Forecasting: The Futurologist: LOOKING AHEAD IN A DANGEROUS WORLD

IT'S HEADY STUFF WHEN CAPTAINS OF industry and world leaders--even movie directors--buy into your visions of the future. But for Peter Schwartz, it's all in a day's work. Remember the talking ads, animated cereal box and self-updating newspaper in Stephen Spielberg's Minority Report, set in 2054? All from Schwartz. Meanwhile, his consulting firm, Global Business Network (GBN), based in Emeryville, Calif., plots out future scenarios--such as whether another SARS outbreak could affect Singapore Airlines--to help businesses plan for the unthinkable. "Somewhere in each scenario exercise--if we've done our homework--is the future," says Schwartz, 58. "Very rarely have we really missed. More...

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