The Far Far Future of North Carolina Workers’ Compensation?

September 15, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

The doomsdayers and cynics fret that the North Carolina workers’ compensation system is in sad shape, and it’s only going to get sadder and scarier as the baby boomer generation ages and the state and national economies stagnate or contract. And we may very well face tough times in the years – and even decades – ahead.

But what about the really long term? What’s going to happen to the North Carolina and the U.S. workers’ compensation systems in 50, 100, 200 years from now?

Speculation about the future is riddled with artifacts from present day bias. No matter how farsighted we may think we are, we are inevitably trapped in the present moment – culturally, intellectually, and otherwise. So we tend to see the future through the lens of the present, and that colors our vision of what might be possible and what might be impossible.

For instance, if you look at old science fiction made in the 1950s and 1960s, you will see references to technologies that are still way, way, way out of our reach, such as sentient robots, flying cars, etc. You’ll also see references to technologies that are, by our modern standards, totally outdated. For instance, very few thinkers back then could even conceive of something like the world wide web, and these fictional worlds are often laughably “backwards” because of their lack of incorporation of something like the web.

This isn’t to say that the future of the North Carolina workers’ compensation system is forever out of the grasp of present-day minds. Indeed, it’s probably worth it to at least take a few educated guesses. Even if these guesses are wrong, this kind of visualization can powerfully guide our thinking.

Here are a few rules of thumb:

• “Correct” future predictions will almost certainly be confounded or complicated by “incorrect” assumptions or predictions. In other words, even the most astute futurists only get some of the stuff right, some of the time.

• Certain fundamental truths about human behavior and about our relationship with technology can help guide us and shape our vision;

• Problems that seem intractable today may disappear or even be made irrelevant due to the technologies or insights of tomorrow;

• Similarly, there is a good chance that the grand visions of today will be rendered less relevant in the future due to the same kinds of disruptive innovations and insights.

A subsequent blog post will tackle specific prognostications. But if you have actionable, present-day question about workers’ comp issues, connect with a reputable, strategic North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm to work through your issues and achieve success.

More Web Resources:

Being right and wrong at the same time

The future is fundamentally opaque


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