The passing of Arthur C. Clarke last week got me to thinking about the importance of paying attention to the visionaries of the world, to those people who think about about the future and try to look beyond the horizon.
Clarke obviously fit the definition of a visionary. He is widely credited with proposing the idea of satellite communications in 1945. The themes of evolution and artificial intelligence that he explored in such stories as Childhood’s End and 2001: A Space Odyssey are well worth keeping in mind as our technology becomes ever more powerful and sophisticated.
While I think we should pay special attention to visionary thinkers society-wide, they are particularly important to those of us in the fields of communications because they can get us thinking about where technology may be headed and therefore, how people will use technology.
iPods and DVRs, for example, have fundamentally altered the way in which people receive information by making messages portable and delayable.
I’ve been planning on writing about books that I think are important to Internet marketing folks, so let me mention a few writers I’d suggest to help think about the future:
- The books of Alvin & Heidi Toffler, especially Future Shock, Powershift, and The Third Wave
- Generations and The Fourth Turning by William Strauss and Neil Howe
- The stories of Phillip K. Dick
- The novels of William Gibson
Are there others you think are important? Add yours to the list in the comments.