Anticipation is required for anticipatory governance and generally considered to be a cornerstone of responsible innovation, but is it necessarily anticipation of the future? In regard to emerging technologies, responsible research and innovation appear to call for judgments of what these technologies might or will effect in the future. The paper questions this assumption by clarifying the meaning and scope of anticipation. One can learn to anticipate what can happen in the world as we know it. But emerging technologies are thought to change the world in relevant ways which is why the question of the future is raised in the first place. Though anticipation does not reach as far as a changed world in the future, this is not necessary for anticipatory governance or for anticipation as part of responsible research and innovation.