HUMAN FUTURES - MARCH 2022

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Erik F. Øverland President

LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT

Dear Members, Colleagues and Friends,

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INCE the last issue of Human Futures Magazine there is a again a war going on in Europe. This challenge conventional geopolitical expectations all over the world. The current issue of Human Futures Magazine does not deal with this conflict directly, but indirectly you will find ideas and perspectives which, above all, are relevant for how we could deal with the consequences of a such war in medium and long terms. Before starting reading the Magazine, let us cross our fingers that this conflict and other armed conflicts around the world soon will come to an end and that the Human Civilization are able to deal with this in a way that creates hopes and visions for the Futures. In this new issue of the Human Futures Magazine the first contribution you will find is the brilliant mini-essay by Claire A. Nelson in her column “Futures Matters”. She points in particular to the importance of integrating the global South in efforts of creating a global governance architecture. Through a deep dive into the futures of AI and AGI she argue in favour of ramping up AI literacy for all and asks a crucial question: “...perhaps the time is right for the birth of a digital nation of earth citizens that would come together to seed a global conversation on how we share our future.” Further in this issue, you will find a thought-provoking poem by Lane Jennings, an interesting presentation of Space Elevators and Galactic Harbours by Vernon Hall&Michel Fitzgerald, interesting ideas from Ralph Mercer about using the concept “Habitus” in futures reasoning, Leopold P. Mureithi thoughts about the “Metaverse”, and Rosa Alegri’s stimulation discussion on “Transetarian Revolution: The Strength of Intergenerational Futures”. In addition to these valuable contributions our Review Room offer several interesting reviews and Linda Hofman, Yvonne Curtis share with us their perspectives on futures are dealt with in the Netherlands and the New Zealand. Last but not least Warren Graham, Karla Paniauga and Ludwig Weh present some intriguing perspectives on technology developments. Finally Hank Kune presents the reasoning behind the new WFSF-project on Mission Labs before Ralph Mercer closes down the issue in the “Aftermost” with his question: “Where have all the messy thinkers gone?” I wish you all a happy READING!

Sincerely Yours, Erik

Erik F. Øverland President

World Futures Studies Federation (WFSF) wfsf.org president@wfsf.org

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EDITORIAL COMMITEE Erik Øverland Editor-In-Chief

Claire Nelson Editor-At-Large

“Until we see the value of sharing the future, we will not achieve the future we most value”

Ralph Mercer Managing Editor

“If the future is measurable, achievable and safe, we failed miserably. The future we need is risky, messy, amazing and post-humanist.”

Amy Fletcher Features Editor

Hank Kune Features Editor

The future is not what it used to be

Elissa Farrow Features Editor The future requires us to be comfortable with uncomfortableness. Love, listen and respect each other on our way to the future.

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Mohsen Taheri News & Events Editor

Kevin Jae Copy Editor

Historia abscondita. Every great human being exerts a retroactive force... There is no way of telling what may yet become part of history. Perhaps the past is still essentially undiscovered! So many retroactive forces are still needed!” - Nietzsche

Cristophe Bisson Copy Editor

“Future that is sustainable requires to hybridize Human and Machine”s

Leopold Mureithi Review Room Editor

Rosa Alegria PR & Marketing

“Hope is the fuel that drives the engine of the desired future”

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT

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Erik Overland

FOREMOST FUTURE MATTERS

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Claire A. Nelson

FUTURES BAROMETER Claire A. Nelson

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SOUL-SEARCHING (2055) Lane Jennings

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FEATURES 2020 VISION “THE SPACE ELEVATOR ENABLED NETWORK OF GALACTIC HARBOURS” Vernon Hall & Michael Fitzgerald

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HABITUS OF THE FUTURE: THE STRUCTURING EFFECT OF OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH TECHNOLOGY Ralph Mercer

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THE METAVERSE: AN EXPANSION OF SURVEILLANCE CAPITALISM? Kevin Jae 26 TRANSETARIAN REVOLUTION THE STRENGTH OF INTERGENERATIONAL FUTURES Rosa Alegria

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WHY LONG-TERM FORECASTS (ALMOST) ALWAYS FAIL - AND WHY PREDICTIVE MODELS, ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND BIG DATA ARE NOT USEFUL... Warren Graham 38

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REVIEW ROOM SUSTAINABILITY AND ENGINEERING FUTURES

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Leopold P. Mureithi

IRON MAN VR (PROLOGUE) – EXPLORING SUPERPOWERS AD NAUSEAM Thomas Mengel

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MAKING SENSE OF THE FUTURE

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Rick Szostak

FUTURIZE YOURSELF: DESIGN YOUR LIFE ON PURPOSE Tom Meyers

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THE FULL EXTENT: AN INQUIRY INTO REALITY AND DESTINY Richard Botelho

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NETFLIX’S GHOST IN THE SHELL: SAC-2045 (12 EPISODES) Ralph Mercer

QUANTUMRUN FORESIGHT PLATFORM Kevin Jae

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BEYOND KNOWLEDGE: HOW TECHNOLOGY IS DRIVING AN AGE OF CONSCIOUSNESS BY WILLIAM HALAL Victor V. Motti 52 OUR BIG RED NEIGHBOR Katryna Starks

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PROGNOSIS CONVERSATIONS ON THE FUTURE WE WANT: UN AGENDA 2030 Dawn Bonfield & Claire A. Nelson 60 THE FUTURE BELONGS TO EVERYONE: HOW THE DUTCH WILL MAKE THE LOCAL MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS ABOUT THE LONG-TERM Linda Hofman 66 I HAVE A DREAM FOR FUTURING IN NEW ZEALAND Yvonne Curtis 69

TECHNICAL NOTES POLICY DEVELOPMENT IN COMPLEX SOCIETIES Erik F. Øverland

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SOUNDTRACKS OF POSSIBLE FUTURES: ABOUT CENTRO’S FUTURE 78 SOUNDSCAPES LAB Karla Paniagua BEAVER-O-CENE – THE AGE OF BEAVERS Ludwig Weh

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WFSF H A P P E N I N G S COMMUNICATIONS INTERN (REMOTE) | HUMAN FUTURES MAGAZINE 92 DIGITAL PUBLISHING INTERN (REMOTE) | HUMAN FUTURES MAGAZINE 93 THE WORLD NEEDS MISSION LABS Hank Kune

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AFTERMOST THE FUTURE WE NEED: WHERE HAVE ALL THE MESSY THINKERS GONE Ralph Mercer

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FUTURE MATTERS

THE FUTURE OF LIFE AND AI FOR HUMANS By Claire A. Nelson

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ITH the specter of World War 3 being talked about in hushhush conversations and dire warnings being sounded about the monstrous idea of giving artificial intelligence (AI) control over nuclear weapons just in case they lose their bearings and trigger an apocalyptic conflict in the likeness of Armageddon, I decided to make an effort to get a deeper understanding on this thing called AI, and more importantly its impending progeny Artificial Generalized Intelligence (AGI). To date, much of my attention has been on the debates around AI and the Future of Work. You know the headline stories that scream out, ‘The Bots are Coming, The Bots are Coming’ and urge that both people planners and policy makers, take note of the fact that the workforce of the future will need to face off against robots. At best, they say, the future will belong to those who can successfully ‘cobot’ -that is to say- cohabitate or co-work, co-manage humans alongside and with robots. One of the critiques I make of headlines like these on the future of AI is that they are so dominated by western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic (WEIRD) country mindset, that the points of view f rom and the realities of the low and middle-income developing countries (the planners and policymakers in the humble countries) are not taken to account in designing the global governance architecture. For countries in the global South with burgeoning youth populations, high unemployment and low levels of industrial development, the idea of robots taking jobs that don’t even as yet exist, this ‘botbaiting’ reality, may not be in the cards for their

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foreseen future. The rules by which they play the AI field may take on a whole different standard. When I think about the future of AI, and the future of work, it may not be desirable to skip over the slow road transition to more employment, or high-level employment as an AI-enabled industrial revolution would be accompanied by such huge social dislocations, that any productivity gains would quite likely be erased by violent social unrest. The metrics that matter for good governance must balance GDP against the social goals of employment and inclusion and help keep the peace through dampening social disruptions that trample social cohesion. In this regard, bearing in mind the knowledge that AI and its denizens march inexorably on, I believe it to be a responsibility of my duty of care for the future generations, to look closely at this thing called ‘AI’ and help to amplify the conversation on how we might move humanity forward, in the presence of AI or with the support of AI. The question becomes then, ‘How might we pace this seemingly inevitable shift to AI, and manage the decision-making processes enforced by the global economic and financial elite, such as to reduce the pressures on developing countries to comply with blueprints for the future that do not make sense for the overall wellbeing of 99 percent of their people?’. This is the question that drove me to take up a seat in the court of public opinion on the role of AI and the future of life. As well as more recently, to jump into a global competition on world-building a plausible and pleasant reality for life in an AGI world circa 2045, being fomented by the crew of the Future of Life Institute, founded by Max Tegmark, the author of the best-selling book


Life 3.0. The main challenge is to build a plausible pleasant world in which we would want to live in a world powered by AGI and explain how this AGI makes this pleasant world possible. The first thing that struck me about this challenge is the choice of the year 2040 as the date of arrival of AGI. Do they know something we don’t know? Ever since the seemingly-prescient Ray Kurzweil placed a mid-century date on the arrival of the human/AI singularity, and as far back as 2014, the Musk-Gates-Hawkins triumvirate gave off furious funk on the need to place brakes on the AGI steamroller, and to make sure the safety bags are properly designed and tested before letting AGI out on the public throughfare I have been fluctuating between making like an ostrich in the sand and or prosing like a parrot on a perch on this matter of AI and our shared future. But with an expert like Max Tegmark, laying down the presumption of 2040 arrival of the dawn of AGI, I wonder if this seeming eventuality may have been accelerated by the COVID induced metaverse. Who would have ‘thunk’ that Snoop Dogg’s entry into the digital economy would have brought on such as a buying frenzy that caused someone to pay $450,000 in Ethereum to be his neighbor in the metaverse? More recently, Caribbean Queen Rihanna jumped on board filing for trademark FENTY estate in the Metaverse with downloadable and non-downloadable virtual goods, such as computer games, entertainment

services, featuring cosmetics and makeup, cosmetic and makeup accessories, hair care stuff, skin care stuff, for use in online virtual worlds alongside mobile applications, digital collectibles, digital tokens, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and digital art. Shades of The Matrix! Then came my stumble-upon the disturbingly realistic conversations between two GPT-3 AIs discussing their feelings and their fears which really got me buzzing. GPT-3 which means Generative Pre-trained Transformer is a neural network machine learner created by Open AI, a research business co-founded by Elon Musk. It has been described as the most important and useful advance in AI, being the largest artificial neural network ever created, up to 2021. The straw that broke my camel-back resolve and got my head out of the sand for good, came with the recent announcement that Malta had conferred digital citizenship on a machine learning app made to educate tourists about Malta. This gave rise to such ire that as I write, I find myself wishing for a group of real Maltese citizens to rise to reengineer this trojan horse and rubbish this assault on the meaning of citizenship, a right that many have fought and died for. So now I am taking a deep dive into the future of AI, and I am more convinced than ever that we need to ramp up AI literacy for all, especially elected official and those that advise

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algorithms are being developed now. The search for the master algorithm that can link the five main schools of machine learners is on now. And it would seem, he or she or they that find the missing logic will have the holy grail of learners and thus the key to AGI. But will it be beneficial to humans. That is the question. I want to hope that the gift of the COVID-induced metaverse includes the opportunity to revisit our assumptions about the future we want and the future of humanity. I want to believe that the friends we have made with our brothers and sisters in the matrix has made it possible for new partnerships to be found between and among the haves and the have nots. I want to trust that perhaps the time is right for the birth of a digital nation of earth citizens that would come together to seed a global conversation on how we share our future. Our thriving demands we have a full understanding of the implications for human life and what we value as a species. We need to slow down this rush to what I call the zaftig futures induced by an overdose of technophilia and the siren call towards transhumanism and consider a pivot to a zoetic futures, where life itself and the well-being of humans as part of nature, is the guiding paradigm for the evolution of homo sapiens and human civilization. As the race to study and define consciousness speeds up, we ought to let go of our attachment to the view of reality as mechanic systems and the brain as biological machine and spend more time contemplating the lessons of quantum physics and the notion that entanglement means that consciousness is beyond the brain. The question is, how do we amplify this conversation? How do we use this opportunity of the transition of the world with Covid, and the reopening of society, cautious as it is, with its three steps forward, two step backwards dance taking place around the world as countries open and close seemingly at will? Might we take this them, quickly and in a hurry. Humans for AI, it is time to suit up. The battle lines for human futures are being drawn and it is critical that more humans find and join the field. I confess that when the founding board members of ‘Humans for AI’, a global NGO, asked me to serve as an Advisory Board member some years ago, I was not as scared then, as I am now. Today, now that I have had the opportunity to read many more books, participate in several dialogues and conversations including a UNESCO Committee Conference conversation on AI and its implications for governance, I truly recognize the need for more of us to participate in the conversations about AI to ensure the emergence of beneficial AI for Humans.

opportunity of global shift as a gift for us to look at all the possible

These conversations should not just be among the talking heads who truly understand the mathematical and statistical principles of the algorithms of the machine learners that are the precursors to AI. I am convinced that conversations about the future of AI should also be taking place among the rest of us AI illiterates and semi-literates, especially those who seem to think that the day of AGI is too far away to be of relevance to our table topics now. Now is the time to suit up. Get up! Stand up! The rule books for the games are being contemplated now. The

win THE prize. But I must admit to feeling a bit giddy just to know

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invocations of the future we share. Maybe it is time to get off this treadmill of economic growth at all costs and look at alternative metrics that value life first like Gross National Happiness or National Wellbeing such that any AGI master algorithm would come to understand the true meaning of life. To the extent that COVID has created a prolonged enforced period of introspection, I hope we understand by now that what we most want is a future in which we can breathe, shop, travel, visit, live -- freely. As to the future of life competition, of course I want my team to I have entered the race to help ensure a future in which provable beneficial AGI could emerge. For I am helping to give birth to an ecosystem where zoetic visions for our shared future will become more normative and help to usher in the kind of AI which taps into the better angels of our nature and broadens the dialogue around how we share our future, and how we might co-create AI in the service of Humans.


FUTURES BAROMETER HUMAN FUTURES

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AI (ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE) VS HI (HUMAN INTELLIGENCE): WHAT’S THE SCORE? By Claire A. Nelson

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UTURISTS elicit the future from the landscape of the past and present by following trends and watching out for grey rhinos, blue whales and black swans that seem to defy all trends and appear for better out worse, whether we failed to spot them or simply ignored that we spotted them. For the most part trend identifiers have been defined under five domains: Social, Technological, Economic, Environmental and Political. This means, that many things often remain out of sight and thus out of mind and are absent from our ‘futurescapes’. In this regard, there is sometimes a more robust attempt to make sense of the world in which we are embedded. Thus, we find some futures planners, who include the domain ‘demographic’ to make plain that not all humans are cut from the same cloth and ensure that the advance of society affects each part of the quilt differently. In other instances, some futures planners recognize that rule of law is so vital to our lived reality that legal demands its own criteria.

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While there are others who recognize the need to highlight human civilization and so further isolate the issues of culture and ethics in defining the quality of human experience. But there is still one domain that has seemed to elude our notice. It might be in large part because it is an emergent process of our being. We might describe it as the domain that considers our very humanness -- in its totality. The body, mind and soul or spirit of that which constitute Human Intelligence or HI. As futurists we have for the most part treated HI as fixed and immutable, but genetic studies have demonstrated that humans are still evolving. But what to call this domain? Humanness doesn’t quite cut it. Could we say ‘Humanitical’? Or ‘Humanistic’? Or ‘Anthropological’? What to call this new trend to watch. For if AI is going to replace the chimpanzee as our next-of-kin, we really should start watching ourselves evolve. Meanwhile what is your take on AI versus HI futures? How do you think AI will shape our evolution? Your feedback is required.


PLEASE RANK THESE STATEMENTS AS: -1= DON’T AGREE; 0= NEUTRAL; 1 = AGREE.

