mind, whatevers findings as VERBOSE as possible, or is this wikipedia and this is simply someone who could have formed some better sentences? BoredextraWorkvidid (talk) 08:15, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

Yeah agree entirely. Having not read the original doc I don't want to make any great changes, but I have edited the first two lines, which are the worst, to read more appropriately. Carl weathers bicep (talk) 12:51, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

Singularity[edit]

Futurology busting Singularity is in the book list but not the article. Before I WP:Bold something in on this, is there a reason for its ommission? HkFnsNGA (talk) 07:45, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Move to Future studies - "Future studies" is the more common name for this concept. Neelix (talk) 17:03, 22 July 2011 (UTC)


FuturologyFutures studies – It's time to move this title to Futures studies as we've been saying for many years now. Nobody uses the term "futurology" anymore. This is like those last few dying holdouts decrying the move of bioastronomy to astrobiology. Time's up, time to move. Viriditas (talk) 03:19, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

So what is this beast called?[edit]

I went to edit the article to keep the terminology consistent, and to replace instances of "futures studies" with "future studies", but it seems that the most relevant and recent publications really do call it "futures studies" -- so I propose moving the article to Futures studies. Though I'd like some opinions from people who are actually savvy about the topic. Google gives more results for "future studies" than "futures studies", but to me it seems that's outweighed by what the field is really called today. — Jeraphine Gryphon (talk) 07:15, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

None of the sources in the references section have "future studies" in the title, several have "futures studies". I'm putting a db-move tag on the other article. — Jeraphine Gryphon (talk) 07:36, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Hi Jeraphine, yes, this should be futures studies, reflecting that there are multiple possible futures instead of any single future, and that our actions matter to which future we end up in. I cite the Houston "Futures Studies" program and the Hawaii "Futures Studies" program as additional examples. John b cassel (talk) 14:32, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done The Transhumanist 21:18, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Merge[edit]

Futurist should redirect to Futures studies. The Futurist article is as follows:

Lede "Futurists (not in the sense of futurism) or futurologists are scientists and social scientists whose speciality is to attempt to systematically predict the future", where systematically predict the future wikilinks to Futures studies
Definition Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not a dictionary
Futures Studies "Main article: Futurology"
Futurists and futurology this short incoherent section is perhaps intended to justify the separateness of the article. It currently states in toto:
Not all futurists engage in the practice of futurology as generally defined. Preconventional futurists (see below) would generally not. And while religious futurists, astrologers, occultists, New Age divinists, etc. use methodologies that include study, none of their personal revelation or belief-based work would fall within a consensus definition of futurology as used in academics or by futures studies professionals.

What it amounts to is "some people use futurist to describe people who predict the future via non-scientific means". That seems to require at most a hatnote {{distinguish}}Prophecy. The "(see below)" points to nothing.

Notable futurists "Main article: List of futurologists"

jnestorius(talk) 23:32, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

I agree with the thrust of what you are saying. However, I think it would be better to copy across any useful info from Futurist into Futures studies and then turn Futurist into a disambiguation page that disambiguates Futures studies from Futurism. Yaris678 (talk) 12:34, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
Actually... I think the page Futurist should be a redirect to Futurism (disambiguation). That page already says "Futurism or futurist may refer to..." Yaris678 (talk) 08:23, 12 October 2012 (UTC)
Agree with Yaris, Futurist is not exclusive to Futurology, but has a variety of meanings which could be valid search terms. Generally the argument to merge the content of the article seems to be a sensible one. Sionk (talk) 21:00, 12 October 2012 (UTC)

Moved from article - Further reading[edit]

It's pretty clear no one is maintaining this list. Something from it might be worth using as a reference: --Ronz (talk) 17:11, 15 July 2014 (UTC)