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Meet a Futurehunter

07/16/2013 @ 10:39am

I’m a futurist. It’s my job to look 10 to 20 years out and to model what it will feel like to live in the future. 

Primarily, I’m a technological futurist. I envision how people will act and interact with technology in 10 years. I do this for global technology companies like the Intel Corporation, but I also work with trade organizations, governments, and militaries. 

I explore what it will be like to work in the future. I explore the future of health care. How will we shop in the future? What’s the future of American manufacturing? Recently, I’ve been thinking about the farm of tomorrow. 

That’s why I’m excited to be working with Successful Farming magazine. In each issue over the next year, I’ll take a futurist’s look at your farm in the future. I’ll also provide a few interesting facts (like the ones at the bottom of this page). But first, let me introduce myself.

I’m a Country Boy

My work takes me around the world, talking to people about the future. In my lab, this is called futurehunting – searching for instances of the future that are happening today. I’m fortunate to meet a wide variety of people. None of them ever guess that this futurist is a country boy!

I grew up in Marshall, Virginia (population 300). Downtown had a Ford truck dealership, a gas station, the Fauquier National Bank, and a tree. I grew up with dirt under my nails -- getting chased by hungry cattle and pulling weeds. 

My dad was a Minnesota farm boy who left the operation to become a radar-tracking engineer, but he never got the dirt out of his blood. We had acres of gardens, an orchard, and even a skinny little patch of grapevines.

I know what it means to pound in a new fence line by hand in 90°F. Southern humidity. I used to hike past the cattle auction house on my way to school, and I still have a box of 4-H ribbons. 

I’m proud of my country background. That’s why I jumped at the chance to spend a year imagining the future of farming in the pages of this publication.

I’m a Geek

I love all things science and all things science fiction. I’m also an optimist, and I believe the future isn’t an accident. It’s made every day by our actions. To build the future, we need a vision for what we want -- and what we want to avoid. 

I believe that the future will be built by engineers, and I think most all farmers are engineers. Let me explain what I mean.

An engineer turns a concept into something useful, which is the very definition of a farmer. An ag engineer uses whatever is needed to get the job done, be it machinery, biology, climatology, or robots. Likewise, a farmer is a pragmatic geek. If it works, then it gets used.

The ultimate goal of technology should be to make our lives better. 

What better place to explore the future of farming than on your farm?


Editor's note: Your Farm in the Future is a year-long special project of Successful Farming that attempts to envision the changes ahead in our industry. Predicting the future isn’t just about technology; it's also imagining how we will live our lives on the farm a decade from now. Please visit us at Agriculture.com/future to provide your perspective and to learn more about Your Farm in the Future. 

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