Demographics and Human Resources
Annotated Scenarios Bibliography excerpt from 2010 State of the Future report
Mapping the Future of the Internet Onto Global Scenarios – A Preliminary View. International Institute for Sustainable Development. Scenario workshop series. Heather Creech, Maja Andjelkovic, Tony Vetter, Don MacLean, Dale Rothman and Philip J. Vergragt. January, 2010/21p.Report/www.issd.org This workshop collaboration is an attempt to map internet futures onto established global scenarios developed by the Global Scenario Group (GSG). Global futures are traditionally developed by a combination of a forecasting methods, backcasting methods and scenarios that describe undesirable futures. On a global level, there is growing recognition of the urgent need to reconcile economic growth with environmental sustainability and social development. All global environmental trend reports appear to point to declines in the capacity of the earth’s ecosystems in the future. The internet is therefore becoming a feasible and important means to coordinate resolutions to this challenge through openness, security, diversity, access and governance of critical Internet resources. Innovations by Shell, the Global Scenario Group (Tellus and Stockholm Environment Institutes), the United Nations Environment Programme and others have taught the value of scenaros in for helping policy experts consider the decisions needed to advance the most desirable outcomes. The following scenarios link or “handshake” the GSG scenarios with critical driving forces that are shaping Internet futures. These storylines are a synthesis of the outputs of the three workshops. [Here are excerpts from the report:] Scenario 1) Policy Reform (Regulated Market): The GSG Policy Reform scenario proposes that strong government policies be developed to harmonize economic growth with a broad set of social and environmental goals. This scenario is often considered to represent incremental (as opposed to transformational) change towards sustainability. Within this scenario, the Internet evolves as follows: The Policy Reform world is characterized by a successful market-based model for the development and deployment of the Internet, accompanied by strong government policy. Innovation is high, although not maximized, since specific policy decisions restrict certain types of activity: security issues, including annoyances such as spam and malware are resolved through centralized solutions that force tradeoffs of freedoms to innovate at the network edge. Internet content is highly developed, and financing for Internet infrastructure is secure. There are innovative program funds focusing on ensuring universal access, allowing increased teleworking, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and facilitating international collaboration around issues related to global security, trade, the environment and others. The digital solidarity fund, an Internet tax on e-commerce of 1–2 per cent enjoys broad support, and generates income used to cross-subsidize access in places where it is not readily and easily available. Most of the content is not proprietary and there are no concerns about the dominance of large firms or conglomerates online. Open source solutions are widely accepted as the norm. IPv6 has successfully replaced IPv4, after a smooth transition. Basic universal access for all is achieved. It is maintained as a public good and pricing arrangements reflect this notion as their foundation. Policy supports business models that ensure investment in the network and on the perimeter, in a natural progression of the Internet from the1990s and early 2000s. Regulation of a number of Internet activities has been brought into force as a result of a number of crises, including those related to climate, global finance and security. For instance, with GHG emissions caps and other incentives for reducing the human-made carbon footprint, server farms have become more efficient: instead of thousands of smaller farms, traffic relies on hundreds of bigger and better managed ones, strategically placed in geographic locations where their footprint is minimized. The cloud, which has led to a reduced need for computational power in consumer devices, has played a role in lowering the cost of providing universal access. Instead of PCs, home users rely on microprocessors in appliances (TVs, cell phones, etc.) for computing power. A reduction in the number of PCs would translate into environmental savings. Although innovative policies promote the development of online public services, many aspects of daily life are highly dependent on the stability and security of the Internet, increasing systemic risk to the system as a whole. Significant investment into network and service redundancy is required to avoid the possibility of global crisis triggered by failures in the system. Investment in, and oversight of these safeguards necessitates some governmental involvement in international agreements around the governance of the Internet. On balance, the model relies on government-business collaboration to ensure bottom-up development, economic, social and environmental sustainability and an enabling environment for private sector investment. Scenario 2) Unregulated Market Scenario. Powerful actors in the Unregulated Market Scenario advance economic growth through largely Mapping the Future of the Internet onto Global Scenarios: A preliminary view of unregulated markets that are also unfettered by environmental and social policy concerns. Governments are not necessarily weak; they have simply chosen a laissez-faire approach to mostaspects of public policy. There is no consideration of equity for the poor and marginalized—those who are not in positions to help themselves. In this scenario, the unregulated market goes through business cycles analogous to a sine wave. Internet issues play out in the following way: With respect to the development and deployment of the Net, there are no intellectual property protections, no competition law and no business restrictions of any kind. Certain activities (for instance, reuse and modification of copyright protected material, music file sharing andcollective knowledge production), previously considered to be violations of privacy, copyright and intellectual property rights (IPR) laws, as well as industrial espionage now flourish. Economic actors openly engage in cyber skirmishes and private information is traded as a commodity. As predicted by game theory, however, businesses eventually develop their own regulatory mechanisms to address some inefficiencies of market mechanisms. Over time, economies of scale allow the market to become dominated by a diminishing number of major players. In a natural progression, however, new technologies occasionally disrupt the established interests, returning the playing field to a multitude of smaller players, and restarting the cycle. Given the increasingly central role of the Internet in the global economy, employment flexibility—both on the part of employers and employees—is the norm, and traditional job security does not exist. With the IPR regimes gone, the open source community has the theoretical potential to thrive; however, encouraging new software development is difficult, since the cost of support is too great. Local and user-generated content flourish, although commercial benefit is difficult to realize in the points along the business cycle where few businesses dominate the market. Commercially viable enterprise is redefined and hinges on service delivery. Innovation follows the business cycle: it is very high when the business cycle is disrupted by new technologies, and stifled when major players eliminate their competition. Interoperability is difficult to achieve at the low points in the sine-wave cycle, i.e., where there are many market players. Since there is no competition law, individual companies are pushing for market share by developing those aspects of the Internet that can create high barriers of entry. Following a cyclical trend, this occasionally leads to a more fragmented Internet where the end-to-end connectivity principle is violated by technical incompatibility between networks and business disputes. The growth in the number of Internet users slows down, since there is no business case to provide universal access. This leads to increasing marginalization of the extreme poor with the digital divide widening as businesses focus on serving wealthier customers. Pricing of access is determined through haggling, and depends largely on the negotiating capacity of parties involved. Multilingualism thrives where there is a business case for it. Support of languages on the Internet is provided by online instantaneous translation for linguistic groups representing sufficient market opportunities. Those linguistic groups without access to the Internet simply do not find their languages supported online. In the absence of government and the presence of a high degree of competition, there is no way to accumulate the wealth required to make investments in new, superior infrastructure, or to make major systemic changes. Following full allocation of the IPv4 address space, IANA and the Regional Internet Registries are pressured by large business interests into agreeing to the creation of an IPv4 trading market. This initially retards the deployment of IPv6-compatible infrastructure as a market for IPv4 addresses is established. Early adopters of the Internet, predominately industrialized country organizations, hold the lion’s share of tradable IPv4 addresses and the established Internet is increasingly controlled by powerful business interests. Countries that were not early adopters face having to pay very large sums of money for IPv4 addresses that others acquired at no cost. Emerging economies resort to deploying IPv6 compatible infrastructures; however, those controlling the established IPv4 Internet are not economically motivated to ensure interoperability. A parallel IPv6 Internet initially emerges and its users are overwhelmingly located in developing countries. However, growing commercial demand for IPv6 addresses driven by Internet of things applications for optimizing production and controlling consumer behavior eventually turns the tide and the business case for managing the costs and complexity of IPv6 adoption dominates. Eventually, the tide of IPv6 adoption in industrialized countries overwhelms the IPv4 installed base and it is phased out. Scenario 3) VIPnet Scenario. In GSG’s Fortress World scenario, powerful institutions protect the privileges of the rich and powerful elites by retreating in protective enclaves. Outside there is poverty and chaos. We have named the Internet variation on this scenario “VIPnet.” In the VIPnet world, only the elites have access to Internet technology. As a result, there are very few Internet users. At first, these elites are composed of individuals who have accumulated significant resource-based wealth; over time, however, those with technical knowledge overtake the central VIP roles. Volunteer Internet institutions such as the IETF disband and former members align themselves with power brokers, lending their skills and knowledge to the implementation of proprietary solutions to realize top-down control of their networks. Controllers of networks achieve a status equivalent to the kings and queens of old, exercising their wealth and power over their networks to protect their elite members from the masses. Mapping the Future of the Internet onto Global Scenarios: A preliminary view of Spam and the environmental footprint of the Internet are significantly reduced. There is also no need for a transition to IPv6. The Internet ceases to exist as a public network. Institutions that were dedicated to multistakeholder management of the Internet, such as ICANN, become irrelevant. Point-to-point communications from one elite member of society to another are more prevalent than community groups, although clusters of interconnected intranets, connected together with high levels of security, do exist. A central point of management does however exist, contributing to maintaining the global nature of the VIP networks by coordinating their interconnections. The high levels of security necessary to maintain status quo significantly limit the freedoms of privacy and expression over the networks for most users. Biometric and geolocation data are used to control users and prevent them from selling access to the VIP networks. There is little incentive to challenge the dominance of the English language in content and services. The networks cease to be mediums for the sharing of cultural and linguistic heritage. Instead, they serve to preserve and reinforce the dominance of the VIP culture online through control of content. Those not connected to the VIP networks are not subjected to this influence and are therefore able to maintain their own linguistic and culture identity offline. The VIP scenario follows significant social conflict, environmental uncertainty and security concerns. The overarching principle guiding all activity is the maintenance of the highest levels of security. Following a large number of serious security breaches and cyber warfare skirmishes on the Internet, affecting essential infrastructure and services including power grids, air, space and sea navigation systems and water supplies, the open and free Internet of the 1990s and early 2000s has been all but eliminated. The notions of confidence, trust and convergence are no longer part of the vernacular, and average citizens can neither afford to connect, nor can they obtain security clearances necessary to access the Internet. VIP status is extended only to the number of individuals necessary to make running a backbone viable. Whenever the cost of running the backbone drops, there is pressure to eliminate a portion of the existing elite and vice versa. Innovation is stifled by the static nature of the networks: the technology ceases to evolve. The global economy is fragmented, a condition that resulted from a widening digital divide. Ecommerce has adopted a brand new business model, eliminating the demand for domain names and therefore for ICANN. Trade and exchange are done privately, with no transparency. Those without access increasingly live in a subsistence situation. Outside of the VIP network, there are attempts by non-elites to recycle discarded devices and equipment (e.g., old cell phone towers) and create parallel networks. Although less capable than the VIP networks, the freedoms of the users of these lower end parallel networks are not restricted, not unlike freedoms enjoyed by users in the early days of the Internet. Sophisticated technology repair capacity is beginning to emerge outside of the network, to take advantage of dumped technology. Occasionally, organized spectrum jamming efforts are staged in protest of the new VIPnet order, although these are easily thwarted by the elites. While there are competing tribes within the VIP world, they remain peaceful in an effort to preserve their collective VIP status. Scenario 4) Internet Commons Scenario. The GSG proposes a fourth scenario, the Great Transition to a New Sustainability Paradigm. This is based on the vision of globalization as an opportunity for forging new categories of consciousness, like global citizenship, sustainability, and the well-being of present and future generations. By taking a closer look at Internet issues, we have repositioned this as the Internet Commons Scenario. The Internet of the 1990s and early 2000s has developed into a global Internet commons, through a smooth transition guided by enlightened policy choices. Process issues were fundamental for getting to this new paradigm: a full, multistakeholder Internet governance model has developed and stabilized. Inclusiveness of citizens in policy-making has created much greater civil unity and citizen-business alignment in some issues. There is recognition of universal human rights in the Internet context and a new alignment drives the world in realizing these rights in meaningful, practical ways. Infrastructure has been expanded significantly, due to joint pressure of citizen and business interests in having broader access that compliments the Freenomics model: a) business sees a need for much greater broadband to pursue new business models, and b) citizens and consumers demand easier communication. In response, government has invested in larger, more powerful, sustainable networks. Last mile access for the world’s population has been achieved through planet-wide wireless coverage. There is a flowering in content production because of new IPR regimes, similar to the creative commons scheme. Open software platforms become intelligent, able to fix and repair themselves automatically. The security front is redefined, with the notion of privacy having seen a marked generational change in 2050: individuals have much more control over their own identity, thanks to the creation of technology tools to ensure trust and reduce the need for any kind of central control. On the footprint side, the accelerating environmental crisis, with a tipping point in 2018, led to the development of technology that resulted in a zero footprint. The Internet Commons Scenario places the global community in repair mode, strengthened by a communal understanding that maintaining environmental sustainability is essential for survival. There is a great respect for nature, reflected in a positive change in lifestyle through reduced consumption. Digital natives have led the effort to reduce demand for physical objects. Remaining demand is met without harm to environment. Energy consumption is down, with efficiency increased. More and more people come to see the distinction between development and economic growth. Attention turns to qualitative aspects of the good life, including shorter work weeks, community involvement, relationships, etc. Exclusive vehicles for delivery of content (e.g., DVDs) have been eliminated through new technology. A free and open, inclusive Internet results in better education and increased global citizen movement. While GDP goes down, the Gross Happiness Index increases. The business model combines free and paid content, along with advertising, building on the model pioneered by Google. The shift occurred largely through a generational change, with society realizing that money can be made not only by tightening and controlling access but also by opening access and giving things away. As a result, the model is dependent on universal access: it flourishes as long as there are people on the network. Global development has brought in developing countries to take part in this Commons.
