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From WMUR found in Washington D.C. the future of another in a series of discussions of alternative futures. Your moderator is Joe coach of the world future society. Mr. Coates this evening we will have NEWS NOTES on the future. Part 6 one of the harbinger of the future is perhaps the changing pattern in lifestyles and a unique by play on this is the status of the rental equipment industry. It has steadily continued to increase its growth at the rate of 20 percent per year and is possibly one of the fastest growing sectors of the of the service industry. Ten years ago there were a thousand of these small retail outlets and today there's something like 10000 of these. Some have attributed this to the attitudes of younger people who tend to weigh the value of the product in terms of its usefulness and therefore have few compunctions about rental versus ownership. Whether one can attribute this to the generation gap is perhaps a moot question but it's a perennial topic in the discussion of the future.
Some light on the generation gap is shown by Robert H Walsh of Illinois State University. He questioned eight hundred fifty parents and four hundred twenty five of their college aged children. His data showed that 70 percent of the women students approved of premarital sexual behavior beyond kissing and so did 60 percent of their mothers. The curious thing however is that only 16 percent of the mothers were seen by their daughters to approve of such behavior. In other words there was a real generation gap of about 14 percent on this question. But imagine generation gap of about forty eight percent. The role of education is perhaps the central one in the preparation for the future. And each went with Eldridge sociologist has just completed another of his continuing studies on the education of Futurism in North America and he has come to a number of
interesting conclusions. The future is being taught at numerous colleges across the country many focused on specific particular or specific subjects such as the future of great cities the future of war. Biochemical futures various kinds of techniques for forecasting aesthetic education for the year 2000 the international system and so on. He sees the growth of education for future understanding the future in preparation for the future as a frank and explicit exercise as growing. And we come to some tentative conclusions about the present status of teaching the future. First this forms a part of the very general ferment in education at all levels today and it seems to serve a useful purpose of stretching the intellectual horizons not only of the students but even of the faculty. It's been reported in many places that it shakes up the students minds. They're all dead by the enormity and the complexity of the future
as revealed in the attempts to systematically study it. Students seem to learn faster in many of the future oriented courses partly because a number of them are Kentucky conducted on a participatory basis. In which the students play a large part in determining the content. It's not all positives However one of the things that Eldridge finds is that generally courses on the future tend to have a rather shallow roots in intellectual history and they seem to care relatively little for what some take to be the traditional Futurist think yours such as the authors of 1904 and Brave New World. One of the curiosities curiosities about the study of the future is that many of the people who achieve the widest public recognition as students of the future are pessimistic Cassandra's. It turns out however that most of the people teaching the future are by and large optimistic. There are very few deep
pessimists in the field. Hello there are some radical firebrands with with anarchist leanings according to Eldridge the majority of the practitioners are optimistic purveyors of an intellectual technology. Use primarily to think one way one's way into the future. In general experience has shown that it takes more than a semester or two to build a base of understanding and knowledge for these kinds of courses. Another of the negatives perhaps associated with teaching the future is that there tends to be relatively little grasp or integration of socio cultural change theory into teaching the future. And yet this would seem to be one of the main contributions that social science could make to teaching and understanding the future. One of the things underlined one of the major needs of higher education and one of the major products to be drawn forth a maggot emic studies is a fairly rich and more precise system of societal indicators. While other people have been looking at the practice of the future and futurism
one of the most distinguished of these is John McHale of the State University of New York at Binghamton who has just completed a survey of futures research in the United States. He estimates that there are about 3000 people now either full or part time engaged in work that might be called Future research. About sixteen hundred eighty four of these are part time full time rather than about thirteen hundred part time. His study has the result of a questionnaire sent out to three hundred fifty six organizations and people who are understood to be working and in the future as a research area. It is interesting to see some of the breakdowns. Well one of the ones which. It's somewhat of a source of concern is that males tend to dominate about 87 percent of the people in the field are males. It's McHale's feeling that this ought to be redress that we need more
females in future a syringe and he suggests that theoretical premises the model of society and manage setter upon which future research may be based might be more diverse and alternate new models might be brought in were more females involved in the field. He also makes the same point perhaps with more saliency with regard to artists. People with unusual lifestyles and the youth. One of the perhaps built in biases significant biases in future research is that a disproportionate number of the future researchers come from the physical sciences and engineering and this may tend to push the overall development in the direction of the field toward professional respectability institutional propriety based on a rather precise methodology. And models I think Mikael sees a broader range of enterprises involved in the in the study of the future.
