Intelligence Squared: the world in 2050 will be what we make it
Futurologists fall into two broad categories. The first, the kind commercial companies find immediately and directly relevant, deal in short-term trend analyses of consumer behaviour laced with some economic and demographic trends that have fairly specific and actionable implications. The second category is composed of scenario planners looking at the very long term, mapping out possibilities, not certainties. Their basic premise is that we can't predict the future but we can be prepared.
The Intelligence Squared special event at the Royal Geographical Society on the 22nd of September featuring speakers from the James Martin 21st Century School in Oxford, (described as 'a unique collaborative research effort with the goal of formulating new concepts, policies and technologies that will make the future a better place to be') fell firmly into the second category.