What Is A Secretary Of The Future and Do We Need One?

Politicians tend to focus on short term solutions, but shouldn’t there be someone in government looking to the future? What exactly would a Future Department or Secretary of the Future do? Well, having someone analyze what might happen in the future seems like a tricky government job But in the corporate world, this position is not entirely uncommon

According to American Public Radio’s Marketplace, a number of influential companies like Intel and Google already have “futurists” These people look at things like past company metrics, the progression of research and development, and any other data that can paint a picture of what will happen Perhaps more importantly, they can also paint a picture of what a company might want to avoid In theory this sounds complicated, but in practice it can be incredibly beneficial, as it helps paint goals for companies to grow into In fact, although the United States does not have anything resembling a Department of the Future, it kind of used to

From 1972 to 1995, the Office of Technology Assessment provided an up close look at what topics were being debated and decided on in Congress As science and technology developed at breakneck speeds, the OTA released researched reports concerning complicated technical, environmental, and social issues, including their possible outcomes and any relevant policy decisions This useful service was summarily defunded by Congress in 1995, which some say was the result of its less than positive predictions For example, Ronald Reagan’s proposed missile defense system, nicknamed Star Wars, was predicted to be a “catastrophic failure” by the OTA, despite the project’s favored status with Reagan The aftermath has been described as a setback for science in politics

Without unbiased governmental reports, Congresspeople have been providing their own reports and experts, using groups like lobbyists and think tanks rather than impartial scientists Issues like climate change have become points of debate instead of simple scientific facts Despite a roughly 97% agreement rate among climate scientists that climate change is real, the remaining 3% are used by some in Congress to support their claims But while the OTA is gone, similar organizations around the world have survived The European Parliamentary Technology Assessment performs an identical function to the OTA, as does the British Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology

The EPTA even prepared a report on innovation and climate change in advance of the groundbreaking 2015 Paris Climate Conference In the United States, over the past two decades, many have called for a return of the OTA, perhaps functioning as a Department of the Future Major companies rely on such positions to make sure that they’re complying with the law, being as efficient as possible, and opening the door to innovation If such a system works in the private sector, and used to work in the government, then it doesn’t seem like such a bad idea to bring it back up We can’t do episodes like this without help from our sponsors like Domain DOT COM

Join millions of others online with your DOT COM or DOT NET domain name Be recognized with the world’s premier web addresses And our friends at DOMAIN DOT COM is giving fans 20% off domain names and web hosting when you use coupon code SEEKER at checkout Luckily, most of the world doesn’t need a Future Department to agree on Climate Change In 2016, 120 countries agreed to sign the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change

But will this treaty really work? Find out in this video! Thanks for tuning in to Seeker Daily! Make sure to subscribe for new stories every day

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