The Use and Abuse of Scenarios. Charles Roxburgh, director Mckinsey Research, London, UK. Published in McKinsey Quarterly. 2009/5pps/www.mckinseyquarterly.com
This article in useful to the scenario practitioner to help improve the quality of scenarios. Charles Roxburgh asks why it is that robust sets of scenarios are not routinely created more often, to help executives ask better questions and prepare for the unexpected. Scenarios are not “rocket science” but they are more difficult than they appear. “Scenarios are harder to conceptualize, harder to build, and uncomfortably rich in shortcomings.” A good scenario takes time to build, and an entire set takes a correspondingly larger investment of time and energy. There is a significant amount of literature on scenarios and they have an established track record of being a powerful tool in helping companies to navigate through events and uncertainties, such as Royal Dutch Shell in navigating through the OPEC crisis, and more recently, the Principle Financial Group in navigating through the financial crisis. In this article, the author describes best practices utilized in the scenario planning methodology and what to avoid. [The following are excerpts from the article:] The “Use” of Scenarios: The author provides detail on each of the benefits of scenarios to business and organizations. 1) Scenarios Expand Thinking. You will think more broadly if you develop a range of possible outcomes, each backed by the sequence of events that would lead to them. 2) Scenarios Uncover Inevitable or Near-Inevitable Futures. A sufficiently broad scenario-building effort yields another valuable result. As the analysis underlying each scenario proceeds, you often identify some particularly powerful drivers of change. These drivers result in outcomes that are the inevitable consequence of events that have already happened, or of trends that are already well developed. 3) Scenarios Protect Against ‘Groupthink’ - Often, the power structure within companies inhibits the free flow of debate. People in meetings typically agree with whatever the most senior person in the room says. In particularly hierarchical companies, employees will wait for the most senior executive to state an opinion before venturing their own—which then magically mirrors that of the senior person. Scenarios allow companies to break out of this trap by providing a political “safe haven” for contrarian thinking. 4) Scenarios Allow People to Challenge Conventional Wisdom - In large corporations, there is typically a very strong status quo bias. After all, large sums of money, and many senior executives’ careers, have been invested in the core assumptions underpinning the current strategy—which means that challenging these assumptions can be difficult. Scenarios provide a less threatening way to lay out alternative futures in which these assumptions may no longer be true. The “Abuse of Scenarios”- Avoiding the Common Traps in Using Scenarios. For all these benefits, there is a downside to scenarios. Inexperienced people and companies are prone to fall into a number of traps. 1) Don’t Become Paralyzed. Creating a range of scenarios that is appropriately broad, especially in today’s uncertain climate, can paralyze a company’s leadership. The tendency to think we know what is going to happen is in some ways a survival strategy: at least it makes us confident in our choices. In the face of a wide range of possible outcomes, there is a risk of acting like the proverbial deer in the headlights: the organization becomes confused and lacking in direction, and it changes nothing in its behavior as an uncertain future bears down upon it. 2) Don’t Let Scenarios Muddy Communications. Provide clear and inspiring leadership. That doesn’t mean these leaders should not study and prepare for a number of possibilities. Understanding the range of likely events will embolden corporate leaders to feel prepared against most eventualities and allow those leaders to communicate a single, bold goal convincingly. 3) Don’t Rely on an Excessively Narrow Set of Outcomes. The astute reader will have noticed that the above-mentioned financial regulator managed to embarrass itself even though it was using scenarios. One of the more dangerous traps of using them is that they can induce a sense of complacency, of having all your bets covered. 4) Don’t Chop the Tails off the Distribution. In our experience, when people who are running businesses are presented with a range of scenarios, they tend to choose one or two immediately to the right and left of reality as they experience it at the time. They regard the extreme scenarios as a waste because “they won’t happen” or, if they do happen, “all bets are off.” By ignoring the outer scenarios and spending their energy on moderate improvements or deteriorations from the present, leaders leave themselves exposed to dramatic changes—particularly on the downside. 5) Don’t Discard Scenarios Too Quickly. Sometimes the most interesting and insightful scenarios are the ones that initially seem the most unlikely. This raises the question of how long companies should hold on to a scenario. Scenarios ought to be treated dynamically. 6) Remember When to Avoid Scenarios Altogether. The one instance in which strategists will not want to use scenarios: when uncertainty is so great that they cannot be built reliably at any level of detail. 7) Don’t Use a Single Variable. The future is multivariate, and there are elements strategists will miss. They should therefore avoid scenarios that fall on a single spectrum (“very good,” “good,” “not so good,” “very bad”). At least two variables should be used to construct scenarios—and the variables must not be dependent, or in reality there will be just one spectrum.
Which Future for Libraries? Sohail Inayatullah. Professor, Tamkang University and Adjunct Professor, University of the Sunshine Coast. )Based on a futures workshop of expert librarians and library stakeholders, four futures of the library and librarians are explored: "The Lean, Information Machine," "Co-location for Community Capacity Building," "Knowledge Navigator," and "Dinosaurs of the Digital Knowledge Era." ) 2010/10pps/ www.freelibrary.com.
The library appears to be a stable institution, but the reality is it has changed throughout history. It was once an elite based institution and today it has evolved into a public space, funded by the public. However, library, as a fundamental services, is, according to Inayatullah, “up for grabs” because it’s very definition is vulnerable to a whole new regime of trends. Some of the emerging issues challenging libraries today are: 1) local and state governments dramatically decreasing their funds for libraries; 2) users changing from the young to the aged OR 3) from the aged to the young; 4) a myriad of library ‘styles’ are arriving on the landscape, like the ‘green’ library, the off-shore ‘Call Center’ library, the ‘death of the book’ library, and continuing emergence of new media formats. [The following are excerpts from the article:] Scenario 1) Lean, Mean, Information Machine. This future would arise from concern about the costs of buildings, space becoming too valuable and libraries moving down the list of core priorities for funding. Libraries in this future would need to seek funding through philanthropy to supplement government funding. The choices would be: from the user, from community groups, from Federal and Global grants and from corporate sponsorship. With the expected rise in triple bottom line reporting, it was anticipated that corporate sponsorship may become more attractive as libraries would be an easy and safe way to show that they were good corporate citizens – helping young and old. The role of some librarians would shift, becoming entrepreneurial, a broker of services and entities (community groups, corporations, city, state and federal authorities). Scenario 2) Co-location for Community Capacity Building. The second scenario is the opposite of this. Civilizing the world, civilizing ourselves is the foundational purpose of the library. No corporation should fund it, as over time market values would poison human values. The purpose of the library is that of community builder – providing ideas to all, those who can and those who cannot afford. Books cannot be overlaid with digital sponsorship, purity must be kept. Libraries move to areas of intersection – of young and old, poor and rich, information savvy and digitally challenged. Among possible areas could be transport hubs. Libraries could continue to develop as anchor tenants, co-existing with other government service providers, with coffee shops and commercial tenants. As passengers stepped out of light city rail carriages, they would enter the library. In front to them would be transparent glass, the lighting illuminating knowledge. Libraries would have multiple shifting rooms, focused on the needs of different groups. Or libraries could segment, based on citizen travel patterns. Some libraries would be more classical - book focused, other edutainment, others as places for social community groups to meet …Or libraries could change during the day – shifting who they were from noon to three pm to evening time. The librarian would need to be multi-skilled, understanding the diverse needs of different age groups, ethnicities, community groups - engagement with the community would be primary. The library in this future would model what it meant to be civilized: deep and diverse democracy. Scenario 3) Knowledge Navigator. In a third scenario, the library and the librarian becomes a "Knowledge Navigator". Users would see and then create – use information to create new knowledge, new communities, learn and recreate. Libraries would be a hybrid of physical and virtual space with cutting edge technologies, cultural maps of the world, to help users develop their interests, find connection to each other and find their place in the changing digital world. The library would be an ‘experience’. For those new to the digital world and for emerging technologies they would , it could train them, ensuring democratic and enabling access for all; for those adept, it would create games for them to learn, indeed, gaming may become a metaphor for the library. Users would find their knowledge treasures through clues left by the knowledge navigator or other users engaged in knowledge sharing and production – the division between the fun of electronic gaming and the seriousness of the library would breakdown. Public space would became an open and porous, local and global public space. Scenario 4) Dinosaurs of the Digital Knowledge Era. The last scenario, takes the knowledge navigator future but makes the tough observation - given the billions of dollars Google and other web engines have to play with, and given the skill sets of their employees and owners, what makes us think libraries can survive. Aren't they the "Dinosaurs of the Digital Knowledge Era". The globalization of the coffee shop eats up one market; digital search portals eat up another market, until through continuous dis-aggregation there is very little left. The future of the library is easy to predict – there won't be any. Funding will move to other core areas for cities – traffic, water, dealing with global warming, competing for young people in an aging society; post-oil energy problems. Libraries will slip down the priority radar as they will not be seen as a response to these issues. Many librarians as well are unable to meet the challenge of the skills shift. They are unable to be relevant with the new world disorder. As the library monopoly dies, other competitors enter the fray and foundationally change the nature of the library. A few survive as some still want to see and touch books, but with the virtual book about to include physical senses, the writing is already on the virtual wall.