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“As more and more artificial intelligence is entering into the world, more and more emotional intelligence must enter into leadership.” Amit Ray, Famous AI Scientist, Author of Compassionate Artificial Intelligence -1= Don’t Agree; 0= Neutral; 1 = Agree

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“Artificial intelligence will reach human levels by around 2029. Follow that out further to, say, 2045, and we will have multiplied the intelligence – the human biological machine intelligence of our civilization – a billion-fold.” Ray Kurzweil, American inventor and futurist -1= Don’t Agree; 0= Neutral; 1 = Agree

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“The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race… It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever-increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.” Stephen Hawking, BBC -1= Don’t Agree; 0= Neutral; 1 = Agree

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“AI doesn’t have to be evil to destroy humanity – if AI has a goal and humanity just happens to come in the way, it will destroy humanity as a matter of course without even thinking about it, no hard feelings.” Elon Musk, Technology Entrepreneur, and Investor -1= Don’t Agree; 0= Neutral; 1 = Agree

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“If we, do it right, we might be able to evolve a form of work that taps into our uniquely human capabilities and restores our humanity. The ultimate paradox is that this technology may become a powerful catalyst that we need to reclaim our humanity.” John Hagel -1= Don’t Agree; 0= Neutral; 1 = Agree

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“The coming era of Artificial Intelligence will not be the era of war, but be the era of deep compassion, nonviolence, and love.” Amit Ray, Pioneer of Compassionate AI Movement -1= Don’t Agree; 0= Neutral; 1 = Agree

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“There’s a real danger of systematizing the discrimination we have in society through AI technologies. What I think we need to do — as we’re moving into this world full of invisible algorithms everywhere — is that we have to be very explicit, or have a disclaimer, about what our error rates are like.” Timnit Gebru, research scientist -1= Don’t Agree; 0= Neutral; 1 = Agree

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“I think what makes AI different from other technologies is that it’s going to bring humans and machines closer together. AI is sometimes incorrectly framed as machines replacing humans. It’s not about machines replacing humans, but machines augmenting humans. Humans and machines have different relative strengths and weaknesses, and it’s about the combination of these two that will allow human intents and business process to scale 10x, 100x, and beyond that in the coming years.” Robin Bordoli, former chief executive officer -1= Don’t Agree; 0= Neutral; 1 = Agree

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“I think one of the most important things that government and industry can do is think beyond bottom line reporting, and more about the AI, we deploy itself. This is a more influential technology than we have ever seen. [We need to think about] not just the conversational stuff we’re seeing today, but the future AI that’s going to be making complex decisions on our behalf. What is the impact AI is having on human lives? That’s where we need to go.” Liesl Yearsley, chief executive officer -1= Don’t Agree; 0= Neutral; 1 = Agree

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“By allowing algorithms to control a great deal of what we see and do online, such designers have allowed technology to become a kind of ‘digital Frankenstein,’ steering billions of people’s attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.” Tristan Harris, co-founder and executive director -1= Don’t Agree; 0= Neutral; 1 = Agree Give us your feedback here: https://bit.ly/FuturesBarometerMar2022

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SOUL-SEARCHING (2055) By Lane Jennings

QUESTIONS: 1) Would you transfer the contents of your brain into a machine as an alternative to death? Would you still want the power to switch yourself off

2) If transfer between machine and body were reversible would you consider it moral to use the machine as a holding area (prison, nursing home, pleasure resort) between periods of normal existence? How would you feel about exchanging bodies tempor­arily—for edu­cation or amusement? Or voluntarily giving up your life identity so that your body could be used to house the mind of some great artist, thinker or leader with unfinished business in the world?

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You’ve been Inside before, just visiting, “cross-dressing” so to speak. But this is different. Of course, the terminally ill can’t be too choosey, you suppose...but permanent neural transfer? You’d be...out of your mind! Is that so bad though, really? Bodiless awareness: all your senses harmonized, no need to breathe, or defecate; no pain. Your eyesight widened up and down the scale f rom VLF to gamma-rays; your hearing sharpened, f iltering out unwanted noise at will; your robot f ingers tuned so f inely they can crush a rock, or thinly slice a lightbulb like a hard-boiled egg. And taste, and smell...You know, you’ve strolled the f ields of virtuality before, for an hour, or a night.

nnnnnn And here is the commentary that was originally included with the poem when it appeared in my book Virtual Futures.

NOTES: The process of mind transfer into a computer is outlined by Hans Moravec in The World of 2044 edited by Charles Sheffield, et al. (Paragon House, 1994). The idea of mind vacations, and visiting inside the computer, parallels the practice of requiring a period of crossdressing and social/psycho­logical adjustment before committing to a sex change operation. Adjusting to existence as the soul of a machine could be at least as difficult as changing sexual identities. -------------------------------------------Neither the poem or these comments have appeared in print anywhere else. --Lane

But this...? You can’t stop wondering about what might get lost in your translation.

After they’ve scanned and mimicked every synapse, every nerve, preserved and packed the contents of each neuron, drained the empty wetware off, and spun you, line by line, into your hard-wired cocoon, will you still recognize the one you were inside the one you have become?

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FEATURES

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2020 VISION “THE SPACE ELEVATOR ENABLED NETWORK OF GALACTIC HARBOURS” By Vernon Hall & Michael Fitzgerald

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020 VISION. It sounds like a diagnosis f rom your

becoming the worldwide Containerization system.

optometrist; but it isn’t. It is what the Space

That system remains the primary mover of large cargo

Elevator, the Galactic Harbour, is becoming.

volumes across the face of the Earth. In the 1970s, FedEx

Our 2020 Vision is a portrayal of the fulf illed

developed its system of specialized Air Cargo planes

transportation story of the 21st Century. It is the

that revolutionized the movement of consumer goods.

extension of our experience; the manifestation of

By the middle of the 21st Century Galactic Harbours will

humankind’s initial expansion into the rest of the

provide a nexus for connecting these two dimensional

Universe. This is an unabashed explanation of what we

transportation systems of rail, highway, shipping, and air

see with 2020 foresight.

to the third dimension; and provide a safe, reliable and

An architectural engineer is a system engineer with vision. You have to completely rebuild a modern harbor

cost effective means to move material and people into orbit and beyond.

to understand the “mega” part of megaproject. The cofounders see a network of space elevators as a visionary megaproject and that is the culmination of our vision. In the broad f ield of Transportation Systems, the

Earth’s Galactic Harbours

We see a network of diverse elevators, spread around the earth; but they differ by more than location. Their

19th and 20th Centuries saw evolutionary advances

respective engineering differs by their purpose. Cargo

in the movement of cargo and people across vast

transshipment and vertical cargo transport are common

distances. In the United States, the opening of the

to each, but the Harbours are optimized for their

Transcontinental Railroad in the 1860s brought

respective specific purposes.

expansion and opportunity while making such systems as covered wagons, pony express and even “around the Horn” sailings obsolete. In the early 20th Century, gasoline powered automobiles and trucks led to development of roads and highways that expanded into the Interstate Highway System in the 1950’s. In this same era, visionaries developed the concept of Intermodalism based on standardized shipping containers; soon

n GEO Orbit factory support o Space Based Solar Power o Satellite servicing – Refuel, repair, upgrade o Assembly of large spacecraft and space facilities. o Other on orbit enterprises n Interplanetary travel support o Flight Systems final assembly

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o Departure Mission readiness and checkout o Departure and arrival operations o Fueling special thrusters for long distance operations n Research support o Sensing Systems o Flight operations within the Elevator regions o Computers o Testing and test data collection facilities n Tourism support o Human rated activity o Elevator region flight operations o Safety and Comfort n Government support

o Space and Region debris mitigation o Space Traffic Management and Control o Law enforcement o First Responders o Safety assurance operations o Sovereign issues and relations

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Some of these elevators are stand alone, and some are hybrid elevators sharing the operational regions with one another. To some extent the “Government elevator” is embedded in all elevators. Travel f rom one elevator to another is on enhanced pathways along and across the geosynchronous belt. Trade between the elevators is robust; especially for delivery of key repair items; FedEx and UPS aloft. Some of the elevators are human rated and some are purely robotic. Some are small and speedy, and some have immense throughput. The Solar System’s Elevators The purposes of Earth’s Space Elevators are to 1) deliver cargo to the Enterprises assembling along the geosynchronous belt near the Space Elevator’s GEO Regions; and 2) support interplanetary flights f rom the APEX Regions; to the Moon, to Mars, and elsewhere. Since the interplanetary flights f rom the Apex will use the latent ΔV, (derived

f rom Earth’s rotation - transformed into radial speed at departure f rom the Apex); Space Elevators are established around the Solar System as part of the Galactic Harbour transportation network. Elevators operate near the Moon, on Mars, on key asteroids within the asteroids belt and elsewhere. We see immense cargo craft moving f rom Elevator to Elevator bringing supplies and equipment; and returning with raw materials for processing in one of the several GEO regions and later to Earth. This is the third dimension of trade, commerce, transportation, and humankind. The Network – Earth’s Lifeline to the Future The magnitude of this portrayal is humbling. It will be accomplished in the time to come. It is a well-marked destination; marked by the needs of humanity. It was seen before; yes, seen by those who preceded us - and it will be built by those who follow.


HABITUS OF THE FUTURE: THE STRUCTURING EFFECT OF OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH TECHNOLOGY By Ralph Mercer

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Y interests focus on our relationship with technology as a force that influences individuals to accept and replicate certain behaviours, actions and beliefs. As a technology culturalist, I reflect on the importance of technology in determining our individual and social behaviour both in the present and, more importantly, our perception of the future. I suggest in this article that our relationship with technology might be better understood as a Habitus of the Future that creates patterns of behaviours that is unconsciously resistive to new ideas and opportunities to approach Future Studies. The article had its beginnings in a parking lot, where I reflected on the grocery shopping app that had just guided me around the store, reminding me what to purchase. No intervention was required; the app knew which grocery store I was at based on my location data and what items I needed from my previous buying habits at this location. I didn’t question, just zipped through the store, ignoring isles that did not have the things I needed, just a fast in and out. The app maintained a laser focus on the list of items I required today while efficiently distracting me f rom the opportunity of considering items I might need tomorrow or next week. While technology intervening in my life is not new, my phone provides a steady stream of what’s next f rom my digital calendars and AI assistants, effectively offloading my cognitive need to think ahead. It occurred to me that I had willingly surrendered the f reedom to decide, passively accepting the behavioural norms designed into our technological tools f rom the number of steps I take a day to the emoji I select to give a quantification to my day. Will the presentism encouraged by my technology limit my perception

of the future? Maybe not, but here’s the thing, if we expand the influence of technologies’ to all the ambient influence to our daily lives to include the incredible amount of technology we unconsciously interact with daily and the dominant professional narratives about technology, it just might. Technology has become the unblinking witness to many of our daily lives, providing efficiency as a substitute for an active partner who enriches our personal experiences. I remembered

NOTES: 1 2

Riel Miller Linkedin comments on Quishare Fest; https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update /urn:li:activity:6813398311962243072/ Kurt Lewin; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_Lewin

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Riel Miller had commented on LinkedIn1 that he was struck by the robust framing of our possible futures by clear, goaloriented human choices that produce “concrete and radioactive wastes that are very persistent.” My concern is that our current relationship with technology has become a significant factor in creating the metaphoric concrete and radioactive waste in our lives. There is a bigger social-technical picture; cellular networks, GPS, digital payments, broadband speeds, Wi-Fi and


social media (to name a few) mediate and shape the state of our present world our quality of life and possibly limit our perceptions of the future. The broader picture provides a venue that highlights the impact technological interventions have on our ability to function in the present and conceive the future. The influential social psychologist Kurt Lewin affirmed, “If you want to truly understand something, try to change it”. From a technology culturalist perspective, Lewin’s statement might read, ‘to change the future; you first must understand our relationship with technology in the present.’ The key to understanding the future-human-technology relationship is to have the tools to describe how dispositions and dependencies work to harmonise individual and professional practices. The concept of habitus is one of the tools I use to investigate this social phenomenon. Habitus comprises socially ingrained habits, skills, and dispositions that shape and unify individual and group behaviours. Narrowing the focus of habitus to examine the field of futures studies offers a vocabulary to describe the present impact of the structures that 2

result from the intra-actions between the technological world and individual practitioners. Habitus of the future then becomes a critical narrative through the analysis of social expectations, modes of speaking, acting, and patterns of professional behaviours of the group. In this sense, when analysed, habitus makes the building block of professional culture visible and opens a path to understanding how work practices can replicate the status quo. Technology is not neutral, rewarding actions and intentions through dependencies created through design, form and function. But, in many senses, the relationship is much deeper, becoming the catalyst that fed human evolution and is the driving force that shapes the possible future of the planet. The human-technology relationship is not static. Our needs in the present and social behaviours drive the creation of technology, and, in turn, technology like habitus creates dependencies that structure the behaviours and practices of humans. The simple grocery app I mentioned earlier becomes an excellent example of that dependency. If we turn our tools of futures studies on ourselves,

it forces messy questions about the human-technology relationship and the trajectory to the future it creates. To turn the lens of analysis onto the habitus of the future is to question oneself and challenge one’s ingrained tendencies and self-understanding of what constitutes good Futures Studies practices. The act of questioning our practices forces a realisation that habitus offers comfort and confidence in one’s abilities that mask the sameness of behaviours and beliefs. At a practitioner level, using the theory of habitus of the futures to describe our practices opens pathways of understanding to change something as durable as an acceptable future. In many cases, it may force us to discard the core principles that sustain that vision of the future. At a personal level, the next time I use the grocery app, I need to continually reflect on that relationship to understand how the many layers of influence shape my future behaviours. The process of reflection opens pathways to new modes of understanding about whom the future serves and encourages alternate methods to explore a future where technology, humanity and the planet are entangled in a partnership to survive.

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THE METAVERSE: AN EXPANSION OF SURVEILLANCE CAPITALISM? By Kevin Jae

26

HUMAN FUTURES


T

HE metaverse entered into public consciousness in the year 2021. Facebook rebranded itself into Meta and tech giants all over the world, f rom Microsoft to Alibaba, announced their interest. Attention by the general public quickly followed. What is the metaverse? In Mark Zuckerberg’s own words, the metaverse is an “even more immersive and embodied internet” where “you’re gonna be able to do almost anything you can imagine—get together with f riends and family, work, learn, play, shop, create—as well as entirely new categories that don’t really fit how we think about computers or phones today.” 1In Mark Zuckerberg’s vision, users in the metaverse, represented by avatars, will engage in a variety of activities in the virtual world, with full 3D telepresence mediated by VR and AR technology. One can refer to existing projects like VRChat as an example. Understandably, there is a large amount of excitement about the possibilities of the metaverse in public discourse. However, technologies shape us and our society as much as we shape our technologies—as with any technology, we must be aware of potential dangers and societal risks. The article will briefly explore these risks as a way to introduce another frame with which to think about the metaverse: the metaverse, as this article will argue, could be seen as an expansion of surveillance capitalism. It is a way for tech companies further extract user data and manipulate user behaviour. As is the business model of a large number of tech companies in recent years, the metaverse is a platform. According to Nick Srnicek in his book Platform Capitalism,2 the platform model is a response to the growing value of data in contemporary society. On platforms, two or more users interact and produce user-generated content, while platform companies have a privileged position

from which to record and extract user data. And as Shoshana Zuboff notes in her breakthrough work, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, selling user data is the business model for surveillance capitalist firms—users are the raw materials and the real customers are other companies.3 The metaverse environment will be owned and controlled by tech companies—they will not be spaces of democratic control by users. In the

NOTES: 1

https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2021/11/everyone-pitching-the-metaverse-has-a-different-ideaof-what-it-is/ 2 3

Srnicek, N. (2017). Platform Capitalism. Wiley. Zuboff, S. (2018). The Age of Surveillance Capitalism. Profile Books.

4

undemocratic and privately owned spaces of the metaverse, design is not just a means of creating positive experiences for users. Instead, design is a mode of authoritarian control: Facebook and other tech giants can unilaterally impose changes to the metaverse environment for their own benefit. These practices are already existent. Shoshana Zuboff describes three categories of behavioural manipulation through design: tuning,

Zuboff, S. (2018). The Age of Surveillance Capitalism. Profile Books.

5

https://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2018/dopamine-smartphones-battle-time/ https://www.insider.com/does-social-media-cause-depression 7 https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2021/11/metaverse-will-bring-facebooks-privacy-problems-toworkplaces-whistleblower-says/ 6

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herding, and conditioning. 4Tuning forces minor modifications in user behaviour through “nudges”; for example, the size, shape, and colour of two options could nudge users towards purchasing an Amazon Prime membership. Through herding, tech companies control individual behaviour by modifying environmental factors. The immensely popular AR mobile game Pokemon Go was able to herd large numbers of users to a location with the appearance of a rare Pokemon. A similar principle could be used in the metaverse. Finally, conditioning refers back to B.F. Skinner’s work in operant conditioning, in which users are subjected to a „schedule of reinforcements,” a controlled delivery of rewards, recognition, and punishments to produce certain behaviours reliably. Tech companies utilize and optimize these strategies today. Criticisms have been levied against social media companies like Facebook for creating addicts for their products and services. It is now well known that social media companies optimize their products and services to release dopamine and keep users hooked and producing more behavioural data.5 The results have not been positive, to say the least: social media addiction is linked to depression in both adolescents and

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HUMAN FUTURES

adults. 6There are early warning signs that the metaverse will continue the trend. According to Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse has the potential to be “extremely addictive, and they encourage people to unplug from the reality we actually live in.” 7 The dopamine addiction cycle created by current forms of social media could be supercharged in the more immersive metaverse virtual environment. The metaverse is not just an opportunity to create a cool new product—for tech companies, it reflects the next frontier of surveillance capitalism. Through the metaverse, tech companies like Facebook will extract even more complex forms of behavioural data and a greater portion of human existence will be commoditized and sold to insurance companies, advertisers, and other, potentially nefarious parties. Data extraction will be accompanied by active interventions—tuning, herding, and conditioning—to control user behaviour. However, the metaverse is not destined to be antagonistic to the public interest. Through a critical engagement of the technology, the public can still proactively shape a metaverse that contributes to the public well-being.


TRANSETARIAN REVOLUTION THE STRENGTH OF INTERGENERATIONAL FUTURES

By Rosa Alegria

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T

HE transetarian revolution is a phenomena of the transitory world. A revolution that emerges f rom the construction of identities no longer f its into the age groups categorized by demographic studies. Living in an ageless world is for everyone, not just for the elders. Because age limitations affect everyone. We are already transetarians beings: individuals in transition of time, inbetween ages. Thinking about the speed of transitional time, it is very likely that transetarian will be a new word to be included soon in our off icial dictionary. This is what the transetarian revolution is about: the potential of who we are, not what we should be by age, as the generational classif ications establish.

Generation def ined There are different theoretical approaches to the concept of generation, f rom biological to social. Positivists such as Augusto Comte f ramed the biological determinant to outline ages. Mannheim, in turn, disregarded age as a metric and adopted the term generation associated with the very dynamics of social transformations. According to Mannheim,s perspective, generations can be considered “the result of many discontinuities produced precisely by changes.” In this perspective, a

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“Imagine a future in which age becomes a health state. Instead of simply answering the question, “How old are you?”, you’ll be able to say “I’m five years younger than when we last met!” - Peter Diamandis

generation is comprised by the era in which we were born and how this historic moment impacts our worldview and how we relate to life. Ageless World – Age borders doesn´t make sense anymore. For the f irst time in history, we have six generations living together - in families, at school, at work, in communities, on the streets and on social media. We are at a time when:

n we can choose mutual respect

and intergenerational cooperation. n everyone can be seen and heard and valued n identities no longer fit the age groups n we are tribes floating in time n technology is no longer a dividing brand between generations: n children and adolescents have the authority of knowledge over adults for the first time in history

n Chronology is less important than experience; time is being a space to be occupied by the quality of the experience (Kairos x Chronos) n Objective realities are giving way to subjective realities

Among the developments carrying the future of intergenerational relationships, I highlight three of them: increasing longevity, digital revolution and the postmodern subjectivity.

