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Ten Rules for Creating Awful Scenarios
Jamais Cascio   Aug 20, 2012   Open The Future  

Warning: This is satire! For futurists! You actually want to do the opposite of all of these things - Seriously!

1. One change at a time. Too many changes are confusing, so the only approach is to take a single point of difference from today to its logical conclusion.

2. The only changes that matter are technological changes. And by technology, you should mean consumer information technology.

3. Stuff works. Every new invention performs exactly as intended, with no opportunities for misuse.

4. People just want to talk about which brands they use and how stuff works. Be sure that your scenario narrative includes lots of these kinds of conversations.

5. The behavior of people, companies, and governments in your scenarios don’t have to make sense. Incomprehensibility is futuristic!

6. You only need to talk about the economically-dominant social group in your own country, e.g., middle-class white American guys. Other groups and other countries will just emulate them.

7. It’s more believable if it’s depressing. Dystopian scenarios show you’re taking your subject seriously.

8. A scenario is just a morality play. Tell your audience what they should be thinking by showing how everything is better with your desired changes, and how everything is worse without them.

9. It’s useful to have a good scenario, a bad scenario, and a middle-of-the-road scenario. People need to know how to pick between them.

10. When in doubt, copy from a science fiction TV show or movie. Those guys always get it right!

Jamais Cascio is a Senior Fellow of the IEET, and a professional futurist. He writes the popular blog Open the Future.

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