Looking for the Future in USA TODAY
September 25th, 2012
When USA TODAY celebrated its 30th anniversary earlier this month, it unveiled a major rebranding in print, and partially/eventually in its various digital formats. (I worked at USAT for 21 years, from 1987-2008. I was a librarian the entire time, and during the final 12 years, I also wrote about business and management books for the Money section.) A separate, 16 page section of the anniversary edition (enhanced by videos online) is USA TOMORROW: Leaders Foresee a Fascinating Future World, in which various “visionaries” are interviewed about where they see the world going in their various spheres thirty years from now, in 2042.
USA TODAY has always been about looking ahead; not just recapping what happened in the news yesterday (or today) but trying to provide context for what it means now and in the future. All of these interviews are worth reading. Chances are that many of the predictions will not come to pass. But the interviewees are indeed leaders who have placed themselves in the position to create the future in their own fields, so we are more likely to use their words as a guide to where the world is headed in the relatively short or medium term.
Some of the best among the 18 interviews:
City living: Cover Story by Rick Hampson on Andres Duany; co-founder and guru of the New Urbanism movement
Films: James Cameron; director of Avatar and Titanic
Music: Antonio “L.A.” Reid; producer and chairman/CEO of Epic Records
The Economy: Marc Andreessen; venture capitalist, online pioneer, co-founder of Netscape
Education: Sebastian Thrun; Google VP, Stanford professor, founder of Udacity
Driving: Bill Ford; executive chairman of Ford Motor
Andreessen provides some serious food for thought: “The spread of computers and the Internet will put jobs in two categories. People who tell computers what to do, and people who are told by computers what to do.” And some things will unfortunately remain predictable; as made plain by the title of the sidebar running with the piece on the director of the National Institutes of Health, Francis Collins: “What Won’t Be Cured? Death.”