Media 2015: The Future of Media. A report based on the collaboration of The Futures Company, Unilever, Mindshare Group, and ESPN. Rob Master, Unilever, Peter Leimback, ESPN, and Mark Potts, Mindshare. Pub. 2009/ PDF/11pps/www.unilever.com. “The test of good scenarios is not getting the future right – the real test of a good scenario is: did I make better choices as a result of having looked at and understood both my own environment better and the consequences of my actions?” Peter Schwarz, Global Business Network. For this report, Unilever, ESPN and Mindshare pulled together the many factors that will influence how consumers will engage with media in 2015. The group concluded that some of their predictions are emerging already. The following scenarios, are, according to the group, “not end points” but rather, starting points to help the media industry define how it will respond to emerging changes in the future. Each scenario in this report comes with a good chart with recommendations for future actions within each of the scenarios. Accompanying the scenarios, the workshop group listed a set of drivers over the next five years: 1) bandwidth will get bigger; 2) the digital generation will get older; 3) information will be even more available; 4) devices will become more powerful and increase their range of functionality. Uncertain trends that the workshop group listed included: 1) the overall shape and direction of social net working; 2) the speed of technological innovation; 3) our ability to process increasing volumes of digital information; 4) the shape of the mobile world in 2015; 5) the effect of continuing media fragmentation; 6) the level of customization expected and available; and 7) how much people, and regulators, will care about privacy. [The following are excerpts from the report:] Scenario 1) Tons of Twitter. Attention is fragmented and access is fluid (anytime, any place). Tons of Twitter represents a future where media access is unbridled and consumer attention is highly fragmented. Consumers frequently access information and entertainment, communicate with others and express themselves, and they do this across a wide range of sources and applications seamlessly from multiple locations. Consumers’ interaction with media begins when eyes open and ends when eyes close. A large share of consumer time is spent creating, receiving, searching for, and sharing information and entertainment for both work and leisure. This is a scenario in which big media brands’ relationships with consumers have deteriorated and in which user generated content is more commonplace than in any of the other scenarios. Because of the ‘always-on’ nature of this scenario, there is an expectation that services, promotions and communications will be tailored to time and place. Evidence of this scenario is emerging today. Highly portable devices like the Apple iPhone, G1, Ford’s Sync and Blackberry allow many consumers to be literally ‘always-on’. And audience numbers for big-name media outlets are rivaled by top bloggers and Tweeters. Scenario 2) Portal Of Me. Attention consolidated and access if fluid (anytime, anywhere). Portal of Me is a scenario in which media access remains always on but in which consumer attention has been narrowed and focused to a number of trusted partners. Media is a constant companion for consumers but it is customized and filtered by these trusted third parties who tailor information and entertainment based on user preferences, both stated and learned. Consumers may be very active and participatory in this scenario, but only within the parameters they choose. Privacy and control are the trade-offs for this precise and personalized information. But consumers, for their part, know the value of their data. Trust is strong, and loyalty runs deep, provided the service provider is honest and open and continues to provide value. This creates a challenge for brands on the outside of consumer media bubbles but a huge opportunity for those that are permitted access and get delivery and personalization right. There are clues pointing toward this future scenario today. Many consumers like customization, and the millennial generation flat out expects it—59 percent of 16 to 24-year-olds say they ‘like to customize products to express their personal style’. Customized aggregation is gaining in popularity with tools like iGoogle (21 million users worldwide), and ‘smart sites’ like last.fm and found.com that tailor content to individual behavior are raising expectations for personalization. Scenario 3. Media Buffett. Attention fragmented and access is fixed (sometimes, some places). A Media Buffet future reflects highly fragmented consumer attention and restrained media access. In this scenario, consumers dip in and out of media, taking a little of what catches their eye here and there. They use multiple devices to sample multiple sources, because no single provider ever gives the complete picture. But their appetites are limited, perhaps because technology and content access is not seamless or relevant, or perhaps because of a lack of trust in media owners and marketers means they are keen to tune out of the media world and into real life. This is a task-oriented scenario in which people use the best tool to get the job done. Though consumers are careful about whom they trust, they will draw on media industry and user- developed content even-handedly if it helps them get the information or entertainment they need. Brand marketers and media organizations that deliver spot-on information via multiple channels are most likely to capture consumers’ attention at some point. There are precursors to this scenario showing up today. The number of devices and ways to access content are increasing, yet people are choosing to sometimes turn off. Even companies like Intel are encouraging employees to switch off from email at certain periods. Scenario 4. Traditional New Media. Attention consolidated and Fixed (sometimes, some places). The most passive of the scenarios, Traditional New Media is a future in which consumer attention and media access is limited. Consumers’ media interaction is habitual, functional and relatively stable. They care about utility and entertainment more than connectivity and active engagement. Media consumption is very linear. Consumers don‘t have time or energy to build their own media worlds or engage in the active hunting and contributing to content that technology offers. Trust is high, but concentrated on a few preferred sources, some of which are the newer brands of today (e.g. Google, Facebook). Consumers create clear distinctions in their lives—for example, between work and home. Within this, media also has its time and place. There have been new regulations in advertising—more categories are restricted as what they can promote and when, despite protests from media owners. Big, shared set-piece entertainments, especially live events, are a central part of the media mix. Traditional New Media is in many ways an extension of today‘s media environment. Consumers tend to gather around big events and main media channels—the average U.S. household has access to 119 TV channels but only watches 16 of them on a regular basis. And although consumers in DVR households have the ability to time shift all of their TV watching, they do so with only 12 percent of all viewing.
The Uncertain Believer – Reconciling God and Science. Edward Correia (former counsel to President Clinton). Sterling House Publishers 2009/Hardcover/220pp. To quote Albert Einstein, “God does not roll the dice.” In this book, the author asks the reader to step back and review their emotional and spiritual conception of God. The author asserts that there are, in fact, scientific explanations for everything physical in nature, but at the same time, there are powerful forces that inspire us to be as perfect as we can be. Hegel and Spinoza are inspirations, but there is also the inspiration “to be holy and to strive toward the God who is the spirit of love in the universe.” The author discusses concepts such as the collective consciousness, the perfect representation of God, unqualified love, and he emphasizes the human responsibility to come up with conceptions of God. “Assume for a moment that the most sensible conception of God is that God is not external to the world, but, instead, God is carried in our consciousness as the highest, most important aspect of living. “ What could we say about the future of God? On the assumption that homo sapiens have at least a few millennia left, what is going to happen to God? Consider three scenarios. [The following are excerpts from the book.] Scenario 1) God Drifts Out of Consciousness. One scenario imagines God drifting out of humanity’s consciousness. This is periodically the prediction of social scientists, based on survey data that show the percentage of people who say they believe in God has steadily declined in economically developed countries. In this first scenario, this trend would continue and extend to other parts of the world. In a century or two, let’s say, the idea of God would become increasingly irrelevant, until it would become nothing more than an interesting subject of historical study. Friedrich Nietzsche’s proclamation that “God is dead” would be justified, just a few centuries late. In my view, this would be a tragic loss for humanity because we would lose the central unifying idea that gives us a historical link with our ancestors and a way to bridge the divide among people who do not share the same religious creeds and doctrines. Scenario 2) The Conception of God Held by Different Cultures Diverge. A second scenario is that the conceptions of God held by different cultures diverge even more dramatically than they do today. In the west, for example, the conception of God might become more spiritual and less anthropomorphic. God would be open to all, and there would be no favored or disfavored groups. In other cultures, the conception God might continue to be much like in the Old Testament. God would be on the side of some groups and condemn others. Those who profess to follow God’s wishes might even claim that God commands them to engage in violence in order to follow the “true path to righteousness.” As a result of these radically different visions of God, religious differences become even more stark and cultures with radically different conceptions of God find it increasingly difficult to understand each other. Scenario 3) Mankind Comes to Develop a Shared Conception of God. A third scenario is a hopeful one. Mankind comes to develop a shared conception of God. In this conception, God does not take sides or favor one group over another. There is no anthropomorphic God who commands us to adopt one creed and reject others. Instead, we see God as the central unifying idea that the most important -- the most sacred -- aspect of our existence is to have compassion for each other. That shared conception would not solve all of our problems or answer all our questions, but it would give us a common framework for finding answers. We cannot be certain that this vision can ever become a reality, but there is value in the vision and in working toward it.
Two Visions of the Broadcast Future. Brian Steinberg, Advertising Age. Pub. June 22, 2009. With the fragmentation of the television audience, advertising dollars are chasing these audiences into other media areas such as iPods, mobile phones, video games, cable, video-on-demand, gas-station screens and DVD’s. Today, DVRs, portable media devices, and digital distribution are creating havoc for traditional networks such NBC and CBS. The days of the viewing audience simultaneously watching only a handful of media outlets are gone – permanently. For this reason, the future of media has dramatic implications for NBC and CBS. “Strategic conversations about broadcast TV at both networks – NBC and CBS - reveal two startlingly different views of the future.” NBC believes it will survive the next decade by airing cheaper programming on broadcast while investing heavily into its cable assets. CBS, on the other hand, is on a hold-out because it continues to believe in it’s mass model. CBS supply “high quality’ programming for a broad audience. CBS depends on its broad-reaching TV network not only to generate revenue from advertising but also to garner enough attention for its shows so they move on to reap rewards in domestic and international syndication. Media futurists project two different scenarios. [The following is an excerpt from the article:] Scenario 1) 2010-2020: Distribution Succeeds Through Digital Means (NBC’s Vision). In one, networks -- who see more opportunity in distributing programs through digital means -- break away from the local stations that have helped promote their comedies, dramas and specials for decades. Stations can use digital cable and other venues to drill down and play on local topics and subjects. In this world, there will still be an audience for quality programming which searches out emerging marketing and media entities. More stations will also be dropping the early-afternoon soap operas, early-evening newscasts or even prime-time dramas. Scenario 2) 2010 – 2020: Continued Demand for Big, Broad Audiences (CBS’s Vision). The other vision of the future includes continued demand for big, broad audiences -- even if they are smaller than they were when the nation turned to just three national broadcast networks. In this world, anyone who can aggregate will still have value. Consumers already have a plethora of video options -- a glut of cable channels that has passed the saturation point among them. Consumers over the next ten years will still want free TV they can rely on for high-quality programs, he said, even if the living-room screen is hooked up to the web. In this world, there continues to be value in mass distribution, particularly as the many smaller audiences (niche markets) for other media impose restrictions on programming costs. CBS might continue to have the edge if traditional systems are tougher to exterminate.
