Futures Studies

In the past week in Political Science 110, we had been going over the subject of the Futures Studies and Prof. Dator at UH Manoa. I found it rather peculiar that you can get a PhD in something called Future Studies and that UH Manoa is the only university in the country where you can get a PhD in Futures Studies. The instructor, Prof. Frey, had said that the point of Future Studies is to “forecast futures,” and not a one set future, that is why the word future is always plural, to prepare for or to try to go in that direction. Futures Studies is described as being a weatherman, though he makes forecasts, they are not always right or set in stone.

Prof. Frey added that Prof. Dator had said that people can’t dwell in the present and past and need to look to the future to solve their problems. It was very interesting having read how the Hawaiians viewed time. In Ha’ena, Andrade quotes Kame’eleihiwa as saying that Hawaiians referred to the future as the “time which comes behind or after” and the past “the time in front or before.” I thought the two opposing ideas of time and the future were interesting especially at a university where Hawaiian culture is very important.

At first I was slightly skeptical about the program as it sounds like a program that creates fanciful scenarios of flying cars and buildings one might see in the Jetsons, or at least what I thought they did. I thought how is this relevant to Political Science? In a sense it is something to take worthy of looking into, especially in politics. I believe the reason we covered Futures studies is to equip us to think about what may one day come to being and what problems may arise not in the near future but in the distant future. Overall, it was a different yet interesting topic.

In a Prezi that was presented, they created scenarios that would take place in the year 2060 based off of information and statistics today.

You can view the Prezi of what Futures Studies is and the scenarios here.

http://prezi.com/xthbek4s4mln/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share

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One thought on “Futures Studies

  1. Good call comparing the Hawaiian sense of time to Dr. Dator’s futures study. I am somewhat familiar with his work. But since his data for forecasting comes from the past and present, how is his work different from that of a historian? Does his search for predictors in the past skew his understanding of the past because he is looking for something useful to fit in his program?

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