Customer Reviews: Future Files: A Brief History of the Next 50 Years
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on November 17, 2008
Oh, in 2050, how happy we'll be. We'll have "soft" bathtubs that mold to our bodies, smart bullets (that follow bad guys around corners) and "gravity tubes" (small but weightless areas). An Internet that appeals to all five senses. Female Viagra. Driverless cars that are biodegradable and shift their paint jobs with our moods. Cash and coins will go away (we'll all have "wallet-phones"), as will desktop computers, nation-states (like Belgium) and insistence on proper spelling. You'll bag your own groceries and just walk out -- nano-transmitters will scan your purchases and e-mail you the bill. Doctors will listen for cancer (because aggressive but tiny cells still make noise). And the military will download combat "memories" into recruits' minds.
That's what Richard Watson predicts in *Future Files,* anyway. Of course, futurists can be wrong. (Remember "paperless offices" and "more leisure time"?) Still, readers will enjoy Watson's browsable book, which states its organizing principles right off: The "5 Trends That Will Shape the Next 50 Years" include aging (it's not just America's Social Security system that's going to be strained); power-shifts to China (manufacturing), India (services) and the Middle East (finances); connectivity (cell phones, cell phones everywhere, and not a thought to think); GRIN technologies (advances in genetics, robotics, the Internet and nanotechnology that will have computers outsmarting us); and the environment (with sustainability and conservation becoming badges of honor).
But Watson also falls into two traps: hedging his bets and over-generalizing. Today, people like their food fast and convenient -- though there's also a slow-food movement brewing. Watson doesn't sort out which of these alternate trends will predominate; he simply says they'll both continue, which is self-evident and unhelpful. He also shilly-shallies his discussion of targeted shopping (getting in and then out) as opposed to social shopping (making it a leisurely experience).
As for the generalizations, Watson's "5 Things That Won't Change Over the Next 50 Years" amount to mere common sense: People will be anxious and nostalgic, and they'll crave respect. (Well, duh.) But he retains a sense of humor, cites a variety of sources and has organized his book in digestible chunks.
My own prediction? Readers will think Richard Watson's *Future Files* is worth skimming.
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on December 4, 2008
I've never been a huge fan of so called trendcasters because a lot of times they'll focus on such limited audiences or topics. A friend raved about Future Files, so I thought I'd give it a glance- I couldn't put it down. Now I'm not naive enough to imagine that just because the author says something means it will happen (and I don't think we'll be around in 50 years to argue whether he was wrong or right anyway) but he brings in such entertaining references that you understand how he reaches these conclusions. I think that it would be interesting to compare a few of the new books about what's next and see the recurring themes. In all, this is a book I thoroughly enjoyed, though some aspects really disturbed me (can you imagine hiring someone to hold your hand after surgery to help soothe you?). A lot of fun and a lot to think about- great gift book too.
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on January 25, 2014
I cannot rate this book fairly enough, but for those are followers of the future myths, this is their book. You will like it if you likes Sci-fi stories and movies. If you want more book of these kind read: The future of the Mind, Physics of the Future, Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku. They all predict the same thing, predicted by Hollywood movies in different ways.

Give it the time, when you are a bit tired of you present and curious about the advancements, and see what future might become. For some of us who are already behind the age, we might not witness all of these, but as we are surprised by new technological advancement in these days, no wonders this kind of books can take us to the future even before we are their in person.

However, some stories are redundant, and some concepts more determinant. You can skip some passages easily and go to the next new or charming passage.
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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.
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on December 15, 2013
I was curious about this book, but in the end it was a little bit of a let down. In terms of what the future will look like, the author identifies some macro-trends, but goes on to be too vague and also in most of the cases stating that something will pick-up but also the opposite (e.g.: some people will like it fast and some will like it slow; some people will embrace technology and some will try to get away from it). Also, the author is too much reliant on technology to solve energy and environment problems when there are physical limitations to what technology can accomplish. I strongly recommend "The Crash Course: The Unsustainable Future Of Our Economy, Energy, And Environment" by Chris Martenson instead,
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on January 18, 2015
Its just my opinion but I didn't find this book very interesting. There's a few things that sound interesting but honestly its mostly stuff that most us could guess may or may not happen anyway.....nothing new or surprising. There's also mention that its a humorous book.....not really. Again, just my opinion.
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on June 14, 2016
Good reading
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on May 9, 2009
Loved this incite full, well thought out book. Not everything is likely but found many things already have come about. Need to know this now so you are not surprised.
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