Scenarios – Crystal Balls for the Urban Fringe. Vegard Skirbekk, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). PLUREL Newsletter April 2008/PDF/8p/www.plurel.net The PLUREL project applied four different scenario storylines to explore the possible futures for Europe’s urban areas. The scenarios are organized in a framework providing a clear logic and structure for comparing different possibilities. These visions are based on global scenarios of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), known as SRES (Special Report on Emissions Scenarios). These scenarios were then adapted to the PLUREL agenda through applying the global scenarios to the European Union, up to the years 2025 and 2050. This first scenario focuses on high growth; the second scenario focuses on self-reliance; the third scenario on sustainability; the fourth is a fragmentation scenario of pandemic disease and the polarization of cities. [The following are excerpts from the report: ] Scenario 1) Hyper – Tech/High Growth. This describes a future world of rapid economic growth, global population that peaks in mid-century, and the rapid spread of more efficient technologies. Investment in research and development is high and nations share knowledge and pool resources in a global research market place. Energy prices decline because supply is driven by new developments in renewable energy production and nuclear fission. The shock concerns the rapid acceleration of ICT which transforms home and work as never before. For peri-urban areas in Europe, this scenario is likely to see small polycentric towns and cities become even more popular. New transport technologies lead to more rapid journeys and the expansion of the commuting distances around towns and cities. This leads to peri-urbanisation and »metropolitanisation« of rural areas on a massive scale. Scenario 2) Extreme Water. Self Reliance Scenario. This describes a more heterogeneous world of self reliance and preservation of local identities. While the population increases, economic development is primarily regionally-oriented, and per capita economic growth and technological change are more fragmented and slower than in the other storylines. The shock here is subtitled »extreme water«, and this sees rapid increase in flooding, drought and sea level rise. A year does not go by without a major event, and in some cities and regions development is seriously constrained. Peri-urban areas are strongly affected; affluent yet vulnerable city-regions such as London or the Dutch Randstad spend huge sums of money on defense and adaptation strategies. Population growth due to climate-induced migration puts more pressure on urban infrastructure and services. Scenario 3) Peak Oil Sustainability Scenario. This describes a future of environmental and social consciousness – a global approach to sustainable development, involving governments, businesses, media and households. Economic development is more balanced with rapid investment in resource efficiency, social equity and environmental protection. The »shock« in this scenario is driven by the real possibility of »peak oil«, that is, a decline in global oil production after reaching maximum production, leading to rapid rises in energy prices, with many social and economic effects. For peri-urban areas, high energy prices have an enormous effect on location choices as transport costs limit commuting distances. Although tele-working is encouraged, most people attempt to return to larger cities and towns, and more remote rural areas decline. Scenario 4) Walls and Enclaves – Fragmentation Scenario. Europe sees a fragmentation of society, in terms of age, ethnicity and international distrust. The voter-strong elderly population becomes increasingly dependent on the younger generation, but the working-age population is disinclined to transfer their resources, with growing intergenerational conflicts. Here the shock is caused by a human pandemic, possibly transmitted by animals or birds, which spreads rapidly and leads to severe restrictions on the movement of people and trade. The ethnic division of cities is driven by the increased in-migration of the working-age population from outside and within the European Union. Cities become more dispersed as younger migrants dominate city centers and older natives populate the outskirts and enclaves outside the cities – so that peri-urban areas become peri-society areas.
The Future of the Automotive Industry to 2015. Joost Hermans, Per Jensen, Sjoerd Van Rossem and Hans Stigter of the Rotterdam School of Management. Pub. 2008/PDF/homeserver.eu.archive.org. The automotive industry is an industry that is, of necessity, rapidly having to reinvent itself to stay afloat in the new global business environment. Massive global changes are happening in energy, transportation, and populations. Rapidly growing nations such as China and India will be demanding a surge in car ownership. Over the next 20 years, the car industry - a global industry- is likely to continue to be robust, with the United States being a part of it, but it’s niche will be a much smaller piece of the market than the past. “The models of the automobile of the future will be much greener due to continuous improvements that focus on in-house manufacturing activities and technological expertise. The key uncertainties in this industry are: energy (especially energy costs) and modularization. [The following is an excerpt from the article:] Scenario 1) Shifting Gear. The global awareness of the environmental situation and the search for better and more efficient technologies stimulate the developments in technology and research. New developments are: Automated Transport Systems. This is a system that in the future, will drive vehicles automatically, in a energy optimal way. At the same time these systems take the biggest single reason for accidents out of the equation. In this scenario, the author’s describe improvement of existing propulsion systems and development of alternatives. Scenario 2) Ultimate Freedom. More and more often people sell their houses and choose to live in mobile homes. This leads to the collapse of the market for regular cars (except for cars like the Smart that can be put into the trailer for short trips) and the housing market. All car manufacturers and real estate construction companies are scrambling to enter the customized mobile home market. Companies that build trucks and buses have a competitive advantage. Scenario 3) Boom and Bust. The commodity product has made public transport development impossible, because a cost benefit comparison is won by the commodity car being the second or primary car in the household. The increase in demand for the commodity product leads to increases of pollution and congestions. The government has not taken an interest in the industry so far, but the congestion and increased pollution drives the government to anti-car related legal taxation. Taxation on car usages, making city centre pedestrian zones, and levying tax on driving into the city are some of these steps taken by the government in 2012 to make car driving less popular. The automotive industry collapses since the demand for the car diminishes overnight. Scenario 4) New Generation. In 2009, the ATS allows the driver to do something else then drive. The ATS system can take over driving and after some customer acceptance issues, the car can be used for other purposes. In the business sector, a car is being offered to function as an office with all facilities available. Individual driving and freedom prevails. The customization goes extreme in the sense that there are no longer standard vehicles. All the cars are made to measure, I.e. Morgan 8, and build to order. This change transforms the automotive industry, since no longer stock and large facilities needs to be maintained for the distribution chain. The vehicle manufacturer is required to have very flexible manufacturing facilities and JIT suppliers to survive
The Future of Universities: An Example of the Harman Fan Scenario Approach. UHCL Futures Studies Department. The workshop was facilitated by Ruud van der Helm and Dr. Wendy Schultz. University of Houston, Clear Lake, TX. 2002. Some scenario workshops are worth revisiting in lieu of changes over nearly a decade. In 2002, the University of Houston’s Futures Studies Program conducted a scenario workshop on the future of universities, utilizing the “Harman Fan” approach. The Harman Fan was originally developed by Willis Harman and is described in his book, “An Incomplete Guide to the Future.” It is a tool that helps to design divergent scenarios that describe how the future of society as a whole (and in our particular case the future of higher education in the USA), may unfold. The method comprises three sequential steps: 1) The identification of 22 (or so) different future states of the system in question (in this case universities). 2) The organization of these future states in a fan model based on assumptions on the timing and chronology of key factors; and 3) the identification of possible sequences through time of different states. The description of how this sequence of states may occur (the evolution from one state into the other), becomes a scenario. In this workshop, the group brainstormed a number of futures and applied Harmon’s Fan to the future of higher education. This resulted in contrasting future states of the university presented as the following: the business university - programs custom-tailed to corporate needs; the distance learning university - stay at home attending virtual classrooms and graduate; the continuous education university - increasing ‘professionalization’ of school, as more mid-career students come back for ‘continuous learning; the exchange university - Students leave home and live in other countries; end of entrance exams university; the bookless university – books are eliminated; experience university – learning becomes experimental and focus on observational and intuitive ways of knowing, and research is done on answering the question ‘knowing what?’; the Multi Mode University – multimedia knowledge bases; non-professional/non-vocational subjects will be transformed into vacation experiences, out of university; corporate owned university - vocationally oriented and owned by and for private corporations and end of liberal arts: only professional and technical universities exist; student led university - universities that allow students to assist with the defining of the university goals; all have access university – high education is paid by checks that are given out to everybody. Those who make use of them have to reimburse within 20 years; mentor university - face to face tutoring back in vogue; Intel inside university - university brain chip for degrees; special interest group university - creation of bioethics, nano-ethics, technology transfer type of programs as science yields greater fundamental insights; holodeck university - teledildonic learning, holodeck learning, with as final product the ability to reprogram the holodeck; grasshopper university - universities become focused on learning compassion, peace and self-awareness. [The folloing is an excerpt from the report:] Scenario: The Tailor-Made On-Line University (this scenario combines several of the future states described above): This scenario assumes that we move from our current university towards more distant learning (satellite university), which slowly replaces all hardcopy learning as we know it today. While working with new media it will become more and more easy to cater individual student schedules (everybody studies at his own rhythm) which will lead us to a no calendar university. Since university will become widely accessible with marginal extra costs and with higher marginal outputs per dollar invested, as well as the overriding principle of democracy through the Internet, government will finally provide the means to give access to both elite and low-income class students with repayable grants, which will be deducted from income salaries during the professional life of the graduates.
