Stewart Brand recaps a talk by futurist Paul Saffo, a Stanford University professor who has spent more than 20 years looking at technological change and it practical impacts. Saffe spoke at a Jan. 11, 2008, seminar put on by The Long Now Foundation.
He outlined eight rules for forecasting the future. But what I liked was his closer. He had a photograph from a San Francisco cafe that had this tapped to a tip jar beside the cash register: “If you fear change leave it in here.”
Saffo’s eight rules of effective forecasting:
Rule: Wild cards sensitize us to surprise.
Rule: Change is never linear.
Rule: Look for indicators- things that don’t fit.
Rule: Look back twice as far.
Rule: Cherish failure. Preferably other people’s.
Rule: Be indifferent.
Rule: Assume you are wrong. And forecast often.
Rule: Embrace uncertainty.
(Steward Brand: Remember him … among his many firsts is this one I spotted in his bio and hadn’t heard before: first use of the term “personal computer” in a book, 1974. Seriously ahead of his time for decades!)