As a piece of bonus content to go along with Soonish Episode 1.01, How "2001" Got the Future So Wrong, here's the full recording of my interview with Jamais Cascio.
Jamais is a professional futurist / foresight thinker / scenario planner / "prognosopher" (take your pick of labels) who consults for the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, CA, and other organizations. He’s the author of numerous magazine and journal articles as well the 2009 book Hacking the Earth: Understanding the Consequences of Geoengineering.
I interviewed Jamais at the IFTF offices on October 19, 2016, a couple of weeks before the presidential election. We focused on the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey and how the futurism that Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke were doing in that movie turned out to be so wrong—or to put it the other way around, how the world we actually got by 2001 was so different from the one portrayed in the movie.
Jamais had some fascinating thoughts about all that, but we also talked about how he got into the profession of scenario planning, why he thinks this way of thinking can be helpful, and what consumers should watch out for when they hear people spinning scenarios for the future. Toward the end of the interview we also talked a little about the future of work and labor and manufacturing in an era of increasing automation, which is a topic that I’ll be coming back to in an upcoming regular episode of Soonish.
The recording is unedited.
Clarifications and Corrections
- The racial slur used by U.S. Senator George Allen of Virginia, who failed in his 2006 re-election bid, was "macaca."
- The fictional setting for the TV show Lost In Space was the year 1997, not the 1980s.
- The ExoMars Schiaparelli lander did, in fact, crash on Mars on October 19 after its parachute apparently misfired.
Tools For a Better World, Jamais's 2006 TED Talk
OpenTheFuture.com, Jamais's website
Second Earth, my 2007 MIT Technology Review article featuring comments from Jamais