As everyone from business moguls to football managers to weather 1____________ (FORECAST) knows, predicting the future is not easy. History is packed with 2____________ (MISTAKE) ideas about the future. Among the more famous are record company Decca's excuse for rejecting The Beatles: 'Guitar music is on the way out', and Ken Olson's prediction made at the Convention of the World Future Society in 1977: 'There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home'. Despite thousands of similar errors, big companies still employ futurologists, the men and women whose job is to guess 3__________ (CORRECT) what will happen tomorrow, next year and in ten years' time. So how do these modern-day Nostradamuses do it?
It turns out that the job of a futurologist is less mystical than 4_______________ (COMMON SENSE). To be a futurologist, you need good 5____________ (JUDGE) and strong instincts, but 6___________ (MAIN) you need to do lots of research. By and large, the companies that employ futurologists aren't interested in solving the world's problems. They want to find out about business opportunities, risks, threats and changes in society that may affect sales.
According to futurologist for British Telecom Ian Pearson, people in his profession look at patterns in research and 7____________ (DEVELOP)- what is being researched and by whom - and they attend conferences and read technical magazines. Then they apply common sense, 8_________ (ROOT) out ideas that seem 9_____________ (LOGIC). For example, a few years ago there was the idea of the intelligent home. Using a computer to organise every aspect of a home that is 10__________ (CONSTANT) changing (new owners, 11___________ (GROW) children, changing circumstances) just doesn't make sense. Another great idea, the jet pack - a battery-powered 12__________ (PACK) that allows you to fly - also failed to take off.
The fact that most predictions fail presents a problem for futurologists. They 13________ (SIMPLE) have to think big: radical and 14_____________ (REVOLUTION) rather than minor and minuscule. But such ideas 15__________ (RARE) become reality. Faced with this, one alternative for futurologists is to look at today's technology and find new ways in which it can be applied to everyday life.
Trends analyst Dr Patrick Dixon says the past is, 'full of 16____________ (GRAVE) of bits and pieces of gadgets which form no particularly 17__________ (USE) function' and that the key will be how technology can work with human emotions. 'It's about how people feel about technology ... how people actually want to live.'
He may have a point. Recent 18_______________ (INNOVATE) include toys that respond 19____________ (EMOTION) to the tone of a child's voice (happy, sad, etc.), as well as 20___________ (MUSIC) bath tiles that 'read ' your emotions and play mood-21__________ (ENHANCE) music. Another new product is a pair of bracelets that send signals across the mobile phone 22____________ (NET). They can vibrate or heat up so you can send your partner a warm glow or 23____________ (LITERAL) give them a buzz. But don't bet on these becoming 24______________ (SELL). The future, as we know, doesn't always turn out as we expect it to. Just ask Decca or Ken Olson.
mogul /ˈməʊɡl/ a very rich, important and powerful person. Magnate /ˈmæɡneɪt/. E.g. a movie mogul. A business mogul.
forecaster: /ˈfɔːkɑːstə(r)/ a person who says what is expected to happen, especially somebody whose job is to forecast the weather. E.g. a weather forecaster. An economic forecaster.
packed: containing a lot of a particular thing. E.g. packed with something The book is packed with information.
Nostradamuses /ˌnɒstrəˈdɑːməsɪz/ Nostradamus was a 16th Century French pharmacist who claimed to be able to predict the future.
turn out: to be discovered to be; to prove to be. E.g. turn out that… It turned out that she was a friend of my sister. turn out to be/have something The job turned out to be harder than we thought. The house they had offered us turned out to be a tiny apartment.
mystical: /ˈmɪstɪkl/ having spiritual powers or qualities that are difficult to understand or to explain. E.g. mystical forces/ powers. Watching the sun rise over the mountain was an almost mystical experience.
commonsensical: /ˌkɒmənˈsensɪkəl/ thinking about things in a practical way and making sensible decisions. With common sense. E.g. and we all ought to go about our business in a commonsensical, calm way,
and not in any way be distracted by scare stories or horror stories or
5. judgement: /ˈdʒʌdʒmənt/ the ability to make sensible decisions after carefully considering the best thing to do. E.g. good/ poor/ sound judgement. She showed a lack of judgement when she gave Mark the job. The accident was caused by an error of judgement on the part of the pilot.
By and large used when you are saying something that is generally, but not completely, true. E.g. By and large, I enjoyed my time at school.
pattern: /ˈpætn/ the regular way in which something happens or is done. E.g. changing patterns of behaviour. An irregular sleeping pattern. The murders all seem to follow a (similar) pattern(= happen in the same way).
root something/somebody out to find the person or thing that is causing a problem and remove or get rid of them. E.g. We need to root out corruption at all levels. The principal promised to root out the troublemakers.
Water-propelled jet pack
minuscule: /ˈmɪnəskjuːl/ extremely small. E.g. minuscule handwriting.
graveyard: /ˈɡreɪvjɑːd/ a place where things or people that are not wanted are sent or left. E.g. a graveyard for cars. The club has become a graveyard for mediocre provincial bands.
enhance something to increase or further improve the good quality, value or status of somebody/ something. E.g. This is an opportunity to enhance the reputation of the company. The skilled use of make-up to enhance your best features.
glow: a feeling of warmth in the face or body. E.g. he could feel the brandy filling him with a warm glow. The fresh air had brought a healthy glow to her cheeks.
give somebody a buzz (informal) to telephone somebody. E.g. I'll give you a buzz on Monday, OK?
buzz: a strong feeling of pleasure, excitement or achievement. E.g. a buzz of excitement/ expectation. She gets a buzz out of her work. Flying gives me a real buzz. You can sense the creative buzz in the city.
24. bestsellers/ best-sellers