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From the beginning of time, humans have been driven by both a fear of the unknown and a curiosity to know. We have always yearned to know what lies ahead, whether threat or safety, scarcity or abundance. Throughout human history, our forebears tried to create certainty in the unknown, by seeking to influence outcomes with sacrifices to gods, preparing for the unexpected with advice from oracles, and by reading the stars through astrology. As scientific methods improve and computer technology develops we become ever more confident of our capacity to predict and quantify the future by accumulating and interpreting patterns from the past, yet the truth is there is still no certainty to be had. In this Very Short Introduction Jennifer Gidley considers some of our most burning questions: What is "the future?" Is the future a time yet to come? Or is it a utopian place? Does the future have a history? Is there only one future or are there many possible futures? She asks if the future can ever be truly predicted or if we create our own futures -both hoped for and feared - by our thoughts, feelings, and actions, and concludes by analyzing how we can learn to study the future. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
About the Author
Jennifer Gidley has extensive experience in the futures studies field, combining scholarly research, academic teaching, and leadership of the World Futures Studies Federation (UNESCO Partner). She was re-elected as President in 2013 for a second four-year term to lead 300 expert futures researchers, teachers and professional practitioners from over 60 countries. Jennifer has held academic positions in Australia at Southern Cross (1995-2001); Swinburne (2003-2006); and Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (2008-2012); and holds visiting academic posts in Europe.