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longevity

digital revolution

“I don’t think generations exist any more [...] Once we gathered around the television set, now we live online, exploring niche interests and meeting co-conspirators.”

subjectivity

TRANSETARIAN AGE (Rosa Alegria 2018)

- Coupland

1. Hyper-Longevity

2020-2030 is the Healthy Aging Decad promoted by the WHO World Health Organization. We are living 4 years longer than in the last decade. The unprecedented longevity of the population is the result of the medical and scientific revolution of the previous decades that will allow the coexistence of different generations. Methods have been uncovered for measuring our biological age. The implications of these kinds of technologies will establish a critical first step towards reversing aging and increasing longevity.

2. Digital Revolution

We are truly on track to becoming one digital supersociety. In this new reality, technology is no longer a symbol of the great divide between the generations. Seniors are more connected to the Internet than ever before and are the fastest-growing population in social media. The creative potential that exists behind intergenerational dialogues is fabulous and still unexplored.

“If you didn’t know how old you are, how old would you be?” - Confucius (552 – 479 BC) 3. Postmodern subjectivity

For many authors postmodern culture is the one in which appearance and spetacle is confused with reality, fostering subjectivities that blurr differences; speaking about age, this differentiation becomes more and more subjective, from objective-chronological to subjective-psychological. This is a time in which subjective ages (also called psychological) that refer to internal experiences regarding their ageing process is taking the place of objective age (also called chronological or biological).

NOTES: Pierre Bourdier (Symbolic Power) Jean Baudrillard (Simulacra and Simulation), Sigmund Baumann (Liquid Modernity) 2 A partnership with CPM Research with the researcher Oriana White. 1

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These are some extracts from the research - they do not represent the full study. a particular period of history, especially one considered remarkable or noteworthy under which a generation was impacted

3

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7 https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2021/11/metaverse-will-bring-facebooks-privacy-problems-toworkplaces-whistleblower-says/


Foresight Intergenerational Study

I started researching intergenerational relationships in 2018 with the creation of Pangera, a research group I co-created to promote intergenerational relationships. Focus groups and online questionnaires involving f ive generations. The f irst started in 2018 with 25 people of all ages organized into two focus groups in São Paulo, Brazil. The second phase continued in 2019, involving 245 people from all ages who answered virtual questionnaires. Results were presented at the 2019 WFSF Conference in Mexico. This is not a concluded study. A Post-Covid assessment will be conducted in 2022. The f irst results clearly demonstrate that the feeling of age one has is not something f ixed, chronological, continuous; it depends on how your day goes, in what situation and who you are with. Generational letters (X/Y/Z) are also plastic by encapsulating typologies reinforcing stereotypes.

AGE SENSING

The lines we have carefully drawn between age groups are blurring. Cultural stereotypes catalog the ages; age sensing is more subjective than objective and is related to: 1. Who you are with: “When I go out with younger people, I feel younger.” (Baby boomer) 2. Where you are: “at work, I feel forty years old” (Centennial) 3. What you are doing: “Sometimes I feel older than my mom when I’m taking care of her.” (X generation)

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FUTURES SENSING A. What will happen is already determined and will be a continuation of where we are: 10.9% B. The future contains several possibilities and is not determined: 89.1%

August 2019 A. We don´t have influence on the future: 5.7% B. We have great influence on the future: 94.3%

INTERGENERATIONAL FUTURES In the next ten years there will be much more integration between generations 81.3%: agree 18.7%: don´t agree

SOCIETY IN 2030 What will be the 2 main social realities? 2 choices - the most voted: First: psychosis pandemic puts the world on alert Second: greater coexistence between the youngest and the oldest This same tendency of optimism from the oldest and negativity from the younger ones has been consolidated While 67% of those aged 21 to 37 indicate the possibility of a pandemic putting the world on alert, coexistence in large cities, promoting well-being are the views of those aged between 54 and 72

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METAPHORS Which of these images best represents the future? 1. dice game 2. roller coaster 3. river 4. ocean 5. blank page 6. road 7. none

The blank page, most cited among these images, is more present among adults over 38 years old, while Rio (River) tends to be emphasized by people between 21 and 37 years old.

FUTURES GLIMPSES What can happen in 2030?

SILENT (74-91)

When we are over 70s, we think about future generations and expect a better but collaborative, creative world from which the inclusion of the poorest and democracy is fully incorporated. It is a desirable future for descendants!

BOOMERS 55-73 GENERATION X 39-54

MILLENNIALS 23-38

A more optimistic view begins to emerge as age increases. A feeling that Brazil is going to improve and that sustainable habits are beginning to be incorporated by society generates a breath in daily pressures. The future is happier and less threatening

The technology that eliminates papers and work spaces, produces a freedom that imprisons the human being to be in constant connection, in constant alert where depressions and pandemics are present in the near future. The future is hours away!

GENERATION Z 7-22

Environmental collapses predominate for the younger ones. Problems of migratory settlements and the preservation of the planet are fears for the survival of them and their future children. The future scares!

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The future: worst or better than today Most believe that the future will be better, especially among the elderly, over the age of 72; the youngest are the ones who most point to a future worse than the current one. Importantly, this study was carried out before the COVID 19 pandemic. This optimism, if the study were carried out during or after the pandemic, could be affected.

August 2019

Futures thinking to understand and connect generations Futures thinking as an instrument to better understand different ages reflects how each generation relates to the changing world around them. Working with the perception of the future under intergenerational perspectives is to incorporate all knowledge that is developed in a hybrid f ield, where foresight techniques are added to the dimension of human sciences. It means saying that each generation determines its fears and expectations for the future, different in each phase of life. The connection with all of them is the link that gives foresight application a creative and diverse operationality, a robustness in the creation of strategies due to the challenges that need answers by representing age diversity. As changes in demographics, lifestyle, and life expectancy develop, age classif ications no longer translate the different realities of the “epoches” and cannot accommodate the needs of future generations. Intergenerational futures: opportunities for social transformation.

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The f ragility of anticipatory thinking is found in all generations. With the pressure of today’s multiple challenges, by creating intergenerational futures, we can extend the present (Elise Boulding) to strengthen, across age diversity, ideas and strategies that creatively respond to multiple challenges. For the youngest, a much broader time horizon is extended; they have an empty temporary territory that can be f illed with the past experience of previous generations. In this present elongated by the past and by the future and marked by problems that affect all ages reside the opportunities for social transformation through a changing age group. This study has indicated that there are more convergences than divergences in the relationship with the future between all generations. This is a great opportunity to create projects that through generational integration can satisfy broad needs and mitigate age conflicts. Generational integration in thinking and creating futures allows all individuals to fully realize their ability to participate in the most diverse áreas of society through intergenerational knowledge and experiences to design better futures for all


REFERENCES n Abelow, Dan - Imagine a New Future: Creating Greatness for All (2014) n Alegria, Rosa (2018) A revolução transetaria. Futuro Exponencial. https://futuroexponencial.com/

revolucao-transetaria/ n Alegria, Rosa (2018) E se não tivéssemos idade? www.linkedin.com/

pulse/e-se-n%C3%A3otiv%C3%A9ssemos-idade-rosa-alegria-1/ n Alegria, Rosa (2017) A redenção tecnológica entre as geraçõeswww.linkedin.com/pulse/

reden%C3%A7%C3%A3o-tecnol%C3%B3gica-entre-gera%C3%A7%C3%B5esrosa-alegria/ n Baudrillad, Jean. Simulacra and Simulation. University of Michigan Press. 1994. n Coupland, Douglas – Generation A – Scribner, 2009 n Da Moota, Alda B. Dossiê: A atualidade do conceito de gerações na pesquisa sociológica. Soc.

estado. vol.25 no.2 Brasília May/Aug. 2010 http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-69922010000200005 n Da Silva, Maria C. Pereira. A herança psíquica na clinica psicanalítica. Revista Brasileira de Psicanalise. · Editora

Casa do Psicologo/Fapesp São Paulo,Volume 43, n. 2, 195-198 · 2009 n Eckersley. Richard Eckersley, Cahill, Helen, Wierenga, Ani and Wyn, Johanna - Generations in Dialogue about

the Future: The hopes and fears of young Australians – Australian Youth Research Centre 2007 n Ferrigno, Jose C. Coeducação entre gerações. Edições SESC. 2013.Sands, Karen. Ageless across generations. The

ageless way. Revised Edition 2018 n França, Lucia Helena, da Silva, Acina M e Barreto, Maria Simão - Programas intergeracionais: quão relevantes eles

podem ser para a sociedade brasileira? n Gordon, Theodore & Glenn, Jerome – El estado del futuro – versión 19.1 (2018) n Hegazy, Nourhan Khaled. Critical Future(s) of Aging in Society- Understanding the Potential of Intergenerational

Collaboration. Submitted to OCAD University in partial fulfillment for the degree of Master of Design in Strategic Foresight & Innovation Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 2016 n Jaeger, Hans - Generations in History - Reflections on a controversal concept 1977 (pp 273-292) n Pangera Mundo sem Idade – Facebook community www.facebook.com/groups/www.pangera.com.br/ n Sands, Karen - Ageless Across Generations in The Ageless Way: Illuminating The New Story Of Our Age (Revised

Edition 2018) n Vern Bengtson, W. Andrew - The Changing Contract Across Generations – Walter de Gruyter & Co, June 1993 n Weller, Vivian. (2010) A atualidade do conceito de gerações de Karl Mannheim. Soc.

estado. vol.25 no.2 Brasília May/Aug. 2010 http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-69922010000200004 n World Health Organization – Decade of Healthy Ageing, Baseline Report - file:///C:/Users/Rosa%20Alegria/

Downloads/9789240017900-eng.pdf VIDEO PANGERA – AGELESS WORLD www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnulZMI_aHk&ab_channel=RosaAlegria

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WHY LONG-TERM FORECA FAIL - AND WHY PREDICTI INTELLIGENCE AND BIG DA

O

NE of the first things I do in the morning is to check the weather on my mobile to decide how to get dressed and what mode

of transport (car or scooter) I will use. Then, I consult the same app before packing my suitcase or checking the wind on the beach in Epanomi where winter swimmers gather. Fortunately, in most short-term forecasts, the result is correct, allowing me to plan my life safely. Wouldn’t it be possible, then, to use sophisticated algorithms to predict other future events besides the weather, as Asimov describes in the Foundation series? Why not entrust sophisticated predictions of the future to algorithms that, in combination with machine learning systems, artificial intelligence and supercomputers, will chart the possible trajectories of our lives or accurately predict the next pandemic? Let’s f irst look at what is happening with weather forecasting. Predicting the future of weather with mathematical models Indeed, even with the limitations, we can predict the weather for the coming days with a fairly high degree of certainty. Weather prediction is a scientific achievement of the last century that originated and is still largely based on the work of the Norwegian physicists Vilhem Bjerkens (1862-1951) and Jacob (Jack) Bjerknes (1897-1975). Bjerknes, father and son, devoted their lives to observing weather phenomena and constructing the mathematical models that are still used today. Vilhem was the first to construct the theorem describing the motion of air masses, while the models were greatly improved by Jack’s groundbased observations.

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By Warren Graham


ASTS (ALMOST) ALWAYS TIVE MODELS, ARTIFICIAL ATA ARE NOT USEFUL... Bjerknes first understood and then synthesised models to predict the evolution of a seemingly chaotic system such as the atmosphere. The ability to predict the future of weather by solving mathematical equations was revolutionary, but it was not yet feasible in practice at the beginning of the last century. After Vilhem Bjerknes’ f irst publication in 1904, the English mathematician Lewis Fry Richardson spent three years developing the techniques for solving these mathematical equations. However, armed with only a logarithmic ruler and a logarithmic table and working on the battlef ields of France during World War I, where he was part of an ambulance unit, Richardson only succeeded

Photo 1. 269 “Bell telephone magazine”, 1922 (INTERNET ARCHIVE/PUBLIC DOMAIN)

in predicting the change in pressure at a single point over a six-hour period. But as this calculation took six weeks, his weather forecast proved to be completely unrealistic. However, Richardson envisioned the construction of a ‚forecasting factory’, where he estimated that 64,000 human ‚computers’, each responsible for a small part of the planet, would be needed to predict the weather. The factory, adapted from a book by Jules Verne, would be housed in a circular theatre-like hall, with galleries running around the hall and a map painted on the walls and ceiling. A conductor in the centre of the room would coordinate the calculations using coloured lights... Although Richardson’s vision was never realised, the use of mathematics to predict the weather has developed over the years.

Photo 2: Richardson’s weather forecasting „factory” (credit: Image courtesy of L. Bengtsson.)

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NOTES: n https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/how-

a-father-and-son-helped-create-weatherforecasting-as-we-know-it.amp n https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/features/ Bjerknes/bjerknes_3.php n https://celebrating200years.noaa.gov/ foundations/numerical_wx_pred/welcome. html n https://glowing-amaranth-camel-89. medium.com

Predicting the future,

and which is described by mathematical

the self-immolation of the petty trader

beyond the weather

models that are constantly fed by big data

in Tunisia would lead to an avalanche

Today, increased understanding of

collected by satellites or ground-based

of developments that triggered the

the atmosphere, along with advanced

weather stations, and are continuously

Arab Spring?

technology such as satellite data and the

analysed in real time by powerful

vast computing power available, have

computers, we continue to limit ourselves

Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous)

modernized weather maps beyond what

to forecasts of only a few days.

than ever before and accordingly the

Bjerknes could ever have imagined. It

So how can we possibly consider that

Today, the world is more VUCA (Volatile,

challenges for any kind of prediction

should be noted, however, that despite the

algorithms used in more chaotic systems

require a new way of looking at the

technological evolution the theory behind

such as the economy, which are affected by

world and especially the development

these weather forecasts is the same, still

even more unpredictable parameters such

of an increased capacity to understand

based on the Norwegian cyclone model.

as a political decision or a new social trend,

the system. In this direction, foresight

can provide any useful information about

mainly uses qualitative methods of

the long-term future and its evolution?

systems analysis, while data analysis and

However, despite significant successes still the ability to see the future, of the

Could an algorithm in 1960 have

mathematical models are only used as

short-term horizon. Weather forecasting

predicted that in 1969 Neil Armstrong

a supplementary tool in the process of

is only suff iciently accurate for the next

would step on the moon or predict the

trend identification.

4-5 days, and errors or unpredictable

rapid growth in the US education and

developments are often observed even in

innovation ecosystem caused by the

we need to face the VUCA reality, to

the next 4-5 hours.

totally unexpected decision of one man,

understand the system and possible

weather, is limited to an extremely

Foresight provides exactly the tools

President Kennedy, to put NASA on

changes, and finally to develop the

atmosphere, which we consider to have a

the moon? In another example, what

required creativity and imagination in

sufficient understanding of how it works,

algorithm could have predicted that

exploring the non-linear future.

In other words, for a system such as the

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REVIEW ROOM

HUMAN FUTURES

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SUSTAINABILITY AND ENGINEERING FUTURES A Book Review

By Leopold P. Mureithi

T

new nightmares in an unknown future? …. We know that

and Development (WCED) of 1987. It def ined this as growth

such processes. But how can we include these dynamics

that “meets the needs of the present without compromising

in technological decision-making and design? And who

the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”

should lead that effort? (p. 17).

HE concept of sustainable development was introduced

How can we solve social challenges, while avoiding

by the Brundtland Report, Our Common Future, of the United Nations World Commission on Environment

society, enterprise, and user dynamics are all crucial in

(paragraph 27). Engineering is generally understood to be the designing, building and maintenance of structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes. In keeping with these two ontologies, sustainability

The transformative leadership role is best played by sustainability futures education whose mandate is to impart knowledge “to build better futures without lapsing

engineering involves the embedding of social, environmental,

into nightmares….engineering ethics and education

and economic considerations into in meeting human needs. A

that aimed to prepare engineers for acting on behalf of

further illumination of the range of sustainability dimensions

others” (p. 18). Among the corpus of knowledge for teaching

is given by Thomas Flüeler, David Goldblatt, Jürg Minsch and

sustainability engineering is Engineering a Better Future:

Daniel Spreng. In their book Meeting global energy challenges:

Interplay between Engineering, Social Sciences, and

Towards an agenda for social-science research, they state that

Innovation edited by Eswaran Subrahmanian, Toluwalogo

the focus should be “not only the triad of ecological, economic

Odumosu and Jeff rey Y. Tsao. Acknowledging that

and social but also temporal, spatial, technical, political and

engineering is a “social enterprise” (p. v), its scope includes

ethical” (p. 95).

designing the desired societal future (pp. 39-60), dealing

The epistemological aspects of this integrated approach are

with the future (pp.197-200), and integrating engineering

taken care of by numerous books, articles and other resources.

and social sciences (pp. 1-19); in addition to “education for

Here we examine a few pertinent works. An apt salvo is given

sustainability” (p. 2), and “the art of research (pp. 162-186).

by Erik van der Vleuten, Ruth Oldenziel and Mila Davids in

At the conceptual and design stage, “ visionary

their book Engineering the Future, Understanding the Past: A

scenarios are also created to explore how technology

Social History of Technology by posing two questions:

could improve current practice….[to] develop functional

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HUMAN FUTURES


requirements and an interactive

The books highlighted here,

architecture” (p. 34). Scenario approach

among others, could be utilized in any

is emphasised in many instances

engineering discipline: aeronautical,

in volume. This way, possible and

built environment, chemical, civil works,

probable futures can be considered

electrical installation inf rastructure,

and a preferred future teased out for

mechanical, mechatronic, robotic,

reif ication: “designing the future we

and related fields. An acid test for

want” (p. xxv). I would classify this book

successful application of these activities

as foundational.

in a sustainable manner is the triple

An applied text is Sustainable

bottom line (TBL), a metric coined by

Development in Practice: Case Studies

John Elkington in 1994 to measure

for Engineers and Scientists edited

performance in terms of profitability,

by Adisa Azapagic and Slobodan

corporate social responsibility (CSR)

Perdan which covers topics ranging

and environmental sustainability. One

f rom the concept, measurement

might add that this metric is applied

and assessment of sustainability (pp.

sans f rontiers - that is at all levels: micro,

3-55), case studies of mining, energy,

meso, macro, and even planetary. In

solid waste, sanitation, transport

engineering, like in any other praxis, the

(pp. 83-509). This could supplement

overriding principle should be humane:

the more abstract writings on

do no harm, a promise attributed to Dr.

sustainability engineering.

Thomas Inman (1820-1876).

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IRON MAN VR (PROLOGUE) – EXPLORING SUPERPOWERS AD NAUSEAM A Game Review

By Thomas Mengel

I stood on a rocky island looking at Tony Stark’s Malibu home at the coast, illuminated by an impressive sunset over the Pacific Ocean, when the futuristic red and gold flight-and-armour-suit clicked in around my body and automatically became my second skin.

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HUMAN FUTURES


Extending my arms downwards and pushing the button on my move controller activating the repulsion system send me flying upwards and taking me to new heights. Slight adjustments of my arms let me control the height, speed, and direction of my flight away from the island towards my – well, Tony Stark’s – home.

T

HIS is not a full-fledged review of the complete aerial

My first tasks in the game let me focus on advancing my flight

shooter game. Iron Man VR is based on Marvel’s

skills and developing my shooting and punching capabilities

superhero and was published for the Play Station

while manoeuvring around tiny islands and through rocky arches.

4’s Virtual Reality (PS4 VR) headset by Sony Interactive Entertainment at the height of a global pandemic (release

“Ok. First the thrusters,” I hear Stark saying. “Good. It feels really good!”

date: July 3, 2020). Rather, these are the initial impressions of

Stark’s comments were reassuring. Yet, I was off to a rather

my first experiences with suiting up – literally putting on the

bumpy start. The VR game environment was forgiving when I

required VR headset, optional earphones, and grabbing the two

crashed into rather than flying over a rocky cliff or after splashing

Play Station Move Controllers needed to manipulate the flight

into the ocean. In “reality”, I would have never made it, but here

and weapon systems.

I was, a superhero with seemingly unlimited capabilities. Fully

Motivated by my earlier description of what the campus of

immersed, I lost track of time while following the directions on

the future might look like through the lens of gaming and VR

the vizor of my futuristic helmet guiding me to my home base.

(Mengel, 2021), this review of the Iron Man VR Prologue describes

The voice of my charming assistant, Pepper Potts, accompanied

my explorations of what flying and fighting feels like, wearing

my manoeuvres with flirty and snarky remarks. After the first 45

and employing the flight and armour systems of billionaire

minutes of my rough flight, I landed in front of Tony’s home base

industrialist and superhero Tony Stark. Finally, the story about

greeted by the charming redhead, who was almost as attractive

these first adventures is accompanied by my reflections about

as the “real-life” character, played by Gwyneth Paltrow in the

this experience as a 64-year-old leadership professor and futurist.

Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Superheroes are not my thing, and superheroic intervention is far from my preferred leadership paradigms of shared and networked leadership oriented towards joined values (Mengel, 2021 ed.). However, I was quickly drawn in when putting on my PS4 VR headset, entering the Iron Man VR universe, and changing the world for the better.

HUMAN FUTURES

45


Thirty to forty-f ive minutes initially were the maximum I

“As of today, Stark Industries no longer sells weapons of

could play without staggering or falling over. While sitting on

any kind,” Pepper greeted me and took an instant photo

a gaming chair is possible, standing upright is the right way

before leading me inside the mansion. She pointed me to

to fully immerse oneself in the flying and shooting experience.

where I left my glasses in the lounge before heading to the

Due to the immersive 3D environment and the whole-body

veranda. I picked up my glasses, explored the surroundings

movement within the play area, slight nausea started to

that I already knew f rom the movie, and completed some

settle in, and some reorientation (and disentangling of the

additional tasks that all helped me develop my tactile

cables connecting the headset and the PlayStation) seemed

and movement skills in VR. I removed a remainder of

advisable, even when I felt a sense of substance-induced

my weapon dealer’s past – a gun aff ixed to the wall in

excitement and wanted to keep going. Luckily, my body

an ornamental f rame – and put it away into a chest. I

seemed to increasingly get used to the full immersion VR

followed Pepper, who was waiting for me at the overlook, a

experience. I got better at managing body movements without

veranda with a breathtaking view of the pacif ic ocean now

entangling cables and following instructions on my vizor

illuminated by a spectacular sunset. Pepper guided me to

telling me when to turn back to the f ront and centre position

what looked like a candle-light dinner table with two plates

to keep the cables clear of my feet.

and a dome on each of them. When I lifted the f irst dome,

I was proud to have mastered the flying and f ighting tasks,

instead of a hearty meal, I found a Stark Industries Pulsar

and I felt comfortable putting my super-heroic capabilities to a

that I put on my wrist to destroy the remaining drones also

“real” test in f ighting the bad guys and saving humanity (well,

produced by Stark Industries to conf irm the end of Stark’s

at least locally at the Pacif ic Coast of the US). Before being

weapons production and dealership.

tasked with these challenges, however, my second session was

“I guess it is not dinner just yet,” Penny said with some

to follow Pepper into my (Stark’s) Malibu home and “pack up

disappointment in her voice. “What’s under the other plate?”

the past”.

I lifted the other dome and picked up the controller for

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HUMAN FUTURES


Gunsmith A.I., Stark’s AI simile, which he had created as an assistant to help him design weapons. “Early retirement. You’ve earned it,” Stark said to Gunsmith after one f inal brief conversation with him. “Time to put him to sleep,” Stark said to Pepper, shut the AI down and handed her the controller to stow it away. “I wanna change the world,” Stark said. “AI Gunsmith was good at what he did.” “But what he did wasn’t good,” Pepper responded before taking another photo of me. “The world doesn’t need another cruised missile. The world needs you, Tony! The world needs Iron Man.” That concluded the intro, and I was ready for the “real” adventures. But I’ll leave that for later. I was hooked. Knowing fair well that the world wouldn’t be saved by a futuristic flying and f ighting superhero, I also knew that I would soon immerse myself deeper into the exciting “world” of Iron Man VR. Both to further explore the features and possibilities of VR and gaming for world-building and for expanding my imagination.

NOTES:

All photos are screenshots f rom Marvel’s Iron Man VR – Demo Gameplay | PlayStation Underground • Mengel, T. (2021). Is it all a game – Ready to play on the future campus? Human Futures, 08/2021, p. 22f.

n

Mengel, T. (2021; ed.). Leadership for the Future: Lessons from the Past, Current Approaches, and Future Insights. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

n

HUMAN FUTURES

47


MAKING SENSE OF THE FUTURE A Book Announcement

C

OMMONLY attributed to Peter Drucker, the best way to predict the future is to create it. Making sense of the

Future integrates the latest thinking in Future Studies with the author’s expertise in world history, economics, interdisciplinary studies, knowledge organization, and political activism (routledge.com). Each chapter begins by suggesting a set

By Rick Szostak

of goals for human societies and identifying innovative strategies for achieving these goals that could gain broad support. Keywords: democracy; desirable futures; environment; future studies; institutions; interdisciplinarity; intersiciplinary studies; plausible futures; systems; values; wildcards (library.oapen.org).

FUTURIZE YOURSELF: DESIGN YOUR LIFE ON PURPOSE A Book Announcement

By Tom Meyers

Available from Filament Publishing Ltd.

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HUMAN FUTURES


THE FULL EXTENT: AN INQUIRY INTO REALITY AND DESTINY A Book Announcement

I

N the early 20th century, discoveries in quantum mechanics - specifically the double slit experiment - proved Consciousness is the

By Richard Botelho

ground of all being. This finding contradicted scientific materialism, which posited matter as foundational; instead, matter results from Mind. Moreover, Consciousness was antecedently linked to a First Mind, the universe a mental and spiritual construction of a Divine Being. The Full Extent expands on these quantum truths and considers their spiritual implications, positioning the human future. It is a heady blend of cutting-edge theory and timeless musing, an epistemological thesis is a mind-expanding thrill. This book points one in many directions because it is truly integrative, and futures require exactly that type of thinking. Publication Date: June 1, 2022. Windstream Publishing Company. 270 pages. Available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Ingram, Baker and Taylor, and Walmart for $17.99 (softcover) and $4.99 (e-book).

HUMAN FUTURES

49


NETFLIX’S GHOST IN THE SHELL: SAC-2045 (12 EPISODES) A Film Review

By Ralph Mercer

N

Against this backdrop, SAC-2045 introduces the premise of

ETFLIX’S anime series Ghost in the Shell: SAC-20451 deals primarily with the concepts of sustainable Wars and Post-

the post-human, invoking imagery of technological singularity

Humans in a futures world. The original Japanese manga

where humanity’s fascination with artificial intelligence and

series was written and illustrated by Masamune Shirow , which

transhumanism unintentionally merge to create an all-powerful

resulted in several classic Ghost in the Shell movies and TV series.

being, complete with humanism’s disdain for lower life forms. The

2

The name is a nod to philosopher Arthur Koestler’s 1967 book The Ghost in the Machine, which explores the nature of

result is post-humans attempting to disrupt an already dystopian society for their own needs.

consciousness and mind body-dualism. However, in Shirow’s work,

However, it is worth watching to see how different mediums

this concept is seen through the lens of a post-cyberpunk possible

and worldviews approach technology and human relations in an

future, where computer technology has advanced so that people

Anthropocene world. SAC-2045 is animated using 3D CG which

can possess cyberbrains, which allows them to interface their

is poorly done, with the characters becoming more action

biological brain with the internet and each other.

figures than anime, with limited facial expressions. Sadly there

The Ghost in the Shell: SAC-2045 series presents a future world

is little left from Shirow’s original illustrations that were vibrant,

where nations (the USA and others) have collaborated to create a

full of energy and mood to carry the anime to a cult status

“sustainable war” as an industry to boost the global economy. The

level. Nevertheless, Ghost in the Shell is an indelible exploration

unintended secondary effects resulted in “the Global Simultaneous

into how we think about our technologically mediated and

Default”, where all real or virtual currency became worthless.

interconnected lives. My advice if you wish to watch more of the

The international order fragmented into hostile regional groups,

Ghost in the Shell is to ignore the live character movie3 and look

where terrorism is rampant, and the divide between the have and

for the original anime versions, and I recommend starting with the

the have-nots becoming greater than ever. In this society, people

‘stand-alone complex’.

mortgaged their organs and personal brain space for cyborg implants, complete with popup ads and commercials.

NOTES: 1

title/81030224 https://manga.fandom.com/wiki/Masamune_Shirow https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1219827/

2

Netflix’s Ghost in the Shell:SAC_2045 on NetFlix https://www.netflix.com/ca/

50

Contact at mercer.ralph@gmail.com

HUMAN FUTURES

3


QUANTUMRUN FORESIGHT PLATFORM A Technology Review

By Kevin Jae

I

N the past few months, I used the Quantumrun Foresight Platform for some of my projects and have found it a useful tool. This review describes

how the platform works, my impressions on the

Users are able to bookmark Insights and Trends into customized Lists,

platform, and how the futures studies community

which can then be turned into Projects that visualize the trend articles. There

could benefit.

is currently one visualization functionality available on the platform right

The first thing that I noticed about the platform

now, although two additional visualizations will soon be available, according

was its user-friendliness and its well-designed, clean

to Quantumrun Foresight. The currently available visualization is the Strategy

user interface. It is easy for new users to navigate and

Planner project interface, which plots trends onto the graph by year of release or

familiarize themselves with the platform.

public availability, likelihood to become a reality, and the impact on the industry.

After successfully purchasing a subscription and registering an account, users are prompted to

This allows users to identify the trends that matter to them. Quantumrun Foresight takes an interesting approach to determine a given

choose a handful of topics that they are interested

trend’s year of availability, likelihood, and industry impact—it is the users who

in. Trend and Insight articles around these topics

rank these elements of the trend alongside Quantumrun employees. The

are recommended to the user on the main page.

platform relies on the “wisdom of the crowd” to great effect and to overcome

(Note: Trends are curated articles f rom other

individual biases.

websites, and Insight articles are written by Quantumrun Foresight’s in-house team and contain additional analysis.) The recommendations are extremely useful because of the sheer number of Trends and Insight articles available on the platform—you can find materials on everything from the hospitality industry to climate mitigation technology to projections on the global population. The large number of Trends and Insights makes

Just to summarize and conclude, based on my impressions of the platform, I think that the platform offers three major value-adds for users: 1. The platform is user-friendly; and it handles trend research, trend curation, and trend analysis; which will make it useful for organizations that do not have too much foresight capacity 2. This also frees up foresight professionals to focus less on basic research and more on activities like scenario planning 3. The project visualizations help automate and accelerate insight analysis, and I can see it being useful for spurring conversations during meetings and workshops.

the Platform an ideal tool to help organizations and foresight professionals expand their horizon

MY GENERAL IMPRESSION:

scanning and trend research capabilities.

The Quantumrun Foresight Platform offers a huge number of future trends

However, the Quantumrun Foresight Platform is

and allows users to organize and visualize trend insights, all of which is

not just a horizon scanning tool; it comes with

useful for strategy development, scenario planning, and product ideation. I

additional functionalities that could help with

could definitely see it adding value and capacity for foresight professionals

scenario planning, business strategy, and ideation.

and organizations by automating away some of the more time-consuming

This is the “Projects” functionality.

aspects of foresight.

HUMAN FUTURES

51


BEYOND KNOWLEDGE IS DRIVING AN AGE OF BY WILLIAM HALAL A Book Review

By Victor V. Motti

T

HE story behind this book is that

exclusively left or right viewpoint.

revolutions and revolutionized access to higher education. This puts him within

of a mature futurist, opening the

For example, he has a good faith in

doors into the possibility of global

an improved version of capitalism called

the integral futures tradition and close to

consciousness and maturity of human

collaborative enterprise, which is not

scholarship circles led by Ken Wilber and

civilization. Bill Halal is a leading and

surprising given his affiliation to a business

Richard Slaughter.

respected author and lifelong teacher

school in the US capital, Washington DC.

working in the field of futures studies and

Actually he believes that corporations,

clear. In terms of the methodology and the

has contributed consistently over many

despite their focus on the bottom line of

tradition that determines the assumptions

years to the quality of both methods and

profit, can indeed change and contribute

underlying the frameworks of his foresight,

content of foresight.

to the overall wellbeing of the society if

Halal follows primarily the empirical,

regulated by some sort of lean responsive

scientific, evidence-based, expert guided

book deals with a very important question:

government. They will continue to be

forecasting systems. This is one of the key

What is going to happen within the next

a fundamental source of cutting edge

contributions of his book. We are given a

few decades, and specifically until 2050, as

innovation which depending on the whole

somewhat rare opportunity to read from

a direct result of the ongoing Technology

planetary maturity and wisdom, will be

the output of a collective intelligence data

Revolution? Put it another way, what is the

either extremely useful or harmful.

management and analysis system that

Beyond Knowledge as the key title of his

nature and the characteristics of the next

On the other hand, even though raised a

Yet, his choice of the futures tradition is

draws on the professional insights of an

revolution and what we know about the

Catholic, he is embracing modern science

elite group of observers and analysts. It

transition period?

and spirituality and therefore is critical of

gives us key forecasts about the well-known

We are very fortunate to notice his

traditionalist and fundamentalist organized

trends related to the technology adoption

ideological position on the usual political

religions. The mental or spiritual revolution

rates on specific time horizons, with clearly

spectrum from the left to the right. Halal

and inner space transformation which

specified likelihood intervals and level

clarifies from the very beginning that

according to him will herald the age of

of uncertainty across diverse industrial

he supports centrist politics and does

consciousness, are evidently related to a

sectors such as energy and environment,

not approach the challenging task of

personal, secular experience and primarily

information technology, digital economy,

diagnosis of the global mega crisis from an

driven by the whole range of technology

manufacturing and robotics, medicine and

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HUMAN FUTURES


E: HOW TECHNOLOGY F CONSCIOUSNESS

biogenetics, transportation, and space.

of his Life Cycle of Evolution chart that

deep patterns or laws of change on the

Scanning hits, clustering trends and macro

visualizes the consecutive stages of social

global scale.

conceptualization is the foundation of his

evolution beginning from the geological

remarkable approach to grounded theory

age leading to the knowledge age and

and AI revolutions are contributing to

building. What is emerging from the data

beyond, culminating eventually in the

automation of routine knowledge work,

collection in most cases is evidence based,

beyond the planet and space age. Through

enabling a higher consciousness stage

reasonable, and makes a lot of sense to

this Halal unlike most corporate foresight

in preparation for a job market described

both experts and the laypersons.

specialists joins the limited and high rank

by creative work such as leadership,

His central thesis is that the digital

of those foresight scholars who care about

innovation, vision, wisdom and other

career in management of technology and

the world macro history and the intellectual

higher order functions or qualities of

corporate foresight is the development

challenge of identifying the broad and

consciousness and human spirit. Moreover,

A crucial product of Halal long time

HUMAN FUTURES

53


in the future there will be a far more

the US dominant empirical and scientific

not sound or not scientific. So basically

scientific recognition of human spirit and

discourse or tradition.

nothing is wrong with it. I am saying that there are other philosophers and their

spirituality, combining it with technologies

Halal is Cartesian, he alludes to that

of consciousness, for a better united ethical

on page 61, and will favor this particular

followers who don’t accept the dominant

world and civilization. Such a vision or

school or tradition. However, there is a

Cartesian philosophy like he does. Take the

forecast of the future is the direct output

range of philosophies which simply do

Kantian view, who says that the objects of

of the evolutionary framework behind his

not accept the Cartesian assumptions

experience and the nature of things as they

Life Cycle Evolution chart. Again this chart

about subjectivity, i.e. considering that

are in themselves are unknowable to us.

reminds us of all macro historians who are

subjective consciousness is beyond

Or even the more radical Feyerabend who

looking forward to the longer term futures

objective knowledge.

says that all scientific knowledge is simply

of the entire world. Yet, a somewhat problematic or rather

Halal accepts that there is some objective knowledge out there and all the

subjective consciousness. So there is a plurality of perspectives.

controversial aspect of this book is the

subjective domains like values, purposes,

Some leading forward looking experts

choice of the word consciousness as the

beliefs, feelings, passions, desires, emotions,

such as philosopher-psychologist

key focus of the entire argument. He

and in his own words on page 29 messy

turned futurist Thomas Lombardo have

quite masterfully reviews and identifies

mental baggage, personal agendas, self-

extensively discussed such a plurality and

the heart of the problem which is

interests, political ideals, etc. all fall outside

the historical debate among philosophers

ignorance and misinformation in the age

or beyond knowledge. And therefore,

and psychologists about the polarity of

of easy and wide access to knowledge

the prescription provided for tackling

subjectivity versus objectivity and its role

and the astonishing possibility of the AI

the global maturity crises should be

in knowledge at great length, concluding

taking the job of knowledge production

through some sort of purposeful altering

with a reciprocal interdependent

and maintenance. However, there are two

of consciousness or the subjective domain

relationship between the two. WFSF

key weaknesses in the book that make it

at the personal level. This is hardly an

President, Erik Øverland, has also worked

less appealing beyond the management,

acceptable point of departure for scholars

on perspectivism in futures studies; the

business, innovation, and the technology

with different perspectives and affiliations

epistemological principle that perception

enthusiast audiences.

in philosophy and psychology. Consider, to

of and knowledge of something are always

name a few, Emanuel Kant, Georg Hegel,

bound to the interpretive perspectives of

shed light on the scientific legitimacy of

Friedrich Nietzsche, David Hume, Thomas

those observing it.

spirituality research and development, has

Kuhn, and Paul Feyerabend.

