Sunday, February 13, 2011

Winston Churchill, Futurist

In William Sherden’s book, The Fortune Sellers, he wrote a chapter entitled, The Futurists.  In the chapter, he discussed the emergence of predicting the future and gave a few classifications of futurist groups along with their characteristics.  I was amazed at some of the futurists that Sherden described, because I did not initially view them as futurists.  He also explained their predictions and I was amused by some and surprised by others.
One such futurist that caught my attention was Winston Churchill.  I had read his biography when I was younger and respected him for his accomplishments, but I never viewed him as a futurist until I read this chapter.  Churchill wrote an article titled, Fifty Years Hence, which makes several predictions about future events.  Not all of the predictions came true, such as the 600 horse power engine weighing less than 20 pounds or the use of atomic energy to control the climate.  However, several of his predicts came true, including the advancements in biological science and teleconferencing abilities.
As I focus on his prediction of teleconferencing people on the other side of the world, I see many forces that help support this technology to make it a reality.  First, there was an economical need to sell goods to new markets.  In order to sell goods, we needed to construct a communication system to network all of the world’s markets.  Next, technological advancements allowed video and voice to travel quicker, easier, and use less resources to link more people.  Thirdly, the global desire to connect to one another led to more complex research in communication.  With innovative technologists, people now have the ability to videoconference (teleconference) through technologies like Skype, videoconferencing bridges, Live Messenger, and phone conference bridges.

Sherden, W. A. (1998). The Fortune Sellers: The Big Business of Buying and Selling Predictions. John Wiley & Sons, New York. ISBN-13: 978-0471358442

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