Human Futures Issue 2 [2020]

Page 1

HUMAN FUTURES Insight for the Futurati August 2020

Erik F. Øverland President


Dear Members, Colleagues and Friends, In this issue of the Human Futures Magazine you

Patricia Lustig offers us some thoughts on how

will find a long range of topics, from Science Fiction

to do foresight in the time of Covid-19 and how to

over Geoethics to Business Strategies. You will soon

balance predictions and uncertainty. In "Viewing Earth

find out that many of the perspectives and approaches

and World Through Geoethical Lens", Martin Bohle,

in these texts are influenced by the ongoing corona-

Silvia Peppoloni and Eduardo Marone are elaborating

crisis. We are all hit by this pandemic virus. Since

on the Geoethical dimensions of Covid-19. "Only by

last issue of the Magazine, the pandemic has turned

behaving as [geo]ethical citizens can artists, cultural

both viral and global, and it is now a part of our daily

workers, entrepreneurs, inventors and [geo]scientists

life. This was also the background for the WFSF in

go beyond the familiar; hence, moving cooperatively

late spring to organize a series of online conferences

towards a future without fear", they say. Finally, in the

in which the members could exchange concerns,

features section you will find a contribution from Lucy

thoughts, visions and experiences regarding this new

Wills. Here she presents some lessons from fiction

situation. The conference series was a tremendous

for deep tech and automation; "Sci-fi is no longer

success through its inspiring dialogues. The short

just a source of inspiration and concepts, it’s now an

text from Thomas Lombardo on "Growing in Wisdom

established rehearsal space for the future. Our future",

During the Coronaapocalypse…" represents in an

she concludes.

excellent way what kind of dialogues we had. In addition you will find in this issue our Future In "Global vs Local: The Future of Business and

Barometer, several reviews and even some prognosis.

Education" Alexandra Whittington and Joana Lenkova

Also the calendar "WFSF Happenings" it is worth while

are looking into the questions: "What will business and

to look into.

education look like in the post-pandemic era? Will globalization persist, or will local supply chains thrive? How will companies and schools function in the

I wish you all an awesome reading and a happy time with the new Magazine. Take care and stay safe!

context of new changes that have been adopted? What does growth and progress look like in the post-COVID

Sincerely Yours

world?". All highly relevant and important questions that need to be discussed and tried answered.


World Futures Studies Federation (WFSF)




Erik Overland Editor-In-Chief

Claire Nelson Editor-At-Large

Tyler Mongan Managing Editor

Amy Fletcher Features Editor

Hank Kune Features Editor

Elissa Farrow Features Editor

Leopold Mureithi Review Room Editor

Mohsen Taheri News & Events Editor

Livia Ivanovici Art Director

Cristophe Bisson Copy Editor

Barbara Bok Copy Editor

Ralph Mercer Digital Editor

Rosa Alegria PR & Marketing



Erik Overland

 SMART FUTURES?


Claire Nelson



Claire Nelson



Thomas Lomabardo



Alexandra Whittington, Joana Lenkova



Patricia Lustig, Gill Ringland




Lucy Wills






Book Announcement



Dr. Bruce Lloyd



Leopold P. Mureithi



Mara Di Berardo




Felipe Arocena



Hans Khoe, James Boyd, Megan Cansfield, Kelsey Weimer



Charlotte Bernard



Radman Khorshidian, Pouyan Bizeh, Niloofar Samimi



Alessandro Fergnani, Zhaoli Song



Claire Nelson

SMART FUTURES? I have been doing a lot of thinking about the use of Futures Thinking to solve problems in the last six months. The topic of THE Future (as if there were only one version of it) has become the ‘it’ topic since the beginning of ‘The Great Pause’ or ‘The Global Tsunami’ or whatever name you want to give it. There are so many challenges to be addressed by leaders everywhere and all levels that the demand for problem solvers and problem solving skill is at an all time high. What to do about the restart of school? Or mask policy? or testing policy? or test labs or business reopening? In my search for ways we can help design the Reset Button, I have come across numerous offerings for seminars and webinars – from Future of Health to Future of Cybersecurity all purporting to help zoom us across the great divide between (1) the past future we must bury, and (2) the new future we must birth. This started me down a rabbit hole trying to identify how best to solve the challenge of problem solving through improving ‘telos thinking’ around the crucial first step of problem definition and articulation of complex systems and systems of systems. Thusly, I soon found myself in a worm hole – ‘a la Star Trek’ that took me into a space-time warp of tools. Picture it a galaxy of stars - each star representing a challenge or an opportunity and therein is a wormhole connecting problem definition to problem solution and in that space time tunnel is a pantheon of tools floating like antimatter. There are so many tools for problem solving, it is mindboggling



that we have not yet reached a solid state of teleological effectiveness. Maybe it is in our definition of the task itself. Let’s see problem solving is the process of a problem analysis and resolving it in the best way possible for that situation. So, now what is analysis. This is a process of analyzing a problem - no.. we cannot use the same word in clause of the definition of the verb. So, let us rework this to say problem analysis is a process of defining the root causes of the problem in order to define (root cause analysis) countermeasures that correct or redress for the problem and then to implementing the best solution or combination thereof for the given problem situation. Problem analysis begins with problem definition. This sounds simple enough - in theory. Indeed, all seems well and good when we are talking about deciding how to fix a flat tire or a leaky faucet or the slow computer. These are problems that have a seemingly finite number of plausive, possible, and preferred alternative outcomes and solutions. One can review the tools at our disposal and using our critical thinking and analytical skills we can identify pros and cons of tool A versus Tool B and arrive at a teleological solution or in layman’s terms the solution which provides the best positive outcome bearing in mind the potential negative consequences. But I found myself in a trap or rather a hole --not to mix metaphors. Even the simple cases I propose demand a decision around space and time limits. How do we limit the solution and problem space for time and distance? There have been many problem-solving techniques

developed and used across disciplines as diverse as computer science to chemical engineering to medical diagnosis to psychology testing. But how do we know which to use when and where? What are the most known and used models and methods? What are their success stories and practical tips when you apply these? There is the PDCA cycle which stands for the abbreviation of the four main steps in the cycle: Plan, Do, Check and (Re) Act. Another framework Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono encourages us to change the way we look at a problem which helps with being creative and to solve problems. There is interrelationship diagram which is a graphical tool that is used to demonstrate various relationships between factors, processes, areas, or other aspects. We find also the Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT) methodology where creativity takes center stage, which contains five thinking patterns that humans have used for thousands of years. There are many many many tools and approaches with names like Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) and Cause and Effect Analyses, which are supposed to help enable problem solvers to broaden their minds, and to look at the bigger picture with regards to the problem. But what is often missing from all these tools is the fact that we may need to shift our lens, our worldview altogether in order to best use and/or benefit from any tool. The journey to a post Covid New Normal of thriving will demand that from all of us. Futures thinking must begin with holism as a way of seeing the world. We must recognize that our

tendency to reduce our problematic systems to parts in order to address them does not mean that we are in fact working with a collection or addition of parts. The whole is indeed more than and operates differently from the sum of the parts. We need all to begin to internalize the construct of holism as a way of viewing all reality past, present and future. The holistic view of the SDGs means that we must see them as ONE track to increased global sustainability with 17 delineated individual lanes we must traverse and with each individual lane having its own important role, but also being fully a part of the integrated system. We might do well to use the metaphor of the field of holistic medicine, which focuses on treating all aspects of a person's health including physical symptoms, psychological factors, and societal influences. We could use holism as a way to achieve human or planetary scale human health.

and to recognize that various factors interact and influence each other. This is important because the reality is that the future is ever emerging and evolving, much like a star map, as each actor in the systems under study acts to address and influence the future. A critical issue that will need to be addressed is how to get an increasingly individualistic culture to get more comfortable with our interdependence as a way of being. How to bring more collectivist cultures to the narrative of thriving futures we want? How do we emphasize the needs and goals of the group as-a-whole over the needs and desires of each individual so that we can get to just and equitable futures? Thinking about this Great Pause and the problematics we find our self in, it seems as if the COVID-19 Pandemic is just the wild card we needed, but did not want, to create deflection points that



The holistic futures problem solving approach proposes that it is necessary to look at the entire health system of a country rather than focus on just one aspect of the health care problematic,

will drive starship Earth towards a safer future.



Claire Nelson


The Futures Barometer aims to take the impression of what people feel about the future that appears to be emerging. According to World Economic Forum, here are 10 of the Technologies that will be transforming the world by 2025. Our sentiment meter is as follows: Probable (+1) / Plausible (0) / Possible (-1). What’s Your Take?


AI-optimized manufacturing (+1)

By 2025, a ubiquitous stream of data and intelligent algorithms will enable manufacturing lines to continuously optimize towards higher levels of output and product quality – reducing overall waste in manufacturing by up to 50%. We will enjoy higher quality products, produced faster, at lower costs.


A far-reaching energy transformation (-1)

In 2025, carbon footprints will be viewed as socially unacceptable, like drunk driving. A sustainable, net-zero future will be built through energy transformation that significantly reduces carbon emissions, and a carbon management industry that captures, utilizes and eliminates carbon dioxide.


A new era of computing (0)

By 2025, quantum computing will be able tackle meaningful, real-world problems. One major application will be the simulation of complex chemical reactions, a powerful tool that opens up new avenues in drug development. and reduces product development cycles and the costs for R&D.




Healthcare paradigm shift to prevention through diet (0)

By 2025, healthcare systems will adopt more preventative health approaches based on the science behind the health benefits of plant-rich, nutrient-dense diets. This is enabled by AI-powered and systems biology-based technology that grows our knowledge of specific dietary phytonutrients and functional outcomes.


5G will enhance the global economy and save lives (0)

By 2025, low latency 5G networks would resolve the lack of network reliability due to WiFi and even allow for more highcapacity services like telehealth, telesurgery and ER services and markets that we only imagine - like self-driving bots, and others we can’t imagine.


Putting individuals - not institutions at the heart of healthcare (0)

By 2025, the lines separating culture, information technology and health will be blurred. Engineering biology, machine learning and the sharing economy will establish a framework for decentralizing healthcare, moving it from

institutions to the individual. Artificial intelligence and new supply chain delivery mechanisms will deliver simple, lowcost diagnostic tests globally.


A clean energy revolution supported by digital twins (0)

Over the next five years, the energy transition will reach a tipping point. The ability to monitor structural health in real-time and fix things before they break will result in safer, more resilient infrastructure and everything from wind farms to bridges and unmanned aerial vehicles being protected by a real-time digital twin.


Understanding the microscopic secrets hidden on surfaces (+1)

Over the next five years, technology that accelerates our ability to rapidly sample, digitalize and interpret microbiome data will transform our understanding of how pathogens spread. These insights will help us avoid and respond to pandemics, and influence how we design, operate and clean environments like buildings, cars, subways and planes, in addition to how we support economic activity without sacrificing public health.


Machine learning and AI expedite decarbonization in carbon-heavy industries (0)

Over the next five years, carbon-heavy industries will use machine learning and AI technology to dramatically reduce their carbon footprint. However, climate change, as well as regulatory pressure and market volatility, are pushing these industries to adjust.


Privacy is pervasive – and prioritized (+1)

By 2025, privacy-enhancing technologies (PET) as a technology category will become mainstream. They will be a foundational element of enterprise privacy and security strategies rather than an added-on component integrated only meet a minimum compliance threshold. The Futures Barometer does not claim to be infallible. In fact, its accuracy tends to increase when more people take a measure. So what is your impression of the emerging future. What’s Your Sentiment? Have Your Say at




Thomas Lomabardo Center for Future Consciousness

GROWING IN WISDOM DURING THE 1 CORONAPOCALYSE as a Character in a Science Fiction Novel




ne day a few months ago, when the world began to change, I said to my handyman that the emerging coronavirus pandemic seemed to me like a science fiction disaster novel. He quickly replied that yes, that was true, except we were in the novel having to live through it. At that moment it suddenly dawned on me that indeed it made very good sense to approach the pandemic as characters in a science fiction disaster novel. In The War of the Worlds H. G. Wells envisioned how humans, while complacent and going about their normal daily business and personal affairs, were shocked by a “bolt out of the blue,” unsettling everyone and everything. Since then science fiction writers have vividly imagined all kinds of possible global disasters and have written numerous dramatic stories describing how people would react to such worldwide cataclysms. Science fiction writers have illuminated the kind of reality in which we now find ourselves. Whereas our collective consciousness is primarily focused on current events and the here and now, science fiction delves into the fantastical, and the diverse possibilities of the future and strange alternate realities. Science fiction writers aspire to break out of the norm and the normal and expand our consciousness beyond the accustomed here and now.

In the midst of the coronapocalyse we have moved out of the normal and the everyday here and now and entered into the expanded universe of science fiction. Importantly, science fiction provokes us into thinking more deeply about the future, heightening our “future consciousness.”2 We are now in one of those imagined futures of science fiction. Pervasive change is upon us. The shielded and narrow mindset the status quo has been shattered and fractured open. Yet as history reveals and science fiction has repeatedly argued, we were always just floating on an island of momentary protected stability, surrounded on all sides by the turbulent fluidity of transforming time. The waves of change have now come rushing in over the barriers of civilization. We are in a science fiction novel heading into a strange future. Indeed, a disaster heightens our attention to the future. Personally living through a disaster shocks us out of our routine habits of thought and behavior. We can no longer assume and realistically feel that tomorrow will simply be like today. The future rises up in our lives as an uncertain reality, filled with sound and fury and turmoil, and we have to grapple, mentally and viscerally, with this revelation and new emerging reality. We are in a science fiction novel riding the roller coaster of the time, being forced to look ahead, as our bodies and minds are pulled and yanked and kicked into tomorrow.

