A world in which computers take up entire rooms; in which "cell" refers to elements in biology experiments, not phones; in which shag carpet and short-sleeved polyester dress shirts are proper office decorum--are we talking about some strange alien colony? No, just the United States of 1977.
While looking 20 years into the past can be amusing, looking 20
years into the future fills many
with trepidation. Indeed, the ungraspable, overwhelming nature of the future has a way of reducing even top futurists to putty, leading them to spout statements such as "The future hasn't happened yet," "The future will not be like the past," and "Things will be the same, but different."
"The most useful knowledge we can have is knowledge about the future," says Wendell Bell, professor emeritus of sociology at Yale University and a pioneer of the modern futurist industry. "To make our way in the world, [we] have to make some assumptions about what the future will be and how to adapt to it." With that in mind, we asked some of the nation's top futurists to share their predictions for tomorrow.