Middle English, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin futurus about to be
- Date: 14th century
- 1 : that is to be; specifically : existing after death
- 2 : of, relating to, or constituting a verb tense expressive of time yet to come
- 3 : existing or occurring at a later time <met his future wife>
The future is a time period commonly understood to contain all events that have yet to occur. It is the opposite of the past, and is the time after the present. In the Occidental view, which uses a linear conception of time, the future is the portion of the projected time line that is anticipated to occur. In special relativity the future is considered to be absolute future or the future light cone. In physics, time is considered to be the fourth dimension.
In the philosophy of time, presentism is the belief that only the present exists and the future and the past are unreal. Religions consider the future when they address issues such as karma, [[Afterlife|life after death], and eschatologies that study what the end of time and the end of the world will be. Religious figures have claimed to see into the future, such as prophets and diviners. Organized efforts to predict or forecast the future may have derived from observations by early man of heavenly objects.
Future studies, or futurology, is the science, art and practice of postulating possible futures. Modern practitioners stress the importance of alternative and plural futures, rather than one monolithic future, and the limitations of prediction and probability, versus the creation of possible and preferable futures.
Organized efforts to predict or forecast the future may have derived from observations by early man of heavenly objects, which changed position in predictable patterns. The practice of astrology, today considered pseudoscience, evolved from the human desire to forecast the future. Much of physical science can be read as an attempt to make quantitative and objective predictions about events. These respective futures would take place after the present, in the times that follow. In other similar words, what follows is the future. And if you're right in predicting said future, then you're right. But this is not forecasting. Forecasting is the process of estimation in unknown situations. Due to the element of the unknown, risk and uncertainty are central to forecasting and prediction. Statistical forecasting is the process of estimation in unknown situations. It can refer to estimation of time series, cross-sectional or longitudinal data.
Prediction is a similar, but more general term. Both can refer to estimation of time series, cross-sectional or longitudinal data. Econometric forecasting methods use the assumption that it is possible to identify the underlying factors that might influence the variable that is being forecast. If the causes are understood, projections of the influencing variables can be made and used in the forecast. Judgmental forecasting methods incorporate intuitive judgments, opinions and probability estimates, as in the case of the Delphi method, scenario building, and simulations. Forecasting is applied in many areas, including weather forecasting, earthquake prediction, transport planning, and labour market planning.
Despite the development of cognitive instruments for the comprehension of future, the stochastic nature of many natural and social processes has made precise forecasting of the future elusive. Modern efforts such as future studies attempt to predict social trends, while more ancient practices, such as weather forecasting, have benefited from scientific and causal [[Mathematical modeling|modelling].
- Hastings, J., Selbie, J. A., & Gray, L. H. (1908). Encyclopædia of religion and ethics. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark. Page 335 - 337.
- Hegeler, E. C., & Carus, P. (1890). The Monist. La Salle, Ill. [etc.]: Published by Open Court for the Hegeler Institute. page 443.
- Moore, C.-L., & Yamamoto, K. (1988). Beyond words: movement observation and analysis. New York: Gordon and Breach. Page 57. (cf., The representation of time as a linear, unidirectional progression is a distinctly Occidental point of view.)
- Eddington, A. S. (1921). Space, time and gravitation; an outline of the general relativity theory. Cambridge: University Press. Page 107.
- Bragdon, C. F. (1913). A primer of higher space (the fourth dimension). Rochester, N.Y.: The Manas press. Page 18.
- Heinlein, Robert A.; Cyril Kornbluth, Alfred Bester, and Robert Bloch (1959). "Science Fiction: Its Nature, Faults and Virtues". The Science Fiction Novel: Imagination and Social Criticism. University of Chicago: Advent Publishers.