Futurist Forum - May 28, 2013 by JAMAIS CASCIO
If your dystopian scenario includes no signs of human resilience, it’s probably bad futurism.
While it’s certainly true that one can tell a compelling dramatic story about the end of the world, as a mechanism of foresight, apocaphilia is trite at best, counter-productive at worst. Yet world-ending scenarios are easy to find, especially coming from advocates for various social-economic-global changes. As one of those advocates, I’m well aware of the need to avoid taking the easy route of wearing a figurative sign reading The End Is Nigh. We want people to take the risks we describe seriously, so there is an understandable temptation to stretch a challenging forecast to its horrific extremes--but ultimately, it’s a bad idea. Here’s why:
William Gibson famously said “the future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed.” Unless we’re talking about an extinction-level asteroid strike, true dystopian futures will affect diverse parts of the world differently. This is true at a high level, even for dystopias--most of the time, the poorest parts of the world are also the ones hit the hardest by Globally Scary Threats--but it’s better to think of this observation as something more akin to a scalpel. Even within the same region or country, some communities will be hit harder than others, and some will have access to far greater resources than others.
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