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Prof. Jim Dator on “The Future of Futures Studies”

March 22nd, 2013
A couple of weeks ago I went to The Thinking Futures Workshop organised by the The New Zealand Futures Trust.
Professor Jim Dator from the University of Hawaii skyped in as the introductory speaker, and he and the NZFT have generously shared the link to this talk for wider circulation.
If you have time I recommend watching the whole thing!

Some key points if you’re short on time:
00:00-  He introduces himself and his relationship to NZ and international future studies communities
2:14  He introduces the main subject of his talk: The future of future studies
2:40 He explains what futures studies is and is not
3:15  He proposes four recurring “images of the future” that appear recur across all projections of the future:
  • continued growth/continuation
  • collapse
  • a disciplined or green society
  • transformational
5:57  He argues what has CHANGED about the future is not the 4 images but the future itself. – there is a “new normal” for the future of futuring.
6:58  He explains “the unholy trinity +1″ – his metaphor for the “new normal” on which all future thinking must be based. Energy, The Economy, The Environment, and (+1) Governance.
10:46  Argues that no democratic country in the world is yet able to effectively deal with this “new normal”

Introducing Professor Jim Dator

Jim Dator is Professor and Director of the Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies, Department of Political Science, University of Hawaii at Manoa.

His major areas of specialization include:

  • Political futures studies (especially the forecasting and design of new political institutions, and the futures of law, education, and technology)
  • Space and society, especially the design of governance systems for space settlements
  • The political-economic futures of North America, the Pacific Island region, and East Asia, especially Japan and South Korea
  • Media production and the politics of media– video, radio, and multimedia production and the effects of these media on political and other human relations and consciousness

He consults widely on the futures of law, governance, tourism, and space. He is also:

  •  Co-Director, Space & Society Department International Space University, Strasbourg, France,
  •  Fellow and member of the Executive Council of the World Academy of Art & Science

And was:

  • Secretary General/President of the World Futures Studies Federation, 1983-93.


Dealing with complexity, Future focussed issues

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