Predicting the future without knowing the past

From an article at Aeon Magazine about the perils of “short-termism”:

What Brand and the Martin Commission have missed is the need to look deeper into the past as well as further into the future. There are no historians on the board of the Long Now Foundation, nor were there any among the global luminaries assembled on the Martin Commission. The Clock of the Long Now points forward for millennia but has roots barely decades long; few of the examples of global problems in Now for the Long Term came from before the 1940s. Short-termism about the past apparently afflicts even those who attack short-termism about the future. Yet if historians have been absent from these initiatives, they can’t blame only the futurologists for their fate.

Interesting point. Self-styled “futurists” have always made me vaguely suspicious, and I am consistently disappointed by the tech community’s breathless anticipation that the singularity is always right around the corner, Big Data will work miracles, and that the solution to every problem is just one app or web service away. I think my skepticism regarding the claims of the Ray Kurzweils of the world is due in no small part to exactly the sort of absence of historical input called out in this article.

The more important question, though, is WHAT IS THAT CREEPY FIGURE LURKING ON THE DOCKS IN ISTANBUL?! Terrifying!

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