What We Do
As a research manager at IFTF, Ben uses insights from his background in journalism covering issues of race and inequality to explore how well-being is shaped by social and environmental contexts. He has researched the future of food technology, environments that enhance well-being, and the design of healthy places, and he has an ongoing interest in narrative and health, the meaning of place, and equity and social justice. In addition to his work at IFTF, Ben contributes to the Nichi Bei Weekly and edits the National Japanese American Historical Society’s official magazine, Nikkei Heritage.
Ben believes that short-term thinking is a major cause of today’s social inequity and that foresight is critical to successful social change and effective governance. His upbringing in the diverse socioeconomic conditions of the San Francisco Bay Area inspired his interest in issues of race, class, and social justice. He spent half a decade covering these issues as a journalist at Youth Outlook, New American Media, and the Nichi Bei Times before coming to IFTF in 2011. Ben holds a BA in cinema from San Francisco State University.
Making the Future
“I think that a lot of what really drives the future isn’t technology in isolation but culture and identity. Who we believe ourselves to be intersects with health trends and technology trends and economic trends in a critical way. Roy Amara said the impact of technology is overestimated in the short term and underestimated in the long term. I think culture, as well, is often underestimated in the long term. I’m interested in taking the pulse of culture as a way of anticipating the future.”