Transforming Pensions and Healthcare in a Rapidly Aging World – Opportunities and Collaborative Strategies. Chiemi Hayashi, World Economic Forum, Heli Olkkonen, Mercer, Bernd Jan Sikken, World Economic Forum, and Juan Yermo, OECD. 2009/PDF/80pps/www.wef.org. This report is unique because it is an integrated approach that combines analysis for both healthcare and pensions. It also focuses mainly on opportunities verses threats, providing a broad set of practical solutions. This report combines the experience, ideas and wisdom of a wide range of participants and is the outcome of the second phase of a project mandated by the World Economic Forum’s financial services and healthcare communities. Phase one culminated in the publication of The Future of Pensions and Healthcare in a Rapidly Ageing World: Scenarios to 2030. Phase two, embodied in this report, distills the insights of interviews and workshops with approximately 200 experts and decision-makers in Beijing, Brussels, Davos, Dubai, Geneva, London, Milan, New York, Rome, Tianjin and Tokyo. An optimistic belief developed whereby the downside of a “graying society” could transition into a “silver society”: a society in which the elderly are valued, healthy and active; the private sector benefits by catering to the unmet needs of the current and future elderly, and governments can still facilitate old-age security for citizens while overcoming financial pressures on public pension and healthcare systems. The window of opportunity to plan and prepare is, however, quickly closing. In many countries, the elderly will grow as a percentage of the total population while the labor force declines. Some solutions, known as “strategic options,” are researched with rich narratives from interviews with experts around the world. 11 “strategic options” include: 1) Promote Work for Older Cohorts; 2) Shift Delivery of Healthcare to a Patient-centered System; 3) Promote Wellness and Enable Healthy Behaviours; 4) Provide Financial Education and Planning Advice; 5) Encourage Higher Levels of Retirement Savings; 6) Facilitate the Conversion of Property into Retirement Income; 7) Stimulate Micro-insurance and Micropensions for the Poor; 8) Enhance Pension Fund Performance; 9) Realign Incentives of Healthcare Suppliers; 9) Ensure That Cross-border Healthcare Delivery Benefits All Stakeholders; 10) Promote Annuities Markets and Instruments to Hedge Longevity Risk. The global scenarios outlined here are the result of the first project phase. Scenarios should not be considered as forecasts. Rather they are intended to be challenging yet plausible descriptions of possible future environments in which pensions and healthcare provision could unfold. These scenarios have been used as the basis to generate ideas for the strategic options presented in this report and to test their robustness. For further details and to access additional scenarios for China and Italy, please see the phase one report, The Future of Pensions and Healthcare in a Rapidly Ageing World: Scenarios to 2030. [The following are excerpted from the report:] Scenario 1) The Winners and the Rest. The world economy gets back on track. As capital markets and tax revenues recover, most countries can find just enough money to keep health and retirement benefits close to historical levels, and politicians gratefully postpone the need for painful decisions. In relative terms, however, those benefit levels start to seem increasingly inadequate as wealth inequality continues to rise. The lifestyles of the “winners”, with comfortable retirements and access to impressive new medical technologies, diverge further and further from those of “the rest”. By 2030, climate change and resource shortages have caused another economic slowdown. The financialconsequences of the demographic crisis can no longer be postponed, and they look more difficult than ever to tackle in the context of deeper and more entrenched social divisions. Scenario 2) We Are in This Together. The shock of recession provokes a worldwide backlash to extreme wealth inequality in the early 2010s. An emerging sense of global interdependence is solidified by the increasingly obvious and negative impacts of climate change, and the impact of a major pandemic. As a result, electorates around the world demand more responsible and far-sighted leadership. New progressive movements emerge and come to power, committed to universal social security and healthcare. They simplify and harmonize tax systems, to distribute wealth more equally. In the search for efficient and inclusive ways of managing the financial implications of ageing societies, governments emphasize community-based initiatives and “back-to-basics” in healthcare. However, public debt remains a serious concern in 2030 due to high levels of public spending. Scenario 3) You Are on Your Own. The world economy is slow to recover from a prolonged and serious global depression. With dramatic shifts in consumer behavior and spending levels, continued market volatility and protectionist trade policies, global growth remains only 2% into the 2020s. As a result, state systems run into fiscal difficulty and pension funds suffer crises. Struggling to borrow or raise taxes sufficiently to cover soaring welfare costs, many governments take aggressive measures to privatize healthcare systems and “retire retirement”. By 2030, a new paradigm has emerged, in which increasing numbers of governments limit themselves to providing only minimal, means-tested assistance to the most needy, regardless of age. The burden of retirement and healthcare is shifted onto individuals and corporations.
Beyond the Library of the Future: More Alternative Futures for the Public Library. Bruce A. Shuman Libraries Unlimited, Incorporated, Englewood, Co. Pub. 1997/hardcover book/220pp. 2010 appears to be the season for futures research on the future of the public library, academic libraries and the research library. One work in progress is by the Association of Research Libraries, currently holding scenario workshops and data gathering. The association will soon generate a set of scenarios by June, 2010.(www.arl.org). Another visionary project is being funded as part of a joint initiative to explore future scenarios for academic libraries and information services, particularly in the context of a rapidly-changing environment. It will help higher educational institutions and organizations look at the challenges faced from a fresh focus and formulate strategies to ensure the sector continues to be a leading global force. The project partners are the British Library, JISC, Research Information Network (RIN), Research Libraries UK (RLUK) and the Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL). “Academic Libraries of the Future” is an 18-month project being undertaken by Curtis+Cartwright Consulting Ltd. The scenario workshop series will take place from from 2010 – 2011. An another futures research front, Thomas Frey, senior futurist with the DaVinci Institute, wrote a paper on ten trends impacting libraries of the future: 1) Communication systems are continually changing the way people access information. 2) All technology ends. All technologies commonly used today will be replaced by something new. 3) We haven’t yet reached the ultimate small particle for storage. But soon. 4) Search Technology will become increasingly more complicated. 5) Time compression is changing the lifestyle of library patrons. 6) Over time we will be transitioning to a verbal society. 7) The demand for global information is growing exponentially. 8) The stage is being set for a new era of Global Systems. 9) We are transitioning from a product-based economy to an experience based economy. 10) Libraries will transition from a center of information to a center of culture. In this book, Bruce Shuman explores traditional historical forecasting techniques and ‘Modern Methods used by Futurists’ such as – prediction, genius forecasting, trend extrapolation, consensus methods (delphi), simulation techniques, decision trees. Among these methodologies, he makes a good argument for scenario planning. The following are scenarios pulled from the author’s previous book on the future of libraries. [The following is an excerpt from the book:] Scenario 1) The Death of the Library.The Death of the Library, which tells a story not particularly pleasing to libraries and their supporters, but, as it happens, maybe not nearly as tragic as it sounds at first blush. Actually looking backwards now, the author realizes that he could very well have called this scenario, "The Withering Away of the Library Scenario: without loss of meaning. In this story, the public library gives way to a combination rent-all-store and video parlor. The point is that consumers can still fill their information requirements, but the economic principle has changed from pay through your taxes to pay for services rendered. Some would say that that is a fairer way to go, because only those who require and desire "library services" would have to pay for them. Scenario 2) AI: The Library as Robot. AI: The Library as Robot. Ever go to a Toys' R Us or other giant emporium on a slow day with a couple of eager, acquisitive kids, and try to find someone to help you or advise you in making a selection. Good luck. Such stories are normally well supplied with stock personnel and cashiers, but self service is the general rule, and no doubt results in lower prices than one might find at a store that prides itself on personal service. This scenario simply followed that concept to its logical conclusion in terms of what one might expect at the Reference Desk of a typical public library some 20 years or so into the future. The automated Reference Robot in the scenario had a chance to strut its stuff, and at the same time, display its limitations, so that planners could contemplate whether replacing people with automatons is a good idea, a bad idea, or...it all depends. Scenario 3) The Cultural Monument. This scenario plays "What If...." with the idea that libraries as we know them today could fall into total disuse or decline because the newer, sexier, flashier media (especially the ones that don't require a high level of reading ability), capture the imaginations of the fickle reading public. Suppose, this tale asks, society decides that it is no longer important or cost-effective to maintain and operate a public library at public expense. However, enough support for and interest in library materials exists in a community to justify the creation of a museum that enshrines the library's essence, so that it does not become lost to public consciousness entirely. The cultural monument, then, is a future for the public library in which today's reading materials become tomorrow's archaeology exhibit, for the edification of those who did not live in a time of libraries as we know them now. Scenario 4) Social Experimentation: Everything to Some. Here, those in charge of the Library of the Future realize the impossibility of the library’s longtime charge. Here, those in charge of the Library of the Future realize the impossibility of the library's longtime charge - trying to be all things to all people - and realizing that efforts must be rechanneled, identify two options either to become all things to some people, or to become some things to all people. In the "Everything to Some" scenario, the leadership of the future library elects, between those mutually exclusive choices, to attempt to be all things, but only to some people. In this scenario, the criterion for admission to the future "public" library and for eligibility for library services at even the minimum levels is annual income as a measurement of an ability to pay. Upon reflection, and considering the technology wither already in place or about to exist, the author constructed this scheme as one in which one must apply for a library card, and that "smart" card will include, as an embedded coded microchip personal tax identification (furnished by the IRS) that identifies the cardholder as being in one of the brackets along the continuum of economic self-sufficiency. As an example, individuals whose economic circumstances show need (e.,g.,falling below the federal poverty line) will present their cards at the door and, once the card is scanned, receive entitlement to the full range of services provided by the library without charge. A person of moderate means, on the other hand, will have a card superficially identical to that of one falling into the "poor" category, but will have a predetermined sum deducted from that card by the scanner for such events as admission, borrowing of materials, reference service, photocopying, interlibrary loan, and the like. The same system charges would hold true for those at the high end of the economic scale except for the actual amount of those charges. A wealthy library patron, for example, might pay up to five times as much for exactly the same service as a moderate income patron. Alternatively, if circumstances warrant, upscale patrons might actually be denied service, on the assumption that they are capable of satisfying their own information and entertainment needs without assistance or subsidy from the taxing unit. In this way, the cost of library service (and the total revenue) would fall more heavily on affluent persons than on those lacking the same ability to pay, while those without that ability would need to pay nothing for the same services. Such a system would be progressive (cost rising with ability to pay), and thus fair. Scenario 5) Social Experimentation: Some Things to All. The other side of the choice mentioned in the previous scenario is covered here. Under a policy of "Some Things To All," all members of the library's community would receive full entitlement to the full range of services and collections offered by the library. That range, however, would be severely limited in comparison to what it is today. The author was not so bold as to predict what services would be offered under such a regime but did proffer a suggestion. Looking at all a contemporary (1996) library offers, it was decided that the most useful service the library could provide would be that of becoming a consumer resources center. Therefore, libraries spend their available funds and commit their energies to amassing and making available and useful as much consumer-related information as possible. It is realized that this goal, while commendable, means that several of today's library services must be dropped or severely downsized. Notable among these are adult fiction collections, which are often the only reason that some persons come to the library, and children's services. Adult fiction, however, would be offered in various ways by the for-profit sector; e.g., rental stores, bookstores, mail-order houses, and catalog sales departments, while a similar economic sector would grow up for children's materials. Children's programming might become an ancillary responsibility of schools, community centers, and day care facilities. Scenario 6: EMP: Post-Holocaust. Wildcard - EMP stands for Electromechanical Pulse and refers to a nation (or world) without electricity or computers in the aftermath of somebody (or several somebodies) setting off nuclear weapons in an attempt to extend conflict beyond diplomatic means. This scenario has, thankfully, become somewhat less likely to occur, thanks to the demise of the Soviet Union since the publication of the author's "The Library of the Future" (1989). Still, the nuclear family of nations with "the bomb" if all published statements and rumors are true, has grown, not diminished, as a result of the restructuring of a former superpower, and there are unconfirmed stories in the press all the time that several Middle Eastern dictators and repressive regimes have nuclear weapons and are itching to use them. If nuclear war managed to avoid a wholesale ...(missing some sentences)...dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki a half century before this book was written, the weapon of choice might be the so-called electron bomb, and EMP would stop all electrical power, render computers into fancy paperweights, and force those who wanted to organize or consult a library's holdings to reconstruct and use the card catalog .... in daylight or by torchlight. Scenario 7: The Experience Parlour. The realization of this scenario, in my humble opinion, seems less unlikely than a lot of things you see on television nowadays. Imagine a future for the public library in which books gradually are discarded due to their linear arrangement, their comparatively love involvement levels, and their lack of immediacy in favor of The Experience Parlour, a community virtual reality center. The Parlour is envisioned as the same building as that formerly occupied by the public library, only completely gutted and rehabbed. Not it holds a central reception and command desk, a self-contained power unit, and as many small individual cubicles as are practicable. Within each hermetically sealed and soundproofed cubicle, the client reclines in a comfortable couch as a headset recessed in the ceiling descends over his head. A preselected cassette of someone else's experience is then played into his head, causing him to have all the sensations of the original experience. Thus, while experiencing such things as Climbing Mount Everest, A Visit to Beijjing, Amazon Rain Forest, Seventh Game of the World Series, or a Passionate Night With... (your favorite entertainment star), the client would receive all the sensory components of the experience without having to leave town, get into optimal physical condition, commit a lot of time, or, in the latter case, betray solemn vows. Benefits would include augmented knowledge, relaxation, and in some cases the sort of excitement one cannot get in one's workaday, humdrum life. Medical problems are envisioned, but Parlours would be state-licensed and inspected, and the client would be required to sign a release. Ethical problems are not as easily dispensed with, but the client would not be permitted to enter a booth without proving, to the satisfaction of supervisory staff, that he understood what was going to happen to him in there. Scenario 8: The Politicized Library. This one's a shocker, and let's hope it never gains a foothold in the affairs of people in Western society. Imagine, if you will, that some sort of government interested in preserving law and order met up with some serious threat (from within or without) to the American Way of Life and domestic safety and security. Now ask yourself this: How far would that government go - in the interest or self-protection and preservation, mind you - to ensure that revolution would never take place? Could such a government use libraries as instrumentalities of the official (party) line? Would the contents and materials of such a library reflect only approved (and whatever is deemed politically correct) values, and everything else be restricted or even banned? What if the library became a good part of the propaganda arm of our national government, helping to mold citizen's minds in approved ways - like Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" - by filtering ideas until the ability to utter heresy was difficult or - as in Orwell's 1984 - to assist in changing language until heresy becomes impossible. Couldn't happen here? Don't bet on it. Scenario 9: In the Privacy of Your Own Home. Increasingly, this is far from a visionary concept of some far-off day when everything is wired and one may go exploring the world's libraries and databases with his shoes off. We're already there, in fact, technologically. It is now possible for individuals to do everything one used to do by physically going to a library without leaving one's chair or rising form his or her computer station. But there are unknowable consequences that go along with such luxury, and this scenario explored only a few of them.