As I first observed the numbers, nationally and globally, I realized that we were riding on an exponential curve, where each day there were more new cases and new deaths than the day before. As I watched the news, I listened to commentators and public figures present an array of viewpoints regarding what was happening, where it all was heading, and what we should do about it. On social media I observed a multitude of opinions: the pandemic was a fake, a conspiracy, an attempt to rob us of our freedom. As to be expected from reading science fiction disaster novels, there were many different voices and characters in this unfolding narrative of our times. Some people scream and panic, some hide their heads and go mute, some blame others, some dismiss and minimize the severity of events, some act like lunatics, many act bravely, and many try to be thoughtful, collaborative, and forward looking. The disaster is bringing out the best and the worse in us. It is all part of the drama, confusion, tragedy, and inspirational qualities of the story we find ourselves within, the kind of story frequently envisioned in science fiction. Amidst this cacophony of voices, I noticed a scenario that routinely has appeared in the science fiction disaster novel. The scientists warn the government and the general public that a great disaster is coming and we had better prepare. Yet various leaders, their minds clouded and myopic wanting to preserve the status quo, downplay the



severity or even reality of the imminent danger. And many people listen to the minimizers and deniers, and resist facing or acknowledging the cataclysm. As increasingly becomes apparent though, with tragic consequences, the scientists are right, and as in many science fiction disaster novels, they emerge as one key group of heroes in the story. An important strength in science fiction stories, bringing credibility and plausibility to the narrative, is that the reader is thoughtfully informed regarding relevant scientific knowledge and principles, and the science presented in the story enlightens the reality of the situation. There is though much more than science and technology involved in understanding and confronting a catastrophe. Realistic and engaging science fiction is not just about science and technology. As noted above, there are social, political, and psychological factors at work in any disaster. The news has highlighted the economic repercussions, politicalization, and psychological effects associated with our present pandemic. As I have argued, science fiction is actually about the “future of everything,” from society, culture, politics, and the environment to the inner psyche and our deepest values and most intimate thoughts and feelings.3 The present pandemic is affecting and will continue to impact all dimensions of human reality. As in numerous science fiction disaster novels, advances in science and technology may play a key role in successfully dealing with the worldwide challenges ahead, but all spheres of human civilization have become engaged in this struggle for survival, sanity, and well-being. Science fiction jolts us out of the narrowness and complacency of the present, propelling us into the



future, but a realistic future that involves transformations across all spheres of life. One special reason why I see the value of taking a science fiction perspective on the pandemic and the unfolding future is that science fiction presents realistic narratives (albeit imaginative) involving unique characters and personalities who live through extraordinary events. The future and the fantastical is personalized and painted in rich sensory detail. The reader of science fiction vicariously lives the future, feels it, and perceives it in all its complexity and nuances. How does it feel to live through a disaster? This is what science fiction answers.

a science fiction disaster novel.4 Victor suggested that there were (at least) three different ways people were responding to the pandemic: a quick knee-jerk reaction, often out of fear; optimization of current ways of doing things; and an open, flexible mindset involving an “embracing of the novelty.” The third


    

The human mind naturally resonates with the story or narrative. We are storytellers and inspired by our stories. As with any good story, science fiction touches all aspects of human experience. Our thoughts, emotions, sense of personal identity, and values are all affected through the science fiction story. Science fiction educates and expands our consciousness along all these dimensions through psychologically engaging stories of the strange and extraordinary. We are now directly within such a reality, each of us feeling and thinking about the transforming world as it impacts our lives and our futures. Recently, Victor Motti (Director of the WFSF) and myself produced a YouTube dialogue discussing approaching the coronavirus pandemic as a character in

choice strikes me as especially resonant with the science fiction mindset on the future. The future is going to be different than the present and past, and there will be great novelty and surprises. This is the revelation dimension of the apocalypse. A key feature about the future that both science fiction writers and futurists emphasize is that the future is filled with uncertainty, risk, and adventure. The coronavirus pandemic pushes us into having to address the uncertainty and transformational nature of reality and the future. Often the heroes in science fiction novels are those who most willingly embrace the novelty, courageously facing the unknown. As the famous futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard stated, “Our crisis is our opportunity.” The crisis can provoke


evolution. We should not return to the good old days (which in many ways were not that good) but rather we should thoughtfully venture forward into a new day and new way of being. In our dialogue I suggested that in living and growing through the pandemic we should attempt to live “wisdom narratives.” It might seem odd to associate science fiction with wisdom, but numerous science fiction stories include central characters who through challenge and struggle, persevere and learn and grow, acquiring wisdom in dealing with unsettled and difficult times. Many of the great science fiction novels are “wisdom narratives.” Psychological studies on the development of wisdom indicate that wisdom grows through trauma, adversity, and transformation being successfully faced. The growth of wisdom occurs within pronounced transformational experiences. Given its fantastical and extraordinary scenarios, science fiction is a great laboratory of

“thought experiments” for understanding the growth of wisdom. So, modeling ourselves on those heroic individuals who face the uncertainty, strangeness, and shifting currents of time, as portrayed in science fiction, we can aspire to live wisdom narratives through the cataclysm and furor of today. We can be on the road to wisdom as the volcanoes erupt around us and within us.

of our existing mindset and ways of life have become glaringly conspicuous. Will science find an answer? Will our gadgets save us? Or will the solution most importantly require an evolution in our character, our minds, and our hearts? It is time to create a new tomorrow on the battlefield of earth.

Aspire toward living wisely and growing further in wisdom, as you navigate through this unsettling reality of great transformation. We need to become heroes for ourselves, learning how to wisely guide the wave of change around us and within us toward an unknown destination. If enough of us do this collectively, we will discover, indeed create, both a new world and new selves as we journey across the turbulent sea. As is often envisioned in science fiction novels, in the process perhaps we will create a better human society and wiser individuals.

There are countless engaging and enlightening science fiction disaster stories. Starting from Jules Verne’s Off on a Comet and H. G. Wells’ The World of the Worlds, The War in the Air, and “The Star,” a sample of some of the best, include The Purple Cloud, Darkness and Dawn, The Poison Belt, The Second Deluge, When Worlds Collide, Earth Abides, The Day of the Triffids, The Wanderer, No Blade of Grass, The Crystal World, The Drowned World, Lucifer’s Hammer, Doomsday Book, Blood Music, The Fall of Hyperion, Parable of the Talents, and for a contemporary Chinese vision of invasion, disaster, super-science, and emerging wisdom read the wondrous The ThreeBody Problem trilogy by Cixin Liu.

An “intelligent” living force is attacking all of us. “The Martians have landed!” And amidst the chaos the weaknesses


1. The word “apocalypse” means both great catastrophe and profound revelation. I first encountered the expression “coronapocalyse” through my editor, Tim Ward. I think the term, in both senses of the word—a colossal disaster provoking deep enlightenment—succinctly and dramatically captures the essence of our current reality. 2. See Thomas Lombardo, Future Consciousness: The Path to Purposeful

* * *

Evolution. Winchester, UK: Changemakers Books, 2017. 3. Thomas Lombardo Science Fiction: The Evolutionary Mythology of the Future. Volume One: Prometheus to the Martians. Winchester, UK: Changemakers Books, 2018; Thomas Lombardo “Science Fiction: Cosmic Consciousness and the Future of Everything” Human Futures, July, 2019. 4. Thomas Lombardo and Victor Motti “Science Fiction and the Future of the Corona Pandemic” --



Alexandra Whittington Joana Lenkova co-authors





I. Introduction After a decade of rapid growth, globalization eventually started losing its attractiveness in terms of costs and efficiency with both transport prices and environmental pressures increasing. The 2010s were characterized as an era The Economist calls “slowbalization.” The USChina trade war and rising nationalism and protectionism driving unfavorable trade policies pose an additional threat to the deteriorating global trade scene.1 The 2020 pandemic augmented the already existing cracks in globalization and affected global businesses in three major ways: it disrupted supply chains; posed limitations on physical interactions, leaving workforce unable to perform operations and consumers to shop in person; and demolished consumer demand for some products and services.2 On our quest to achieve the highest (cost) efficiency, we have turned China into our manufacturing house. However, being overly reliant on outsourced supply-chains meant that the pandemic disrupted many industries’ ability to produce and assemble products and deliver services. The WTO forecasts 2020 global trade to shrink by a third.3 With many countries going into full or partial lockdowns, businesses with a workforce unable to perform their tasks remotely were severely impacted, many of them furloughing staff and some having to shut down operations. At the same time, demand for products and services became highly skewed towards basic necessities, home office equipment and infrastructure, loungewear, and forms of entertainment,

offering escapism. Some businesses were simply lucky to be provided with an opportunity to grow under these severe circumstances, but the pandemic left whole industries—like travel, hospitality, retail, and automotive—questioning their future and mere existence. Meanwhile, the pandemic has served to magnify vital issues affecting today’s education systems. Every student and teacher felt the impacts of sudden disruption and instant digital transformation that occurred. Though the COVID-19 event was universal, the response was anything but uniform. Education in particular exemplifies global/local tension of the pandemic in the sense that highly globalized technologies such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams usurped the normally local and personal inflection of face-to-face teaching. Furthermore, school systems in lockdown were expected to preserve continuity—such as grading and school calendars—while being forced to evolve into networked virtual communities of the future overnight. The COVID-19 pandemic was the first event of the 21st century that shocked modern school systems on a global scale. Will it be the last? Climate change, growing economic inequality, and social unrest are valid sources of disruption that may strain education institutions again in the future. Are there hidden catalysts for new events which would jeopardize formal education again? We are facing an unprecedented set of challenges for global businesses and education which are going to linger



Idea in Brief The COVID-19 crisis has brought to light new tipping points and tensions positioned to impact global institutions over the coming years. What will business and education look like in the post-pandemic era? Will globalization persist, or will local supply chains thrive? How will companies and schools function in the context of new changes that have been adopted? What does

unsolved until we land somewhere on the spectrum of these two variables: 1. How soon will we resolve the health threat, i.e. when will we find a viable and widely available vaccine? and 2. How soon will the economy bounce back from the downturn? What does the future of global business and education look like? Would they focus on building local infrastructure and supply chains or would they find ways to continue to benefit from global collaboration, talent, and consumers? Will schools retain regional identity and local flavor, or become more uniform in a post-pandemic world? Imagining these four potential futures can help us understand the implications.

II. Scenarios II. Scenarios Scenario 1: Lingering threats Vaccine - / Economy Business: If we are unable to find a cure or create a widely available vaccine, and our economies continue to deteriorate, we could face the creation of a very fragmented world where social unrest and crime increase and the polarization between “haves” and “have nots” grows. The majority of consumers would cut their spending and focus on necessities, while the ones with more disposable



growth and progress look like in the post-COVID world? In this feature we explore the future of global businesses and educational institutions in the aftermath of the pandemic, taking both a globalized and a localized view of the possibilities.

income would opt for products and services helping them dive into escapism and experiences. Businesses will have to adjust to the new operating environment, repurposing production, stockpiling, and finding local alternatives to otherwise global talent, suppliers, and markets. Even though this could provide some opportunities for local businesses, bringing supply chains home and acting in silos could make the economic recovery slower. For example, the US is already urging Intel to build plants at home and curtail immigration further. Digital trade may be less impacted, but it still represents a modest 1.3% of world’s exports.4 Education: This future scenario for education has a number of distinct features that seem to already be in development. First of all, the teaching profession is in decline and it may fall even further back should this future come to fruition. We are in the midst of a global teacher shortage now, which will only get worse if there is no vaccine and a poor economic recovery.5 Communities may experience extremes such as unemployed parents taking a greater part in their children’s education going forward, while the most marginalized families disengage from formal schooling unless there is face-toface instruction provided.6 The loss of international students in higher education will hit western

economies particularly hard. The US and the UK have enjoyed a steady stream of revenues from international student enrollments the past two decades, programs which charge hefty tuition and fees. In this future, international education would experience declines that parallel the travel and tourism sectors instead. Some of the foreign student income may be recaptured with continuing education, skill training, and certification programs targeting the unemployed. However, there’s a risk of preparing people for jobs that may never come back unless universities and colleges revamp their offerings to match the imminent future. In other words, jobs that can survive automation trends. Scenario 2: “Safe bubble” economy Vaccine - / Economy + Business: Having experienced shortages during the pandemic, it is likely that businesses and governments will require additional stock, building “hybrid” supply chains, diversifying with local and global suppliers, and potentially will establish “safe corridors” with new trade agreements between friendly (and most likely geographically close) countries. New protective or distancing measures for the workforce could be implemented, allowing business continuity. An emphasis on testing and allowing those with antibodies to be actively involved

in society, the workplace, and travel is possible. Global businesses would become “glocal”—giving more autonomy to local offices and priority to local talent, however continuing to benefit from global information exchange and best practice sharing. This fosters innovation and supports not only economic growth but also increases the chances of finding a solution to tackle the virus. Education: In a future with no vaccine but a thriving economy, important developments could happen to change learning in different ways. Firstly, a society still grappling with the virus but managing a healthy economy would certainly fund and prepare its citizens in science education. It seems likely that STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) will continue to outshine other studies while medical and epidemiology careers gain attention. Major global research zones may sprout up as universities and R&D facilities concentrate

into clusters where infectious disease research can find treatments and a cure. A healthy pipeline of students to enter STEM fields would be valued in this future.

school systems as the pandemic is dealt with?

Since the absence of a vaccine might prevent face-to-face instruction, it is possible for EdTech to continue to rise in this scenario. Mixed reality, including artificial reality and virtual reality (AR and VR), may have an even greater role to play in training future nurses and first responders as the pandemic is prolonged. However, is it also possible that advances along the lines of the Finland public school model could be a natural byproduct of the need to adapt primary schools to a world with no COVID cure? The Finland curriculum starts school in later childhood with a shorter school day, less rigid academic expectations, and smaller classrooms where teachers put a priority on play and exploration.7 Could more nations take this approach to maintain their public

Business: Even though this seems like the bestcase scenario at a first glance, the risk of recovering too quickly is that it may force us back into the old inefficient ways of doing business with no lessons learnt. With global trade already becoming less efficient and the increasing focus on the deteriorating environment, we can’t go back to funding unsustainable ways of doing business. Globalization and collaboration should be reimagined so that businesses and people are able to benefit from the global platform and information exchange through implementing new, better practices. It could also be a good opportunity for businesses and governments to collaborate on global level to find solutions to world problems.