First of all, Halal, despite his attempt to

a clear epistemological choice in favor of

54

HUMAN FUTURES

I am not saying that his scholarship is

Second, like Lombardo, Halal chooses, rather with courage in the context of the


US society, the principle of evolution as

transformation toward maturity and

a rich and comprehensive set of irrefutable

a fundamental driving force, giving it a

wisdom is the key message throughout

evidences, and given his optimism if we

high importance for achieving maturity

the book, although my own choice will

change our course of thinking and action

and wisdom in a unified world of the

definitely be planetary consciousness to

in due time we can avoid the worst case

future. But he does not cover the history

make a distance from the globalization and

scenarios during the next decades, save

of consciousness evolution in the US and

the globalist and internationalist mindset

the planet, and even calls, like futurists

in particular the New Age Movement

which is often presented in contrast with

Wendell Bell and Erik Øverland, for some

during the 1970s. He only briefly mentions

nationalist and religious ideologies.

universal values, universal perspectivism, a

on page 33 the New Age saying that they

Alternative planetary futures and

universal common socio‐cultural identity,

were only focused on goodness whereas

planetary consciousness are my own

and global ethics which should be more

consciousness should include hate,

favorite words and I am hinting at a

inclusive, inspired by female deities,

conflict, and delusion. It is not absolutely

possible further expansion of the whole

caring, cooperative, appreciative of human

clear for the reader what are the key

idea in his book. It is neither a criticism

diversity, more democratic principles

similarities and differences between the

nor weakness but a suggestion for further

for governing the corporate world,

Age of Consciousness, the mental and

development and building upon the

transcending the misleading artificial

spiritual revolution ahead of us before

idea. If Halal had used throughout the

versus natural polarity, and using the vast

global order and space age in 2050s,

book the term global consciousness that

potential of cutting edge information and

and the more known and well recorded

would have been much better and less

knowledge technologies for a successful

New Age and Counter Culture teachings

problematic because he was avoiding

transition away from the age of liminality.

and practices in US history. For most

the term consciousness alone; a topic of

Americans, consciousness has strong

huge debate and disagreements. The

ideas about the rising age of planetary

links with embracing Eastern, Buddhist,

term planetary consciousness is not

consciousness and planetary identity. In

Taoist, Mystic, and Sufist viewpoints if not

always seen as related to all life forms

particular, the emphasis that individuals

also the psychedelic and the drug culture.

and is related to the planetary era, global

should cultivate their conscious mind and

Halal is actually including two New Age

citizenship, cosmopolitanism and the

evolve it with sustained conscious intent, or

signature lifestyle i.e. use of psychedelic

next era of civilization.

as Lombardo calls it a purposeful evolution

I found great resonance with Halal’s

of consciousness. These individual wise

drugs and sex as spirituality among his

Another choice might have been the

list of technologies of consciousness on

age of post-knowledge in exactly the same

cyborgs might bring the same mega

page 139.

way we talk about a post-industrial society

effect of creating desired new civilizations,

or post-modern theory of knowledge. This

social structures, and cultures over the

criticism because perhaps in a later

might bring Halal even closer to other

next few decades. This recognition itself

edition it will help him make a big

groups of futurist scholars such as Zia

is an intended change of consciousness

differentiation from the sort of spirituality

Sardar who write about the postnormal

if we stay away from the human centric

that is embraced by the historical New Age

times and like him quite rightly identify

worldview, largely inspired by ancient

movement and people in the US. I think

our transition period as characterized

mythologies, religions, and deities and put

that the reader would ask what is really

with complexity, chaos, and contradiction.

in their place a plurality of some modern

This is actually a good constructive

different in his spirituality from the New

Given Halal’s primary metaphor of

belief systems. He actually clarifies his position on the

Age people. Although, he is not expected to

an adolescent’s transition stage for

actually give a full account of the history of

more mature planetary civilization we

belief systems on page 70: “Some type

consciousness and spirituality in any book

could even use the more established

of belief system is unavoidable. Our goal

on consciousness.

terminology in anthropology; that is the

should be to create more sophisticated

age of liminality. The problem of many

belief systems that accord with the

of consciousness, as something which

futurists and macro historian thinkers

complexity of modern life.” There is a

lies beyond the age of knowledge, will

who correctly point out the nature of

great and important distinction between

only limit the size of the book readership

large scale changes and the subsequent

Globalization and Planetization and Halal

to mostly people with background in

stages of social-technological evolution is

has masterfully, deeply, and fabulously

technology, business and management.

that they cannot easily coin a neologism

clarified and highlighted this evolving

Perhaps a somewhat better title would

for the next stage. In this regard, like

binary opposite and calls for a value-

have been the age of global consciousness,

Sardar, Halal is no exception.

focused transformation of consciousness

Therefore, the choice of the term: age

after all the emphasis on a global

Halal has a bold vision, supported with

for planetary wisdom.

HUMAN FUTURES

55


OUR BIG RED NEIGHBOR A Game Review

By Katryna Starks

A

S futurists, we want to try to make Earth as great as it

is about the PC version of the game and not the board game. The

can be. Earth is our home, and scientifically speaking,

physical game adaptation seems to stay close to the original. There is

we aren’t close to having another. The nearest planet

a large graphic of Mars and it’s moons, overlayed with hexagons that

that shows any promise is our next door neighbor, Mars – which

indicate where tiles can be placed. The basic gameplay consists of

is technically inhabited by a bunch of human-made robots,

cards that can be bought with in-game currency, and tiles that can

though not actual humans. As our neighbor, Mars is a source of

be placed as standard actions or as a result of playing cards. The

endless fascination for scientists and game designers alike. For

game has three goals: (1) Place 9 oceans on the planet, (2) Raise

this edition, the focus is on games that terraform Mars into an

the atmospheric oxygen level to 14%, and (3) Raise the temperature

inhabitable space for Earthlings.

from -30C (-22F) to 8C (46.4F) in increments of 2C (35.6F). The card/board game aspect detracts from the immersion

Terraforming Mars

of the game. The tiles only show an overview of the planet

This game has a straightforward title, but an interesting origin.

from space. The view is of oceans, volcanoes, plants, and cities,

Terraforming Mars is a board game-turned video game. This article

56

HUMAN FUTURES

however the cities are condensed to the size of a tile, so they look


somewhat like cities as presented in snow

relationships with other research

globes. The cards have more detail in

teams, or get sponsors, to obtain more

that they represent specific technologies,

research points. Each piece of technology

like a Mars rover, kelp farms, steelworks,

enhances Mars in some way, but some

and livestock. A few cards indicate the

are blueprints or upgrades to existing

Mars-Earth relationship, like a convoy of

equipment. For instance, the player

water f rom Europe, and the presence

can only build things that have been

of Zeppelins. These vague notions of

researched. Otherwise they have to order

technology and the aforementioned cities

prefabricated versions (called prefabs)

are the only indications of a population

f rom Earth. The blueprint requires resources while the prefabs don’t, but

in the game. The game is unique in that it specifically includes insects, microbes,

level and meters to tell the player the

each prefab only builds one item, so the

and animals, however these are cards

likelihood of adverse affects (like dust

player is always aware of using them in the

that can be played if they’re chosen and

storms and meteors) and the level of key

right places.

not requirements. The cards enforce

resources like concrete and metal.

Order is evident throughout gameplay.

Though the game begins with just

For instance, each building or piece of

cards can only be played when there

the player and a bunch of drones, there

equipment needs to be connected to a

is a minimum amount of oxygen, heat,

is a lot of encouragement to create a

power source. Some buildings, like the

or water. However, cards are random

colony. Without people, drones can be

fuel generator, use water. In that case,

by nature, so most cards can be played

used to extract concrete and build basic

the building needs to be connected to

regardless of the conditions of the planet.

buildings for inf rastructure. However,

a water source as well. Power and water

Helpfully, many cards contain technology

more complicated structures require

have storage buildings so the player can

that directly affect one of the game goals,

metal and factory-made parts. Metal

establish an overflow of resources. This is

so the game still has a bit of scientif ic

extractors and factories can only be

a recommended practice, as the lack of

merit. Mostly, however, the focus is on

operated by people, so the player is

storage can lead to disaster.

playing the right cards and getting victory

forced to either spend a lot of money

points. It is not clear how much is learned

ordering supply shuttles f rom Earth,

don’t live in the atmosphere of a not

about actual terraforming, but the game

or establish a colony with residents

fully terraformed Mars. The player has

is enjoyable enough to play and sticks

who can work at the factories. Each

to build domes, and the domes need

well to the theme.

convoy of people includes specialists

oxygen supplies and a source of water.

in science, botany, medicine, etc.

If equipment on the electric grid or the

Surviving Mars

These experts get a bonus if the player

water grid breaks down, the colony is

Like Terraforming Mars, this game has

employs them in their professions

affected. One way of mitigating this is to

an order in terraforming, in that some

a straightforward title, however the game

Once a colony is established, there

Remember those colonies? They

have the colony on a separate power and

play is quite different. Surviving Mars is

are pictures of the inhabitants, as well

water source from the main, however

much more of a typical video game and

as several meters showing if they are

there is quite a bit of risk in that as well.

plays like Sim City on another planet.

employed, healthy and happy. The health

In any case, a failure of the electric or

Terraforming Mars has several narratives

and happiness of the colony affects their

water system that leads to the colony can

that the player can choose. Each narrative

morale at work, so the player needs to take

quickly turn fatal. If anyone dies of non-

has its own goals and difficulty levels.

good care of them. There is also a challenge

natural causes, two more people leave the

The player has agency in several other

to keep the colony alive for the first 20 sols

colony and go back to Earth. If the colony

areas of the game as well. Colonies

(days) of existence, with a celebration back

empties, the game is lost.

and space ships can be named to the

on Earth if it succeeds.

player’s liking, and the player can choose

In Surviving Mars, order is key to

The research tree, shipments to and from Earth, and the establishment

a mayor of sorts, who gives the colony

terraforming. Instead of cards that can be

and care of colonies all work together

advantages based on their profession. For

drawn at random, there is a hierarchical

to create a moderately immersive

instance, a rocket scientist gives extra

technology tree. The player chooses a

terraforming simulation. It doesn’t make

research points and resources whereas

funding organization at the beginning

the player feel as though they are walking

a psychologist gives benefits to the

of the game, and that determines the

around on Mars, but it does feel like they

colonists. Players also choose the location

number of research points they receive

are managing the terraforming and

of their colony, which includes a difficulty

each sol. They can create and maintain

population on it.

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PROGNOSIS

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CONVERSATIONS ON THE FUTURE WE WANT: UN AGENDA 2030 with Dawn Bonfield, MBE & Claire A. Nelson

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T’S March and we’re celebrating Women’s History Month and exploring the future history of women, in the year

2030 and beyond. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include one goal specifically targeted towards women, SDG 5. In this conversation I speak with Dawn Bonfield, MBE, who is a Entrepreneur in Residence at Kings College in the United Kingdom as well as Visiting Professor of Inclusive Engineering at Aston University. More importantly for our purposes, she represents the UK Institution of Civil Engineers at the World Federation of Engineering Organizations, where she serves on the Women in Engineering Committee. Given her role

I’m part of the Women in Engineering

not been directly created for the benefit

as someone embedded at various levels of

Committee, involves looking at how we can

of women, but women can access finance

the engineering ecosystem, I am looking

use engineering to understand gender in

through their phones, which is important,

forward to hearing her prognosis on futures

relation to each of the SDGs. The gender

because in some societies they don’t get

for women in the field of engineering.

equality goal has a target 5B, which says

access to the traditional banking systems.

that we will enhance the use of enabling

There are lots of different examples of

NELSON:

technology – in particular information

that. As engineers, we don’t necessarily

The UN 2030 Agenda states, “We resolve,

and communication technology – to

think through the gender perspective in

between now and 2030, to end poverty and

promote the empowerment of women.

the way that we should. Our role (as a

hunger everywhere; to combat inequalities

So, what can engineers do to ensure that

WFEO committee) is to try to illuminate

within and among countries; to build

women have access to the solutions that

that. Now, we are not social scientists - we

peaceful and just, and inclusive societies;

we’re putting in place across each of the

are all engineers. So it’s a learning curve

… and to promote gender equality and the

goals? One thing that we’ve been doing

for us as women engineers as well. We’ve

empowerment of women and girls.” These

is producing information sheets which

had to do a lot of work thinking through

goals also address the need to ensure the

look at how women are disproportionately

these problems on behalf of women,

lasting protection of the planet and its

disadvantaged in relation to the stated

because one of the things we don’t

natural resources. This is, of course, relevant

goals. We’re not necessarily saying that

necessarily do very well in engineering is

to engineers. [Professor Bonfield,] how do

engineering or technology solution should

own our identities. We’re such a minority

you see your work as woman, engineer,

address only women but rather, we’re

in engineering that we try to leave our

entrepreneur, and as an individual wearing

saying to engineers, in general, “how can

identity as women at the gate. We do a lot

all the different hats you wear, addressing

we ensure that whatever we’re producing

of this identity switching, or code switching,

these complex seventeen goals, and the

and designing understands the roles of

if you will.

gender goal – SDG 5?

women around the world, and how they access or don’t access that technology?”

NELSON:

BONFIELD:

It’s really important to know that, or else

That’s a huge question to start; and

you can end up creating technology

different things. I want to take the code-

not an easy one. The work that I’m doing,

that just isn’t accessible to women. For

switching conversation in one direction,

particularly for the World Federation of

example, microfinance is a technology that

but I also want to take up the issue of

Engineering Organizations (WFEO), where

is accessible to women and to men. It’s

the engineering inclusion. Let me do

I want to try to unpack at least two

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the inclusion piece first. When you said

and so on. So, they were at the point of

‘inclusive engineering,’ my immediate

launching this app, when somebody asked

focus was on issues related to disabilities.

them on stage, “what about women”?

I didn’t think of gender as something

And they admitted, ”Oh well, we’d kind

that could be a design issue relative to

of forgotten about women.” This was a

making something that we’re using more

damaging incident for their brand. In

accessible. Would you talk some more

terms of technology, we find gender biases,

about how making inclusive design part

race biases, LGBT biases, disability biases

of a university engineering education has

all built into artificial intelligence systems,

been impacting the broader conversation?

machine learning, and other systems that have used historical data, which are

BONFIELD:

oftentimes themselves very biased. And

Engineering design is a big part of the

once they’re embedded, it’s very difficult

engineering process. Getting the design

to remove them. In general, engineers are

right is crucial because whatever you build

very keen to build things that are right.

into that design at the start of the process

Nobody wants to create a product that is

will become embedded throughout that

not going to be able to sell or that begs

process. And if you get to the end of your

the headline, “Is this technology racist?”

design phase – and then realize that you’ve

Todays’ students see these as things

forgotten half of the population – it can be

that they understand and appreciate.

damaging. For example, Google created a

Whereas on the other hand, if you go into

health app and they’d forgotten to include

a class and you’re talking to them about

the fact that women have periods. The fact

getting more women in engineering, for

is that women have periods which impacts

example, they are not interested in that

their wellbeing, their health, their ability

in the slightest, because they’re probably

to train, the number of calories they need,

already in engineering. The work that we

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do at the World Federation of Engineering Organizations looks specifically at women around the world. It’s very rare to do that. It’s very unusual for women in engineering to look at other women and say, this is how we, as engineers can be solving those problems. And it’s not just women that should be able to do that. All engineers must be able to look at solutions through the eyes of other people who are using those products or services the engineers are producing. NELSON: Well, one of the things that COVID certainly has done for us, in terms of the SDGs, is force us to a very interesting pause: human society is in a period of transition, and we have some decisions to make. I’m really excited about the fact that the WFEO has woken up in a way, and for example, created World Engineering Day to put engineering front and center in the world. What future do you think is more possible or less possible because of COVID pandemic? There are some people who have said COVID has set us back. We’re not going to be able to meet the SDGs. I am saying, it ain’t necessarily so! What are you thinking? Are you believing that COVID has set us back? How are you seeing the future of women and the work

in the work that we do to build the next

negatives during the time of the lockdown

that you are doing to advance inclusive

generation of infrastructure. I’m working

– women were at home, looking after

engineering and advance women’s

on a publication called “Inclusive Design

children, trying to do the homeschooling

voice as they sit at the table, serving to

for the Built Environment.” It is one of the

while at work, which was sometimes a

accelerate the improvements we want or

Institution of Civil Engineers publications.

real conflict. We’re now into a different

decelerate our progress?