The Future of Health Care IT. Dr. Tom Handler, Gartner Group. Report issued in April, 2009. The Gartner Group is a global consulting firm specializing in Information Technology and futures forecasting for various industries, including health care.
Signals coming out of the Obama administration suggest that the U.S. is edging toward a value-based model for health care and away from an activity-based model of care. If the future sees the uninsured more empowered to make choices in their health care, then it is likely we will see more tightening compliance, more data transformed into measurement, increased leverage with insurers, more process improvement, transparency and streamlining of information and more integrated health networks as a way to either work with or combat a likely federal insurance system to cover the uninsured. In this paper, published by the Gartner Group, Gartner looked at how health care and IT will unfold over the next ten years to the year 2019. Utilizing the scenario planning technique, the author derives two key uncertainties of this future: 1) the way health care providers are actually paid, looking at the current model of activity-based care versus a potential future value-based model; and 2) the degree to which the delivery of healthcare is freed from the constraints of physical proximity and is delivered virtually as opposed to face-to-face. The results are four scenarios. [NOTE: The complete scenario narratives are available on the Gartner Group website.] Scenario 1) Herky-Jerky Care. “Care delivery is activity based and delivered in local, face-to-face encounters. Payment occurs based on activities, with no attention to longer term value, with patient interactions based on optimizing utilization and controlling service.” Scenario 2) Convenient Care. “Care delivery has become substantially virtual, but remains largely activity-based. Consumers benefit from many more ways to gain access to healthcare through the Internet and sophisticated IT initiatives. But the health care consumer must coordinate his or her interactions with multiple providers of care, with minimal information as to the quality of care provided.” Scenario 3) Centered Care. “Delivery of health care is value-based, but still bound by the physical proximity of the provider and patient. IT priorities under this scenario focus on enhancing and streamlining the clinician and patient experience so that clinicians can spend more time with patients, and also on consumer analytics to better understand patient wants and need.” Scenario 4) Continuous care. “Care delivery becomes more virtual, and provider payment incentives are more value-based. Patients are no longer tied to local practitioners, because so much care is handled remotely, and patients can make more informed decisions because so much health care provider quality data is available. In this scenario, IT priorities include offloading most of the busy work of patient monitoring and first-level interactions, managing a steady flow of clinical and administrative events about consumers, and providing clinical decision support.”
Future of Work That Can Lead to a World of Peace and Prosperity in 2050.Peter Schwartz Pinpoints Ten Areas to Make a Global Impact, Find Success. Address to graduates of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, class of 2009. (Peter Schwartz is a futurist, business strategist, alumnus of Rensselaer, and author of Art of the Longview.) There is one thing that Peter Schwartz, Herman Kahn, and Warren Buffet have in common. They believe in human potential and the possibility of a positive future. It isn’t out of reach. “Human potential cannot be ignored.”(Buffet) If human potential is harnessed correctly, people will, overtime, live better lives. Herman Kahn argued repeatedly that it is indeed “thinkable” for humanity to move into a positive realm. In an address to the Rensselaer Institute, Peter Schwartz argued that this potential exists and he urged the graduates to shape the 21st century by realizing their true potential and imagining the possibilities. He asked whether the future of 2050 will see a scenario of chaos and war, or, a scenario of peace and prosperity? We live in a world of very turbulent times and we also live in a world that is in the hands of the next generation. The human capacity for innovation and leadership will largely determine which scenario actually unfolds. Schwartz reveals that in the year 2050, it is possible for the world to realize a vision of peace and prosperity. We can fight for this today through higher education that demands intellectual rigor and integrity. Scenario) 2050: A World of Peace and Prosperity. Realizing the vision of a peaceful, prosperous world of 2050 will require monumental innovation, collaboration, and leadership. The world of 2050 can be one of clean and sustainable energy production, transportation, and manufacturing. Much of the world will be lifted out of poverty. Education will be elevated to a global priority, and advanced medicine unlocks vast new powers over the functions and capabilities of the human body. Knowledge has become powerful in two areas: exploring the mysteries of the universe and uncovering vast knowledge of human biology, which gives humanity phenomenal power over the human future. Depending on how the power of technology is managed, there are ten major areas that young graduates in 2009 seriously consider. The first and most important: 1) energy for the long term which means it became non-polluting and inexhaustible by 2050, similar to 2009's combination of solar and wind power technologies with tomorrow’s potential energy sources derived from "new physics, new chemistry, new materials, new biology, or likely some combination including fusion and gasoline-excreting molecules"; 2) a “bio-industrial revolution" unfolded a new field of synthetic biology to inform a reassessment and adjustment of manufacturing, so that production of items and goods became far more energy efficient and environmentally sustainable by 2050. In succeeding, another three to four billions of people live well and sustainably on planet earth; 3) the human brain and developing of new means that reduced the loss of faculties that come with aging; 4) agriculture becomes the new "cool" - feeding the world less expensively and less water- and energy-intensive. 4) with population growth on a steep trajectory, urban planning, civil engineering, and smart architecture become necessary to build new sustainable cities; 5) business and management majors drive economic growth and create jobs; 6) artists, scientists, and engineers further fuse the technological, spiritual, and aesthetic dimensions of human culture; 7) the next generation of great scientific and technological instruments are built - just as the Hubble Space Telescope and Large Hadron Collider have been constant sources of major new discoveries; 8) more tools are developed that lay the foundation for future knowledge creation; 9) increasingly powerful biological tools are used and knowledge to help humankind guide its own future evolution such as extending youthful human life by decades, or regenerate parts of the body that need repair; and 10) discovering new ways to radically lower the cost and environmental impact of space flight, and developing new ways, such as a space elevator, to get into space.
The Future of Learning. KnowledgeWorks Foundation in partnership with the Institute for the Future. Jane McGonigal, Director of Game Research and Development at Institute for the Future, 2009. The future of learning foretells a radically different world. These days a "quality education" is thought to require better schools and better teachers. Not necessarily. The future of learning will require entirely new kinds of learning environments, not "better schools.” Instead of traditional teachers, ‘learning guides’ will fundamentally take on the role of teachers. As every dimension of our world evolves rapidly, the education challenges of tomorrow will require solutions that go far beyond today’s answers. Over the next decade, innovations in education are likely to take place outside traditional institutions. Six driving forces that will impact the future of learning: 1) Altered Bodies - advances in neuroscience are revealing a new understanding of the brain,”; 2) Amplified Organization - digital natives and technologies of cooperation are combining to create a generation of amplified individuals with augmented human capacities; 3) System shocks and disruptions in the arenas of energy, finance, climate, and health care are key forces of destabilization in this century which will drive platforms for resilience - enabling responsive flexibility, distributed collaboration, and transparency - will allow institutions to meet such challenges;4) with the convergence of participatory media culture, education will find itself a contested resource in the crossroads of these forces of change; 5) new forms of bottom-up social networking and economic coordination, along with small-scale, community-based fabrication and design, transform local economies in the next decade; 6) Information proliferation will continue, exacerbating the burden on families, learners, educators, and decision-makers to make sense of vast amounts of data. New tools for visualizing data will require new skills in discerning meaningful patterns. [NOTE: The complete driving forces and scenario narrative is available on the KnowledgeWorks website.] Scenario) Learning in 2019. This is a world in which the pupil will be placed in the centre. Personalized education means that the school and the teachers start from and adapt themselves to student goals, ambitions and potentials. The fundamental principle behind new methods of learning is the conviction that all pupils are different and that they learn in different ways and at different rates, and that it is the school´s task to meet these differences. Every student will have a personal tutor who will follow through the school years, help and train the student in planning and developing learning strategies, follow up on school work and be available for support and control. Learning will involve setting lifetime goals. New learning agents will help shape the future of learning by contributing to the expansion and redefinition teacher-student relations. Types of learning agents in the future will include 1) a learning partner - students who test for compatible personalities but who have different cognitive strengths will be matched to support each other throughout the year, maintaining a constant thread amid shifting peer relationships; 2) Personal Education Advisor - assigned by certified local education agencies (such as schools, resource centers, and libraries); 3) Learning Fitness Instructor - will help learners build and strengthen the basic cognitive, emotional, and social abilities essential to learning by using simulations, biofeedback, and hands-on activities to reduce stress, hone mental capabilities, and learn brainfriendly nutrition; 4) Edu-vators will build platform prototypes, experiment with new tools, evaluate new practices, and generally explore innovations in the learning sphere. They will team with learners, who will get credit for being in “edu-vation workshops.” 5) Community Intelligence Cartographer - will tap the collective intelligence of their local communities. They will leverage social networking strategies to develop swarms and smart mobs in order to identify emerging learning opportunities in the community, organize community members, and locate community resources; 6) Assessment Designer - using social networks and insights into cognitive functioning, assessment designers will create appropriate methods for evaluating media literacy, learning discovery journeys, and other innovative forms of instruction; 7) Social Capital Platform Developer - will link the social capital infrastructure to teaching and learning practices and outcomes; 8) Learning Journey Mentor - will work with personal education advisors, learning fitness instructors, community intelligence cartographers, and assessment designers to co-create and navigate learning itineraries with small groups of students; 9) Education Sousveyor - will keep the learning process transparent and will stimulate public discussion around it. Through mechanisms such as blog posts, pictures, podcasts, and videos, they will keep learning on the forefront of stakeholders’ minds.
Small Business and The Future of U.S. Health Care in 2015. The Council of Smaller Enterprises in collaboration with Global Business Network, 2009.
As costs to provide health coverage have exploded by more than 70% over the last five years, small business has not been able to keep pace with those increases. This is becoming a desperate situation because this sector is a very powerful engine of the US economy, yet less than 50 percent of its employees are insured. The key question asked in these scenarios: What are the largest uncertainties that may shape health care in the US and how will people be affected, especially small business? The scenarios reveal four different "worlds" that could exist in 2015 as a result of a variety of forces such as a faltering system with demand rising with the aging populations and onset of more chronic diseases. Today, the Obama administration is focused on health care reform. Based on an axis of predetermined elements, critical uncertainties describe the extremes of "Urgency for Change in the US Healthcare System" (dissipating verses growing and concentrating); and the extremes of " The Drive for Reform is the Responsibility of" (today's insiders verses new sources of energy and ideas). [NOTE: The complete scenario narratives are available through the Millennium Project.] Scenario 1) Where’s the traction? “Despite growing evidence that the health care system is under severe pressure, there is no major incentive for any of the ‘insider’ players to reform the system in significant ways. The power of inertia is profound, and leads to a continued erosion of benefits and functioning of the system. This is a world in which status quo rules. The drive for significant health care reform becomes stalled. For some, it is the result of the power of incumbent players. With cost increases becoming more tolerable, there is no coalition influential enough to force change — despite the continued efforts of many. Other domestic and international challenges distract policy makers while interesting new health care initiatives are proposed but none gain traction. The problems that are evident in 2009 do not go away, they continue to worsen, and many keen health care observers watch for an impending crisis that never comes. Businesses continue to provide health coverage as a recruitment tool, but overall coverage erodes. Most see only a series of “band-aid” solutions: increasingly large cost-shifting to those left in the system, while the uninsured are the left as “the government’s problem.” Scenario 2) Don’t just stand there — do something! “In a tricky and volatile economic environment, the pressure on the health care landscape results in a politically irresistible drive that forces thefederal government to intervene and guarantee a minimum level of health care for all Americans. This is a world in which aligned popular demand (suffering from intolerable health care costs) drives powerful players into making quick but far-reaching decisions about health care. The urgency for reform is too pressing to resist, so the U.S. government is called on to develop and enact significant changes to the health care system — especially its financing. A new deal is brokered between politicians, insurance and big business and a variety of new initiatives arise connecting key players. As employer mandates and price controls become more prevalent, this system gradually evolves into a minimally federally subsidized program. Coverage is ensured for all through a complex, tiered system. As a result, individuals and small businesses are caught up in a rapidly changing, confusing policy and benefits environment. There is constant energy from some to move toward a comprehensive system of universal coverage.” Scenario 3) No news ... good news? “In a relatively stable economic climate, the risks of health care are shifted even more to the individual — which causes many difficulties — but also leads to proliferation of market-based phenomena (transparency, low-cost innovations, alternative therapies) that helps many end-users bypass a complicated health care system. This is a world in which evolutionary change happens, with no great fanfare, disasters or radical breakthroughs. The immediate urgency for reform, so prevalent in 2007 and 2008, recedes as health care takes a backseat to other domestic and international political issues. As health care retreats from the headlines, costs become more tolerable. Driving this shift in cost and severity is the acceptance that consumers take more control of their health and health care. The health care industry, slowly, begins to look increasingly like other industries, where market forces (competition and information) gradually and almost imperceptibly bring change. Providers, employers and consumers learn to adjust gradually to the realities of long-term changes in the health care landscape.” Scenario 4) New Powers, New Systems. “In a difficult economic environment, individuals, businesses and others find themselves forced to think (and act) radically about health care delivery and financing, as the established players are unable or unwilling to step in and create change. This is a world in which the magnitude and urgency of the changes required attract large, influential, unconventional players and activities into the system. A gathering critical mass powerfully indicates that the U.S. health care system cannot continue on its present course — costs are intolerable, and the powerful players are seen as part of the reason, not part of the solution. In the midst of a deteriorating situation, new players and organizations step in to offer a different take on health care and its financing. Surprising new alliances emerge between retailers, insurers and others. Significant changes in practices are used to cut medical costs. Rapid roll-out of health information systems by global players; other leaders — unions, local communities, etc., also rise to the challenge and make change happen.”
The Future of Pensions and Healthcare in a Rapidly Aging World – Scenarios to 2030. Bernd Jan Sikken, World Economic Forum (WEF) and Nicholas Davis, World Economic Forum. Scenario Series 2008. The scenarios presented in this report are narratives based on rigorous research and creative insights from a wide variety of stakeholders
Populations around the world are aging rapidly, not only in the advanced economies but also in the emerging and developing economies. The UN predicts that by 2050, one-third of the populations in developed countries and one-fifth of those in developing countries will be aged 60 or older. The Financing Demographic Shifts 2030 project that the WEF addresses considers the following central question: How may the future of pensions and healthcare look like in 2030?, To explore possible futures, this report presents the scenarios on two broad paths: one is the path of economic growth between today and 2030; the second is the social and political attitudes towards responsibility for the provision and financing of social services. Scenario 1.) The Winners and the Rest. “This is a world in which high global growth delays the financial consequences of the growing demographic crisis. Despite growing liabilities from ageing populations, most governments are able to maintain scaled-back versions of existing social security systems, which they do as a matter of political expediency. However amid growing inequality and underinvestment in the public sector, such systems are seen as increasingly inadequate by those forced by low incomes to rely on them, creating a conflict-ridden climate of “The Winners and the Rest” on a global scale.” Scenario 2) We Are in This Together. “This is a world distinguished by a concerted effort on behalf of leaders and electorates to rein in growing inequality and reassert the idea of collective responsibility and accountability for social services. In this world, growth is moderate, but lower-than expected returns on capital are compensated for by an emphasis on finding innovative, efficient and inclusive ways to manage the financial implications of the demographic shift, including family and community-based solutions.” Scenario 3) You Are on Your Own. “This is a world in which an economic recession is prolonged in the early 2010s, causing fiscal difficulties for most state-funded pension and health systems. Individual responsibility is forced upon many people by the failure of existing social security systems under extreme financial pressure. Struggling to borrow or raise taxes sufficiently, many governments take aggressive measures to push healthcare and pension liabilities onto individuals and the private sector, maintaining only an absolutely minimal role in social security provision for the very needy.”
The Future of BioSciences: Four Scenarios for 2020 and Their Implications for Human Healthcare. Paul J. H. Schoemaker and Michael S. Tomczyk (Editors.); Wharton School Mack Center for Technological Innovation, Philadelphia, PA; 2008. Contributions included more than 50 bioscience industry leaders. This study includes four scenarios that describe the commercialization potential of emerging bioscience technologies from now until 2020 and beyond. How bioscience leaders, policy makers and others react to the challenges ahead will determine which future prevails. To this end, the report concludes by discussing the trends, uncertainties and strategic factors the investigators believe will influence these reactions. [NOTE: The complete scenario narratives and analysis are available on the Wharton School website.] Scenario 1.) "Where's the Beef”: In this scenario, medical science is unable to cure many common diseases despite strong public pressure and support. Biomedicine and gene therapy in particular have not fulfilled their early promise despite decades of research. Scenario 2.) "Science Held Hostage”: This scenario points out the occurrence of scientific breakthroughs, but public opposition and ever-increasing legal barriers prevent their commercialization. Moral or ethical concerns, especially in human gene manipulation, stall new products. Scenario 3.) “Bio Gridlock”: Advances take a long time and sick people across the globe lose hope that future therapies can save them, according to "Bio Gridlock." There's great frustration at the lack of results even after decades of increasing research funding. Scenario 4.) "New Age of Medicine": This scenario demonstrates the healing powers of vast database libraries that help match patients and treatments in a system of total lifelong patient care and personal monitoring. Increasingly, patients in developing nations gain access to this and sophisticated medical treatments.
Three Scenarios for the Future of Virtual Education M2 Presswire, January, 2008. Analyst Mark Justman of the futurist research and consulting firm Social Technologies.