NOTES: 1. the-steam-has-gone-out-of-globalisation 2. 3. 4.

Scenario 3: “No lessons learnt” Vaccine + / Economy +

has-covid-19-killed-globalisation 5. 6. 7. what-finland-is-really-doing-improve-its-acclaimed-schools/



We risk putting all our focus on digitalization, impacted by the current pandemic, but being blindsided by another disruptive event which may hit us in a completely different way. Global supply chains will need to be reconsidered and improved, reliance on China or a single region or country could endanger businesses again. Education: A future where we have both the vaccine and a thriving economy could have many great rewards. The global unity experienced during the pandemic might help expand and enhance international education at all levels. More exchange programs and study abroad options could encourage youth to work cohesively to build a sustainable future. Furthermore, policy makers are certain to have a more realistic grasp on the connection between schools and the economy: when schools are not open and



childcare is unavailable, parents cannot work. This basic fact of the could justify policies with stronger financial support for families in case of future lockdowns.8 Also, in a strong economy the global student loan debt bubble might come under better control. A vaccine could put a very optimistic charge in the air, which is exactly what is needed. Scenario 4: “New opportunities” Vaccine + / Economy Business: This scenario provides for a quick return to health but slow economic recovery. Businesses will benefit from no restrictions on physical contact. Whole sectors, which were severely impacted would now be able to reopen, global travel will start to recover, however consumer spending will be squeezed. This would push businesses to find more cost efficient but also more resilient ways of working.

The slow rebuilding of structures and systems could provide new opportunities for creating better economies, benefiting from globalization, digitization, and interconnectedness but also ensuring local resilience, sufficient capability to produce essentials in case of an emergency, sustainable and efficient practices. A balance between incentivizing local businesses and connecting them to a global platform for information exchange could be one option for building resilience and self-reliance without working in silos. The digital businesses that benefited during the pandemic may suffer to a certain extent, due to consumers longing to return to the “real world”. The role of governments will be crucial. There will be companies that would need to be bailed out. These decisions should be taken with a sustainable future in mind and chance should be given to businesses

 connected countries are more likely to recover economically quicker, as well as tackle infectious diseases, mostly due to better health care systems.12 We should also recognize that the relationship between education and economic vitality are best approached at local and global levels alike. Many of the outcomes will rely on policies that are created by our governments now, but businesses and educational institutions have the power to influence some of these decisions. Furthermore, the role of large businesses is extremely important in terms of impacting governmental policy, as well as supporting a faster economic recovery through levers like paying suppliers faster (Unilever) and supporting open markets (3M).12

with innovative, impactful, and greener purpose. Education: In many ways this future will continue some of today’s most vital trends. If there is a vaccine, it would be good for education, since groups could again congregate and there could be a return to ‘normal.’ However, even before the pandemic there was a decline in enrollment in higher education in the US—should we be concerned?9 This future may hold promise for the skills and trades, as a meager economic outlook may

reflect poorly on the value of a college education.10 We may also see parents of primary and secondary students who wish to not return to the hectic ways of before the pandemic, perhaps pulling their children out of traditional schooling for something more personalized.11 Ultimately, this future may cast a light on formal education as unimportant, and that would be a notable shift.

A fragmented world will not provide a better solution to global problems like the economy and the virus. It will only create a larger gap between poorer and richer economies and make local solutions more expensive. Instead, a hybrid between reimagined, more sustainable global practices and efficient high-quality local solutions that can be adaptable and resilient when times require seems far more useful.

III. III.Conclusion Conclusion Whichever version of these scenarios unfolds, we need to remember that

8. working-parents-impossible/613429/ 9. 10. pandemic-has-worsened-equity-gaps-higher-education-and-work

11. only-13-of-uk-working-parents-want-to-go-back-to-the-old-normal 12.



Patricia Lustig Gill Ringland





Prediction and Uncertainty The current Covid-19 pandemic was predicted, in the sense that, after the SARS outbreak in 2003, a number of countries built systems for containing pandemics. In this article we explore some of the impacts – beyond the economic – of the current pandemic. All the news about the pandemic might be pushing you back into your primeval brain patterns. Making you think, “OMG it’s a bear! Fight or flight?” How could we perceive the pandemic as “No, it’s NOT a bear?” This will release our energy and imagination. As Milton Friedman said “Only a crisis – perceived or actual – produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. Our function is to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes the politically inevitable.” Or as we say, the Overton Window has shifted. We don’t have enough information and what we have is always imperfect. We don’t have experience of this pandemic, so what ideas DO we have to weather now AND benefit after the crisis? How do we stop seeing the bear? In the past 50 years in most of the west, experts have been denigrated and public health systems allowed to run down. Experts’ views that society is unprepared for a pandemic have been ignored by populism. This lack of preparedness is prompting awareness that the planet needs a better response than the current patchy system with insufficient resilience.

The evidence is that foresight can enable people to develop alternatives to existing policies. These alternative choices release peoples’ energies and allows them to perceive the situation as ‘No Bear’. After pandemic Afterthethe pandemic We think that the world will be quite different after the pandemic has receded. Close to home, the potential for political disruption in Europe is enormous – the disjoint between national health systems has led to the closing of borders for the first time in decades. Europe’s future will depend on the ability to rebuild trust between nations. Below, we consider three areas of impact: economic, societal and changes in travel behaviour. First, the economic impact can be thought of in four waves (thank you to Mark Zandi of “Moody’s Analytics”): • Wave 1, the sudden stop of much economic activity devastates supply chains and cash flow sends many small businesses under; • Next, unemployment rises to unprecedented levels; • A long term effect will be the destruction of savings for pensions through stock markets collapsing; • And businesses will cut investment as they try to recover. Although the one billion people across the planet at Level Four (in Hans Rosling’s terminology1) may be comparatively protected, the large numbers of people who have recently moved to Level Two or Level Three are likely to be most affected. They have little



economic safety cushion and may well lose their new incomes and savings. We think that loss of their consumer power will have the biggest impact on global recovery; they are in large part the engine that has driven global GDP. The impacts on social structures may be less immediate than the economic impacts, yet this has many facets which will change the world in the longer term. • The role of volunteering to work for the benefit of strangers – over 750,000 people in the UK volunteered to back up health and social care services for people



at risk from Covid-19; • The extent of scientific collaboration in life sciences has broken many barriers as companies share data and information on the virus in the literature as soon as available in the lab; • Governments could fall if their response to the pandemic is seen as incompetent; • Inequalities within countries are likely to worsen; • Urban surveillance, mobile phone tracking and face recognition is likely to be introduced as emergency measures, and civil society will need to regulate this;

• IT platforms becoming ever more ubiquitous, reducing social face to face interaction, makes the questions about how it is regulated and who owns the data increasingly important; • Once IT-enabled teaching has been proven to be effective, we have a new education system; • The agricultural ecosystem was under stress before the pandemic, and it may cause a radical change in people’s eating habits – not just through the closing of restaurants but also through changes in tastes; • The role of experts in contributing to policy has started to be recognised


– after the rise of populism in the last 50 years. And finally, the impacts of changes in travel behaviour are immediate and long term: • Severe reduction in the amount of travel has a large economic impact (travel and tourism account for about 10% of global GDP); • It changes the nature of family links for several decades able to be maintained through regular flights home; • The rise of video conferencing tools like Zoom and Skype for personal connections is being mirrored by their use in business to replace face to face meetings. Work and lifestyles will not revert when travel is again possible; • People may move from densely populated cities and high rise living to less populated, more rural areas as they are allowed to work from home; • Office space may well become an oxymoron, so property prices in city centres and industrial parks may plummet; • There is also an environmental

impact: the reduction in air pollution is visible globally; • Reductions in travel will add to the problems faced by fossil fuel companies as they try to realign to renewables and recover from the low oil price.

thinking about the second order impacts and the longer term. Exploring possible longer term impacts will help prepare for action. It can help us see that all of what is out there is ‘NOT a Bear’. It makes clear where we have choice and influence. It builds hope.2

Conclusion Conclusion While the headlines are about the crisis of the pandemic’s immediate ramifications, most people are not


  



Patricia Lustig has an international career in corporate and NGO sectors and is the author of the award winning book, Strategic Foresight. She is a board member of the Association of Professional Futurists (APF). Gill Ringland is a director of “Ethical Reading”. During 20 years in foresight, she has published 10 books including the seminal book Scenario Planning used by Harvard Business School.

1. Hans Rosling et. al. Factfulness: ten reasons we’re wrong about the world – and why things are better than you think. 2018. and https://www.longfinance. net/news/pamphleteers/tale-two-middle-classes/ 2. A version of this article was first published in April on the Pamphleteers Blog for Long Finance.



Martin Bohle Silvia Peppoloni Eduardo Marone IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics




he COVID-19 health pandemic challenges human beliefs, superstructures, paradigms. The design of geoethics offers some general ideas on how to respond to the challenges that the COVID-19 Pandemic poses. When considering stakeholder or institutional actors, geoethics is about governance practices that implement commitments like being human agentcentric, virtue-ethics focused, responsibility driven, knowledge-based, stakeholderinclusive, and universal-rights informed. Overall, better results in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic are found if the conditions for good governance are met. such as being committed to the best available scientific advice and sound ethical practices - as in GeoEthics. But what is Geoethics? People that study rocks, soils, mountains, rivers, lakes, oceans, glaciers, climate or weather, and many other non-living parts of Earth, are called geoscientists. Their insights are paramount to understand the functioning of planet Earth and how our World works. Hence, rightly, the geoscientists Langmuir and Broecker1 entitled a book about the evolution of planet Earth, metaphorically, 'How to Build a Habitable Planet'. Geoscientific knowledge is contextdependent and robust in facing uncertainties. Therefore, it easily seeps into human thinking. Artisans, technicians, architects, or engineers use geoscientific expertise. It is needed to alter natural environments or to create artefacts, such as in mineral extraction, laying the foundation for buildings, or managing


floodplains. Likewise, artists, poets or philosophers of any given time refer to the Earth to reflect on human identity. Exploring the tenets of her profession, the geologist Marcia Bjorneru2 illustrates that feature in her book 'Timefulness'. The subtitle of the book, 'How Thinking like a Geologist can help to save the World' tells that geoscience expertise is needed in frameworks like the Sustainable Development Goals. However, geoscientific expertise alone does not guide how geoscientists should act, in their capacity as professionals, as citizens, or as a mundane person. That is, why ethics matter. Therefore, geoscientists3,4 developed the field of geoethics. Initially, geoethics was a tool to support professional behaviour of geoscientists. Lately, geoethics has evolved to promote an applied, sensemaking tool for the human condition, namely the obligation of “appropriate behaviours and practices wherever human activities interact with the Earth System”. Geoethics studies what this commitment implies for individual or collective human agents, because, as the Australian philosopher Clive Hamilton5 formulated in his book ‘Defiant Earth’

(p. 150), any citizen should “be judged… where they fall on a scale of care and neglect” because “[w]hen humans formed an independent relation with the Earth, we were left to choose between a path of care and a path of neglect”. At a systemic level, the central tenet of geoethical concepts is the individual human agent. Considering the philosophical roots of geoethics, it relates to Kant's categorical imperative formulated in the 19th century, and the challenges that are posed by his three fundamental questions, namely 'what to know, do, and hope?' However, as Max Weber pointed out at the beginning of the 20th century, Kantian thinking is incomplete because it does not consider the agent's responsibilities. The latter is a further central tenet of geoethics. Towards the end of the 20th century, three philosophers consolidated the foundations on which geoethics can dwell. Hans Jonas added the obligation for actors in technology, science, and innovation to take responsibility for future generations, ensuring that future lives are genuinely human. Mario Augusto Bunge evoked the moral principle that while presenting the right to happiness,


1. Langmuir, C. & Broecker, W. How to build a habitable planet? (Princeton University Press, 2012). 2. Bjornerud, M. Timefulness - How Thinking like a Geologist can help to save the World. (Princeton University Press, 2018). 3. Peppoloni, S., Bilham, N. & Di Capua, G. Contemporary Geoethics Within the

the duty reigns of helping genuinely human and other biological forms of life. Lawrence Kohlberg provided a scale of moral adequacy to gauge human behaviours and practices. Nothing in this philosophical ladder is geosciencespecific. Thus, the underpinning method is systemic. What distinguishes geoethics within ethics? It is the peculiar subject, namely, the intersection of Earth and World in ordinary times and times of global calamities. High ethical standards, sound scientific support, and good governance are essential aspects of handling the COVID-19 Pandemic that currently stretches our imagination to the breaking point. Only by behaving as [geo]ethical citizens can artists, cultural workers, entrepreneurs, inventors and [geo]scientists go beyond the familiar; hence, moving cooperatively towards a future without fear. When considering stakeholder or institutional agents, geoethics is about governance practices that implement ethical commitments like being human agent-centric, virtueethics focused, responsibility-driven, science-knowledge-based, stakeholderinclusive, and universal-rights-informed.

Geosciences. in Exploring Geoethics 25–70 (Springer International Publishing, 2019). doi:10.1007/978-3-030-12010-8_2 4. Marone, E. & Marone, L. Ethical Dimensions of Ocean Governance. in The Future of Ocean Governance and Capacity Development (eds. Werle, D. et al.) 34–39 (Brill | Nijhoff, 2019). doi:10.1163/9789004380271_008 5. Hamilton, C. Defiant Earth - The Fate of Humans in the Anthropocene. (Wiley, Polity Press, 2017).



Lucy Wills Globefox Health

DEEP THOUGHT Lessons from ďŹ ction for deep tech and automation




he renowned sci-fi writer Alastair Reynolds once told me that the true power of science fiction is that it allows us to experience "cognitive estrangement". When the story and it’s setting takes us far enough out, to another universe, or culture, we can look back at aspects of ourselves and our culture, and see them clearly without our usual filters and blinkers. There's also a huge value to near fiction, where we get to try out small changes from our lived reality and explore what the impacts could be. Sci-fi is no longer just a source of inspiration and concepts, it’s now an established rehearsal space for the future. Our future. ‘Deep tech’ is a new term for innovations that leverage emerging technologies science and insights at a truly systemic and transformative level. This means they have great potential to drive positive steps in bettering lives and driving economies, yet carry great risks. In biotech, working at a genetic and metabolic level may yet free us from the suffering of some heritable and acquired diseases, yet the dangers of unforeseen consequences mean that new medicines

and protocols are given a great deal of scrutiny.

digital services, and are even used to validate them.

