by Will Viharo
In Ed Wood's “classic” Plan 9 From Outer Space, infamous scam psychic Criswell notes in his introduction: “We are all interested in the future because that's where you and I are going to be spending the rest of our lives!” But what exactly does the future have in store? A new online magazine is soliciting subjective speculation that is part science, part sociology, and all part of an innovative strategy...
The magazine, called Perspective, is envisioned as a light-hearted yet serious-minded almanac/directory that offers informed predictions for the near future, meaning from now till the year 2020. Every topic imaginable, from pop culture to politics to art to science to travel and beyond, will be featured.
It's not in the bag, though. A Kickstarter campaign began December 1. Meantime, founder Paul Rothbein is drumming up interest in the concept while recruiting potential contributors to the cause.
The Virtues of X-Ray Vision?
The idea is to spark public imagination and inspire intellectual debate about what might happen in the world's future based on current trends. As an introductory video explains, this crystal ball gazing is not meant to be entirely accurate, just thought-provoking. For instance, X-ray glasses enabling viewers to see other people without their clothes is inherently humorous, but still might be scientifically plausible (if not morally acceptable) per the trajectory of optical technology.
It's the Little Things That Count
Fostering awareness of subjects not typically covered by mainstream news outlets will also be a focus of the project. As Rothbein writes on his blog: “By understanding a future outlook of 'trivial' topics one can understand a broader outlook of people of different age ranges and cultures. Targeted media keeps people in a bubble. Perspective expands peoples minds and interest.”
Nothing is set in stone, and evolving scientific discoveries will impact our lifestyles in ways that may be impossible to guess, but whose possibilities are nonetheless fun and even educational to explore. To quote Robert De Niro as Satan in Angel Heart, “The future is not what it used to be.”
The Future Starts Here and Now!
Meantime, we can all begin mapping out our shared future by studying contemporary trends. Social media will no doubt continue to have a massive impact on how businesses operate, for instance. Perspective is just one example of how entrepreneurs are creatively mining unexplored territory in our collective culture.
What are some of your predictions for the future of digital media and online communications? Leave a few in the comments section.
Photo by Sean McGrath
NOTE: This article slightly amended December 10, 2014.