Futurists of the World Takes on Futurology
Why isn’t “Futurology” a popular term within the Futures/Foresight field?
Everyone thinks about the future at least once in their day. A lot of people know who Futurists are and what they do. However, not many understand what Futurology is or who Futurologists are. So, I gathered a few Professionals, Practitioners, Advocates, and a few others to try to understand why that is. Some of the questions that we tackled were: What is futurology? How can one get educated in this field of study? Why isn’t it a popular term within the discipline? What are the benefits of futures studies?
This futures/foresight field is still developing as a discipline, and it’s exciting to see how more people are becoming more aware of it, and even better if they decide to learn the foundation of this field.
So, here’s a quick recap of a few things we talked about:
Future vs Futures
When you google “futures,” the search results probably weren’t what you were expecting, and that is why it’s a controversial term outside the field, even though it makes sense. It’s important to understand when and how to use the word “futures,” because some people may not understand what you’re talking about, or might get it confused with the stock market futures. One participant shared one way to think of future and futures; we can try to predict one future, or we can help prepare for different scenarios. So, it’s important to be ready to make that clear communication between the two terms to different kinds of audiences.
A Variety of Titles
As the years go by, there has been an increase of different titles within the futures/foresight field. We have seen people take on the title such as a:
- Futurologist- someone who has an academic background in futures studies.
- Futurist- anyone who imagines or explores different futures in any (or all) topic of interest, whether certified or not.
- Foresight Practitioner- someone who is certified in foresight/futures tools and methodologies, and are able to apply them to their work or organization.
- Foresight Advocate- someone who spreads awareness of futures literacy.
- Other titles may include a Strategic Forecaster, a Futures Researcher, a Trend Analyst, and so much more.
Nevertheless, all of these sound like the coolest job titles in the world, but it may be our bias!
How can one enter this field?
In the past, you probably needed to go in an academic route to be considered a Professional Futurist. Nowadays, there are many ways you can contribute to and/or participate in the field. There are a few Graduate programs in the world, a variety of certificate courses from research organizations, and even communities where you can get access to resources or attend workshops. These are just starting points, and that’s one reason why this field is unique, because it’s open for anyone, no matter where you are in life. So, it’s definitely important to consider why you would like to start or redirect your career in this industry, and what you would like to do. Even if you’re just a curious folk who likes to immerse in any future-focus stories, you can participate or start a conversation about one or many possibilities of our future.
What is Futurology?
It is probably the proper term for futures studies, but it could be the reason why it is not a popular term with many people. It is the science or the study of futures, and not everyone is too keen to learn the history of the study, or focus too much on the academic side of this field. Futurologists are the individuals who learn the tools and methodologies, use it for research, and further help develop the discipline itself. Someone made a comparison that Futurologists are the Nutritionists of this field. Nutritionists are academically trained to understand what humans should eat, how the body is affected, and get paid to do it. However, that doesn’t mean people should disregard eating a healthy diet, you can always learn the basics for your well being.
It was exciting to gather people who have stumbled upon, or voluntarily pursued, this unique field. Each person that was in this room shared their own journey, their own opinions, and probably inspired or taught something to the audience that were listening in. Everyone can think about the future, but it would be great if more people understands that there is a field of study in futures, called Futurology.
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Credit: Victor Sarat, Sylvia Gallusser, Alexandra Whittington, Monica Mendez Caballero, Gordon Withrow, and Agustin Borrazas.
This is a recap of an audio-only conversation that was held in Clubhouse on October 1st, 2021.
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.