Paul Saffo peers into the future and sees gray

“Pessimism is the new black.
It’s a lot easier to face doom than
it is to face uncertainty. This is a
particularly American disease.
We are really good with clear opportunities
and we’re really good with clear threats.
We do really badly with the
gray zone in the middle.”

— Paul Saffo, 12.31.2008

Required listening: Want to have your conventional wisdom challenged? My go-to “futurist” and technology forecaster, Paul Saffo, discussed his view of the future with Michael Krasny on KQED radio’s “Forum” yesterday.

First off, Paul confirms what we all know: it’s scary out there and he predicts some potentially frightening things. Forget stability, he says: periods of dynamic change are not conducive to stability.

But after weaving together many threads of economic, geo-political, cultural, technological and even religious developments (he predicts a new religion to emerge from the environmental movement), Saffo concludes: “This is going to be a heck of a century.”

Saffo is a master of explaining the inexplicable. I know you will not agree with everything he says, but I can’t recommend anything better to do at the beginning of 2009 than to listen to this 51 minute interview.

(Listen below or download):




[Thanks from the heads up on this via a Tweet from @HollyBrady.]