Why I’m Not a Futurist

Words are 90% dictionary definition. The other 90% of their meaning comes from connotation.

I’m not sure what futurist actually means, but I know the negative things I think of when someone uses the term—especially if they apply it to themselves.

To me it’s a loud declaration (in the voice of an imbecile) that this person thinks they can predict the future.

Which is of course ridiculous.

I talk about the future all the time. And I even look for trends that might indicate direction. Sometimes I feel strongly about them—strongly enough to predict something. The key difference is that I do it as an exercise in reality modeling. I’m using predictions to find flaws in my models, because I find flaws fascinating.

I also read a lot, so I know how wrong it’s possible to be.

So do I write a lot about possible outcomes? Yes. Do I even try to predict what’s going to happen? Absolutely.

But what I don’t do is walk in a room with the ludicrous idea that I know what’s coming. Because nobody does. Not really.

And people who think they do are kind of annoying. I can be annoying too I’m sure. But not for this reason.

That why I don’t call myself a futurist. The term implies certainty in a space that demands humility.

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I do a weekly show called Unsupervised Learning, where I curate the most interesting stories in infosec, technology, and humans, and talk about why they matter. You can subscribe here.

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