The Future: A Very Short Introduction
Author: Jennifer M Gidley
Oxford University Press.
Paperback. 184 pages
About the Book
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 analysing how we can learn to study our futures.
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 form the past, yet the truth is there is still no certainty to be had.
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.
'Gidley has given us a stunning description of the new field of future's studies and of how we humans can help choose, and shape, the coming future.'
- Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Wendell Bell, Yale University
"We all should give Jennifer Gidley a standing ovation. This is an absolutely wonderful source, as a basic textbook about the field, and as a very good short introduction to futures for everyone."
- Emeritus Professor Jim Dator. Editor, World Futures Review
"Brilliant and concise. This book not only raises the issues in a highly readable manner, but also raises awareness, and as such I can recommend it unreservedly."
- David Lorimer. Editor, Network Review
About the Author
Jennifer is an Australian futurist, author, psychologist and educator. She is a global thought leader and advocate for human-centred futures in an era of hi-tech hype and hubris. As former President of the World Futures Studies Federation (2009-2017), a UNESCO and UN partner and global peak body for futures studies, she led a network of hundreds of world leading futures scholars and researchers from around the globe.
An Adjunct Professor at the Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS, Sydney, she has worked as an academic in three other Australian universities, including the Swinburne University MSc (Strategic Foresight). She holds research fellowships in Europe. Jennifer is a prolific author of dozens of academic papers, serves on several academic boards, and most recently authored The Future: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2017) & Postformal Education: A Philosophy for Complex Futures (Springer, 2016).