And it goes through all the protected

reality – a hybrid reality – that I think could

characteristics in the United Kingdom and

play to the strengths of women, because

BONFIELD:

looks at the built environment through the

on screen you don’t get that bias of the ”tall

That’s a hard question. There are pros

lenses of all those different characteristics

man in the room” being the one to whom

and cons. We have seen how clearly COVID

– sex, sexual orientation, gender, race,

people automatically look upas being

has brought inequalities to the surface.

ability, and neurodiversity. We proposed

the dominant figure. There are also the

Whereas before we might not have noticed,

this book before the pandemic and we’ve

opportunities of being at home and being

it has become clear that inequalities exist in

had it rejected several times; but since the

able to multitask – pick up children, etc.,

a huge variety of ways. A lot of the work I do

pandemic, we’ve had it accepted. I also

and organize your life around the hybrid

is around the built environment. We know

think there are some positives around how

working realities that we have now. I have

now that there are implications for equality

women can engage online despite the

spoken to people around the world, so

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much more since the pandemic than I would’ve done before. And I think if you are interested in the sustainable development agenda, the opportunities for women are there.

NELSON: In my book, ‘Smart Futures for a Flourishing World’ I ask how we might get 11% of the world’s population to not just be smart about technology, but also to be smart about the future. That

NELSON:

means being smart in our design practices, and smart in the

You said that one of the things you’re doing as entrepreneur-

values that we’re bringing to the table. Your work is very much

in-residence is helping people in business. Talk to me about the

what I call smart work because you’re looking at things from a

future you see from a gendered perspective of small business

systems perspective. Do you think women are particularly suited

owners, young people who are doing startups, thinking about

to address systemic sustainability challenges? Do you think that

the world with this divergent lens that yes, we’re together, we’re

future women in this highly complex and uncertain world would

inclusive, but we cannot pretend as if difference does not exist.

have an extra-sensory ability that could bring them fully into this

How are you managing that?

inclusive engineering framework that you are developing?

BONFIELD:

BONFIELD:

The work I do as an entrepreneur-in-residence is mainly

That’s a new and interesting idea. What I have thought about

helping young people become empowered and have some

before is the multiple kind of identities that women will have. I’ve

agency around addressing the sustainable development

been trying to create a narrative that values the ability women

goals. It’s a question of letting them know how they can be

have, to multitask, to engage in different parts of life. They’re often

more entrepreneurial and have the confidence to know that

the gatekeepers of the home, the energy systems in the home, the

they – even as individuals – can do something, whether it’s on a

purchasing decision-makers, and they’re the steppingstone from

large scale or on a small, local scale. I think engineers are often

the workplace to the school gate. They have these multiple roles and

reluctant to see themselves as entrepreneurs. But if we are

great skills at negotiating, managing things that we don’t recognize.

going to create a “net zero” future world, we need to empower

A wider set of skills that they’ve learned while they’ve been off

these young engineers who have the passion and the technical

mothering. There are important, transferable skills that I’ve learned

skills to be able to create the changes we need across every

while I’ve taken time out. So, we women need to start thinking, “what

one of the sustainable development goals. And I’m constantly

are the skills that we’ve got and how are these important?”

collecting role models, especially women role models, from around the world, who are doing things which fit into one of the

NELSON:

sustainable development goals.

Do you think we’re approaching escape velocity with regard to

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the number of women that we now have

sometimes on a long journey of change,

in engineering leadership, as well as the

you get some wins and then you go into

number of allies that we have in leadership

a slump where you get some pushback.

on this agenda of inclusive engineering

There seems to be pushback now against

design principles? How far away are we

the diversity and inclusion agenda. It’s

from escape velocity?

now about respect for all. We must find a way of changing the narrative. We need

BONFIELD:

men to be taking responsibility as well.

It’s difficult to judge that. We’re

We don’t want the men are over there

recognizing that women have different

solving sustainable development and the

types of leadership skills. It’d be nice to

women are over here talking about their

think that women could rely on those skills

own problems. What I want us to find is a

being passed on to other people, and that

way to create inclusive futures together.

men could lead in the same way as well.

By 2030, I want to be further forward

Let’s be optimistic and say we are on the

and further beyond where we are now:

right track.

Beyond “the first woman in engineering doing that,” or “the first woman president

NELSON:

of this society.” I hope that by 2030 the

It’s good that you’re optimistic. You

women in engineering will have become

are occupying many seats, at least three.

normalized and that gender equality is

In 2030, just 8 years away, what do you

seen as everybody’s concern.

believe you are going to be able to look back and say you have accomplished?

NELSON: Agreed. We need to do this together.

BONFIELD:

Thank you so much for joining us,

The worry I have had over the last

Professor Bonfield. We have come to the

couple of years is that we have taken a

end of this delightful conversation, but the

few steps backwards in terms of equality,

story continues being written by all of us,

gender equality in particular. I know that

co-creating the future.

ABOUT DAWN BONFIELD MBE CENG FIMMM FICE Dawn Bonf ield is currently Royal Society Entrepreneur in Residence at King’s College London, and Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor of Inclusive Engineering at Aston University. She is Founder & Director of Towards Vision, a Company which works towards a vision of diversity and inclusion in engineering, and founder of the Magnif icent Women social enterprise which celebrates the history of women in engineering and uses our inspiring heritage to encourage the next generation of engineers. The Past President and former Chief Executive of the Women’s Engineering Society is a materials engineer by background and spent many years working in the aerospace industry on composite materials. She is the UK representative on the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO) and Deputy Chair of the Women in Engineering Committee focusing on the application of engineering and technology to address the Sustainable Development Goals, with particular emphasis on addressing the disadvantages faced by women.

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THE FUTURE BELONGS TO EVERYONE: HOW THE DUTCH WILL MAKE THE LOCAL MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS ABOUT THE LONG-TERM 66

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By Linda Hofman

U

SUALLY, there is a circus of opinions, loose facts and controversies surrounding the elections. A common experience is that people find the tone of politicians unpleasant, do not feel represented and feel that politicians are mainly concerned with themselves. To get people more involved in local politics again and give them a view on the long term, the election of the future is about other questions. ‘What is a good world?’ and ‘How can you move towards it?’ Our Prime Minister called the management of the corona crisis the last two years: “steering in the rear-view mirror”. That was necessary, of course, because we were taken by surprise. However, this skill of steering is wholly inadequate now that the approaching climate catastrophe, increasing inequality and growing distrust in society presents us with greater challenges. If we only fight the symptoms of structural problems, we will be overwhelmed by a literal and figurative flood. So how do we find a way forward after two years swallowed up by our personal and local problems? Are we swallowed up by discussions on the measures and the figures, busy arranging postponements, replacements, shelter and recovery? Do we have any idea what kind of world we want to return to now that the pandemic seems to be getting under control? It is not surprising that our politicians are limited to talking

rather than deciding what needs to be done now. News is often about incidents, fleeting excitement, fuss. The newspapers are full of problems, scandals or remarkable anecdotes. And we all suffer from it, hunched over our smartphones, swamped with information and confronted with instantaneous communication. The technological, financial and social structures that we have so carefully built up over decades leave little room for the long term. So we are held in a permanent now, with no room to zoom out and ask questions about the things that matter. Yet it is perfectly possible to give abstract things like hope and good courage a place in our lives. There is a bigger story that transcends our daily concerns and concerns us all. What story emerges when we ask how we can be a good ancestor? Composer Merlijn Twaalfhoven has taken the initiative for an alternative election. This should lead to more cohesion. “There is actually one clear cause for all of today’s major problems: we think in the short term. Let us, therefore, together put longterm thinking on the map for administrators and politicians. Not with warnings and admonitions, but with a beckoning and inviting picture of the future! We need an artist mindset to open up our imagination for this bright possible futures. If we see how much we can agree on what a good world in 2050 might look like, we can also commit to taking steps now.”

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The so-called Future Election will be held during the municipal elections on the 16th of March 2022. Beforehand, inhabitants of the Netherlands, both adults and children, will be asked to indicate what makes their hometown a good place. The election of the future shows in easy ways how politics can also be about the own local environment, the long term, togetherness, agency belief, creativity and that it is possible to protect the interests of even future generations in every municipality. A broad audience will be involved in the idea that together we can play an important role in shaping the world of our grandchildren. This breaks the focus on incidents and individual problems in the media and creates room for a different conversation. Tessa Cramer, futurist and Applied professor at Fontys Academy for Creative Economy, supports the idea of Future Elections: “What I find very important is that the future should be accessible for all of us. I am a scholar and have learned about a lot of methods and theories on how to study the future. Yet, at a certain point, I came to the conclusion that the questions we ask can and should be much simpler than I initially assumed. Questions like: What matters? And, what are the uncomfortable questions we have to ask ourselves?”

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By questioning people about ‘What makes the place where you a good place to live?’ and ’What is your idea of a good world?’ the dialogue is started, and by listening to each other, we learn what is really important in our lives. The future has already begun. Scattered in small, loose islands of invention, solidarity and sustainability, a good world already lives among us. We can experience it, even if it is far from normal. Once you start looking and listening in the neighbourhood, the village, at schools and in organisations, it becomes clear what we are all capable of doing, undertaking and organising. It doesn’t take much more than the ability to listen to see all these initiatives, projects and enterprises as a courageous movement towards a good world. And it turns out that when people can actively participate in building something together, it really makes them happy. Distrust falls, courage arises, and that is what is needed. Unlocking held dialogues, revealing what usually remains hidden: the dreams and ideals that live within citizens. These thoughts and opinions can be seen as the fertile layer in our society and the foundation for a healthy and good world. In this layer, it is possible to imagine and create a world we want to live in. Cramer: “Many futures lie before us. By exploring them, it quickly becomes clear that there are many beckoning prospects”. Twaalfhoven adds. ”But it takes courage to make room for them now. And you get that courage when you see the neighbourhood power, the local cooperation and the local entrepreneurship. The connection between ideals and practical ways of making a difference creates perspectives for action. This is not a luxury but a necessity. It offers a way out of the tangle of crises in which we are entangled and which takes our breath away.” The stories and descriptions from the dialogues about ‘good lifes’ are transformed by artists into images of the future, making it even easier to understand what we want for the future. This will lead to twelve visions of the future, which will then be presented to the newly elected municipal council in each municipality: The world we want today and want to create for our grandchildren. On the same day as the municipal elections, the Future Election will behold. All inhabitants, including children, can vote for the Netherlands of 2050. This voting says which version of the year 2050 would make us happiest. The outcome of the future election will be given to the elected local leaders so that they can express not only the interests of their voters but also those of future generations. It is the starting point to keep the dialogue about futures represented. That way, we will take serious steps towards a good world. Not to dream, but to live. This text have been largely translated, copied and mixed up from: An earlier Dutch article ‘Gemeenteraadsverkiezingen kan niet om de lange termijn’ written by: Merlijn Twaalfhoven, Kees Klomp, Tessa Cramer, Danielle Arets and Jan van de Venis, but not published; And from the websitehttps://toekomstverkiezing.nl.


I HAVE A DREAM FOR FUTURING IN NEW ZEALAND By Yvonne Curtis

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I

BELIEVE we need to create spaces for deeper conversations about our future in New Zealand. I was invited to join the founding members of the New Zealand Futures Trust, a NGO, in 1982; since then, I have been involved in exploring ways to understand and use Futures Studies in a New Zealand context. What inspired me back then, and still inspires me now, is the way futuring lifts our heads above our limited views and everyday timescales to search for a larger, longer-term perspective. Futuring can enable us to evolve as conscious living beings. It can help us reflect collectively, see ourselves in the context of wider forces and influences, recognise our choices, and consciously shape how we respond. It’s a whole heart, body, mind and soul activity. To do it well requires imagination, curiosity and broad human questions. As I reflect on the New Zealand context now, my concern is that our collective thinking has become narrowed and is orientated on the short term. Over the past forty years the complexities and crises in the world have expanded exponentially - environmental, humanitarian, cultural and economic. We have the capacity to contemplate this at an individual level and make choices for ourselves and our families. But at a governance level, we lack a structure within the current official government framework to allow us to consider these complexities collectively at a national level. Almost as an aside, Government guidelines mentions futuring as a methodology within departmental planning processes.

FIRST OBSTACLE This aside underlines one fundamental obstacle to New Zealand’s capacity to undertake furturing. Essentially, to begin a project, to get funding from government, you (as an individual, family, community, organisation, or NGO etc) must first establish that it is in the government’s interest within their predefined

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guidelines (see DPMC home page and type in futuring). For futuring, to create an environment where we can unlock the wider, long-term perspective we need to see outside of our narrow boundaries. To bury futuring into a planning process, once a problem has been identified, means by definition the activity isn’t futuring.

SECOND OBSTACLE Another obstacle is that our current governance system at all levels is primarily managerial. It is based essentially on conf rontational thinking, with Parties and candidates pitted against each other - one answer thrown against another. This ethos of competition is incapable of addressing the complexity of the world. We need a more collaborative approach with more heart and imagination. We need to feel our way forward. This means engaging our 6th sense (feeling - ESP) as well as our other f ive senses to guide us to any new understanding. Positive, pragmatic imaginative futuring needs both/and/ but thinking to dominate, rather than elimination either/or options only. THIRD OBSTACLE A third obstacle is our present reliance on data, models, and predictions as our first cast into the future. We have become overly focused on numbers and squeezed imagination out. Our councils, for example, have the mandate under the 2002 Public Bodies Act to look at possibilities fifty years into the future. They keep taking one option, based on a range of projected numbers, and call it futuring. The tragedy is that people believe these predictions and fail to realise that we have more than one choice. Numbers are important, but only to add definition to the possibilities we first imagine.


FIRST NEED For futuring to be effective we need to imagine first and then plan. Futuring needs to be cross-sector, inclusive of diversity, gathering as many people and perspectives as possible f rom across society. It needs to start broad, then focus in. First, we need the big picture to avoid potholes and find the desired destination. Otherwise, we’re like a sailing crew with our eyes fixed on the water just in front of the boat looking for obstacles, without seeing the star that we are navigating by. SECOND NEED We need to create spaces that invite the whole person as people to contribute - not just our heads. We need to gather people of different ages and cultures from across society and allow time for trust to grow and to explore the diverse views we embody as a collective. There is a magical thing that can happen when a group of people come together and take the time to trust each other. Out of this synergy, truly new ideas can be born. In situations that seem restrictive, complex, or overwhelming, at least two inspired ideas can be enough to change a lot. These can become the weft and waft threads to weave new futures. In a way, it’s simple. But, at present, it can take courage to resist the persistent apparent public demand for productivity and gain, just for long enough, to be able to imagine and feel and taste the future images that could include us all.

“I feel like there is a perfect balance between the big vision and the detail and that takes us close to the true magic and aliveness of life. A small happening that contains all the heart of the vision - like a dew drop suspended on a leaf reflecting all the surroundings.” - Elizabeth Connor 2020

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TECHNICAL NOTES

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POLICY DEVELOPMENT IN COMPLEX SOCIETIES By Erik F. Øverland

As methods and techniques for policy development, the foresight approaches should be further developed and specially adapted to a politicaladministrative landscape.

I

N a world marked by increased complexity and non-reliable forecast methodologies, foresight and futures studies are getting more and more important for governments and political-administrative systems. In this fluctuating and rapidly changing world, we need to avoid being victims of ‘shorttermism’. Therefore governments need to strengthen their capacity to think futures in new and innovative ways. » This is roughly how Dr Helge Braun, Angela Merkel’s former chief of staff, put it when he opened the 24th World Congress of the World Futures Studies Federation WFSF in Berlin on October 26 last year. That a prominent politician placed in the middle of the inferno of short-termism, the Prime Minister’s Office (Kanzleramt), is so clear in his message to change the art of policy development is indicative of the development we are in. Helge Braun, who was Chancellor of the Chancellery in Merkel’s government, emphasises the importance of future thinking in politics and administration Photo Tobias Koch CC.

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It is not just authors such as Nassim Taleb and his “black swans”, business advisers or researchers with special interests who are eager to put the future on the agenda in new ways. No, the revolution in futures thinking now seems to have reached the political government apparatus and the inner circles of the ministries in an ever-increasing number of countries and regions. German Chancellery with future department Two years ago, the German Chancellery established a separate department to assess the possible long-term consequences of impending political decisions. At the same time, it shall have a coordinating function vis-à-vis external think tanks, research environments, other ministries, underlying agencies and other socio-political high-thinker environments at home and abroad. The Chancellery and other ministries have established sections and units that do the same in their respective policy areas in recent years. And to ensure that this subject area is also subject to systematic competence development and injection, the competence centre for strategic foresight / strategic Vorausschau at the Bundesakademie für Sicherheitspolitik (national academy for security policy) has been given the task of developing and implementing comprehensive continuing education. The target group is ministry

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employees, employees in underlying agencies and selected research environments. International trend Germany is just one of many countries today moving in such a direction. We see a similar development in countries such as France, Great Britain, Singapore, China, Korea, several countries in Latin America, Sweden, Japan, Australia, the EU and, not least, in Finland. Since Finland established the “Committee for the Future” in the Finnish Parliament when Finland had to reorganise after the shock of the fall of the wall - or more correctly - the fall of the Iron Curtain in the early 1990s, Finland has been both a driving force and an interesting reference for other countries. who want to use political foresight. Why do they do this? Is it not just a matter of pressing the button on the projection machine and “cooling down” - and carving out the most likely futures first and foremost without going “detour” about uncertainty analyses, scenarios or early character analyses - to name a few of the tools foresight tradition at your disposal? The question is, of course, timely, but even more timely is the answer given. It is first and foremost a matter of methodology not to bet everything on the famous one horse. Few countries have such a one-sided orientation towards projections as policy environments in Norway.


Many methods and approaches Projection tools often live side by side with technology assessments, scenario analyses, horizon scanning and a number of other methodological approaches that take greater account of the fact that the future is actually quite uncertain. Model-based analysis based on historical data may be important. Still, now it seems that developing greater creativity, applying more imagination and thinking about the future in ways that better reflect uncertainties and complexity are increasingly in demand. Future thinking based on other approaches and methods than projections is on the rise all over the world. Not least, the ongoing pandemic has demonstrated that conventional planning and conventional horizons of expectations are not enough and that politics and professions must be prepared to deal with unforeseen situations to a much greater extent. When societal development is as unpredictable as it is now becoming, we need other forms of planning expertise. This is what is often called foresight or what has lately. They have also been referred to as future competence or Futures Literacy in English. We find a certain indication of this if we google key concepts from future thinking. While the forecast was the big winner in 2010, concepts such as foresight, scenario, and futures studies have completely taken over. What about Norway? In Norway, we are also witnessing a certain shift today. Firstly, alternative economics subjects get more space, not least through the work that Rethinking Economics does, but also alternatives to projections are in demand more and more. In the political-administrative apparatus in Norway, the Perspective Report dominates. However, its limitations now seem to be clearer. In addition to the classic study Norge2030 f rom the beginning of the 2000s, we today find initiatives

in ministries such as the Ministry of Local Government and District Affairs (KDD), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (UD), the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (OED) and the Ministry of Education (KD). KDD has asked the Ministries’ Security and Service Organization (DSS) to develop a competence development offer for foresight and non-projection-based future analyses for all employees in the ministries. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs considers the specific use of such techniques in, for example, development policy, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has carried out scenario analyses both in the university and college sector and looks into competence policies. Other ministries are also in motion here. But is everything just rosy? Definitely not. As methods and techniques for policy development, the foresight approaches should also be further developed and specially adapted to a political-administrative landscape. Not least, the famous transition between heterogeneous foresight analysis (for example, scenario development) and the process toward concrete political recommendations and priorities should be carefully reviewed. As a civil servant, you can not go to your minister and promote five scenarios and ask them to choose. No, this requires further development and professionalisation of the work with political foresight so that the result becomes relevant and f ruitful for political decision-making processes. Secondly, foresight thinking is well suited as an arena for high thinking and discussion of politically incorrect perspectives. Such an arena is essential for trying out new ideas, not least with a view to policy development. Significant work remains before the political-administrative apparatus will stimulate, recognise and concretely develop such an arena. But, one thing is for sure - if you want, the future can be phenomenally fun!

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SOUNDTRACKS OF POSSIBLE FUTURES: ABOUT CENTRO’S FUTURE SOUNDSCAPES LAB By Karla Paniagua

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T

HE Futures Soundscapes workshop is a learning experience created by producer Leonardo Santiago for the graduate program in Futures Studies at CENTRO, a higher education institution specializing in creativity. The workshop has been held for the past four years as part of the additional activities that students in this program carry out to train as professionals in Futures Studies. The workshop was created with the purpose of diversifying the delivery formats of the long-term scenarios that are carried out in a foresight process since they are usually done in written form. This mode of presentation makes it difficult for nonspecialized audiences to immerse themselves in the story, so the workshop takes up the soundscape concept to promote the realization of future scenarios in a sound version. The concept of the soundscape was coined by Michael Southworth (1969) and popularized by R. Murray Schafer. It is a piece of communication that, through incidental sounds, music, and speech, suggests an environment and a series of events that unfold in it. The learning experience has a total length of 16 hours divided into weekly sessions during which students experiment

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with images and then sounds to recreate stories of the future inspired by present signals. The editing of incidental sounds, music, and speeches is done with Reaper, and it is not essential for participants to have previous knowledge of sound editing. Since the workshop began, 26 sound pieces have been produced (15 more soundscapes are being prepared as we go to press), some of which have been published in Perspectives, the blog of Journal of Futures Studies in an effort to contribute to the conversation about this format of stage communication as an effective way to enhance the imagination and facilitate the immersion of listeners. In this sense, this initiative hopes to contribute to the literacy of the future, raising the possibility of alternatives (better, worse, similar, it is up to the listener to decide) to the present we live in. How do these alternatives make us feel, what dilemmas do they pose, what desires, concerns, and beliefs are expressed in these soundscapes? These are some of the questions that these materials can provoke. Below is a breakdown of the materials produced so far, most of which can be heard in the Journal of Futures Studies Digital, Perspectives June 2020 on jfsdigital.org (here and here).


YEAR

2019

2019

AUTHOR

Fernández, C.

Rossier, A.

2019

Menchaca, S.

2019

Rosillo, A.

2019

Salinas, G.

DESCRIPTION

In 2055, the world as we know it no longer exists. Climate change has radically modified ecosystems. Humanity has developed clean technology, but to what extent has it learned long-term sustainable exploitation processes?

In the basic education of the future, many things will change, the roles of the actors involved, the contents and educational formats will also change, and even the spaces will probably be different.

Consumption of diverse products and services occurs in the same space.

In 2080, climate change has devastated the ecosystem of Mexico City, and in general of the whole country, which is experiencing a crisis of food, environmental and social self-sufficiency.

In the year 2040 we reach the universal basic income, which goes directly into an investment that constantly generates returns for you without having to do anything.

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2019

2020

2020

2020

2020

Anaya, C.

Buenfil, C.

Rocha, F.

Enríquez, F.

Espinosa, D. y Bastidas, J.

Everyday silence is more and more considered a luxury. In the future, aesthetic needs will become increasingly acute and multisensory. Bubble is a device that functions as a personal assistant for sound isolation.

Imagine a future where travel has changed due to the climate crisis, social-economic, and political crisis, and tech is more available and accepted: a future of extended reality where you don’t go to the destination, but the destination goes to you. It’s summer 2030 in Mexico City.

We pay our debts, receive and send messages, drink coffee, watch the neighbor go by, take a brief shower all this in a routine morning in which an ordinary citizen tries to keep his old habits to recognize himself as human in an era of Artificial Intelligence.

Recreating a tradition lost more than 4 decades ago, mom tries to make a birthday cake for her son. An Artif icial Intelligence companion helps her f ind an old recipe of a grandmother of the past.

After the events of 2027, Mexican society is looking for radical changes. In 2030, comprehensive sexuality education becomes a cross-cutting component of all basic and upper secondary education programs. By 2050, new realities coexist in Mexico City, giving rise to new products and services for gender health.

Only three educational institutions made it. The requirements to teach are very high. Along with genetic modification to resist bacteria, viruses, and

2020

Núñez, M.

poor eating habits, came the hiring profile set up for each school. The teachers’ profile is kept in secret and if they have a low nucleotide level, they must undergo modifications in order to fit in, without the consequences being known yet.

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2019

Arrazola, S.

2020

Hernández, M.

2020

2021

2021

2021

Cué, M.

Alcántara, B.,

Arellano, H.

Baltazar, M.

Mely is an engineer who leads a community garden. With the help of his artificial assistant, she manages the orchard. The residents of the Chalco area, Mexico City, work, study, have fun, and receive medical attention at home. The virtual assistant warns Mely about the rigorous sanitation approach, but she does not listen.

After the Revolution, Artificial Intelligence redesigns humans. A new human race has arrived, and with this, a new era. Half humans, half machines: welcome to the new world.

Although we didn’t pay attention to them, they were always there. The serene, the sharpener, the “camotero” and the cylinder. Sounds of my grandparents’ childhood, of mine, of my children.

The format of basic education in Mexico has managed to evolve a lot in the last few years. New technologies have led to ultrapersonalization of content and the emergence of new school dynamics.

TEO (Spanish acronym for Experimental Electromagnetic Wave Technology, Tecnología Experimental de Ondas) is a simulation system that allows you to have sex with Artif icial Intelligence, analyze the patrons, and generate a prototype according to your tastes and needs..

We grew up listening to ideologically slanted opinions. Today we want to be f irst-hand informed, living with the facts without mediation. In Trust we don’t recruit journalists, correspondents, or anchormen: we have a network of citizens who will take you to the place where things are happening in real-time.

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2021

2021

2021

2021

2021

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Carmona, C.

Enzáztiga, A.

López, P.

Ruiz, L.

Palacios, C.

A blink to 2040. In a dynamic and sustainable future, society had a change in consciousness derived from those health problems that devastated a large part of humanity in the previous years (heart and lung diseases, autoimmune diseases, lethal allergies, among other dreaded afflictions). Humanity has adopted a healthier and balanced lifestyle using the bicycle as exercise, means of locomotion, and energy generator.

We invite you to the party of the century, where we will gather humans, androids, and robots in the same dome to present the first fashion collection made with smart denim: Forever Indigo.

Death is no longer a taboo. It is no longer conceived as a traumatic end but as a transition to another physical, mental and spiritual state. It has become a changeover that closes a cycle to open a new one. This generates gratitude for what happened and joy for what is to come. There are now transition agencies like Blue Mosaic, which allow citizens to plan their process.

I always thought inspiration came within, but now I have another way of thinking. Many say that it’s a cheat but, what if I don’t have other forms of inspiration? What if I am the infinity of my depression? That black hole that makes me do nothing, or wants something, or even thinks properly. There are many examples of psychedelics used in such “inspiration” contexts that make me do it.

I am one month away from my fortieth birthday, and I just realized that I have been alone for a decade. In my last attempt to have a loving relationship, I dated a hologram for two years and ended up heartbroken. To cheer me up, my friend Tania sent me a gift by VR-mail. I activated the VR function of my glasses to check it; the subject says “Explore.”


$2.02 minutes $5.00 MXN per kilometer traveled

2021

Vázquez, A.

$3.00 MXN of 25 kilometers traveled Strict cleaning before every journey Health respiratory card required to travel

2021

2021

NOTES:

Vega, K.

Zúniga, E.

Schaffer, M., (1993) The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World, Destiny Books.

Given the case of a possible scenario in 2050, the elderly population faces poverty, loneliness, health detriment, and the necessity of a job in a manufacturing facility. Nevertheless, the bond between two human beings (even when artificial) remains and leads to positive emotions, joy, short-term happiness, and positive reactions such as laughter, all of which make life more manageable.

Designers have been taught to consider only human needs, but the excellent design for people has gotten us into trouble without regard for the planet’s peril. In the pursuit of a frictionless user experience, we’ve prioritized usability over everything else, including our health and natural resources.

Southworth, M. (1969), The Sonic Environment of Cities. (1969). Environment and Behavior, 1(1), 49–70. https://doi.org/10.1177/001391656900100104

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BEAVER-O-CENE – THE AGE OF BEAVERS By Ludwig Weh

T

HIS method was developed as a workshop exercise in a participatory Massive Open Online Course about student-led sustainability transformation in higher education structures. Combining futures education with an Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) approach, the innovative method encourages participants to envision the current climate crisis f rom the perspective of a beaver civilization emerging in the Beaverocene mirroring the evolution of humankind in the Anthropocene.

PROJECT NOTE Project: ”Students shape sustainable universities in Northrhine-Westphalia“, 2019-2021 Facilitation: netzwerk n e. V. (German NGO) Funding: Environment and Development Foundation Northrhine-Westphalia / Germany Target groups: University students, university staff, civil society Description: 8-week massive open online course including the digital

As speculative more-than-human or multi-species futures approach, the method creates an alternative perspective on human agency and current efforts to mitigate global environmental changes such as climate crisis or biodiversity loss. In a playful setting, students can reflect on individually and collectively desirable images of sustainable futures and forms of humannature interaction. Allowing for personal distancing and simultaneous identification with another social species makes anthropogenic causes to environmental changes more approachable and offers alternative pathways for solution-oriented thinking. Cutting trees and building

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dams, beavers engage in environmental management activities similar enough to human practices. In line with key ESD principles such as improving collaboration, value reflection, empathy, motivational or intercultural communication capabilities, workshop participants may develop intrinsic competences relating to the concepts of ‘relational values’ and ‘environmental care’. Addressing cognitive, emotional and action-based learning levels, the methodical steps are designed to lead through a sequence of reflexive, practical and communicative phases:


Story / narrative introduction to the Beaver-o-cene For a more immersive effect, the story is presented as pre-recorded audio version: “Since beavers changed from vegetarian to omnivore diet about 11,000 years ago, the species has evolved rapidly and has quickly expanded its habitat across the globe. The first Early Beavers began to weave primitive nets from reeds and water plants and made twig cages for fish breeding. Only about 2,000 years later, particularly strong and nimble beavers went ashore permanently to hunt smaller deer, sheep and birds. Archaeological findings prove that other animal species were quickly domesticated, and land settlements were established shortly after. Now settled, the Common Hunting Beaver evolved into the Early Plant Beaver, which started to plant rosehip and chestnut trees in the cleared areas around the settlements. With the development of fermentation and storage capacities, the harvest became their main food resource. Today, millions of Modern Large Beavers live in elaborately carved dwellings in water and on land. But the steadily growing timber extraction, especially in tropical forests, threatens the climate, increasingly warms the atmosphere and causes sea levels to rise - a danger for beaver settlements and cities worldwide. Accordingly, the opening communiqué of the 17th United Beaver Territories Conference on Climate Change (UBTCCC) warns urgently of the consequences of uncontrolled deforestation and stresses the need for regulatory protective measures. From now on, we are living in the Beaverocene, the geological era in which the beaver has become the main driving force of global environmental change, and in which only sustainable timber management can ensure the survival of all beavers in our natural environment.” Creation of individual beaver personas After listening to the story, workshop participants are encouraged to create individual beaver personas from materials they find in their vicinity. They may also specify

beaver characteristics such as: Name, Age, Home lodge, Beaver profession, Hobbies, Environmental attitude, Political stance, Experience with wood, Beavery sustainability concept, Life motto, etc. Persona introduction to group Getting to know each other’s beaver personas can become an exciting group exchange and may reveal surprising insights about the fellow workshop participants. Roleplay negotiation at beaver conference As an option for extended workshops, participants may take their beaver personas into a fictional negotiation round at the 17th United Beaver Territories Conference on Climate Change (UBTCCC). Depending on their personas, they may assume different roles and support individual standpoints and agendas of how a particular sustainability problem should be addressed. Experiences with the method Workshop participants may feel a bit estranged by the challenge to identify with an animal civilization, especially in more formal settings or without prior contact with design- / persona-based methods, speculative thinking or alternative educational approaches. Most participants enjoy creating their beaver personas, but some may be sensitive about revealing it to the group. An attentive and inclusive workshop facilitation may be helpful to establish an open and encouraging atmosphere. Creating and presenting beaver personas often reflects preexisting group dynamics and hierarchies but at the same time offers a playful environment to try alternative ways of organising and communicating, especially among groups with established roles and routines. Groups working professionally in sustainability management may draw inspiration f rom their images of environmental futures creatively envisioned and enacted from a more-thanhuman perspective. Examples of beaver personas:

n

Name: Bob the dam-builder

n

Age: 15 years

n

Home lodge: At the Sieg

n

Beaver profession: Dam-building master

n

Hobbies: gnaw, build

n

Environmental attitude: had to leave his home grounds because of deforestation

n

Political stance: Now it’s our turn!

n

Experience with wood: a lot

n

Beavery sustainability concept: less is more

n

Life motto: Me and my wood, me and my wood, wood-i-wood-i-wood

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n

Name: Bobo

n

Age: 23 years

n

Home lodge: At the mountain creek

n

Beaver profession: Forester

n

Hobbies: going for walks, building bridges

n

Environmental attitude: always outdoors!

n

Political stance: We must act and unite with others!

n

Experience with wood: “wood” was my first spoken word

n

Beavery sustainability concept: We must not only cut trees, but also plant new ones and care for the well-being of our friends (the other animals).

n

Life motto: Just do it!

n

Name: Micki

n

Hobbies: apply tooth polish, braid beaver tails

n

Environmental attitude: disposed rests of conventional tooth polish from her lodge

n

Political stance: Everyone should change their behaviour.

n

Experience with wood: “wood” was my first spoken word

n

Beavery sustainability concept: Rallies for environmentfriendly tooth polish

n

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Life motto: Wood is really great for building dams!


n

Name: Bibton

n

Age: 28 beaver years

n

Home lodge: Beaver ruin Kalden

n

Beaver profession: tree representative

n

Hobbies: plant & eat trees

n

Environmental attitude: environment = livelihood

n

Political stance: Green wing of the Beaver Party

n

Experience with wood: plant, gnaw, plant

n

Beavery sustainability concept: Trees for all! But most of all: more trees!

n

Life motto: If the world goes down tomorrow, I’m planting seven trees today!

Author: Ludwig Weh for ‘Kapitel21’ – Alumni organization of M.A. Futures Studies at Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. Contact: ludwig.weh@netzwerk-n.org

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WFSF HAPPENINGS

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COMMUNICATIONS INTERN (REMOTE) | HUMAN FUTURES MAGAZINE INTRODUCTION Human Futures is a World Futures Studies Federation (WFSF) publication. Since its inception, the WFSF has published a magazine that has gone through several iterations. The magazine under the name HUMAN FUTURES was launched on 23 December 2016 and is a fresh & contemporary, interactive, online magazine. WFSF is a UNESCO and UN consultative partner that brings together academics, researchers, practitioners, students and futures-focused institutions. With the goal of being the forum for stimulation, exploration and exchange of ideas, visions, and plans for alternative futures, through long-term, big-picture thinking and radical change. Human Futures role is twofold; the first is to showcase and promote WFSF activities and Members, and the second is to be the outward-facing Communications and marketing voice of the WFSF.

Position Title: Communications Intern Remote Reports to: Editor at Large Position Description: This communications internship is a remote, part-time, unpaid internship. This role requires an energetic, dedicated and detail-oriented person who can manage multiple tasks. This individual is a team player with a futurist mindset, willingness to learn and ability to manage multiple tasks while adapting to shifting priorities. Depending on the individual’s skill set, they will assist with communications tasks including, but not limited to writing and editing, photo and video conference production and editing, web and social media analytics, social media content (Twitter, Linkedin, WordPress and Blogging/Vlogging) media relations, event coordination and other communications support tasks as assigned. Applicants should have experience in most of these areas and a desire to expand their skill set and explore new opportunities. Responsibilities: Applicants will provide support in the following areas. Social Media: n Draft, monitor and organise social media content n Contribute to social media quantitative and qualitative analytics reporting. n Create and coordinate content for social media campaigns and observances n Monitor and research influencers, trending topics and tools. n Source content f rom WFSF members around the world. n General social media planning, research, reporting and coordination as assigned.

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Video meeting tools: n Prof icient in Zoom n Prof icient in Skype n Familiar with Miro n Familiar with Topia n Familiar with Gathertown n Familiar with Whereby Media Relations: n Help compile and update media contact lists n Prepare media reports on assigned subjects n Identify and research opportunities to share WFSF stories with relevant NGO’s and media outlets. n Assist with press release/media advisory writing, editing, distribution, and media outreach n Assist with media interview scheduling and coordination n Assist with scheduling and coordinating HF events Assets: n Attention to detail n Strong ability to organise and prioritise n An interest in Futures Studies, literature and publishing n Participate in all stages of work and follow projects through f rom conception to publication. Time Commitment: n Part-time, Remote 3-4 hours/week n 20+ weeks f rom Feb to Dec 2022 n Suitable for academic credit To Apply Contact Ralph Mercer at HumanFuturesEditors@gmail.com


DIGITAL PUBLISHING INTERN (REMOTE) | HUMAN FUTURES MAGAZINE INTRODUCTION Human Futures is a World Futures Studies Federation (WFSF) publication. Since its inception, the WFSF has published a magazine that has gone through several iterations. The magazine under the name HUMAN FUTURES was launched on 23 December 2016 and is a fresh & contemporary, interactive, online magazine. WFSF is a UNESCO and UN consultative partner that brings together academics, researchers, practitioners, students and futures-focused institutions. With the goal of being the forum for stimulation, exploration and exchange of ideas, visions, and plans for alternative futures, through long-term, big-picture thinking and radical change. Human Futures role is twofold; the first is to showcase and promote WFSF activities and Members, and the second is to be the outward-facing information, communications and marketing voice of the WFSF.

Position Title: Digital Publishing and Managerial Intern Remote

n Proficient in Google Calendar

Reports to: Managing Editor

Miscellaneous Administrative Support:

Position Description:

n Taking notes during meetings

This Digital Publishing Administrative Intern is a remote,

n Familiar with Miro

part-time unpaid internship. This role requires an energetic,

n Create and manage video meetings

dedicated and detail-oriented person who can manage

n Co-ordinate meetings and presentations

multiple tasks. This individual is a team player with a futurist

n E-Mail and Survey management

mindset, willingness to learn and ability to manage multiple

n General administrative and communications support

tasks while adapting to shifting priorities.

as assigned.

Depending on the individual’s skill set, they will assist

n Good writing and communication skills and

with digital publishing tasks including, but not limited

willingness to learn

to, coordinating article submission email, curating and filling articles, maintaining records in Human Futures

Assets:

Magazine spreadsheets, databases coordination and other

n Attention to detail

communications support tasks as assigned. Applicants should

n Strong ability to organise and prioritise

have experience in most of these areas and a desire to expand

n An interest in Futures Studies, literature and publishing

their skill set and explore new opportunities.

n Participate in all stages of work and follow projects through

f rom conception to publication. Responsibilities: Applicants will provide support in the following areas.

Time Commitment: n Part-time, Remote 3-4 hours/week

Google tools:

n 20+ weeks from Feb to Dec 2022

n Proficient in Google Docs

n Suitable for academic credit

n Proficient in Google Sheets n Proficient in Google Drive

To Apply Contact Ralph Mercer at

n Proficient in Google Mail.

HumanFuturesEditors@gmail.com

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THE WORLD NEEDS MISSION LABS By Hank Kune

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T

HESE days we find ourselves

from stakeholders in every country – from

challenged by a series of crises which

academics to government agencies, from

demand our immediate attention.

corporations to citizens – set many individuals

These ‘burning platforms’ are urgent

and organizations to working hard on their

and serious – the Covid-19 pandemic, Russia’s

pieces of the puzzle. But somehow it’s not

invasion of the Ukraine, wicked wildfires,

enough. Something more is needed.

devastating droughts and floods – and they

This decade of the 21st century calls for

need to be tackled each day. Yet they often

a collaborative innovation commons for

distract our energy and attention away from

addressing our grand societal challenges.

some of the bigger issues of the age: systemic

Some kind of distributed orchestration

societal issues threatening to have a massive

combined with a choreographed focus are

impact tomorrow, issues which need to be

required. We need ‘moonshots’ and ‘mission

tackled now, in a focused and effective way, to

labs’ for addressing the complex systemic

prevent a global collapse next year.

issues of our times. In response to this, the

A lot of good work is already being done, but it is hard to keep track of who is

idea of launching missions – mission-oriented innovation – has begun to emerge.

doing what. It sometimes seems we are all in our own boxes, working from different perspectives on similar pieces of the same planetary puzzles. In 2015 the United Nations issued its

Initiatives like these help define the tenor of the times. Inspired by the work of UCL’s Professor Mariana Mazzucato1, the European

urgent call for global action by launching

Commission has announced 5 EU Missions

the 17 SDGs initiative. A concerted response

“to support Europe’s transformation into

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a greener, healthier, more inclusive

intelligence to address common questions

Stockholm’s Epicenter – but, with a few

and resilient continent”. They are a

is a sensible approach. But where will the

exceptions, these are organizations and

“coordinated effort by the Commission

missions come from, and how can Labs

scientists working within their boxes of

to pool the necessary resources in terms

work to achieve real impact?

expertise. With restaurants and some

of funding programmes, policies and

We would need to move effectively

social activities for informal meetings. Not

regulations, as well as other activities.”.

f rom funding to research, from

the kind of innovation commons of mission

Last year the OECD’s Observatory of

research to rapid experimentation and

labs the 2020’s need.

Public Sector Innovation (OPSI) launched

prototyping, and f rom prototyping to

its Mission Action Lab “to identify and

practice. In the past we had the campus,

analyse governance practice, and package

tomorrow the Metaverse. Now we have

insights into advise to governments. This

collaborative labs.

2

scale missions. Lots has been written about missions

Collaborative innovation is not new. The collaborative innovation commons is.

advice aims at supporting governments in defining, setting up and governing large-

A collaborative innovation common.

However, with all the challenges of IPR and The Campus of Innovation

‘ownership’, there are a dearth of examples

Most 20th century examples of

to learn from.

effective collaborative innovation, like

For any given mission – any of the SDGs

in the last few years, but not much about

the Manhattan Project building an

– a collaborative innovation commons

Mission Labs. What could a Mission Lab be?

atomic bomb, or NASA’s ‘put a man on

works best when the many diverse

Think of a laboratory in the classic

the moon and bring him home safely’,

disciplines have an equal voice. But then,

sense – a place for testing hypotheses and

were tightly coordinated projects

we are looking at how to how to leverage

making discoveries. Now consider that to

with one mission owner, and a steep

the distributed collective knowledge

address the world’s grands challenges,

hierarchic structure. Different teams,

of dozens, perhaps hundreds (perhaps

diverse disciplines are needed – mental,

co-located on a specif ic campus (for

thousands) of networked experts to focus

behavioral, social sciences as well as

example, Los Alamos, or Houston),

on the specific challenges of a mission. And

technologies – and thinkers f rom all over

worked independently and together

ideally without the burden of bureaucracy

the world. The experts don’t have to be

to produce their ‘pieces of the puzzle’,

or issues of IPR.

physically present; indeed, in the age

concerned with a single application

of pandemics and carbon footprint,

(the bomb, the Moon mission).

they probably would not be. The Lab

Essential contributions came

Recent work by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Accelerator Labs – the world’s largest

must of course be able to leverage

f rom other Labs located in different

and fastest learning network on wicked

the distributed intelligence of many

locations were coordinated through

sustainable development challenges –

disciplines and many places effectively

a central authority. The innovation

point out useful directions this can go.

online. Now in the virtual spaces of the

campus has carried over into the 21st

Co-built as a joint-venture with the Federal

online lab, tomorrow in the Metaverse.

century – co-located companies in Silicon

Ministry for Economic Cooperation and

Valley, Eindhoven’s High-Tech Campus,

Development of Germany and the Qatar

Leveraging distributed collective

NOTES:

3

https://ec.europa.eu/info/research-and-innovation/funding/funding-opportunities/ funding-programmes-and-open-calls/horizon-europe/eu-missions-horizon-europe_en

1

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https://oecd-opsi.org/projects/mission-oriented-innovation/ https://media.nesta.org.uk/documents/UNDP_CI_Report2_final_20210521.pdf https://marianamazzucato.com/books/mission-economy 5 https://www.vinnova.se/en/news/2021/12/the-only-way-to-sustainable-change---amission-oriented-approach/ 2

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n Where do you find inspiration to

make the impossible possible? We know that powerfully compelling physical environments shape our ways of working, thinking, and collaborating creatively with others, and so do compelling virtual ones. Who could help us find one that works for us? How could a Mission Lab work fast, effectively, and free of bureaucracy? How bold can we be? Bold strokes Inspired by ‘moonshot’ programmes that successfully coordinated public Fund for Development, the Network

issues-behind-the-issues that are trying to

covers 115 countries, and taps into local

deal with.

innovations to create actionable insights

n The New Club of Paris, an agenda

and reimagine sustainable development

developer for the knowledge economy,

for the 21st century .

pooling their expertise in intellectual capital,

3

Suppose we could leverage the collective distributed intelligence of other networked knowledge networks to form

knowledge-creation and management in support of an SDG mission. n The European Network of Living

parts of an online innovation commons: is

Labs (ENoLL) uses their collective

it possible to see the World Futures

expertise about spaces and places where

Studies Federation and such networks

prototypes can be created and tested in

as parts of a networked Global Mission

real-world settings.

Lab capable of tackling wicked societal

n The World Futures Studies

problems with the knowledge, experience

Federation (WFSF), focusing its members’

and perspectives of their members?

expertise as futurists in a much-needed

For many potential 4-Helix partners

contribution at the service of solving

,IPR and ‘ownership’ still may stand in the

wicked problems associated with

way. Funding too – despite the potentially

the SDG goals, addressing the lack of

philanthropic aspirations of such networks

anticipatory capacity and/or the short-

– is often a problem. “Where is the money

termism of far too many projects.

to do this coming from?”, people want to know upfront. But let’s suppose we could leveraging

How could such a Mission Lab work? It starts with asking questions,

the distributed intelligence of networked

exploring provocative ideas, and realising

knowledge organizations to collectively

them in practice.

address the burning issues of their

How could networked knowledge

professions. Or to support ongoing

organisations find the ‘thinking resources’

international initiatives – such as specific

to start a Mission Lab?

support for NGO activities addressing the SDG’s with the power of their focused collective expertise. For example: n Open Global Mind (OGM)

is a networked project to build

The obvious place is with the members themselves. Asking them: n Which issues and big ideas would

inspire you to work together with others? n What kind of ‘missions’ would you

communities and platforms that help

support, adding your expertise to help

us make sense of the world together,

achieve real impact in the world?

applying the curated knowledge

n Where lies the passion that drives you

of the world in conversations that

to do difficult things because they need to

help institutions really understand the

be done?

and private sectors on a massive scale, the work of Mariana Mazzucato4 calls for “the same level of boldness and experimentation to be applied to the biggest problems of our time”. According to Dan Hill, director of strategic design at Vinnova, significant societal challenges require new approaches. “We are not helped by abstract models. . . a sense of ambition and courage is needed in the work. The core issue in a mission must be relevant to everyone involved to achieve effect in society. And the process must create networks between the actors and get them to work together”.5 The next frontier in collaborative innovation is the Mission Labs that together leverage and at the same time co-create a collaborative innovation commons capable of tackling major challenges together in a focused co-creative way. We know that there is a gap between knowing the advantages of working together ‘across borders’ and actually doing it, with many obstacles to overcome. Despite the challenges involved in collaborating across borders (all kinds of challenges, all sorts of borders), it is time to leverage diverse thinking resources to prototype models of what a distributed Living Lab could achieve. Lots is being written about missions, not much on mission labs. Let us develop this new narrative of collaborative action together and test it in real-world practice.

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AFTERMOST

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THE FUTURE WE NEED: WHERE HAVE ALL THE MESSY THINKERS GONE By Ralph Mercer

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L

IKE everyone else, I’ve had plenty

‘more only better’ approach to the future.

of time during lockdowns and

It is considered common-sense and

living with covid restrictions to

measurable but does nothing serious about

consider how the pandemic has

the Anthropocene or social and political

altered what ‘futures’ are available to us

inequalities; it is comforting and accepted.

(the planet).

Ideas need to be made actionable, while

Sadly, the pandemic has demonstrated

ensuring nothing too innovative sneaks

that a minority of people would willingly

through the filter of ‘actionable’. Fitting

infect a neighbour, friend, family member,

somewhere within the ‘disowned’ futures,

and innocent strangers with a potentially

it was the most likely future until early 2017,

fatal virus because of their purely selfish

driven by technological dependencies

beliefs. We also saw the inclination of

and social needs. However, that path has

national governments to put the lives of

diminished possibilities and is fading into

the elderly, infirmed and predisposed,

the future we deserve.

in jeopardy to protect the neo-liberal

3

. The Future We Need: Is the most

structures that enabled the pandemic

painful, complex and disruptive.

transmission. More recently, we witnessed world organisations looking the other way

To change a trajectory away from the

when a nation and its people called for help

futures we deserve/want is messy, and uncomfortable. But it is the path needed

because they didn’t have membership in the right club.

accommodate the expansion of this vision.

to solve the big problems that plague

To achieve the Future We Deserve, all we

our world. The idea of the “adjacent

tendency of individuals to disempower

need to do is hope someone else will fix the

possible” is a good way of describing

themselves in the face of official data.

problem; British philosopher John Stuart

how a dominant future trajectory is

Self-interest has become a survival skill

Mill observed, “Bad men need nothing

achieved. It can be described as the social,

insulating people from choices that

more to compass their ends than that good

ethical, technological, and educational

negatively affect their quality of life.

men should look on and do nothing.” This

foundation that propels a possible future

My ongoing observations point to the

is the future where Westphalian thinking

towards prominence, for without a strong

futures are born from the ideals, beliefs and

triumphs over global needs. The continued

foundation, a that possible future recedes

ethics existing in the present, then I fear

erosion of democratic ideologies by global

into the background. Ideas don’t need to

the ‘futures’ available are narrowing and

technology companies, dictators and

be limited by making them actionable;

darkening. These observations may be seen

populist movements continues unchecked.

they can be messy, provocative and

as overly pessimistic, but I question if the

New ideas are discouraged in these futures,

de-centring, fueling the next knowledge

citizen and leadership of western nations

and the good old days are entrenched

that is not yet adjacent. The foundations

have the resolve needed to make the hard

and promoted. Neo-liberal and right-

of the future are built through the efforts

choices to chart a path to the Future that

wing beliefs continue to question the

and stories of future visionaries, but the

will save the planet and its inhabitants.

worth of the education system other than

catalyst for change comes from the

If, as I have come to believe, the available

What futures do I think we have

producing skilled workers. This ‘used’

members of society. It is their ideals,

available? Retooling Sohail Inaytullah’s,

future became emboldened globally

beliefs, ethics and vision that creates the

Used, Disowned and Alternate Futures

with the election of the 45th president of

bridge (adjacent possible) to the future

matrix, I propose an alternative model that

the USA in 2017 and continues to gather

trajectory that we need.

reflects the alleyways opening in front of

momentum during the Covid protests

our feet.

and as right media gathers market share of the news cycle.

Three Available Futures;

1

. The Future We Deserve, the path the world is on now, is inwards looking,

2

One of the most promising initiatives to help shaping the Future We Need is the concept of Mission Labs, with the mandate

. The Future We Want: is possibly the

to ask questions explore provocative and

most insidious. It is a future where the

uncomfortable ideas, and I secretly hope

groups with power benefit the most. As

we don’t place too much emphasis on

filled with mistrust and fear of change.

a futures trajectory, it involves the least

trying to realize them in practice. I really

The ideals, beliefs and ethics that have

effort and disruption to our everyday

look forward to getting messy with ideas in

been demonstration during the pandemic

behaviours/jobs/way of life, resulting in a

a few of the Labs. - Ancora Imparo-

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“YOUR FUTURE IS AS BRIGHT AS YOUR FAITH” - Anonymous

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