In engineering, the use of drones, smart swarming devices and autonomous robots is transforming sectors such as farming and environmental monitoring but also brings concerns about their use in civic surveillance and warfare.

Too much of current AI reinforces existing structures and dynamics, and embeds the bias and assumptions that go with them. Now we are training machines to do so much thinking for us, why can’t these systems be designed to help us uncover and dismantle that bias?

But in the case of artificial intelligence and machine learning, are we looking at the risks deeply enough? Many of us are aware of the privacy and security risks, or the risk of accident, but we are only just starting to have open discussion about discrimination, fairness and accuracy: whether this be in the framing of the queries, the selection of algorithm, the validation of the data, or even the way data is gathered in the first place. In healthcare, while the accuracy of AI in processing clinical images has long surpassed that of human doctors, the ability of AI to diagnose or make decisions about care is much less proven. Current medical models make huge generalisations, take a very simplistic view of health, and exclude way too many people and conditions which don’t fit in these ‘boxes’, leading to missed diagnoses, human suffering and greater costs further down the line. Yet these models are seen as the foundation of

Can insights drawn from sci-fi narratives point us towards some measures that may help? Looking back on the steps that I have taken towards designing healthcare systems that are inclusive, verifiable and accountable, I can see how I have been informed and inspired by narratives and concepts from some of my favourite stories. Based on a short story by Philip K Dick, the 2002 ‘Minority report’ film took the ‘product placement’ of emerging technology to new levels, with the Production designers engaging with companies and futurists to plot out what new interfaces and products we might see. Many have since come to pass, such as mass personalisation and gesture-based interfaces. There is a deeper message within Minority Report that needs to be heard




  

right now. In the film, the three psychic ‘Pre cogs’ predict future crimes by ‘recording’ similar versions of the same projected event, which is then averaged by computer modelling. Occasionally a ‘Minority Report’ appears, when one of the ‘Pre cogs’ records something quite different. The current practice of training AI encourages us to ignore such an ‘anomaly’ as it might disturb a distribution curve or appear to cause inaccuracies, yet we do that at our peril. How can we know what can be safely discarded and what data is significant until we have verified it back with the source or the raw data? It's not enough to say something looks broadly right, the detail in the original data provides a verification that protects us from oversimplification or mistaking the map for the territory. Police forces worldwide use AI to attempt to predict where crimes may occur from past incidents. When this mapping is combined with facial recognition and movement analysis the risks of bias and racism are compounded: techniques are improving but much



imaging software still misidentifies women and people of colour. But then what else should be looking at to keep communities safe? Some of you might recognise the title of this piece as the name of the computer from Douglas Adam’s ‘Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy’ story, which when asked the meaning of “life the universe and everything” gave the answer as 42, but then suggested that another much greater computer was needed to find the question. Surely this should be an absolute goal of machine learning, to create tools that help us ask the questions that we don't know to ask yet. Douglas also reminded us that we are often blinded to the most critical questions and concerns by our fear of looking at the existential or a desire to stay within in comfortable bounds. The ‘Joo Janta 200 Super-Chromatic Peril Sensitive Sunglasses’ turn black when they identify danger, giving the illusion of safety, but preventing the wearer from doing anything about it. We need to avoid projecting our blinkered views into the systems we create, and keep our framing, enquiries, models and assumptions open. Terry Gilliam has explored our relationship to technology through


many of his films. His 1985 film ‘Brazil’ has much to say to us now about politics, status and a need to escape the limitations that others would seek to place upon us. Yet one seldom remarked upon aspect of this film is the number of huge ducts and pipes that invade almost every scene, carrying essential services, and most critically, data. In the world of Brazil this transfer of data is made visible, the pipes serving as a constant reminder of the prevalence of surveillance and the need to fit in. We may not necessarily have the film’s totalitarian society, but we do live with this mass gathering of data. In order for everyone to trust the systems around us, It is critical that we are honest about why we are gathering data; what assumptions are being made and what purpose the gathering serves.

and data transfer become truly ubiquitous and normalised, they become much harder to see, and to evaluate. So such flows should be made visible in some way now, perhaps with simple tools on our devices that make it easy and obvious to see where our data is going and why. And where possible, we should be able to tinker with them, like the film’s renegade engineer Tuttle, yet with access

to a manual, and a just a little more finesse. There is also a short piece of dialogue from ‘Brazil’ that explains beautifully how recursive and exponential arguments create compounded risk. I hope that by taking this deep philosophical and systemic approach to novel systems we can all avoid ever having to say ”My complication had a little complication”.


  

Previous step changes indicate that once novel forms of Communication

BIO: Lucy Wills is the founder of Globefox Health, developing accessible digital healthcare tools and services to help people with under-diagnosed conditions and disabilities to better identify, understand and communicate what they are

experiencing. The data uncovered will be used to assess and address current bias and limitations and create next generation tools that make the most of emerging systems technologies and understandings.




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ELECTRIFICATION in Peer-to-Peer Society – A New Narrative for SUSTAINABLE FUTURES Welcome into an electrified future where renewable energy technologies and peer-to-peer practices are everywhere. The era of fossil fuels is ending. An emission-free vision is illustrated through four transformational scenarios: Radical Startups, Value-Driven Techemoths, Green Do-It-Yourself Engineers, and New Consciousness. The scenarios are testbeds that explore this vision. Futures have to be explored with a long and broad perspective, but the decisions for a preferred future have to be made today. In fact, to meet the Paris climate goals, all major sectors in society have to be transformed. This book builds concrete steps towards the post-fossil era and a carbon neutral circular economy. It can be used by governments, companies, and citizens, and also adopted as teaching material for educational purposes. The book provides novel insights to those who are curious of the future, using results from the latest scientific research on societal changes and technological advancement. Professor Sirkka Heinonen and Project Researcher Joni Karjalainen are with Finland Futures Research Centre (FFRC) at the University of Turku.

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CONTENTS 1. Introduction 2. Vision of a renewable energy powered peer-to-peer society 3. The rise of solar and wind power make the neo-carbon world 4. Electrified circular economy in a peer-to-peer society – who are the winners? 5. Four transformative neo-carbon energy scenarios 2050 6. Surprises are the new normal – electric security 7. Conclusions and recommendations


Aftershocks and Opportunities Scenarios for a Post-Pandemic Future*, edited by Rohit Talwar, Alexandra Whittington, and Steve Wells is a collaboration between 25 futures thinkers from around the globe, who draw on their expertise and insight to help provide individuals, leaders, and organisations with a vision of what kind of world we might be facing - from a few months’ time through to 2035. Many contributors see the pandemic as a once in a generation opportunity for positive change. They outline the potential to reset our values, tap into the possibilities created by advancing technologies and green new deal initiatives, and so lead to a fairer, more progressive, transparent, and sustainable society. The book includes possible scenarios for the coming y years and covers four core themes: critical shifts and s scenarios, society and s social policy, government and economy, and business

and technology. The four possible scenarios explored are: • The Long Goodbye (poorly contained pandemic, deep and prolonged downturn) • The VIP Economy (poorly contained pandemic, vibrant economic rebound) • Safe but Hungry (eradication of the pandemic, deep and prolonged downturn) • Inclusive Abundance (eradication of the pandemic, vibrant economic rebound) Alternating between trends, possibilities, and scenarios, the book’s 27 chapters explore topics such as the effects of social distancing on crime; whether indebted countries might have to consider merging or being taken over by richer nations; the potential for adoption of personal digital twins; and how companies might change the way they work so that they are more resilient and responsive to sudden, disruptive events. *Available as an eBook on PDF at Fast Future and on Amazon for US$12.95.



Dr. Bruce Lloyd





to undertake new initiatives: How to move to a more sustainable, society, by identifying what should be included in new progressive, socially focused, agenda. Many of the suggested initiatives are already happening, but greater pressure is needed to make them happen at a much faster rate. Many are also interrelated and, if combined, into a portfolio of initiatives, their impact can be significantly increased. The items are here to help initiate discussion on what needs to be included:


lthough the current Covid-19 pandemic crisis has been horrendous for many, ‘never waste a good crisis’ is a common rallying call.

While the priority is likely to try to return to the so-called ‘normal’ pattern of the past, however, the overall objective of this piece is to explore the opportunities

Overall strategy. A coherent package of policies around a combination of ‘Marshall Plan’ with debt relief, particularly for the developing world, and a new ‘Beveridge’ (Social focused agenda.) This combination should be the priority for all parties in the world. With a few (notable) exceptions the crisis appears to be fostering a new level of global cooperation between experts and professionals, but not necessarily all politicians. New technology is also accelerating both general learning, as well as areas focused on researching global social/health needs.


Personal Priorities. A greater emphasis on the importance of meaning that arises from positive and rewarding, relationships, and less on the relatively

meaningless obsession with the accumulation of ‘things’ and ‘conspicuous consumption’.


Measurement. A parallel development is to accelerate the move away from the distorting measure of GDP as an indicator of societal performance, to the wider use of Social Progress Indicators (SPI), which should be further developed and used. GDP is essentially an economic quantity, not quality, measure and has major, unsustainable, limitations.


Investment. Much greater emphasis needs to be placed on expenditure on health, hospitals, and the care industry; both in terms of investment in relevant assets, as well as higher pay for those involved. Less expenditure on areas that focused on speed, rather than ‘quality’ experiences. Greater emphasis on health related research agendas, and less on military indulgences, such as nuclear missile submarines. A greater spirit of international co-operation on a long overdue new global initiative to eliminate nuclear weapons.


Societal Rebalancing. The new agenda requires a greater concern for, and investment in, the needs of disadvantaged members of society, both nationally and internationally, combined with greater pressure for the abolition of tax havens, and higher taxes, (wealth and income) on the ‘richest’ members of society.




Environment and Social Responsibility. A sustainable future requires greater emphasis on investment focused on improving the quality of the environment; combined with greater recognition for the need to take climate change issues even more seriously. ‘Business’ needs to have a greater social agenda within its overall purpose, aligning them more closely with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). There is also scope for much greater emphasis on the role and importance of social enterprises, in industries such as railways, in an attempt to get the best of techniques from both private and public sectors.


Digital Infrastructure. Support is required to ensure every citizen can make greater use of the internet, in almost every area of our personal and working lives, particularly in education. This development will increase the pressure for more flexible working in many industries, as well as online learning which is increasingly location independent.


Leadership. Less emphasis on the arrogant, opinionated, egotistical, authoritarian, ‘leadership’ styles. In its place, greater emphasis on a more collaborative approach that recognizes ‘purpose’, and evidence, is more important than the ‘personalities’, prejudices and short-term politics, of those involved. Such a move - especially when combined with other items mentioned here, should help improve levels of trust within society.




Purpose. There is an urgent need for an overall move to a society (world) more concerned with values and wisdom, rather than the current obsession with money, as the key measure of personal and societal success.


The New ‘Normal’. Governments should establish cross party approaches to cover the development of programmes that explore how to achieve a significant shift in our economic and social priorities into a more sustainable direction. To expect 100% agreement on the details of such a programme is unrealistic, but reaching 80% relatively quickly would be more than sufficient as a basis for action in the immediate future. Identifying the areas of disagreement within the other 20% is also important, and this could be the basis for future discussion in order to make progress over these and similar initiatives. The suggestions are generally applicable world-wide. There are no perfect answers. But there are plenty of areas where the development of detailed new initiatives and policies can be integrated into a coherent strategy as a basis for action. Such an approach can help reassure us that we are not ‘wasting the crisis’; as well help lead to a better, fairer, and more sustainable, society/ world for future generations.

Leopold P. Mureithi Co-Chair Millennium Project Kenya Node


n 1970 Alvin Toffler issued a book with a shocking title – After Shock. In it, he describes three stages of techno development: agrarian, industrial and post-industrial during which the rate of change has been accelerating, "too much change in too short a period of time." This brings about a “the disease of change” overwhelming people whose psychological state becomes stressful, disoriented and fearful of the future. This was so generally accepted as so dominant that, by 1987, the view of life was characterised by vulnerability, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA). A fiftieth festschrift titled After Shock, edited by John Schroeter was issued



by some 100 futurists in 2020. Looking back, some of the 116 essays suggest that the anxieties of the 1970s are even more amplified today by all manner of disruptions, thus attesting to the influence of the Future Shock classic. They all also proffer insightful views of the next fifty years on a range of issues such as artificial intelligence (AI), climate change, energy, health care, technological progress, and transportation. A number of things Toffler “foresaw” had materialized. For example “information overload” through the internet, a library surpassing any other. Increasingly, there is mounting confusion as to which information is true, fake or deceptive. His vision of businesses without formal structures due to “adhocacy” is borne out by the shortening life of enterprises due to need to cope with rapidly changing market needs, political vicissitudes and policy shifts. He also foresaw telecommuting and homes becoming “electronic cottages”. With the COVID-19 phobia, this has become part of life in 2020. Being produced so close to the debut of the novel flulike corona virus disease of 2019 (COVID-19), one could wonder if After Shock contemplated it. Yes, it did. The word “influenza” is mentioned once and “flu” four times in this book. It goes further to point out a future-bearing event: the acceptance by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of “simulation results instead of human results in testing new vaccines….since we can’t wait a year or more to approve it.” A fortiori with the development of vaccines against the current infectious Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) pandemic. And so it is that the Future Shock book was the latest of the early-warning



