Evolution and foresight are not usually considered in the same sentence, except in the area of conscious evolution, but both disciplines consider how things change and what forces shape that change. Classical evolution has long been seen as glacial and thus not especially relevant to humanity’s social, economic, or political dynamics. Darwin believed that natural selection was a very slow, almost imperceptible process, proceeding in evolutionary time.
Although we have had many decades of projections and warnings about climate change, it is only fairly recently that actual impacts have stirred serious societal interest in mitigation efforts. Such efforts will involve changes, and changes are always difficult. In fact, although renewable energy is a bedrock mitigation approach, they have been taken very seriously only as technology has reduced renewable costs below parity with fossil carbon. Renewable energy technologies are already producing some 25 percent of electricity worldwide and constitute some 65 percent of new generation.
Due to emerging technologies, most sectors of the economy are expected to undergo a transformation over the next several decades, and manufacturing is no exception. As a result, manufacturing executives will have to make costly and crucial decisions on how to invest in the manufacturing revolution for their own manufacturing facilities. This could be is great news for manufacturing executives’ bottom line depending on how they forecast the path to the new manufacturing paradigm and invest accordingly.
Upon his retirement after a nearly 40-year career in futures research and analysis, Bob Olson agreed to an “exit interview” with Foresight Signals. Olson’s career as a futurist began in 1979 as a project director with the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment (OTA).
In contrast to science fiction novels and short stories, movies have increasingly been a team effort. Accordingly, various futurists have been able to work in partnership with production staff, providing content and design advice for landmarks of science fiction. 2001: A Space Odyssey had Arthur C. Clarke on board from the beginning, which produced a vision which continues to be quite persuasive 50 years after its release in 1968.
The first time I saw Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey—or rather, tried to watch it—was in college not too many years after it was released. I mostly slept through it, and by the end of the film I suspect others in the audience were as mesmerized by what they were smoking as by what they were watching. In the maybe half dozen times I’ve tried to watch it on TV since, I’ve made it through the film’s entirety just once. By that time, the graphics seemed dated, we still weren’t taking commercial flights to space stations or the Moon, and the placidly sinister mechanical voice of HAL is really all I remember.
As a futurist, if you have scanned “blockchain,” you most likely have learned about the volatile value of Bitcoin and that top banker Jamie Dimon and top investor Warren Buffett are critical of it. Buffett admits he has been wrong before, and Dimon apparently has shifted from fast thinking (emotional) to slow thinking (rational updater). JPMorgan Chase & Co. now has a dedicated section investigating blockchain technologies as an investment and as a potential competitor to banking. So, what do we actually know about blockchain technologies? By Randall Mayes
Organizations use scenarios to help understand a wide range of trends, but the process of moving from data collection and analysis to communication via storytelling may result in the loss of consistency and information. A review by Timothy C. Mack
A report from from the second Future Work/Tech 2050 Workshop, June 15, 2018, focusing on the culture discussion. The workshops in Washington, D.C., were organized by the Federal Foresight Community of Interest and The Millennium Project.
The Future of Learning: Redefining Readiness from the Inside Out by Katherine Prince, Andrea Saveri, and Jason Swanson (KnowledgeWorks, 2017), offers a forecast for work in 2040 and strategies for preparing learners. Reviewed by Timothy C. Mack.