Alternative possible futures...
Reality is a non-linear -- i.e., chaotic -- system, and thus impossible to predict;
Possible futures emerge from the turbulent interplay of current trends and emerging issues of change.
First, a qualifier with regard to credible futures research: futures researchers do not predict the future. They do not, because it is impossible to do so given that reality as we perceive it consists of multiple, interacting systems. These systems generate trends and emerging issues of change which intersect, collide, and interact. The interactions and collisions in turn generate turbulence within the systems, or chaos. Thus, while we can estimate the patterns change might take, and what the extreme boundaries of possible outcomes might be, as with any system displaying chaotic behavior, we cannot pinpoint the precise outcome of any given system change.