treatises by the futures community on impending pestilences. One of the earliest goes back a quarter century. The 1997 State of the Future report by the Millennium Project (MP-SOF) highlighted that “the threat of new and re-emerging diseases and immune micro-organisms is growing." Subsequent MP-SOF have noted: “recent outbreaks of bubonic plague in India, Ebola virus in Africa, and drugresistant tuberculosis in the United States is causing the world to re-think its public health policies. Increasing mass migrations and international travel spread disease more rapidly than in the past; increasing urbanization and population density accelerate and intensify this issue....It is a trend that holds the capacity to bring life as we know it to a grinding halt.” The Millennium Project recommended that the World Health Organization (WHO), with active participation by governments, should create a rapid international medical deployment capacity to respond to outbreaks of infectious disease with the epidemic potential. A shock implies that an occurrence was unexpected. To some, the visit by COVID-19 might look like a wild card or black swan, a completely unexpected event. But –- like shown above -- much as the specific form that hit the world was largely unforeseen, warnings about similar emergencies were all over. This situation feels like the Casandra Effect, the case

where some experts show the likely outcome of an effect, but policy makers not taking them seriously; or, more likely, normality bias on the part of the majority of the people. So, when the crunch came, emergency measures, such as lockdown and quarantine, were resulted to and in some countries these took paramilitary and punitive form bordering on human rights violation. Will the pandemic end? If so, when? What will that future time that it ends look like? There are dynamic signs that the pandemic will end: the number of people affected is rising but at a decreasing rate; the number of the dying is decreasing at the margin. Again, and the recovery rate is high These are weak signals, no doubt, but typical prognosis of


pandemics’ statistical “law” of a Gompertz S-curve growth path over time. This is what underlies the notion of “flattening the [bell-shaped] curve”, a phrase coined by the University of Michigan medical historian Dr. Howard Markel. The logistics is slow at first, then rapid, gallop virulently, reach an inflexion point, slow down and finally fizzle out; that is worsening before ameliorating. How long that process takes is difficult to say exactly since there are so many forces at play. Some of these forces are associated with the host (individual persons), the agent (Covid-19 virulence and mutation), and the environment (people’s interactions, nature, vaccine development, etc.). The pandemic will be controlled through non-pharmaceutical

and other interventions: vaccine development and mass its mass administration, use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and public support. A ceasefire could come in a year or two. For now and after, diverse consequences will be evident in economic, social, political, environmental, cultural, and technological (ESPECT) domains. Pondering on probable post-COVID scenarios, Rohit Talwal, Wells Steve and Alexandra Whittington edited Aftershocks and Opportunities: Scenarios for a Post-Pandemic Future, co-written by 25 authors. Fast Future published it on 1st June 2020, very fast – in a disruptive 10 weeks from conception. Following the Japanese worldview that a crisis embodies opportunities,

this book challenges us to “reset our thinking, refocus our strategies and policies, and try new ideas designed to lay the foundation for the next the future and what comes after that. A future that the authors believe can be fairer, more inclusive, more transparent, and more sustainable for all.” This is done by focusing on “broad global themes” of society and social policy; government and economy; and business and technology. There is a companion follow-up volume covering “specific themes related to the future of regions, nations, societal and technological infrastructure, and human development.” This is expected in September 2020. All the three books: Future Shock, After Shock, and Aftershocks contain anti-shocks in the form of strategies for futures preparedness by all. Futures literacy programmes should universally be part of the new normal to empower people to anticipate, shape and – to use a term originated by Sheree Fitch – thrival (thrive and survive) in the future. This proactive stance avoids muddling through, leaving things to chance and then reacting to shocks that arise due to lack of preparedness and inadequate resilience.



Mara Di Berardo Co-Chair Millennium Project Italian Node

WORLD FUTURE DAY 2020 AND THE MILLENNIUM PROJECT 24-hour Round-the-World conversation




World Future Day (WFD) is on March, the first, and the Millennium Project (MP) organized a 24-hour Round-theWorld conversation to celebrate it for the seventh consecutive year. Experts on futures studies, global opinion leaders and the public shared their ideas about how to build a better future in a relaxed, open, no-agenda conversation. The MP, a global foresight participatory think tank, hosted the 2020 event on the Zoom platform, in collaboration with the Association of Professional Futurists (APF), Humanity+, the UNESCO Global Futures Literacy Network, the World Academy of Art and Science (WASS) and the World Futures Studies Federation (WFSF). Many others promoted and supported the event to stimulate futures thinking. The WFD had 29 facilitators for the various time zones and three administrators, all engaged on a voluntary base. The conversation about the futures of humanity began on March 1st in New Zealand at 12 noon NZ time, and moved West each hour. When it reached the

Central Europe Time, it had a special guest, Vint Cerf, Internet pioneer: he is widely known as one of the fathers of the Internet together with Bob Kahn for co-designing the TCP/IP protocol and the architecture of the Internet. During the 2020 WFD, we also discussed about climate change, participation and communication, education and learning, the Internet, information warfare, next technologies, ethics and markets, and many events, activities, and research reports were shared in the platform chat1. Climate change, with increased level of temperatures, ocean oxygen depletion and acidification, is a very serious longterm problem, said the WFD participants, and influences other global challenges, such as balancing population growth and available resources, sustainable and safe energy sources and access to clean water, for instance. The Global Catastrophic Risk Institute is a think tank that analyzes risks to the survival of human civilization and the Lifeboat Foundation helps human survival encouraging technological advance. The City Resilience Program is a partnership between the World Bank and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery for city scale resilience to natural and social disasters, where pandemic risk can be included. These themes will be also addressed during the

UN 2020 Ocean Conference in Lisbon, June 2-6. Meantime, the volume “Under a Green Sky” by Peter Ward (2007) shows how long-range global warming could lead to the next species extinction plant-wide. WFD participants discussed how the Sun could one day have disturbances big enough to destroy us, or collision with a large enough asteroid, or hydrogen sulfide emissions from future changing ocean conditions, or other species threats, therefore it would be wise to let those who want to migrate beyond the Earth to do so. The Earth’s magnetic field that protects the Earth from most of the solar radiation is weakening (separate from the usual weakening before polar magnetic shifts) but it seems that the Sun and the Earth are entangled, so that as a big flare occurs, the shape of the field that protects it changes. Human curiosity will take us beyond the solar system: just as we would not know what we are capable of when we were a zygote totally dependent on our mother, we might not know what humanity is capable of until it gets out of its dependency on the Sun and matures into exo-Solar space. One question that the participants debated in various ways was whether we can have democracy and still address



Glenn, J., Florescu, E. (2017), State of the Future 19.1, Library of Congress. Glenn, J. (2019), “Work/Tech 2050. Scenarios and Actions”. Ward, P.D. (2008), “Under a Green Sky: Global Warming, the Mass Extinctions of the Past, and What They can Tell Us About Our Future”, Smithsonian Book.

Association of Professional Futurists: Auroville: Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies reports on financial investments for climate change:



Idea in Brief The World Future Day is a 24hours conversation about the futures of humanity, coordinated by the Millennium Project. On the 1st of March 2020, the conversation began in New Zealand at 12 noon time, and moved West each hour. When it reached the Central Europe Time, it hosted Vint Cerf, Internet pioneer, discussing the status of the Internet and information

sustainability issues such as climate change in the time that is needed to solve them. It is better to begin now to implement solutions and fix new problems as they arise. Criminals and corrupt government officials will likely enter new lines of activity and will stay one-step ahead of any slow-moving democratic efforts to stop them. In either case, we cannot just throw out old systems, new systems will need to build slowly in parallel to the old ones and will need to continue to support the old systems as they are gradually replaced. As renewable energy systems grow, for instance, old nuclear systems will need to continue to be managed. Climate change as well as other global challenges facing humanity are more a cultural problem than a technical one, said WFD participants, because there are many solutions for these problems already and others may come. Someone in Australia proposed that seawater coastline agriculture could get money from cap and trade. The algae, one of its outputs, could be feedstock for cell-based pure meat. This would mean three counter global warming strategies into one mega project: saltwater agriculture, meat without animals, and cap and trade. The Global Regeneration Institute already has a library of Global Solutions and the Millennium Project addresses the 15 global challenges facing humanity since 1997. Martin Kruse from the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies reports on financial investments for climate change solutions defined by



equality and pollution, the sources of information and the need of critical thinking. Others themes of the discussions were climate change, migration beyond the Earth, next technologies, democracy, participation and inclusion, communication, culture, and arts, education and learning, ethics and market economies.

the Innovation Fund Denmark’s Climate Solutions Panel. What we lack is the will and global collaboration to act applying these solutions: we are unfortunately not taught to collaborate with different people and ideas. Together with transparency and accountability, participation is a key concept for collaboration, democratization and collective intelligence and often recurred during the WFD discussion. E2Glats created in Brazil an experimental platform to invent new ways of being and social organizations. Auroville in India is creating a universal sustainable city where men and women can live in peace no matter believes, politics and nationalities. Someone talked about imagining a social network focused on problem solving, forum style, with all kinds of topics people could collaborate on from big topics, like economy and climate, to small topics, like fixing the holes in a street on our town. Some participants would like to make that happen, with the help of a group of people sharing that vision. On a global scale, this is developing now in the Global Futures Intelligence System by the Millennium Project but others are planning similar platforms, such as the European Commission with the Global Systems Science. Inclusion is just as fundamental. Some argued that solutions must be drawn from communicating with everyone in a society and that even the United

Nations Sustainable Development Goals are being decided by a small group, without input from the rest of humanity they will affect. Others counter argued that UN SDGs was the most extensive set of global conversations including NGOs, business, academia as well as government representatives, that took place over several years about goals for humanity that has ever occurred. They granted there were small groups but there were many, and to give the impression that the process was just a small group misrepresents what happened and denigrates the evolution of global participatory history. Communication is another major theme discussed during WFD, especially for inclusion. Many of the people who will be most greatly affected by such major changes futurists anticipate are people who have had the least to say about the causes of problems or about the potential solutions to the problems, including indigenous populations, the poor, the illiterate, women, and the young. Futurists report increasing use of the arts, including simple picture making but also self-made videos, Virtual Reality (VR) games, making and listening to music together, and even dance. Some are asking young people to make their own videos about the future in order to reveal hidden beliefs, fears or desires, which they find difficult to communicate otherwise. Others are using VR and cell phones to tag individual trees and other objects in a Talking Forest to help people understand changes in the environment.


Arts can change culture and public will as well. A key variable in The Millennium Project “Work/Technology 2050. Scenarios and Actions” (Glenn, 2019) is collaboration with writers of music, movies, and TV. If Al Gore got an academy award for a PowerPoint presentation on global warming, what could collaborative talent do in Hollywood? Tiny Revolutions in New Zealand uses the 15 Global Challenges facing humanity as a framework to engage groups of artists, industry experts, activists and members of the public to come up with and implement “bite-sized actions that pack a societal punch”. Kickstarter and future similar platforms are new ways to get support for new projects. Education and learning should make human more intelligent, knowledgeable and wise enough to address global challenges facing humanity. Someone suggested that the very nature of thinking might change with the widespread use of quantum computing: from digital binary, black/white simplistic thinking to both/and thinking, so that we could collectively act for climate change instead of individually doing so. Educational systems should not only teach STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) or STEAM (with Arts) but also creativity, arts and shared values, educating to democratic

values, equality, tolerance, peace and civic sense. Education and learning should also train in critical thinking, said Vint Cerf, so that people can recognize disinformation and fraudulent courses of information. We should all learn to evaluate what we see: algorithms by themselves can fail to identify disinformation but humans in cooperation with AI algorithms can do better. Where the algorithms cannot, critical thinking could help us: asking questions, corroborating evidence and rational analysis similarly to the scientific process, combining empirical evidence and common sense. Scientific process is the best approximation of reality we have. Citizen science, where the public takes part to the scientific process with various degrees of participation, could help develop critical thinking by learning contents of research and how the scientific process works. Quality of democracies worldwide depends on information quality received by the public (Glenn, Florescu, 2017). Unfortunately, not everybody is at ease in a well-informed society: we often reject information that does not match our worldview even if true and believe disinformation if it matches our worldview. We are going through a great Turing Test - said Vint Cerf during the WFD, - as we are not being able to

tell the difference between computergenerated disinformation and human generated truth. Information warfare manipulates information channels trusted by a target without the target's awareness, so that the target will make decisions against their interest but in the interest of the one conducting information warfare. Algorithms are not perfect and we need metrics to balance loss of information, fragmentation of knowledge with needs to delete damaging information for public safety. Identifying the source of information is difficult. Much can be done without governments to address the problem but international agreements are needed to define norms guiding behaviors on the Internet and penalties for those causing damages through disinformation. The private sector can conduct predictive analytics with massive databanks of disinformation, listing potential actions to counter before they happen, and match people’s profiles with requirement to counter the actions similar to how people’s profiles are matched with advertiser’s products. Certification systems of authorities could be launched but they could be compromised in the system and in who produces them. If we do not implement adequate policies to counter the information warfare and transnational crime, we could end up in a society where boundaries between what



1. Many of the reported events could not take place live following to the COVID-19 worldwide lockdown. 2. Image from ikigai-japanese-concept-to-enhance-work-life-sense-of-worth/.

Mara Di Berardo is Millennium Project Italian Node co-chair and Research Fellow at the Institute for Applied Mathematics of the National Research Council of Italy With inputs from Jerome Glenn, CEO of The Millennium Project, and Brock Hinzmann, Co-chair of the Millennium Project Silicon Valley Node.



is true and what is not fade more and more. Despite having to address such criticalities, making global information and communication technologies, along with machine intelligence, big data and cloud computing, work for everyone is fundamental, as highlighted during the WFD. Even though the digital divide is shrinking, the usage of applications such as Artificial Intelligence is widening. The Internet was launched 50 years ago, in 1969, to connect computer servers and people, and it is beginning to connect places and objects with the Internet of Things (IoT). Vint Cerf confirmed that the Internet is technically viable even with vast new increasing bandwidth demand. There could be more cost for connecting as we improve technology. While trying to expand a faster and faster internet in every place of the world, some governments try to shut it down and to control and filter its contents, with the risk of a network fragmention. It will be hard to escape the Internet with the advent of 5G anyway, and it includes information pollution. Users can implement filtering mechanism to limit the overload and select sources, contents and groups but this is another cause for fragmentation, of knowledge instead of the global open Internet, said Vint Cerf. The WFD conversation also discussed about cyber warfare, that attacks computers, software, command and control systems, and participants

wondered how to make the Internet safer by improving systems, and how to create incentives for strong authentication/ identification to validate information sources. Maybe we will also need rules about responsibility for our personal AI/ Avatars or digital twins after we die. Who is responsible for what they do after we die? What will happen if they commit a cyber-crime or earn a fortune?