Why is the future studied. It's an interesting question and one addressed to some three hundred fifty six individuals and organizations. There are several dozen reasons given. The dominant five reasons were technological forecasting and socio economic forecasting economic projections market analysis and corporate planning studies. All the other two dozen or so reasons for engaging in forecasting were of lesser significance. And it seems therefore that the dominant raise on debt for futures research in the United States basically centers around the needs of industry the needs of technology and the needs to better organize and operate our traditional corporate enterprises. The methods for studying the future are also quite interesting. Mikael identified 24 reasonably distinct and identifiable techniques used and again some few number
tended to dominate the field. Scenario building that is the making up of stories about the future which were then played off by by various participants in games is one method of exploring the future. This can be done either person to person or it can be done in terms of person and machines. So for the Knight case it's called simulation gaming and that was also a dominant method in future research. Another method is the Delphi Technique which we have spoken of frequently in this series namely a technique for achieving consensus or establishing the range of consensus among experts with regard to a given subject and the fourth dominant method used in future research is trying to explain extrapolation. That is the looking to trends in the past and the attempt by mathematical manipulation to project these into the future. So that's a rough
survey of what's going on in the field of futures research in the United States. For more information on that one might see the December Futurist Mikael However he's also developing his own view of the future and his planetary perspective. He points out that the future is rapidly becoming a coming in upon all of us. Physically and I suppose in that sense quite literally back as late as 1840 one could travel at an average speed of perhaps ten miles an hour on land or sea. In the period up to 80 to 1930 steam locomotives were running 65 miles an hour and steam ships perhaps thirty six miles an hour. By the 1950s we had propeller driven aircraft going at three and four hundred miles and in the 60s jet aircraft going five to seven hundred miles an hour. So we're moving 50 times faster today and presumably for some people. For many of us that means that the world is only one fiftieth as big as it was just
two centuries ago. Another major observation Mikael makes with regard to the future is that what was once right is now wrong. And he points out a half dozen examples of this large families. Or something which at one time were right and now are wrong. The explosive increase in human population is one of the great biological up evils in human history. Those local Marlen religious attitudes that favored large families in the past may now be viewed according to Mikael as dangerously obsolete. In the present and in the future another right that's now wrong is local short range decision making. The magnitude of man's present industrial undertakings form a manmade ecology that rivals in scale. Many of the natural processes and the implication is that we must move our our decision making apparatus to encompass planning for sight of an equivalent scale. Another right
that's now wrong. Our military establishments the global defense establishment are negatively used technological capabilities which according to Mikael are sustained and controlled by entrenched institutionalized values concern for preferred ideological MRO attitudes related to this is another. Right that's now wrong. Institutional rather than personal value priorities. The radical solution to such world problems as adequate food shelter health and education is blocked mainly by institutionalized value attitude. No one wants Joe to die of starvation but man's institutions are not oriented toward making sure that everyone has sufficient food. Instead institutions place higher value on such considerations as maintaining national sovereignty. And finally an old Right that is now wrong is the value free posture of science in a world society increasingly dependent on science and in which large scale that
science also depends on public support. The attitude of scientific detachment is no longer tenable. And so we see a brief look at John McKay Ilves view of the future. There are other views of the future. The Russians in particular have an interesting view of the future. One of the leading Russian futurologists best of as Lada. Has recently been discussed in some of his works reviewed again in the December futurist. Just a quote from this Russian futurist. The needs of capitalism are most obviously served by the main school of bourgeoisie future a logical thought whose basic assumption is that capitalism will not only survive the twentieth century but will able be able to continue to grow substantially unchanged. Overcoming its contradictions with the help of technological revolution. Well needless to say the Soviet
futurologist rejects this big new Brzezinski professor of Government at Columbia and an authority on Soviet affairs has written on the Soviet view of the future. And he points out that one would expect given the future oriented thrust of Marxist thought. One would expect the Soviet Union to be on the forefront of the investigations of the future. But this is in a sense only partially true. BRZEZINSKI points out that when Czechoslovakia as political leaders began to suggest that Leninism a product was a product of specifically Russian conditions and was perhaps no longer a suitable guide to the further evolution of Czech communism the Soviet reaction was to charge deviation. Doesn't spite of many pronouncements concerning multiple roads to socialism the Soviet party has maintained has been wedded to the concept of dogmatic universalism which is universal only in the sense that it sees the Soviet experience as fundamentally universal irrelevance. What Brzezinski goes on to
