Encyclopedia of the Future

Work Rules for Ladies
Poison! Beware!

Encyclopedia of the Future -coverEncyclopedia of the Future
Kurian and Molitor, Eds.
1996

Submitter: I work at an academic library. While moving books that should have been put in Oversize instead of the general collection when they were moved from Reference several years ago, I came across this fascinating two-volume set: the Encyclopedia of the Future[…].

The ”future” imagined by some of these articles has already come and gone. I saw more than one article mentioning “twenty years from now”, which would have been 2016. Bet they couldn’t have seen that year coming! I found it hard to narrow down topics, but I included an excerpt of the Cities, North America entry talking about future technologies, Disasters, Planning for, Extinction of Species, and the actual stats from the Global Statistics entry. Out of curiosity I looked up how many college students there are worldwide. According to WolframAlpha, the most recent estimate is 183 million people worldwide from 2011. They were only projecting 120 million for 2025 in this book. The variance is interesting, but I’m not sure it’s useful at this point, as there are almost definitely more up to date global projections than this.

Holly: I challenge you all to do a title keyword search for “of the future” or “future of” in your library catalogs and see what you come up with. Sort them oldest to newest by publication date.

Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Now, submit anything older than five years to us.

Cities-North American

5 comments

  1. I’m feeling proud: my catalog has no books on the future older than 2016. Now we just need to make sure those don’t hang around for 20 years 🙂

  2. “The emphasis will switch from receiving “more” information to receiving “quality” information.”

    I wish!

    1. That has been a prediction going back to at least the 1960s. Note that “quality” does not have to mean “held to a objective standard of legitimacy or public benefit”, only that the things that are not measurable rigorously (quantifiability) are satisfying. We did go from “more” (I can get more than 3.5 channels on TV!) to “quality” (I want channels with content that consistently makes me feel good).

  3. Nobody’s commented yet on the accuracy of most of the predicted demographic shifts? I am honestly impressed by it…

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