However, the news broadcasts the worst human behavior every day; hence, many think the future is getting worse. Some participants think that it is easier to imagine better future appliances than it is to imagine better future humans. Star Trek shows for instance all kinds of improved technology but little improvement among humans. One person noted, on the other hand, that the 'enemy' in one Star Trek series is often added as members of the 'crew' in the next series, which is a sign of social progress. Most science fiction shows negative futures anyway. Someone said that we should show videos of respectful discussions within diverse families learning from those with whom we disagree, instead of watching only parliament disrespectful debate without listening to each other. If we do not address the main challenges facing humanity, we could move toward

E2Glats: op Festival for the future: Future of Capital: Global Regeneration Institute: Holochain: Humanity+: Kickstarter:


a new global order deteriorating into a combination of nation-states, megacorporations, local militias, terrorism, and organized crime (Glenn, 2019), thus we need to anticipate and act towards possible positive scenarios. Learning Mind and Singularity University post optimistic

  

scenarios and views. The MP “If Humans Were Free – the Self-Actualization Economy” (Glenn, 2019) scenario is also positive, and the #happy2050 awareness campaign by the Millennium Project in Italy aimed at stimulating positive views at 2050. We can surely imagine positive scenarios and act for them but not without considering the Next Technologies (NT, Glenn, 2019). NTs include Artificial Intelligence, in its narrow (ANI), general (AGI) and super (ASI) evolutions, and robotics but also synthetic biology and genomics, 3D/4D printing and

Learning Mind scenarios: https://www.learning-mind. com/7-optimistic-scenarios-for-the-future-of-our-planet/ Millennium Project 15 Global Challenges facing humanity: http://www. Millennium Project Global Futures Intelligence System: Millennium Project Italian node #happy2050 awareness campaign: http://bit. ly/2st88S0 Nordic Wealth Movement:

 bio-printing, IoT, human augmented intelligence, telepresence and holographic communications, drones (and other autonomous vehicles), nanotechnology, computational science, VR and AR (Augmented Reality), blockchain, cloud analytics, quantum computing, collective intelligence, and the extraordinary future synergies among them. NTs could led us to be augmented humans living as conscioustechnologies and pursuing self-actualization but they could also lead to a future of social despair if we do not learn how to manage their design, use and evolution. The TransVision Conference in Madrid, October 16-19, will discuss longevity extension, artificial intelligence, human enhancement and other technologies and future trends. The Festival for the Future in Wellington, July, 24-26, explores global challenges with CEO’s, entrepreneurs, students, and 1,200+ delegates from across the Asia–Pacific. We urgently need to agree about ethics, says participants to the WFD, especially for the Artificial Intelligence evolutions, as recently highlighted by the agreement promoted by the Vatican on the matter. A WFD participant not only warned about the need for governance of future possible AGI but also ANI (as in the National Institute of Standard

and Technology new standards for AI). ANI such as autonomous weapons and stock market algorithms could lead to disasters. We have to design system issues and regulations right and soon. Australia is inviting public comments on these AI issues and the Millennium Project is planning to address futures AI evolutions in a next study. Ethical considerations should become more routinely incorporated into global decisions also to reduce the gap between rich and poor. Participants discussed about potential differences between the north and the south of the world regarding internet and other technologies. For some, these differences are still strong and we need collaboration to activate the south. Bringing technology, norms and standardization or developing capacities without the possibility to live the experience in terms of solutions and strategies is not sufficient anymore. Divides should be bridged by addressing the global challenges with metaphors, new narratives and a learning dimension making part of the building process. For someone else, inequalities between north and south are less than in the past: the challenges are global and we should understand in which areas we converge, also in order to address them better together. Ethical considerations could also encourage ethical market economies, maybe following the Japanese ikigai2 concept suggested during the WFD, a

Public comments requested in Australia on AI issues: https://www. Technology_and_Regulatory_Technology/FinancialRegulatoryTech/ Submissions Singularity University: The Millennium Project: The shape of the field that protects the Earth: default/files/plume.gif Tiny Revolutions:

prism for potentially seeing how to bring satisfaction, happiness and meaning to life, “happiness of being busy”. Some said that many prescriptions for change should offer some financial incentive to make a change in behavior, even if others argued that this should not be necessary. Zebras Unite is a global network of entrepreneurs, funders, investors, and allies who are calling for a more ethical, inclusive, collaborative, distributed, and sustainable movement to transform prevailing startup and venture capital culture. Another group that explores new approaches to capital is the Future of Capital initiative, focused on restoring the right relationship between consciousness and capital, as creative force and constructive resource. Holochain aims at being an alternative to blockchain and MetaCurrency explores new concepts of wealth. The Nordic Wealth Movement wants to drive the transition from sick care to preventive health to ensure the longevity of our healthcare systems and improved quality of life. As highlighted by the WFD discussions and reported within the MP State of the Future 19.1 (Glenn, Florescu, 2017) the global challenges facing humanity during unprecedented accelerating change are interconnected and need collaboration, trans-institutional solutions and participatory decision making integrating improved global foresight in order to be addressed.

Transvision conference: join-transvision-madrid-2/ UNESCO Global Futures Literacy Network: futures-literacy United Nation Sustainable Development Goals: https://sustainabledevelopment. World Academy of Art and Science: World Futures Studies Federation: Zebras Unite:





This year is being called the year of reset or the year of transition. The UN sustainable development goals, SDGs, were adopted in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty and hunger, protect the planet and ensure inclusion, peace and prosperity for all by 2030. Many people believe that the COVID global pandemic now makes these goals unreachable and unreasonable. However, there are those who believe that this crisis provides the opportunity to reset the pathways to achieving these global goals in new and previously unimaginable ways. What is certain, is that without active involvement across all borders and boundaries and at all levels of society, UN agenda 2030 is



not capable of delivering wide-scale impact. Understanding of the SDGs and actions towards achieving them should be integrated into the everyday lives of leaders, as well as into the lives of ordinary people. We need to reach people in ways that allow them to engage. In this conversation, we meet with Saeed Al Dhaheri, Director of the Centre for Futures Studies (CFS) at the University of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, founded in February 2020. And also, of importance to this conversation, Saeed also serves as Chairman of the board of Smartworld LLC, a leading UAE company which provides digital solutions for

airports and smart cities, including the world coming Expo2020. So we will be hearing from someone working in the private sector, as well as in academia. Let's jump right in. Claire Nelson: What is the vision and mission of the Centre for Future Studies and how is it shaped by UN global agenda 2030? Saeed Al Dhaheri: The Centre for Future Studies at the University of Dubai was established with a vision to be a Centre of Excellence in foresight and future studies in the Gulf and the MENA region in shaping a better future for all. Our mission is to serve and


help our customers from government and businesses to build capabilities in futures thinking and scenario planning through offering different programs and services. For example, we have launched professional diploma courses in foresight, systems thinking, social change and alternative perspectives. We also conduct future studies to address global challenges such as the futures of Education, Energy, and Healthcare and so forth. We recently wrote an article about the future of virtual learning in the GCC and the Arab region and was published in Harvard Business Review Arabia. Finally, we provide consulting services in foresight and scenario planning to our clients in different domains. Global agenda is at the heart of our future studies. As part of our foresight methodology, we do horizon scanning – either; short-term 5 to 10 years, or longerterm 15 years and beyond, to look at trends and signals of change and how they might impact our future, or a/the future of a certain domain or industry. Then we conduct scenario planning to envision alternative futures and the desired future. We recently published a report about the world post COVID-19: plausible scenarios and paradigm shift. We have looked at this pandemic and then we analyzed what are the factors that might have contributed to this situation from different perspectives: from human values, ethics and behavior, economic activities, and from society and culture points of view -- and then we have asked how or what should change, as an individual or on a societal level to prevent future pandemics. And what values and ethics we need to live by. Claire Nelson: I'm an engineer, and so are you. I believe that engineers have

a different perspective on the world and they really should be more at the construction of the future. And one of the things that I have been trying to push for is to have foresight and future studies be part of engineering schools, right? Do you think that by creating the Centre, you are beginning to make this change, so engineers have more role in the conversation on the future in policy circles. What are your thoughts on that? Saeed Al Dhaheri: I believe so. Foresight is a science that can be taught to Engineers and to people from other disciplines. Engineers who use foresight as part of their work can envision better designs for the future. For example, COVID-19 has raised an important issue about re-thinking urban planning and design of future cities. This requires Engineers and city planners to conduct foresight work to re-imagine the future of our cities in order to tackle many challenges such as increasing population, pandemics, sustainability and other issues. This can help provide valuable insight to policymakers to make better informed decisions. That is one of the reasons for establishing the Center for Futures Studies within the college of engineering at the University of Dubai. I think this COVID-19 pandemic has proved that governments around the world need to be vigilant to disruptions, whether it might be a crisis, or a disaster, or a technology disruption. And the best way to do this is to use futures thinking to look at trends and weak signals and assess their impact on society, the economy, and the

environment and then establish futureproof strategies. Claire Nelson: I am of the belief that a systems mindset is critical to achieving a balanced future, a smart future. And when I talk about smart futures in my own philosophy, I am talking about sustainable systems and prepping people to see that (all) of the things we work at ----- energy, water, ICT, space, and of course healthcare, are systems of systems. How do you ensure that your Center is able to reach leaders and policymakers who are already working at the nexus of policy and engineering and politics in the service of creating the sustainable systems and futures? And how do you think we as a futures community can make people



become more aware and wanting to get these skills? Saeed Al Dhaheri: Indeed, global problems and challenges are systemic problems and need systems thinking mindset to handle them. They must be approached as a system set which is interconnected and interdependent. I think that foresight is now the most important leadership skill of the 21st century. I'm saying this because the ability to effectively manage and harness and leverage the constant change around us is best dealt with through foresight. We live today in a highly uncertain volatile, complex and ambiguous world that is characterized as a VUCA world, which demands getting the proper insight, and acting upon that insight in order to navigate the world effectively. So, therefore, I believe that leaders and policymakers today need to acquire foresight skills. I can see that governments are investing to build capacity and capability by establishing foresight programs and training their staff and administrators in foresight. For example, in 2016 the UAE government has launched its future strategy with an aim of seizing opportunities and anticipating challenges, and so far, has trained more than 120 of its senior and mid managers in a one-year training program in foresight conducted by Oxford University. The goal is to have more than 500 Emarati futurists working in the government in different ministries and authorities to be able to explore the futures of health, education, water and energy, transportation, security and space. The government of the UAE has announced the year 2020 as the year for preparing “towards the next 50”. That means a lot need to be done using



foresight to prepare the country for the next 50 years. Our Centennial plan 2071 is a very ambitious vision. Our leadership wants the UAE to be the best country in the world by the next centennial in 2071. We at the Center for futures studies are looking to be part of this transformation and play an important role in this journey and engage with the government in some of these initiatives. I think we, the futurists community, need to create more awareness about futures thinking and to reach to a wider audience from the public and private sectors to educate and train people in this area through different means and mechanisms. It is sure along way, but the journey of a thousand mile must begin with a single step. Claire Nelson: I am assuming that because this Centre for Future Studies is at the University, the government is able to mandate that all its officials and leaders do this training, and they don't have a choice. So what you have accomplished so far, what role do you see the Centre playing in shaping the SDG 2030 process in Dubai, which has obviously begun, but also in the region, and then of course, in the wider world? Saeed Al Dhaheri: The Centre plays a leading role in educating, training and creating awareness about foresight. So, building capacity and capability in foresight in the government and the private sector organizations is one of our services. We are looking to start our professional diploma program in foresight from this September. We also conduct webinars and write special reports about the current and future pressing issues, such as “the world post COVID-19 report”, which I have

mentioned earlier in this interview. We have received good feedback from the foresight community about this report and we getting requests from futurists from other governments who want to translate the report into other languages and post it on their official websites. We also have established an executive board of well-known futurists and we engage them in some of the projects we undertake. We are looking to play a role regionally since there is a gap in this area that exists in the region which we feel we can address. With the expertise and skills that we have at the Centre, we have started to tackle issues such as the future post COVID-19, and we're looking to address more global issues such as climate change, poverty, education, water and energy, space, and bridging the digital divide between the rich and poor nations. Claire Nelson: How could your Centre and others, which you personally have influence over, create a global community of practice around this challenge, because I find a lot of the futurists who are in academia are not focused on actually addressing the current sustainability challenges of the world right now. So, the academicians ----- and they're doing great work, but not many of them are advocate or activist inclined. How do you believe this Centre that you are the Director of could help create the global community of practice around the challenge of meeting UN agenda 2030? Saeed Al Dhaheri: We strive to do so. I was recently nominated as president of the digital engineering chapter within the UAE Society of Engineers. We want to promote foresight as a science and promote the use of digital


technologies and sustainable materials in the design and construction of ecological future buildings in the UAE and the region. Foresight can play a big role in engineering when it comes to using new technologies and materials, not just only in the construction industry, but also in other engineering areas as we enter the fourth industrial revolution, connecting the physical, the digital and the biological world in new unimaginable ways to create value and efficiency in our world. I hope to succeed, to raise awareness and establish a community of practice in this new endeavor. I believe that through my role at the Center for Futures Studies we can spread awareness and create the interest in foresight locally and regionally. Claire Nelson: When you think about success in the year 2030 in news coming out of Dubai or Paris or Finland or Singapore, what are you seeing for 2030 headlines and stories about what success has happened? Saeed Al Dhaheri: Success in 2030 depends on how successful we are in ensuring that governments worldwide can work collectively and make progress

to achieve the targets of SDGs in terms of ending poverty, protecting the planet, and ensuring prosperity for everyone. I think that foresight will help us to transition from a position of reactive disruption to (one of) proactive transformation. I believe that the SDGs are both part of our legacy here in the United Arab Emirates, and of our plans for the future. Our leadership is very serious about this, and I refer here to His Highness, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi who first has established the prestigious Zayed sustainability prize in 2008. In his recent address during the last virtual G20 summit, held in Saudi Arabia in February 2020 that was chaired by Saudi Arabia King Salman bin Abdulaziz, he recalled a statement posted by King Salman calling for global unity in finding a response to the coronavirus pandemic. We see also his visible leadership drive in advancing renewable energy. Also, during the COVID-19, UAE played the role of donor to many countries. We see this as part of our [UAE] legacy to create a better world that we can all live in happily.

for those, including myself, who see COVID-19 as a chance for us to reset and to reboot our societies and accelerate progress towards achieving the SDGs. I hope that by 2030, if we can achieve 60-70% of the SDGs, I think that would be great. But that would require unity from leaders around the world. Unity from governments to work collectively to achieve those goals. Another of my goals is to start teaching the principles of futures thinking in our schools ---- in high school, and even in elementary schools in a very simple way, to be able to influence our children, to think about the world they will live in, in the future. If the leaders today cannot agree on climate change and binding SDGs, then I hope that our youth and our children, the future leaders, will feel more compelled to agree on those issues.

Claire Nelson: One more question. If you would wager a guess, how close are we to achieving the SDGs especially in healthcare in 2030? 50 percent? 75 percent? Saeed Al Dhaheri: Futurists does not make predictions because often predictions are wrong, but rather anticipate the future. We are far from achieving the SDGs by 2030. There are two views about this. There is a view which says that the pandemic is going to delay progress towards achieving the SDG. And there is the optimistic view



Felipe Arocena

he world has stopped. For the first time in our lives we see a planet that has come to a standstill. There are no flights between the United States and Europe, the two most influential areas for decades. China closed its borders to the outside world and immobilized 1.2 billion people. The Asian giant paralyzed the world economy and left a fleet of ships adrift, many of which had set sail from South America, some from Montevideo transporting wood and meat that were left without destination. Today, half of the species is confined to their homes. There are no tourists on the Taj Mahal. Since February Mecca does not receive any more crowds of Muslim pilgrims. The pyramids of Egypt are at rest. The Rue Mouffetard no longer sells crepes and its cobblestones shine polished by the soles of other shoes that today do not walk it. Nobody pisses on the Place de Saint Sulpice anymore. Broadway is deserted and the lights on its canopies look like lux tubes left on in a night kitchen without a cook and with the family asleep. The 9 de Julio in Buenos Aires, the widest avenue of the world, doesn't have the swarm of Renaults or taxis zipping around the hundred and forty meters of asphalt surrounding the obelisk. In El Alto, the Aymara do not sell cheap tools, diapers and trinkets at the fair. I look at the sky and I don't see any white lines from the jet planes, as we used to say in childhood. I go out to the

EPPUR NON SI MUOVE balcony and Richard, the unfailing and vocal valet, is not there. Noon arrives and the noise of the teenagers in the high school is not heard. The world has come to a halt. I never thought it possible. If they had told me a year ago that this was going to happen I wouldn't have believed it. I mean, not the new flu pandemic for which we have no vaccine, that was very likely to happen. It had been anticipated and was part of the collective imagination. What I would never have envisioned possible is the world coming to a halt. That countries could convince citizens to isolate themselves in their homes. That they would close borders in Europe not for African immigrants, but for the Spaniards, Italians or English themselves. All restaurants have low metal curtains. Hollywood hibernates. Messi, Suarez, Neymar and thousands of footballers train alone in their homes. The greatest show on earth has sent its players to safety. Billions of dollars frozen. The Olympic Games are postponed. Wimbledon is cancelled for the first time since World War II. Teachers give virtual classes to students locked inside four walls. Brothel beds are cold. The wars have died down and the ineffable Colombian ELN proposed a unilateral truce. Tesla offered to derive his career from automotive automation to manufacture mechanical respirators. What paradox is this that we are experiencing? In the century of the greatest technological and social acceleration, the world has come to a

standstill. We have been able to stop it! This time in response to the terror of a deadly contagion and in defence of the humanist values of preserving the lives of the weakest. On this occasion the cause was an urgent reaction provoked by fear and that is why so many are suffering the consequences of a hard economic crisis marked by growing unemployment, the collapse of companies, the fall into poverty, or the tedium of quarantine. But perhaps, when this pandemic passes, now that we know we can put the brakes on the system, we can think of other causes to slow it down. For example, easing the pressure on the planetary ecosystem could be one good reason, improving the quality of life could be another. Braking does not necessarily have to be synonymous with economic crisis, as it is now. The accelerated capitalist world seemed unstoppable and yet (at least for a short time, because it will be readjusted) today it is not moving. For a skeptic like me this has been a singular discovery.



Hans Khoe James Boyd Megan CansямБeld Kelsey Weimer*





Introduction COVID-19 vaccination is of critical importance. Many aspects of global affairs in the coming years will be determined by key questions regarding vaccination, such as development success, development actors involved, vaccine distribution patterns, and access rates across populations. Below, we present three alternative scenarios on possible outcomes regarding COVID-19 vaccine development and distribution within the context of state and institutional decision-making, with particular attention to socio-economic and geopolitical consequences. They are differentiated as follows: “The OK” (multiple vaccines developed and distributed), “The Bad” (only one vaccine developed and distributed), and “The Ugly” (no vaccines developed). Each future transpires according to parallel themes that diverge according to key policy decisions. We remain confident that with careful decision-making and adequate preparation, the relevant international actors can realize the “OK” future, one which, though imperfect, is nonetheless preferable relative to the other futures that we envision. Failure to do so may realize futures closer to the “Bad” or “Ugly” futures that we describe. We advance an “OK” future, rather than a “Good” one, in light of the suboptimal decisions that have already caused suffering to befall populations worldwide and in recognition of the various interrelated epidemiological and governance crises that currently characterize the status quo. We presume the consequences of decisions to be irreversible in the short-term, such that

each decision counts. We thus hope to demonstrate the consequential gravity of each phase of COVID-19 vaccination in our alternative futures.

Best Case: The OK Best Case: The OK Multiple effective low-cost vaccines are developed in adequate supply and distribution chains are decentralized across multiple producers, easing intercountry competition for vaccine access. State procurement decisions follow pre-existing geopolitical alignments. Production of relevant products necessary for vaccines, such as medical glass, is increased. Vaccines are covered under insurance, but still require copays. However, the untreated populations are small enough to trace. Minority populations are underrepresented in early trials, but vaccine efficacy across demographics remains uniform. In light of vaccine scarcities, inequitable national-level distribution policies result in uneven access, further exacerbating the structural divisions responsible for such uneven access. Popular anger catalyzes protests demanding new policy or political reform. In the months that follow, NGOs fill the gaps in global vaccine distribution by funding and executing vaccination campaigns in poorer countries and marginalized communities. International organizations provide coordinated leadership and effective regulatory oversight to global vaccine distribution. International bodies are held in higher regard across the international



community thereafter, inspiring renewed commitment toward multilateral collaboration. Middle Case: The Bad Middle Case: The


Only one viable vaccine is created, which protects from COVID-induced pneumonia. However, upper respiratory tract infections linger, allowing for ongoing transmission. The need for booster vaccines within a year of the first dosage further complicates distribution. Vaccine efficacy is suboptimal for disproportionately affected populations underrepresented in trials. Private developers have little incentive to develop another vaccine for non-consuming poor populations, and international organizations and states with weak safety nets fail to underwrite the costs. New social stratifications based on treatment are formed, affecting mobility, employment, and access to services. Steroid treatments mitigate mortality rates, but public spending fails to guarantee access. Extensive campaigns by NGOs and philanthropic organizations, along with the development of economies of scale guaranteeing cheap vaccine production, are needed before marginalized communities receive adequate access. The nation that successfully develops the vaccine acquires greater political leverage, which it uses to extract

concessions from other countries in exchange for expedited access following prioritized local distribution. Geopolitical tensions worsen and international cooperation on COVID unravels as states choose to bandwagon with and/or build coalitions against the vaccine-producing country. Bidding wars inflate the price for vaccines under development, restricting affordability to a small number of nations. Recipient countries that suffer from endemic corruption and political patronage experience elite capture of distributions. States successful in executing distribution policies provide doses to healthcare workers, the elderly, and at-risk patients. Middle-income states face difficulties in securing sufficient international loan financing to afford the vaccine. Low-income states, many already indebted, face less-publicized recurring seasonal bouts of COVID, and take on additional loans that pandemic conditions make even harder to amortize or indemnify. Organized crime and militant groups fill the power vacuum in weak states with minimal state provisions by offering black market vaccines, informal treatment, and other basic services to citizens, gaining local support that translates into enhanced political legitimacy. With ineffective international oversight, hazardous counterfeits

proliferate among the world’s disparate vaccine and treatment supply networks. Media conspiracies and internet disinformation campaigns accuse the producing country and company of foul play, generating widespread suspicion, lowering vaccine demand, and hampering progress towards herd immunity. Mass emigration increases, exacerbating global refugee crises and immigration issues, as well as fomenting further ethno-nationalist trends in nations receiving migrants. Worst Case: The Ugly

Worst Case: The Ugly Pre-existing geopolitical rivalries and tensions prompt states to politicize cooperation on vaccine development, testing, and/or production. Mutual gains are forfeited as states insist on zero-sum policies of first access. Resulting research deadlocks and supply chain impasses prevent the development of a vaccine that is effective and consistent across demographics. The US, EU, and China each launch unilateral vaccine projects, but with timelines extended by years. COVID mutates from droplet to airborne transmission, causing increased infection rates with pronounced peaks in dense and low-income urban centers. Waves of COVID outbreaks recur around the world, fluctuating with the flu, cyclical lockdown orders, and inconsistent social distancing.

AUTHOR AFFILIATIONS: Hans Khoe, James Boyd, Megan Cansfield, Kelsey Weimer - The Millennium Project - Washington, D.C. Hans Khoe - Westmont College - Santa Barbara, CA James Boyd - The New School - New York City



Megan Cansfield - Peking University - Beijing, China Kelsey Weimer - Dartmouth College - Hanover, NH *Author note: Special thanks to Jerome Glenn at The Millennium Project for his encouragement, feedback, and edits.


As the global depression from indefinitely interrupted economic activity deepens, global trade falls due to eroding buying power worldwide, and consumer spending staggers to a halt.

to the vaccine, stoking violence. Bioweapon risks grow as state power reshuffles, population surveillance increases, and eugenic disinformation foments domestic polarization.


  

Commodity prices plummet, causing sharp contraction in the economies of top exporters and particularly in exportdependent economies and financial commodity markets. Small business failure threatens to burst collateralized loan obligation bubbles. Unemployment spikes worldwide, and civil unrest becomes widespread. As appetites for diplomacy and compromise dissipate, armed conflicts flare up over long-standing political and social tensions – sometimes in urban areas – and over control of resources in contested regions. Opportunistic political leaders exploit the smokescreen of the crisis to extend emergency power and advance controversial domestic or foreign policy agendas. Targeted misinformation campaigns invoke rhetoric of genetic impurity to blame populations unresponsive

role to play in shaping COVID-19 vaccine outcomes. Inter-institutional initiatives for accountability, cooperation, and foresight will be necessary in order to coordinate decision-making, collectively monitor and anticipate decision consequences, and minimize negative externalities. As such, planning and execution of organization must occur at local, federal, and international levels to ensure a sufficiently vaccinated population. In place of blind optimism, we recommend a broadened scope of responsibility and heightened attention to interrelated actions.

As inter-state cooperation diminishes, the capacity of international organizations to enforce multilateral treaties and maintain norms weakens further. An ever-greater number adopt isolationist approaches and ethno-nationalist policies, pushing the conclusion of the crisis indefinitely into the future. Conclusion Conclusion As we have endeavored to communicate, policy makers involved in vaccine trials, medical research, trade policy, health policy, supply chain management, NGOs, international organizations, law enforcement, private firms, ambassadors, watchdogs, banking, finance, media, intelligence, migration policy, defense policy, and data analysis – amongst other responsibilities – all have a



Charlotte Bernard


am Charlotte Bernard, a Gen Z. As you may all know, my generation’s going to live in a world in which climate change and actions against all type of pollution will be part of our everyday life. Thus, I wanted to know more about the impact I could have on my future. I wouldn’t want to spend my childhood hearing about climate change and pessimistic futures without knowing all the possible futures, whether they are great or not. This is why I joined WFSF; to actually understand how futurists work, how they try to write alternative plausible futures we may possibly live and how we escape to the most terrible ones. Actually, one of the reasons I am delighted to be a member of WFSF is that it gives me exposure to futures thinking. Futurists can envision what potential futures might look like, letting us choose what is our preferred future. And, as a Gen Z, I have a preferred future. First, I wish everyone could change their eating habits. Since many years, one eats meat – and by meat, I mean fish and meat - once a day, or sometimes twice a day. Nowadays, many people become vegan, vegetarian

or pesco-vegetarian. But I don’t think one needs to change our diet so drastically. If everyone only eats meat two or three times each week, and eats local, the future of our world would change really fast. Second, I wish we could travel less. I don’t mean to stop travelling really far, because I still want to visit different countries in my life, but maybe once every two years instead of every year. One of the ways to make the world more aware is activism. This has often taken the shape of not going to school, demonstrate, debate, visit countries. Last year, demonstrations where happening in Paris as I was at school. Many schoolmates of my sister’s went to them and missed school. I was happy my school allowed its students to demonstrate. But with the pandemic of COVID-19, we, I hope for less than 24 months, will have to adapt. We won’t be able to act as before. Great actions were happening all around the world: some endangered species were reappearing in few locations, laws reduced massive utilization of plastic in some countries. Even if we still had a lot to call into question, we were going in

a good direction. But, since COVID-19, for health reasons, we use a lot more plastic everyday than before, to avoid the spread of the virus. Without a vaccine, we’ll need to continue this production of plastic. I am worried about what my future will look like and how things will end up if several natural disasters like COVID-19 occur to happen. In the future, I don’t want to have a lifestyle that is extreme and completely different from what I’m living now. But I know our world will change, and maybe I won’t have the same opportunities than today. This is why everyone should make an effort. It is time for us to change our everyday life, not only because some want to, but because we need to. For our children, for us, for new generations. We need to change our habits to live in a better world.

