Futurology is something of a black sheep in the ranks of traditional "-ologies". While it can be studied, it can't be tested through normal scientific means. A futurologist can only be proved right in the future.
The inevitable, if unjustified, connotations with crystal balls, tea leaves and other supernatural means of predicting the future only encourage the sceptics further.
And while at the start of a new year thoughts inevitably turn to the events of the coming 12 months, futurologists see that as the domain of analysts and economists. Futurologists, or futurists as they sometimes like to be called, tend to deal in the medium to long-term.
Futurologist Dr James Bellini, for example, sets his sights 20 years or so ahead. And, like all futurologists, he doesn't make predictions.
"This game is not about predicting," says Dr Bellini, who began working in the field for the US Hudson Institute think tank. "I apologise because people think futurologists should have a pointy hat and a wand. We're not wizards. We don't predict."
Instead, futurologists deal in "possible futures".
Science, art, pseudoscience, or maybe even protoscience? Weigh in with your opinion! Mine to come...