Brenda Cooper

The Future in the Seattle Times

People often ask me how to become a futurist.  Mostly, it’s keeping your eyes open and being willing to think about – and talk about – what you see.  So here’s mu Sunday morning take form the front section of the Seattle Times.

In the Weekly Review section, there is a picture of a fembot taken by Koji Sasahara of the Associated Press. I am certain that robotics are going to be playing much larger roles in our lives soon.  Japan appears to be the earliest adopter.  You’ll notice the link actually isn’t going to the Times – I couldn’t find the AP picture there.  (editorial aside – the physical paper seldom translates well to the electronic version).  This particular metal creature is being created as a fashion model.  At least she won’t get bulimic.

There is a an article from the New York Times by Stephanie Saul about surrogate clinics being shut down for lack of funds (which sounds like yet another Ponzi scheme since families are losing money they paid this company to help them have children).  This is happening now, but the interesting part is a sentence that reads… “the case highlights the lack of oversight in the business of creating babies.”  Interesting to see the idea of creating human babies so casually laid out in the center of a column of text on a long story.  That implies it’s no longer a futuristic concept.

Another stop at an AP story describes protesters touring (and protesting in front of) AIG executives “lavish homes.”  This is more an lens of the past to see the future kind of story.  We have had a severely widening income gap in America, and I’m pretty sure it’s worldwide.  Many futurists, including Glen Hiemstra, who I work with, and me, have identified that as a future source of problems.  Think back on Marie Antoinette and the cake eating comment that helped to birth the anger that led to the French Revolution.  I don’t think we’re ready for another American Revolution, but continuing to support a growing income gap is going to exacerbate a pile of bad feelings toward the rich which the recession is also feeding.  Multiple studies have shown that a middle class is a good thing.  We remain in some danger of losing ours.