Well, seeing as how I’m on another futurism kick lately, I thought we’d play a little game, suggested by the laboritarian.
It’s rather simple: we pick a few of the most important variables that effect the future. Let’s say four, for the sake of brevity. I’m prepared to entertain others, but for our purposes I’d say the big four for this century are energy, technology, population and climate. You may come up with a different or more nuanced list, but I’m willing to say that those others are mostly, and will mostly, be determined by the first four. I’d say politics and economics are more a function of energy and technolgy than determinants in and of themselves, for instance.
In each case we come up with a best case and worst case scenario. Lets say for energy, the best case scenario is limitless free energy from some magnetic Steorn widget or some-such, or simply another middle east found under the hills of Wichita, or something. The worst case is the peak oil and gas hypothesis, specifically the olduvai gorge thesis, which more or less states that the lifespan of industrialised civilisation is 100 years. After which we cascade down a thermodynamic cliff into the stone age. We repeat this best case/ worst case for all the chosen variables.
Now if we do this just once it’s kind of digital, and one dimensional. If we apply two variables simultaneously we end up with a grid of four possible futures. And if we include four variables, which I think are the minimum to even begin to apprehend the scope of complexity available to us, we have 2x2x2x2= 16 possible futures.
So before we start, I’m prepared to hear out some thoughts on what other, more pressing variables might be, and if they’re radically different than these, some thoughts on what a best/worst case might consist of…
Otherwise, let the fractal chaos commence!