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...