In modern physics, a location in time in which the universe's entropy is greater than at present. All forms of thought are based on the logical axiom that the basic laws governing the present will continue to exist in the future. No evidence against this presumption has ever been found, but it remains impossible to prove.

A financial instrument that involves writing a contract that promises to buy or sell a commodity (ie, canola, or gold) at a future date at today's prices. Purchasers of futures generally fall in to two categories:

Hedgers - these are people whose business involves the commodity. They buy futures as a hedge, insurance against the possibility of changing prices. For example, say a canola farmer buys futures at today's prices for his crop due to be sold in nine months. If prices drop, his loss is alleviated a bit by holding the futures. If prices go up, he will lose a bit of money on the futures, but his profitable crop will offset it.

Speculators. These are people who don't deal in the actual commodity, and just want to profit from how they expect the commodity's price to change. These represent the majority of futures traders - only about 2% of futures end up with actual exchanges of goods.

Any good futurist knows that, while nobody can entirely predict the future, there are things we can tell about the future based on present conditions and on events in the past.

Actually "the future" is an imprecise phrase in the field of Futures Studies. There are an infinite number of possible futures. Futurists help people imagine the possible, plausible, probable and, most importantly, the preferable futures that might arise from the evidence we can see in the past and present.

Futurists work with scenarios that illustrate particular futures. They help people anticipate a range of possible futures to help them to make more robust plans and to exert whatever control they have on current conditions in order to create a favorable future for themselves.

We have much less control over what will happen in our lives next week than we do ten years from now. Also, the more likely a particular future is to occur, the less strategic benefit we can derive from anticipating it. Perhaps this is why University of Hawaii futurist Jim Dator says, "Any useful statement about the future must appear to be completely ridiculous."

Naturally, there is a tradeoff between the strategic value of a particular scenario and its probablity of occurring. Futurists are frequently wrong and that's by design. When you anticipate a range of possible futures, most will be wrong. Sometimes, a prediction is made in hopes that it will be made wrong, such as with predictions of overpopulation or global warming.

Visions of the future inspire hope, fear, panic, and cooperation. People often act based on some vision of the future. A futurist's job is to help people base their actions consciously on a range of possible scenarios so they can move toward their own preferable future.

Fu"ture (?; 135), a. [F. futur, L. futurus, used as fut. p. of esse to be, but from the same root as E. be. See Be, v. i.]

That is to be or come hereafter; that will exist at any time after the present; as, the next moment is future, to the present.

Future tense Gram., the tense or modification of a verb which expresses a future act or event.


© Webster 1913.

Fu"ture (?), n. [Cf. F. futur. See Future, a.]


Time to come; time subsequent to the present (as, the future shall be as the present); collectively, events that are to happen in time to come.

"Lay the future open."



The possibilities of the future; -- used especially of prospective success or advancement; as, he had great future before him.

3. Gram.

A future tense.

To deal in futures, to speculate on the future values of merchandise or stocks. [Brokers' cant]


© Webster 1913.

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