point out that the the Russians are quite advanced in some of their future oriented studies that a high level decision of the twenty third party congress has led to the formation of a special working group special study groups on the future and solid work has been done by Soviet scholars principally in the area of technological and economic forecasting. In some sense that which is essential to a technological society but which is is in some sense also politically quite safe. He points out that there is a striking paucity of political ideological or philosophical studies focused on the interactions with projected technological and economic changes. Soviet discussions of the future are largely limited to critical evaluations of Western literature on that subject. Turning back to education for the future Michael Marion
who is at Syracuse University is engaged in an interesting enterprise to form what he calls the basic long term multifold trend in education. Well that big mouthful is an attempt to do in the area of education what Herman Kahn and Anthony Wiener in their book the year 2000 did for other aspects of the world at large. The basic long term multifold trend even the short form BLT empty doesn't seem to make much to be very phony is this attempt for this to unfold is a long term trend which will be a reliable indicator of basal changes with regard to the future in Marion's thinking is premised on a trend away from close teaching to what he calls an open learning system and earmarks a number of things associated with with this long range shift. First the
growing quantity and complexity of knowledge. Second the growing demands for a skilled labor force and a sophisticated citizenry third social and technological change increasingly requiring lifelong learning and also on learning. Fourth the demand of leisure affluence and the increasing access to social position through educational attainment all put great demands on the educational service. If there is mounting evidence that all people have a far greater capability for learning than has been admitted. I wonder in Marion's view admitted by whom and finally obsolescent institutions are requiring personnel retraining. He sees three basic scenarios for the future of education a non-adaptive system that is one which is resistant to the movement toward open learning. Then the adaptation and generational inversion as he calls it and then finally a kind of a mixed or partial adaptation with an
equality of opportunity in his third view the full adaptation and generational inversion he points out that in many respects the young are better fitted to this world than the world of tomorrow than are their elders. Political education campaigns launched on university campuses are an early form of the young teaching the old or what Margaret Mead has called prefigured culture. You have some idea of what Marion means. Buy the clothes vs. the clothes teaching system versus the open learning system. Let's just look at a few of these categories. The administration of learning in the closed system is input oriented and has a hierarchical leadership in the open learning system. The inputs or service benefit oriented and it's pluralistic and participatory rather than hierarchical. The student teacher relations are interesting in the closed system. Students are a collectivity teachers as authority. Students as followers and
control as an instrumental technique. Feeling is withheld and there is usually a single teacher. In the open learning system they will be compensatory education for Exceptional Children. Feelings exposed in a respected student evaluations of teachers multi adult exposure team learning guests differential staffing. With regard to feedback in a closed system closed learning system formal mechanistic right answer views prevail strong reliance on quantitative measures in the open learning system will be multifaceted formal and informal open ended. Systems and the use of quantitative measures as necessary with presumably no strong commitment to them. In the closed system the rewards of the system are are different in the closed system the reward has of learning is vocational and social utility. Grades are fixed fixed proportions fail as
class ranking honors medals degrees recognition through competition. In the open system they'll be pass fail or non grading de-emphasis on competition and rewards of learning will be seen as as inherent. The time at which the learning will occur will also be different in the two. In our traditional closed teaching system there's a collective pace and ordered structure of hours and credits uninterrupted schooling followed by uninterrupted work in the open learning system. They'll be an individual pace flexible scheduling and learning and work interspersed throughout a lifetime. One will literally be living as one is learning. Turning now back to some trend notes on on society. In spite of all the present concern for women's lib and the launching of this major movement the last few years the gap between male and female earnings is definitely widening. In 1955 the annual
income of women was 64 percent that of men in one thousand sixty five it had fallen to 60 percent of men's income by one thousand sixty eight according to the Women's Bureau the Department of Labor women were earning only fifty eight point two percent. The median income of men these incomes respectively were seven thousand six hundred sixty four dollars for men and four thousand four hundred fifty seven dollars for women. Things are not all pessimistic. The number of poor in the United States has declined substantially during the 60s according to a recent census report. There were three. Thirty nine and a half million poor 1059 compared to 25 and portents million and one thousand sixty eight. These numbers based on a formula that reflects Consumer Price Index the probably the poverty threshold for non-farm families. In one
case and sixty eight was thirty five fifty three dollars and in one thousand fifty nine. Twenty seven seventy three. So by those standards there seems to be a real decline in the number of poor in the United States. A note on building and construction. Since it's so important to our urban as well as his non urban living. There's a movement reportedly October Futurist to move both skyward and downward. The twin thirteen hundred fifty foot World Trade Center in New York a pair of twin buildings has replaced the Empire State Building as the world's tallest office building in order to make the building usable. Ninety nine elevators have been installed in each tower. The building will move 50000 employees and 80000 visitors a day. The cost of such a structure 600 million dollars.
