Polishing My Professional Crystal Ball

I always thought having the job of "Futurist" sounded really cool, but what would someone with that title actually do? How would you know if someone you hired to be a futurist was actually qualified? And is there really such a profession?

Well, there must be something to it since there are several organizations, including an Association of Professional Futurists, devoted to the profession of futurism. On top of that, it turns out that a number of corporations (Hallmark?) and government agencies have futurists on their payroll.

However, with all the professional groups, it seems no one has actually set up any specific qualifications for the job. But that may be changing soon.

Jarrat [chair of the Association] thinks futurists would be well-served by instituting a certification process that establishes one as a professional. It might include an exam or education- and work-related requirements. But certification is still in the discussion stage. Hines [one of the Association’s founders] is betting it will be in place by 2009.

I think about the future a lot and I can predict with great certainty what’s going to happen sometime out there. Maybe I could qualify to be a certified futurist. The Association only costs $195 to join, although you do have to be approved by the "Qualification Team".

Of course, predicting is easy. Being right is a whole lot harder. So, the big question is, how low does my accuracy have to drop before I get stripped of the title? Hopefully they’ll set the line a whole lot higher than that achieved by some folks being paid big bucks to do it now.

futurist, predicting