Futurist

Futurists engage in research, forecasting, scenario- and model-building, and informed reflection and speculation from a unique perspective. Their findings might apply to a civilization, society, community, organization, or individual. The unique quality of futurist thought is the application of methodologies that seek to illuminate long-term outcomes of current circumstances, trends, and events. Futurist thinking is definitely not fortune-telling or mystical prediction. It is based on rigorous research and attention to often-ignored considerations such as historical analogy, trend behavior, and the impact of anomalous events on systems. It draws heavily upon quantitative analyses of all types, the entire range of academic disciplines, and informed intuition. Some futurists work strictly with complex algorithms and quant software, others are grounded in history and psychology, while still others focus on technology. Some draw upon all fields. It is a fascinating endeavor. For more information about futurist thinking, contact The World Future Society.

Barton has been active as a futurist for two decades. He is a member and frequent presenter at The World Future Society and wrote a regular column for The Metrowest Daily News, “A Futurist View”. His focus has been on the future of education, leadership, and forecasting.

His monograph, written for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the U.S. Army War College, Leadership in the Era of the Human Singularity: New Demands, New Skills, New Response” considers leadership, largely in military terms, from the futurist perspective of the “human singularity” (as opposed to the astronomical one!), which refers to the integration of technology into the human bio-chemical system to produce extreme levels of mental, physical, and perceptual performance.

Extreme Asymmetric Warfare of the Future

 
 
 
 
Recent Posts

  • Summer Student Loan Agreement: Not Much Help There This post was co-authored with Ron Miller, FSS Full disclosure: Neither author nor any member of their families has any outstanding student loan debt. Kunstler’s $5,000.00 loan incurred during grad school in the 1980s was fully repaid some 25 years ago. It’s that magical season when the thoughts of returning college students and their parents turn to tuition. Given the size of student loans, those thoughts are apt to linger long past graduation. This summer, Congress and the president struck an agreement to defer an interest-rate hike for undergraduate loans. The agreement, however, simply defers for 12 months doubling rates on undergraduate loans from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. Otherwise, it actually increases college costs. Next summer the whole question will be revisited, perhaps this time with Mitt Romney as president. The agreement’s less publicized elements include the following: The 3.4 percent rate is temporary. In twelve ...
  • George Washington Would Be Appalled George Washington would be appalled. At a time when domestic and global problems pose serious threats to the United States, the Republican Party has become the party not only of “less government”, but of active hostility to the very idea of government itself. We are all familiar with the right wing’s unending rhetoric that “government is the problem”, that government is the enemy of individual freedom, that government regulation impedes the ability of business to grow unfettered by unnatural restraints. For every Republican candidate, this mantra has become an oath of fealty to the most extreme elements of their party. Even those whose self-interests government currently serves have yielded to the government-hating rhetoric of the Tea Party and their extreme right wing corporate backers. Voters nationwide support candidates who attack the very health care programs upon which so many of them ...
  • Bradley Manning’s Abuse: Army’s Dishonor, Obama’s Shame The treatment of Bradley Manning by the United States Army has stained the honor of the American military. Manning is the soldier who leaked over two hundred thousand documents to WikiLeaks — documents printed by The New York Times and a host of other publications whose patriotism and support of our country are unimpeachable. None of these documents gave out troop positions or any other military secrets. Private Manning’s intent has been clearly documented: he feared for the future of his country and he felt desperate to correct our course. In return, the most powerful army in the world is subjecting him to brutal treatment that qualifies as borderline torture. One can argue the extent, if any, of his guilt, or whether the editorial board of The New York Times should be brought up on criminal charges for aiding and abetting the delivery of the material ...
  • Four-Dimensional Futures Forecasting: New Axioms in Response to the National Intelligence Council’s 2020 Report Us Army ConferenceThis report was delivered at a conference held at the US Army War College in Carlisle, PA, in October 2008. Taking the National Intelligence Council’s 2020 Report as its starting point, it critiques traditional methods of scenario building and forecasting and suggests ways of countering the often misleading assumptions that guide such efforts, however skilled the original forecast may be. This article offers six corrective principles for scenario building and, based on these “six Axioms”, constructs six scenarios for the global future are constructed which, despite the several years that have passed, are still relevant to today’s world. Barton Kunstler, Ph.D. October, 2008 The National Intelligence Council’s (NIC) 2020 report is a balanced, thorough, imaginative, and useful example of scenario-based futurist planning. No such document, however, can ever be comprehensive because no single project can encompass all the variables of the human ...