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Reload this page Forecasting the Future

This page discusses predictions of the future as the basis for developing action plans to imeplement strategies.


Topics this page:

  • Predictions
  • The Possible
  • Paradigms 
  • The Probable 
  • The Preferred 
  • The Scientific Method 
  • Your comments???

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      “The illiterate of the future are not those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” —Alvin Toffler (Futurist).

      “In the field of observation, chance favors the prepared mind,” —Louis Pasteur.

      “I'm not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today.” —William Allen White

      Everyone can be —needs to be a Futurist.

      • When you buy something, you have a good sense of how valuable and reliable that item will be to you over its useful life — the product's life cycle and the Total Cost of Ownershipanother page on this site.

      • When you leave your home for a trip, you know the weather and road conditions of the routes you might take.

      • When you select an occupation, take a job prospect, follow a leader, or form a relationship, you understand what you're getting yourself into — what might happen and the benefits and drawbacks.

      • You know the possible consequences.

        The difference is whether you choose to capitalize on your knowledge and instincts.

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    Set screen Instant Predictions On Your Future! Ask the Prognosticator! Hey, this is a joke, guys!

        Welcome to JavaScript 8 Ball!
      David O'Tousa's giant artificial intelligence programming now can accurately answer your every question about the future!
      Type your question below, then press the grey box. Your answer appears on the left.

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    Set screen Categories of Future Thinking

      "The Great Wave of Kanagawa" by Katsushika Hokusai.  Get this print framed on your wall!
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      Set screen Paradigms

      Joel Barker popularized the concept of "Paradigms" — when each new major innovation COMPLETELY changes the assummed rules applicable in an earlier generation of technology. New technologies create not just a new ball game, but a different game altogether. Examples from historyanother page on this site:

      • Printing presses changed who could read and sparked the Age of Rennaisance.
      • Electricity changed what could be made and fueled the Industrial Revolution.
      • Railroads changed the distance people could travel and conquered the Western frontier.
      • Airplanes changed the way war is waged, made castles obsolete.
      • Automobiles changed the mobility of the entire population and created a flexible workforce.
      • Telephones and faxes changed the way business is conducted.
      • The Internet is changing how one gets value from knowledge. It is making assigned desks in an office obsolete.

      • What will wireless make obsolete?
      • What will Multimedia make obsolete?
      • What will utility deregulation make obsolete?

      Exercise 1: Ideal Lifestyle. If you win or inherit $10 million dollars right now, what would your do with it? Where would you like to travel or live? What would you like to do there? Who would you want to be with?

    " of the marks of a paradigm shift is that what used to be considered peripheral, moves to center stage." —Thomas Kuhn

    Our work as a Futurist is to be mindful of the possibilities while focusing on understanding what is probable so that you can optimize your resources and actions toward achieving the most preferred situation for yourself and your organization.

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    Set screen What is Probable?

      This question is in the realm of Forecasters who measure existing trends and extrapolate statistics to calculate likely future conditions.

      Age Wave

      An example of forecasting is finding out (from census studies) that the median age of a population in the United States is about 35 today, then predicting a much older population of about 42 in the year 2020. One author named this trend the "Age Wave". Among the trends identified by Futurist Faith Popcorn is the term "AtmosFear" — for society's fear of the basic necessities of life such as air, water, and food.

      Exercise 2: Projected Lifestyle. Given what you already have now and what you can do, what is the most likely course your life will take in the next 5 years? Where would you likely be living over time? What would you be or do over time? Who will you be with?

      Our task as a Forecaster is to make provision (budget) for possibilities that might happen while preparing for what is probable.

      William Strauss and Neil Howe categorize generations into 4 Archetypes:

      Born Cur.Age Nickname Archetype
      1904-1924 75+ G.I. - Born during a crisis; they are a meek and mild generation who are sensitive to other's needs and are indecisive as leaders.
      1925-1942 60-74 Silent / Elders
    • A prophet
    • Born in a civilization high of springtime. They are inwardly focused on spiritual values. They rebel in youth, but become morally authoritarian in old age during a crisis.
      1946-1960 41-59 Boomers -
    • A nomad
    • Born in a summer of consciousness revolution and aren't raised very well since their elder parents are more focused on themselves than their children. This generation is considered a lost or bad generation in which crime and immorality increase with its rising.
      1965-1983 22-40 Busters / Gen-Xers (13th)
    • A hero
    • Born in the fall of an unraveling; they become the heroes during a crisis when they are young adults.
      1984-2002 18-21 Millenials / Mosaics artist Born during a crisis; they are a meek and mild generation who are sensitive to other's needs and are indecisive as leaders.

      The authors also found that opportunities and trends follow a predictable course based on how the generations lined up during their aging process, much like seasons of the year:

      • In Spring, there is a civilizational high of good behavior, peace, and prosperity but also stultifying conformity and spiritual deadness. Our last Spring was late 40s to late 60s, where institutions are erected and high morals characterize society.

      • In Summer, there is a consciousness revolution, in which the younger generation rebels against their elders and their institutions. Our last Summer was late 60s to early 80s, an inwardly focused time of turmoil where morals and institutions are questions and razed.

      • In Fall, there is an unraveling in which people turn inwards and focus on their private satisfactions and let public institutions and the community values fall into neglect. Our last Autumn was early 80s to early 2000s, a season of unraveling, where society begins to accept the new ideology.

      • In Winter, there is a crisis of usually war or economic depression that forces everyone to become more communal and morally strict again.

      Set screen The Scientific Method

        Rain Drop by Damon Hart-Davis in England.
      1. Purpose
      2. Hypothesis
      3. Experiment
      4. Data
      5. Conclusions

      Set screen Science Fiction Novels

      Novels set in the future are categorized as "science fiction".

      George Orwell's 1984 (written in 1949) is the quintessential novel about living in a future made bleak by state control made possible by technology. [listen to it on CD] Analyze it with the Bloom's guide or Cliff's Notes.

      "Rainbow's End" by Vernor Vinge (a math and computer science professor from the University of California at San Diego) imagines how technology will change and impact society over the coming years as science fiction novel about a man who wakes up after a 20 year fog in 2025, and adjusting to ubiquitious computing and the state control that enables. Vinge is a Hugo Award winner for his 1993 sci-fi classic "A Fire Upon The Deep".


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    Set screen What is Preferred?

      This question is in the realm of Strategists who explore possible and probable futures to develop a realistic vision for the kind of future they would like, then planning actions to achieve that state of affairs. An example of this is someone who would like a pollution free world, then developing or working with organizations to lobby government officials, conduct public relations campaigns to public citizens, etc.

      Strategists try to understand the complex dynamics among various variables which interact to form specific scenarios. Strategists aim to develop a plan of action which impact key environmental conditions which in turn force variables to "naturally" have the outcome preferred.

      Exercise 3: Preferred Lifestyle. If you could make achievable changes to what you already do with your time and other resources, what could you achieve in the next 5 years? Where could you live? What could you be or do? Who could you be with?

      There are different dimensions to explore:
    • Technological . These include micro-minature electronics.
    • Social One of the concepts in Alvin Toffler's classic book, “Future Shock”, is “High Tech - High Touch”.
    • Political "Techological migrant workers"
    • Spiritual .

    Happy Morning by Edward Dufner.  Get this print framed on your wall!
    Get this print framed for your wall!

    “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” —Oliver Wendell Holmes

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    another page on this site Prophesies 
    another page on this site Attitudes 

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