Summary of Future Files

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Future Files book summary


8 Overall

7 Importance

8 Innovation

9 Style


In this bold, entertaining book, futurist Richard Watson reports the results of decades of thought about the future. He identifies more than 200 separate trends, which he helpfully winnows down into five overarching themes illustrated with real-world and hypothetical examples. His breezy style weaves these themes into the major areas of life: work, finances, politics, science, health care and entertainment, among others. Watson’s vision of the future covers all aspects – literally everything from taking baths to artificial intelligence – and the sweep of his ambition is impressive. He augments his text with good graphics, some perhaps tongue-in-cheek (his “Extinction Timeline” has Belgium biting the bullet around 2049). The book’s one weakness is that, while Watson tells readers what will happen in the future, he doesn’t always explain why. This caveat aside, getAbstract recommends this engaging book to leaders, innovators and all those interested in the future.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What major trends will shape the future
  • How life will change in a range of essential areas
  • How these trends will intersect.

About the Author

Richard Watson is a futurist for the Future Exploration Network, and author and publisher of the quarterly What’s Next.



Future Planning
Forecasting the future is impossible; making specific predictions, absurd. However, to learn all you can and plan for change, you must look beyond the limits of your discipline and short-term goals. Consider a broad host of factors, and let your forecasting influence your...

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    Brook Taylor 8 years ago
    Many of Watson's "future trends" seem to have already begun - for example, "buy local" or "eat local" movements are well under way. But some of his predictions, like the advent of robot soldiers and emotional machines, seem quite fresh.
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      Haike Schattka 8 years ago
      Emotional machines already exist as well. Check out this article:

      Also, they use "social robots" in autism therapy. They are still testing it, but apparently autistic children have been responding really well to it.
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      Brook Taylor 8 years ago
      A fascinating article - thanks. It seems simple enough to design robots that emulate human emotions, but I wish the article described more how these robots actually "develop" them. That's where the true breakthrough in emotional machine technology lies. Human emotions can hardly be a simple algorithm.

      Perhaps this point of "singularity" that Watson and other futurists predict is closer than we think!
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    Ruben Mezas 8 years ago
    Watson remembers me to Orwell's Book 1984. While I do not agree with all his visions, is entertaining to read his thoughts.
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      Koni Gebistorf 8 years ago
      1984!? It's not THAT bad, is it?
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    Koni Gebistorf 8 years ago
    Watson is right in putting the demographic trend (aging world population) first. The effects of this are totally underrated. getAbstract should produce summaries for the elderly, with font size 18!
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      Charles Jacobina 8 years ago
      Get good reader app in itunes

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    Richard Watson

    Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 2010


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