BIO: I was born in France, in 2004. I am a Gen Z. I am currently a high school student, and majors include math, history and English for my “baccalauréat”. I also practice several sports such as dance, jujitsu and play the piano. I am interested in ecology, thinking about and protecting our future, which is why after a visit to Silicon Valley, I joined WFSF (as the 3rd Junior member).




Radman Khorshidian Pouyan Bizeh Niloofar Samimi Future City Innovation Lab





to deal with uncertain situations like this. Our response was to sort and classify the possible impacts of the pandemic on the society and human life and link them together along causal and temporal lines in a futures wheel to make sense of the bigger picture. This would also help us to crowdsource the knowledge, spread the word, and ask our peers and colleagues to contribute to a larger, shared wheel; one that demonstrates not a specific group's visions, but our shared hopes, fears, and desires of our future.

This article is about an online tool you can access here: This is still under development, thus some of the features may not be fully operational at the time of your reading. We would appreciate your comments and contributions to this futures wheel.

Interactive, Web-based Interactive, Web-based Futures Wheel Futures Wheel COVID-19 pandemic flourished the inner futurist of many, bombarding our brains with predictions of the so-called post-COVID era, from the seasoned futurists to the laymen. We were confused but we knew that this was not the way

In the beginning and for the lack of a better tool, we used an online, free platform. Soon we noticed the challenges we had with it since it was not developed for this exact purpose. We then listed the features we needed for our tool: 1. The platform should be visually thorough, understandable, and engaging. 2. It should be free and available for everyone around the world to facilitate data entry procedures from wherever possible and also promote our online inclusive agenda. 3. It should be capable of receiving data inputs and confirming them before modifying the futures wheel. 4. It should be real-time and interactive, meaning that different users should be able to manipulate and even play around the wheel to find new

aspects in the whole map. 5. We should have access to the raw accumulated data at all times. This is mainly for reproduction purposes. (i.e. visualizing the data in other formats in the future.) We examined major online whiteboard tools like Miro and MindMeister and tried more conceptually relevant tools like Visual Paradigm and Futures Platform. Those were great tools but none met our aforementioned criteria. Some lack features to facilitate data entry. Some are not suitable for data visualization purposes, making it very hard to communicate with people beyond our circles. Therefore, we decided to develop a web-based and interactive wheel, suiting not only this current inquiry but our future projects too. We designed the UX/UI of this tool and then started the programming part. We used the Javascript data visualization framework called D3 for data visualization and deployed CSS and HTML to make this scheme alive. Data entry was a complex challenge. We avoided making a profile/account system and instead tried to use already existing Google accounts through pop-up Google Forms, where people can enter their suggestions and comments.



COVID-19 Futures Wheel Wheel COVID-19 Futures

a system to determine the depth and magnitude of different impacts. We asked

We modified the concept of a futures

different experts in the fields of Sociology,

wheel for our COVID-19 inquiry. In our

Psychology, Urban Planning, Economics,

model, we preferred the temporal

Technology, etc. and challenged them

sequence of the impacts/events to the linear causality of them, meaning that

to find the impacts of the pandemic on

the further we move from the center, the later the events may occur. they may or may not be a direct effect of any previous impact/impact. The wheel can show if any

their respective disciplines and contribute to the wheel.

Afterthought Afterthought

impact/trend is decreasing, increasing, emerging, or being abolished altogether. It can also show how intense and severe

for us, and one we seek to develop

the impact would be. An important

further in the future. Our initial

feature we had in mind was how to show the lasting effect of these impacts. Some may vanish as soon as the pandemic ends, some can have longer-lasting effects and even cause a paradigm shift.

Overall, this was a learning experience

experience was how comforting it is to sort a large amount of data through interactive visualization that is available on the internet. We noticed that seeing the entirety of the wheel and spending

Before laying out the components

some time on it can help us connect

of this futures wheel, we assumed that

new impacts that were not known to

the pandemic will not cause a major

be connected before. It also helped us

systemic collapse, in other words, we are

seeing larger patterns and trends and

not talking about a new civilization but a deeply altered one. We also assumed that we don’t know and can't know if the effects of this pandemic are permanent or temporary, or even how long they will last.

potentially reaching for some conclusions in the future. It can also be a new tool for the online workshops we usually hold for corporations and individuals, scanning their possible futures and training them

Based on these assumptions, we added new nodes and links and created



to be more futures literate.

Alessandro Fergnani Zhaoli Song 1


n this project we attempted to do something very timely while surprisingly ignored in futures research. We analyzed a large sample of science fiction films using a rigorous grounded theory approach with the goal to find archetypal patterns that can be used in foresight practice as predetermined images of the future to create scenarios in organizations and communities. The inspiration to embark on this project came from two parallel observations we had while reviewing the futures studies literature as well as recent trends in foresight practice. The first observation is that Jim Dator’s four scenario archetypes method, which consists in using the four archetypal futures Continued Growth, Collapse, Discipline and Transformation as generic, predetermined images of the future to create alternative scenarios2, is still a rather unquestioned and widely used scenario methodology despite the fact that it has never been rigorously tested. By “tested” we mean using scientific methodologies to verify the truthfulness of the rationale behind this method, that is, that the four original archetypes can parsimoniously explain the variation of human imagination



Idea in Brief Fergnani & Song (National University of Singapore) report their two-years long experience in researching 140 science fiction films to uncover a new set of scenario archetypes. The archetypes serve

about possible futures, and therefore, that they can be used as predetermined images of the future to stretch one’s futures thinking1. Indeed, one could argue that human imagination goes beyond these archetypes, that there are other archetypal images of the future that we can use in foresight practice, or that given that the original archetypes were collected by looking at various reports, speculations and fictions about the future a few decades ago3, more recent human artifacts might conceal a different set of archetypes. In sum, we were intrigued by the question of whether other archetypes exist and can be used in foresight practice. The second observation is that the field of science fiction has been making phenomenal inroads both within and beyond futures and foresight. Science fiction has been recognized as a legitimate source of inspiration in foresight practice, au pair with other foresight methods4. This is mirrored by the expansion of science fiction prototyping, speculative fiction, and worldbuilding, domains that overlap with our field in their aim to build alternative futures, and that in a way or another use science fiction as a foresight methodology. However, and perhaps because this field of inquiry is young, no systematic investigation of large samples of science fiction artifacts have been carried out to extract methodological patterns that can be used in foresight practice. The existing work in science fiction prototyping and speculative fiction, for instance, uses case studies5, and the written material we currently have at our disposal on this topic consists



as the foundation of a novel foresight methodology suitable to imagine alternatives futures in times of turbulence.

in essays and theoretical treaties rather than methodological arguments6. This is in sharp contrast with the repeated methodological recommendations, found in practitioners’ journal outlets7, to use science fiction in organizational settings to think of unimaginable futures in order to develop resilience. When we put together these two observations, we reached our a-aha moment: the necessity to investigate and extract archetypes from science fiction artifacts to the avail of current organizations and communities became clear. Science fiction appears to be the perfect ground where one could discover unthinkable scenario archetypes, as this field is well known to stretch the boundary of human imagination about the future. We decided to start with science fiction films, as films offer a very comprehensive and complex portrayal of tomorrow’s worlds in a limited time frame, which facilitated the timeline of our research endeavor, in line with the pressing requirement to investigate a new set of scenario archetypes for foresight practice. We carried out the research following rigorous grounded theory guidelines, a qualitative research approach widely used across the social sciences, which helped us to enhance the transparency of our findings and the replicability of our research design. We report our findings after two years of investigation: a set of six archetypes, which we renamed Growth & Decay, Threats & New Hopes, Wasteworlds, The Powers that Be, Disarray, and Inversion, according to their underlying archetypal structure. As one would expect, these

archetypes are rather nuanced when compared to the original four generic futures in many ways. The first archetype, for instance, named Growth & Decay, involves the continuation of a growth trajectory, but also the decadence and deterioration of some aspects of human society. This appears a more likely image of the future if compared to the Continued Growth archetype which, in its original formulation, was a future of bright progress. We also found two different variations of the Collapse scenario: Wasteworlds and Disarray. The former focuses on the aftermath of a catastrophic event or phenomenon; the latter zeroes in on the collapse process itself. Other archetypes also involve more sophisticated treatments of the original Transformation scenario, albeit in different forms. Interestingly, the six archetypes all involve crises situations in the environment, and are an ideal ground to test organizations and communities’ resilience to unthinkable external events, making our findings rather timely to explore alternative futures in a turbulent environment as of today, especially in view of what the world has experienced in the past year. The archetypes help us to think about the unthinkable systematically while at the same time being straightforward in their application. The first case study where we had the chance to apply this framework in foresight practice involved using the six archetypes to create scenarios of work for the city of South Bend, Indiana (US), where the first author was appointed


as a Visiting Associate of Policy and Practice with the University of Notre Dame. The archetypes were used to imagine how the future of education and manufacturing in the region, from the focal point of view of the workplace, could change fifteen years from now. While the manuscript reporting the six resulting scenarios has been submitted for publication, we are currently working on a follow-up case study on how to translate these scenarios into actionable insights for local policymakers, educators, practitioners, and change agents in South Bend. With this research, we aimed to break two grounds. The first ground is to expand and update the four generic scenario archetypes methodology. Indeed, that method is an undeniably powerful tool to imagine the futures. It has been widely used and widely accepted; and it has enhanced the futures thinking capabilities of organizations and communities all over the globe. However, futures and foresight evolve, and with it its theories and methods. The second ground, tied

to the first, is that we hope to encourage other futures and foresight researchers to undertake more rigorous research. Much of the research work in our field consists of case studies, from which it is very difficult to create shared theoretical foundations and to improve the field incrementally. Our research process is a transparent analysis which can be replicated, and we hope it will, by exploring novel archetypes in various untapped sources of data.

communities and of whether it can be used to create, not just grow prepared for, alternative futures; and finally the potential hybridization of this method with other foresight tools. Our team is already busy in more than one of these tasks, so if you wish to collaborate on this project, you are more than welcome to reach out to us!

Indeed, we have barely scratched the surface of this topic, and we see this project just as the starting point of a far-reaching agenda, both in research and practice, as much more has to be done in this direction. The six archetypes might be just the first of many new sets of archetypes that can be discovered by further research, which we hope will look at other samples of science fiction artifacts and beyond. Additional research opportunities that this project opens up are the triangulation and validation of the method in different contexts; the verification of whether it can lead to favorable outcomes in organizations and

NOTES: 1. Acknowledgements: the authors wish to thank Yizhen Lu, Saqiful Alam, and Juliet Mao for their indispensable assistance in this project. 2. Dator, J. (2009). Alternative Futures at the Manoa School. Journal of Futures Studies, 14(2): 1-18. 3. See the interview with Jim Dator (Futurepod): podcast/2019/6/23/ep-25-new-beginnings-jim-dator 4. Von Stackelberg, P., & McDowell, A. (2015). What in the World? Storyworlds, Science Fiction, and Futures Studies. Journal of Futures Studies, 20(2): 25-46. 5. See, for instance: Johnson, B. D. (2011). Science Fiction Prototyping: Designing the future with science fiction. Morgan & Claypool. 6. See, for instance: Lombardo, T. (2018). Science Fiction - The Evolutionary

Mythology of the Future. Changemakers Books. 7. Merchant, B. (2018). Nike and Boeing Are Paying Sci-Fi Writers to Predict Their Futures. Medium OneZero. Retrieved from: nike-and-boeing-arepaying-sci-fi-writers-to-predict-their-futures-fdc4b6165fa4 Peper, E. (2017). Why Business Leaders Need to Read More Science Fiction. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from: why-business-leaders-need-to-read-morescience-Fiction Romeo, N. (2017). Better business through sci-fi. The New York Times. Retrieved from: better-business-through-sci-fi




Tyler Mongan


Before his conquest of Asia, Alexander the Great consulted the oracle at Delphi, demanding to know the future of his actions. The Delphi’s prophecy was

scenarios and global strategists articulated a growing concern that a pandemic was on the horizon. Did leadership trust the foresight and action to prepare?

that “Alexander was invincible.” Alexander’s trust in these words drove him and his army forward, conquering the lands from Northeast Africa to Central Asia.

The 2019 Edelman Global Trust Barometers revealed a low level of trust in organizations, media, and political systems throughout the global. Further,

Casandra was another gifted foresight practitioner of ancient Greece, but cursed with the flaw that nobody would trust what she foretold. Imagine if Alexander had consulted Cassandra instead of the Oracle of Delphi. The same words, “Alexander was

trust in the capability of organizations and political systems to “think” about the future is higher than trust in an organization’s capability to take “action" on the foresight [2].

invincible” would have been spoken, but he would have distrusted the prophecy and turned his army back to Greece. “The Great” would have been left out of his name. Cassandra’s Curse is a reminder that foresight requires trust.

There seems to be a correlation in leadership failure to take action on foresight and decrease in leadership trust. In a post-pandemic world leaders will need to focus on building their foresight capabilities, while also cultivating an environment of trust. A demonstration of trust starts with leadership taking

Research shows that 71% of firms exhibited a low level of future readiness and most firms admitted their leadership is not prepared for the future [1]. The

action on the foresight. This trust will inspire others to action. In a post-pandemic world it seems that “actions” will speak louder than words.

pandemic has been a global stress test for leadership future readiness. For several years epidemiology

REFERNCES: [1] Rohrbeck, R. and Kum, M. E. (2018) ‘Corporate foresight and its impact on firm performance: A longitudinal analysis’, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 129(4), pp. 105–116. https://doi.org10.1016/j.techfore.2017.12.013 [2] Edelman Intelligence (2020). Edelman Trust Barometer 2020 (PDF):




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