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The World Future Society (WFS) 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 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 Society has members in more than 80 countries, and has active chapters in cities around the world. The Society holds an annual conference during July, which usually features keynote speakers and one-or two-day courses dealing with the future. 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; planetary physician Thomas Alured Faunce, 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..
In 2011, The Futurist featured the writing of technology writer Kevin Kelly, marketing writer and speaker Seth Godin, nature writer Richard Louv, writer and scholar Evgeny Morozov, environmentalist and MacAuthur Fellow Lester R. Brown and others.
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: