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The World Future Society is a nonprofit educational and scientific organization in Bethesda, Maryland, US, founded in 1966. The society investigates how social, economic and technological developments are shaping the future. It seeks to help individuals, organizations, and communities observe, understand and respond to social change appropriately and investigates the benign effects of applying anticipatory thinking to society.
Through its magazine The Futurist, media, meetings, and dialogue among its members, it endeavors to raise awareness of change and encourage development of creative solutions. The society takes no official position on what the future may or should be like. Instead it seeks to provide a neutral forum for exploring possible, probable, and preferable futures.
The World Future Society has members in more than 80 countries. Individuals and groups from all nations are eligible to join this society and actively engage in its programs and events. The Society holds an annual conference during July, which usually features keynote speakers and one-or two-day courses dealing with the future.
Chapters of the World Future Society are active in cities around the world.
Membership is open to anyone who wishes to join and can afford it. The society claims that its membership includes sociologists, scientists, corporate planners, educators, students and retirees.
The society's web site features digital library resources about futurism and content from the society's various publications.
The World Future Society publishes numerous books, including Futuring: The Exploration of the Future (Oct. 2005), written by society founder Edward Cornish, as well as several print and electronic journals.
The Futurist, a full-color bimonthly magazine that reports on a technological, societal, and public policy trends. Among the thinkers and experts who have contributed to The Futurist include: MIT architecture scholar William G. Mitchell: Washington Post writer Joel Garreau; inventor Ray Kurzweil; Foresight president J. Storrs Hall; Daniel Barnett of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health on flu pandemic; Former Harper's editor Lewis Lapham; Center for Strategic International Studies senior fellow Edward N. Luttwak; Pulitzer Prize nominee James Martin; U.S. Comptroller General David M. Walker; and former CIA director Robert James Woolsey, Jr., among many others.
THE FUTURIST magazine’s print edition continues to be the world's most popular publication about the future. In 2011, THE FUTURIST featured the writing of technology "maverick" Kevin Kelly, marketing guru Seth Godin, nature writer Richard Louv, Internet-freedom scholar Evgeny Morozov, environmentalist and MacAuthur Fellow Lester Brown among many other thought leaders. We explored the future of work, healthcare, energy, and education, and featured exclusive and on location coverage of the Japanese tsunami and its aftermath.
THE FUTURIST was nominated for a 2007 Utne Independent Press Award for Best Science and Technology Coverage.
The Futurist has published articles by forecaster and Smart Money columnist Jamais Cascio, NASA chief research scientist Dennis Bushnell, Financial Times economist Martin Wolf, workplace expert John Challenger and Wall Street Journal "Gen X" columnist Alexandra Levit. The magazine published exclusive interviews with former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, serving U.S. congressman Dennis Kucinich, Harvard evolutionary biologist Marc Hauser, as well as inventor (and World Future 2010 featured speaker) Ray Kurzweil.
The Futurist featured coverage on: