The Long View Project
NC State’s Long View Project seeks to anticipate the intermediate and far future by building on the interdisciplinary expertise of the world’s best scholars.
“The very act of trying to look ahead to discern possibilities and offer warnings is in itself an act of hope.”
About the Long View Project
Envisioning possible futures can inform how people plan and make decisions, in their personal lives and as researchers, policymakers and leaders. The Long View Project is focused on envisioning the future by building on the interdisciplinary expertise of the world’s best scholars through conversations, interviews, and events.
We recognize that the current practices and plans of individuals, businesses, governments and universities alike don’t adequately anticipate the future and, as a result, are not sufficiently prepared for the changes to come. Yet, many choices we make in society have consequences that last for centuries.
Humanity notoriously fails to consider the intermediate and far future for many reasons. It is difficult for leaders, administrators and scholars — astrophysicists and paleontologists notwithstanding — to take the long view in planning for the future. Quarterly reports, urgent challenges, and, for scholars, the realities of immediate concerns tend to demand so much time that it is difficult to make time for truly long-term planning. Yet, our daily decisions are what ultimately shape these seemingly remote futures.
Many choices we make in society have consequences that last for centuries… As scholars and educators, if our research is to be useful, our public engagement relevant and our students successful, we must do all we can to try to anticipate the future.
– The Long View Project
This reality applies not only to issues like infrastructure, but also to less obvious areas, such as education. Students graduating from universities today will be hitting their mid-career stride around the year 2050. By 2050, their world will be one in which energy systems, communication, ecological realities, climate and societal context are far different than they are today. As scholars and educators, if our research is to be useful, our public engagement relevant and our students successful, we must do all we can to try to anticipate the future. By doing this, we not only prepare for what is to come, but may also alter our trajectory, steering our collective ship away from tempests and toward calmer waters.