AAI Foresight’s 2021 Annual Report, plus news from the futurist community

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Volume 7,
Number 12
November 30, 2021

Annual Report from AAI Foresight Inc.

Consulting and Research
reported by Tim Mack, managing principal, tcmack333@gmail.com

While the global pandemic has had many negative consequences, AAI Foresight has not seen significant downturn in commercial activity over the past 20+ months. Still mostly focused on the electrical energy arena, several long-term projects have carried over into this new fiscal year. My Foresight Signals blog articles on sustainable energy and innovative approaches to improving efficiency and lowering cost show that these efforts have been increasingly successful, but continuing resistance to change within the nonrenewable sectors should not be underestimated.

Although AAI had been involved previously with AI-related initiatives through the Northwest MIT Enterprise Forum when I was on its Board of Directors, the increasing AI involvement in energy conservation and management has largely been outside of the Pacific Northwest.

Business with the private electric energy sector is somewhat less robust than in 2020, largely because of a series of mergers and acquisitions among the utilities and other consulting firms, thus reducing the range of potential clients.

In the federal arena, growing concern about the future of energy costs, efficiency, and sustainability has led to broader-picture analytical efforts involving a range of players that had not previously worked together. This bodes well for efforts to more effectively integrate what has been a fragmented national electric power system.

Globally, our increasing connection with the World Future Studies Federation promises greater overseas activity. Although I was not able to attend the recent Berlin conference, some of our associates did so, and hope springs eternal.

reported by Cindy Wagner, consulting editor, CynthiaGWagner@gmail.com

Foresight Signals

Subscriptions to AAI Foresight’s free monthly e-newsletter, Foresight Signals, increased more than 5.2% from November 2020 to November 2021. The average open rate of 42.9% continues to surpass that of peer consulting-industry newsletters (32.5%), and 60% of subscribers interact “often,” opening the email and clicking through links. The unsubscribe rate of 0.2% is below that of peers (0.3%).

The Top 5 stories from 2021 (measured by clicked-through links) were:

  1. From April 2021, “From Machine Consciousness to Sentience” by Stephen L. Thaler, president and CEO of Imagination Engines Inc.
  2. From January 2021, The Millennium Project’s report on Work/Technology 2050: Scenarios and Action, along with Jerome Glenn’s report on the 2020 activities of The Millennium Project
  3. From October 2021, UN’s Our Common Future report
  4. From May 2021, National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends 2040: A More Contested World (PDF)
  5. From April 2021, announcement of James H. Lee’s new book Foresight Investing and a link to order it from Bookbaby

We believe this tells us readers want direct links to original reports from reliable sources of value to their foresight work. And the topics we lead the newsletter with aren’t always the most-read stories; readers are evidently willing to go to the bottom of the page and find resources and ideas of value!

As always, we welcome news tips, “signals” of interest to the futures community, and feedback.

Website, Blog, and Foresight Report series

The Foresight Signals newsletter and blog attracted the most visitors to AAI Foresight’s website, according to Google Analytics. In addition, the “In Memoriam” biographies for futurist pioneers Joseph F. Coates and Edward Cornish attracted many visitors to the site. The 2021 post “Future Stand-Down Day,” previewing plans for the annual Future Day, drew the most page views for the blog.

One-third (33.2%) of AAI’s website visitors are located in the United States. Other leading countries of origin are the United Kingdom, China, Canada, Indonesia, India, Australia, Germany, and Hong Kong.

Contributors to the Foresight Signals blog in 2021 included NASA scientist Dennis Bushnell, investment broker Bob Chernow, and environmental futurist David Bengston, as well as consulting editor Cindy Wagner and managing principal Tim Mack. Visit the Foresight Signals blog at http://aaiforesight.com/blog. To propose an article, contact Cindy at CynthiaGWagner@gmail.com.

In addition to his blog articles, Mack also produced a white paper, “Foresight as an Outsider Activity” (March 11, 2021), for the Foresight Reports series. To propose a white paper, which should illustrate foresight techniques or applications, contact Cindy at the above email.

Remembrances 2021

AAI Foresight and Foresight Signals noted the passing in 2021 of several leading figures in futurism and futures studies:

Call for Annual Reports

Now, it’s your turn! Please send us highlights of your 2021 activities—organizational and/or individual work—to share with the futurist and foresight community. Suggested length, 100-200 words, with news of career moves, awards, new publications, events, etc. Forward your reports by December 27 to Cindy at CynthiaGWagner@gmail.com.

Futurist News in Brief, December 2021

  • The Institute For the Future has appointed four new senior researchers: research directors Rebecca Shamash, Jeff Yang, and Leah Zaidi and director of philanthropy and foresight Charles Tsai. “Although each one has a unique background, they share a passion for using their skills and abilities to help guide us in creating a better future for all,” IFTF states. [Learn more]
  • The Millennium Project has announced the establishment of its 70th node, in Nepal, to be led by Dr. Pramod Jaiswal, research director of the Nepal Institute for International Cooperation and Engagement. “The Nepal Node’s first act was to convene a group of scholars from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and yours truly to discuss how South Asian Nations should navigate the US-China competition,” reports TMP co-founder and CEO Jerome Glenn. [Learn more]
  • Sophie Howe, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, has announced the acceptance of 35 new applicants for the Future Generations Leadership Academy. “The applications were many, the talent amazing, the diversity brilliant and here they are the 35 future leaders who will be working with me,” she reported in a November 17 tweet. [Learn more]
  • Futurists Patricia Lustig and Gill Ringland have released a new book, New Shoots—people making fresh choices in a changing world. The book “offers readers a framework for thinking about the outside world. It enables them to find New Shoots of opportunity for life after the Covid-19 pandemic, as they seek to reach their preferred futures.” [Learn more]
  • The Arthur C. Clarke Foundation has named Michio Kaku the recipient of its Sir Arthur Clarke Lifetime Achievement award. “Dr. Michio Kaku is one of the world’s most widely recognized figures in science today,” the Foundation stated in honoring his “exceptional contributions as a theoretical physicist, futurist, and science popularizer.” Among Kaku’s recent best-selling books are The God Equation: The Quest for the Theory of Everything and Future of Humanity and The Future of the Mind. [Learn more]
  • Roger Spitz, founder and CEO of Techistential, has joined the newly launched Climate Intelligence Council of Cervest, “a company that uses machine learning to continuously analyze a variety of ‘signals’ that predict and quantify climate impacts on physical assets.” [Learn more]

Signal Thoughts

“To have his path made clear for him is the aspiration of every human being in our beclouded and tempestuous existence.” Joseph Conrad, The Mirror of the Sea (1906)