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Differing outlooks on potential futures

Experts who wrestle with the uncertainty of the future see it as a natural phenomenon.

Some have a positive, utopian or idealistic outlook and believe that mankind and its inherent ingenuity enables design and achievement of sophisticated technologies and modern systems which will enable and sustain the best possible future for societies and nation states, despite the uncertainties we may face.

Others take a more dystopian or fatalist view for mankind as able to influence future events only to a marginal degree. They strongly believe that man and society can leverage very little to offset long-term trends and detrimental effects on civilisation.

The utopians see a perfectible world where man controls and shapes technology, science and society in ways which result in a relatively low-risk environment. Dystopians are less optimistic about engineering a better life and appear committed to programs and activities aimed at simply forestalling the full spectrum of worst-case events.

There is still a third group, agnostic in outlook, who remain unsure whether either position is credible and are inclined to view the prospects of an ideal future, Utopian, as about the same as that expected by more dystopian outlooks.

Your task

Take a few moments to find two examples of articles that take either a utopian or dystopian view of the future. Share your examples with your fellow learners.

Which camp do you think you fall into and why?

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This article is from the free online course:

Foundations in Resilience, Security and Emerging Technology

Coventry University