Looking back to the to the Empire State building that was planned to be 50 million. And because of the depression only cost 41 million to build. The other big one is going up completed at the John Hancock building and in Chicago and the Sears Tower in Chicago also in Chicago. The word there's a movement underground which is in some ways even more interesting. Japan is very severely congested perhaps the most congested of the highly industrialized nations but rents now are about 40 percent less underground than at street levels. Traffic pre earthquake proof structures are becoming popular and centers of living including rockfish shops Saki bars fine restaurants and shops are finding their place underground in 100 Russian cities. More than 35 percent of the building investment is reported to be in underground structures closer to home in Montreal. An underground
network is being constructed in which particular levels will be devoted to subway transit passenger trains garages pedestrian concourses and shopping. And last but not least there is a revival or renovation of Underground Atlanta which is a most charming and interesting place to see. Turning to the past for a projection of the future it's interesting to see one of the predictions one of the projections of the 1937 report of the subcommittee on technology to the National Resources Committee. This is an official government publication going back to 1937. It had to do with the problems of the movement toward mechanization in agriculture. Exhibitions and tests the report says 1936 of cotton pickers in Texas and Mississippi have led people to believe that the key to complete mechanization of the cotton industry is close at
hand and is about to become a reality. It will require several years to test and perfect the machines for different soils and top hog. But the confidence of the investors is maybe justified that the picker will inevitably create new social and economic problems in exhibition tests. The 1036 report goes on to say one of these pickers is reported to have picked as much as 5000 pounds of cotton seed seed cotton in one day. In contrast to one hundred twenty five pounds two hundred fifty pounds a day for the average hen picker. The question was then raised in the report as to what will happen to the sharecroppers and the field hands. Would they pour into the north. This is a quote. Would they pour into the north and seek employment in industry. Many of the people from the rural south who have had almost no experience with industrial discipline and complicated machinery could they be trained to useful and self-supporting employment. Well one can say that we didn't have or the nation didn't have a warning of
over 30 years ago. In 1970 Orville Freeman made the following comment. I have seen cotton plantations in the American south where in one year the Labor supported by the plantations dropped from a hundred families to five families. Some described this phenomenon as efficiency in progress. Proudly citing per capita output figures such an evaluation fails to consider the human and social costs of 95 black families with nowhere to go. They and their children may end up rioting mobs who cried Burn baby burn in Detroit Washington and Cincinnati Cleveland and Los Angeles. Turning now to a more human aspect of the future we have the official administration rebuff of the commission report on obscenity and pornography on October 25th. The president observed quote several weeks ago the National Commission on obscenity and pornography
appointed by a previous administration presented its findings. I have evaluated that reporting categorically reject it's morally bankrupt conclusions and major recommendations. So long as I am in the White House there will be no real relaxation of the national effort to control and eliminate smot from our national life. The commission contends that the proliferation of filthy books and plays has no lasting effect on a man's character. If that seems true it must also be true that great books great paintings and great plays are have no ennobling effect on man's conduct. Centuries of civilization and ten minutes of common sense tell us otherwise. Close quote. The executive secretary of the commission Cody Wilson. Has observed that we have been able only to scratch the surface on the subject of obscenity and pornography. We have enough descriptive material on which to base policy but we don't have anywhere near the empirical and theoretical information we
need from a scientific point of view to fully explain what is operating behavior today reports that both Wilson and the clinical psychologist Victor Klein of the University of Utah who criticized the report before Congress say that we need more research especially especially longitudinal studies that is continuing studies along the lifetimes of specific individuals and Wilson adds only half humorously that a prime topic for further research is quote why people are so up tight. Thank you and good night. You've been listening to the future of another in a series of discussions of alternative futures with Joe coats of the world future society. This is the national educational radio network.
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The future of
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More News Notes on the Future VI
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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