Andrew Zolli at Z+ Partners points us to the BBC's new series, If..., which brings plausible scenarios of near-future developments to the (British) TV screen. This ongoing series dramatizes different possible scenarios of the future -- of power problems, of explosive social inequality, of generational conflict, etc. -- in order to provoke discussion and thought about the choices we make now.
The show's editor, Peter Barron, describes why scenarios are useful tools for thinking about the future:
Are we guilty of scare-mongering?
Not any more so than the Emergency planners, BT or the CIA when they create their future scenarios.
Only a hopeless optimist would make a plan based on the best case scenario.
On IF we tackle the difficult and uncomfortable issues head on. That way, if there are problems ahead perhaps we stand a better chance of preventing them or at least getting out of their way.
At this point, the series is only available on the BBC in the UK; they currently don't have the distribution rights to put the episodes on the web. If the show comes to BBC America, it might be time for me to get a satellite dish...
Interested to read your comments about If...
We will be able to show short clips of the programme, along with scripts, on the website shortly, and if you are interested in acquiring tapes of the shows we will be able to make NTSC copies available for a small fee. I hope the programmes will be shown on BBC America in due course.