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Foreword Magazine

Sian Griffiths


Knowing someone's view of possible futures gives a deep insight into the way they think, and so a book containing essays on the future by well known thinkers would be very important indeed. Predictions: 30 great minds on the future is not such a book. Certainly they have contributions from eminent thinkers, but these are often only a page in length, which is only enough to repeat what we already know. Most of the space for each person is given to a biographical introduction written by a journalist who interviewed them.

However, this still leads to a book which is worth reading - it gives a taster of 30 significant writers, which the reader may then investigate further. I certainly intend to look into some of the works of Amartya Sen and his ideas on social welfare.

The book is also about postmodernism - clearly the interviewers wanted to find out how this affected their subjects. Some were unashamedly postmodernist, others thought that it was total nonsense. Perhaps more interesting are those such as Sen, who is criticised by postmodernists for not joining in with their ideas - but then he's a real challenge to the establishment rather than just its jester. Then again there's Sherry Turkle, who from a postmodernist background has developed some interesting insights into our relationship with computers.