In the future, self paced, self directed individualised virtual learning will dominate training, especially business training. In an attempt to determine the most likely scenario of the future of virtual learning, Justman described three potential evolutionary paths. According to the Justman, elements from each of the three scenarios are likely to play some role in the future of virtual education. For school districts, Justman draws an implication fron the scenarios: "Well-funded suburban school districts are likely to gravitate toward a digital enrichment approach, while underfunded or rural school districts are more likely to adopt a clicks-and-bricks hybrid approach to virtual education." Scenario 1.) Digital Enrichment. “Currently, schools integrate computers into student learning via dedicated computer labs and classes, besides having computers in classrooms themselves. Continuing evolution of this practice using information technology to enrich existing curricula could steer the future of virtual education toward wider use of digital tools and virtual learning environments designed to supplement conventional classroom instruction. Drivers for this scenario include: mainstreaming of computer gaming, immersive videogames and multi-user online game environments gaining cultural influence; technophile youth - members of the Millennial generation have grown up as "digital natives," having a high comfort level with information technologies; web-based collaboration tools - tools for digital collaboration, such as blogs, wikis, and podcasts, have become much simpler to use, and are now common in social and news-based contexts. Potential developments in this scenario include digital writing tools. This scenario implies extensive use of digital writing tools by students, for instance, in online journals using weblogs, collaborative work using wikis, and Web publishing. "Students could move beyond social networking sites like MySpace to more sophisticated online communities that allow actual collaboration, but are still teen-oriented." Expanded virtual tools. Additional educational applications of virtual tools could include computer-generated environments for simulating historical communities, battlefields, and economies. "Simulation games could allow students to immerse themselves in historical contexts and engage in interactive decision-making," he explains. "Students can also conduct virtual experiments-a cost-effective way to perform realistic physics, biology, or chemistry lab simulations on the desktop." Cross-cultural connections. Much like social networking, the Internet could also be used in the educational arena to connect students across cultures in a deeper integration of sister-school programs and "live" language labs.” Scenario 2.) Clicks-and-Bricks Hybrids. “This scenario involves expanding existing class offerings by adding new, virtual online classes alongside existing teacher-led ones. Activities would still occur largely within the confines of conventional schools, but distance learning would slowly be added to the curricula, allowing for a cost-effective expansion of educational offerings without significant investments in additional staff or facilities. Drivers for this scenario include educational cost containment - schools face perennial funding challenges, which can be exacerbated locally by rapid population growth; virtual classes could help schools adjust to sudden or temporary increases in the number of students; demand for curriculum expansion - college-bound students and their parents are demanding greater access to Advanced Placement classes and International Baccalaureate programs; turnkey curricula. Commercial virtual curricula are beginning to come to market, making it easier for schools to purchase specific virtual classes as the need arises. Potential developments in this scenario include more choices. By providing virtual classes onsite at existing school facilities, schools can offer a wider range of educational choices. Small rural schools can offer choices that rival those of suburban powerhouses, and virtual classes could allow more students on the college track to take more rigorous courses; cheaper teachers - teachers' aides and assistants could replace certified teachers, especially at the high-school level, with scripted instruction and planning; impact on college years. Virtual classes may have a larger impact during the college years, for after years of learning on their own, a greater proportion of students will be self-motivated. "Online classes could also replace lecture-style introductory classes, and be complemented by periodic face-to-face discussions led by graduate students.” Scenario 3.) E-Tutoring: “Instead of enriching or supplementing traditional instruction, virtual learning in the E-Tutoring scenario gradually begins to replace traditional instruction. E-tutoring software has several educational advantages, such as allowing learners to progress at their own pace, standardizing instruction, and simplifying routine mastery testing. It could gain a foothold through remedial instruction, and then gradually spread to other areas of the curriculum. Drivers for this scenario include: falling costs of IT. Computer costs continue to fall, as exemplified by the One Laptop per Child initiative, which has developed student laptops that cost less than $200 for Worlds 2 and 3; - Mandatory testing. Schools are placing more emphasis on meeting testing requirements, in part driven by testing mandates like the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) federal educational initiative; - Global competition. The globalized knowledge economy is elevating the competitive importance of educating highly skilled knowledge workers. Potential developments in this scenario: Quantity of instructional time. E-tutoring can allow students to proceed at their own pace and therefore to take as much (or as little) time as they need to master a topic. The risk is that slower students may not complete required coursework by the end of the school term; back to basics. E-tutoring is a more traditional, back-to-basics educational approach that emphasizes demonstrated skills mastery. Educators who have embraced more progressive approaches are likely to characterize e-tutoring as another form of misguided "drill and kill" pedagogy. - Improved performance. E-tutoring could boost US students' performance on international standardized tests due to its greater emphasis on content mastery. "However, it is unclear whether such increases in proficiency and content mastery would come at the expense of creativity and the ability to learn how to learn."
Scenarios for the Poorest - The View from 2030. Outsights was retained by the UK’s Department for International Development to develop a number of scenarios for the future of the very poorest, to stimulate new thinking and to look for ways in which the future can be changed. The project called on a wide range of expertise, including a set of commissioned research papers and 30 interviews from government, multilateral agencies, business, NGOs, the media, and academia. These were followed by workshops which included 40 participants from 10 countries and from a variety of backgrounds.
More than 1 billion people are extremely poor and around half are likely to remain poor all of their lives. With increased inequality and chronic poverty worldwide, this large swath of humanity are disconnected from society on many levels. The sad news is, development goals often do not reach far enough to help. They have little to gain. Five key forces have been driving these flows of people: 1) economic drivers that push immigration for opportunity; 2) demographic changes and aging of populations increasing vulnerability; 3) globalization shifting production patterns; 4) migration from rural areas to urban areas; 5) shocks such as global warming forcing millions at sea level to seek refuge in the hills. Each scenario takes the form of a retrospective, looking back from the year 2030. [NOTE: The complete scenario narratives are available on the Outsights website.] Scenario 1) On the Move. “The underlying question was how the movement of people (within as well as across borders) changes opportunities and gives greater weight to the so-called informal economy. Of the four scenarios this was perhaps the one which aroused the greatest amount of passion whilst presenting the most difficult analytical challenges. For decades, economic orthodoxy has supported the free movement of goods, services and capital. The free movement of people is just the fourth pillar of this mobility. More and more activities are mobile. For example, patients are travelling to get treatment abroad in the new wave of health tourism, and many of the wealthy countries' aged and infirm people now migrate to where cheap, labour intensive care is available. Free market advocates think this is fine, but others have to cope with the fallout when factories or call centres open and then close. Workers in rich countries have found that they can keep their jobs but only at very low wages. Minimum wage legislation has often been challenged or been allowed to wither on the vine of inflation. Frequently, loyalties are confused. Diaspora leaders have been called in to try to help mediate the conflicts when the diaspora workforce is undercut by low wages in their homelands.” Scenario 2) BRICs and Blocs. “The rising economic and political power of Brazil, Russia India and China is not only changing the outlook for the poorest in these countries but altering the global balance of power as these countries graduate to a status rivalling countries in the so-called First World. The global power structure is changed by the rising power of the emerging economies. It wasn’t inevitable but it was foreseeable. The United States still reigns supreme as the single largest military powerhouse, and the world depends on its ability to intervene when things get really too hot, though it is unable to effect regime change at will. Europe has sustained its drive for increasing cohesion despite repeated doubts along the way – and the world respects its “old Europe” values at times. The BRIC economies are now really sizeable: China is the No 2 economy behind the USA; India is working its way up the rankings; Brazil has trebled in size. The fourth BRIC, Russia, has been finding it hard to rebuild itself but is clearly en route for a strong future. The BRICs are major players and have graduated from being members of the “South” to an intermediate status where the South looks to them for leadership, donor aid and protection. Alongside this new world of stronger BRICs and varied blocs (NAFTA, Mercosur,the Asian blocs, EU, G20, G9, G5, etc) a multilateral architecture has returned. Regional blocs play a major role, both at a global level and in tackling more regional problems. Power is also exercised and shared across borders by businesses, civil society organisations and powerful diasporas. We now have a more robust international legal regime, based on strong institutions (e.g. the International Criminal Court and the new World Environmental Organisation) to which all key players have signed up, including the USA. UN Security Council seats are distributed on a regional basis, with major players or a regional body representing them.” Scenario 3) Simple as ABC. “Changing the prospects of the poorest by finding a more targeted and relevant approach to the use of technology. The most popular and surprising winner at the 2030 Nobel Prize ceremony was the woman who won the Technology Award. The surprise was double: Anna wasn’t a scientist, and she had not been presented the accolade that she had been expected to win, the Development Award (but doubtless would have if two prizes were permitted). Her breakthrough had been to get both technologists and developmentalists (the latter a host of disciplines from anthropology to zoology) to realise that the key to making technology actually support development was in understanding that the technology was only step one; steps two and beyond were all about application. Anna's first step was to start a simple but controversial list of technologies, grading them from A to C. The A-list included genomics, genetic modification (GM), nanotechnology, advances in materials, the DNA cure for AIDS, and fuel cells. These were the cutting edge, often still in the lab, and as far as the world’s poor (and certainly the poorest) were concerned, all way in the future. B-list technologies included anti-retrovirals, tools to breed and/or replicate crops quickly, personal computers, micro-hydro power, and mobile phones. These were tried and tested, available, and with ingenuity and effort could be made more widely available. The C-list included the book, the bicycle, the abacus, the combustion engine, water pumps and filters, drip irrigation, malarial nets impregnated with insecticide. These technologies had been around for often hundreds of years (or longer). Not having access to them is one definition of being poor, and increasing access could have a massive beneficial impact.” Scenario 4) Moral Warming. “The rise of a new attitude towards global poverty, driven by individuals, the private sector, NGOs and other civil society groupings. Individuals, companies, NGOs and other civil society groups are driving a new attitude to global poverty. No-one can quite remember when the phrase was coined though there are plenty of claimants to parentage. The power of “moral warming” clearly came from its sympathy with the campaign against its namesake, global warming. And like its namesake, it brought together a number of different debates and players. Strong communitarian, socially-minded advocates and faith groups reflected a steady rise in the moral underpinning of the civil society movements, including conscientious consumers. The rising power of religious groups added a further impetus, along with the rising consciousness that religion is linked to power. The debate over individual versus collective or social responsibility was rekindled in a renewed multilateralism. In developing countries it was manifest in social activism supported by the rich world’s NGO movements. The venerable Greenpeace now has more offices in the South than the North. New social theory gained adherents, following the leads of Etzioni's communitarianism, Putnam’s social capital, Pooge and others’ attention to rights, etc. All helped to shift the debate and the choices people make. Companies began to sign up to the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Today, in 2030, the corporate world is as vocal as the NGOs in promoting the right to a job, the right to critical natural resources (such as water), the right to health, and even the right to access to capital.”
Feminist Praxis - Women’s Transnational and Place Based Struggles for Change. Wendy Harcourt. Tellus Institute. Copyright @ 2006. GTI (Global Transformation Initiative) is a global network that assesses normative transitions to a healthy planet through imagining social, political, technological, environmental, and economic transformations worldwide. The workshop series known as the “GTI Paper Series” can be located on the Tellus Institute website. This is GTI Paper Series #11. Wendy Harcourt is Senior Advisor and Editor of Development, the journal of the Society for International Development, Chair of Women and Development Europe, and member of European Feminist Forum, International Feminist Dialogues, and other networks. She has published widely on gender and development issues and authored four books, the latest co-edited with Arturo Escobar on Women and the Politics of Place (2005). She holds a doctorate in history from the Australian National University. The feminine perspective is vital to a great transition. This paper is grounded methodologically in what the authors call the feminist praxis- the interplay of feminist ideas and practice-in shaping a vision for the future that can achieve the goals of transformation to a sustainable global society. The authors develop overviews of a number of feminist experiences worldwide and note that women’s movements shaped in local struggles (WPP - women and the politics of place; place based struggle) can form a collective strategy for transition so as to gain solidarity across gender, class, age, sexualities, race, and ethnicities. In focusing on the stories of women in place-based movements who are resisting expression of patriarchy and economic globalization, WPP aims to show how women engage creatively with globalization in many ways. The agents of world transformation are markets, corporations, big governments of the global North, the global economy, financial capital, and new technologies. While these are indeed real forces transforming the world, in these globalocentric perspectives there is little that people in localities can do. “WPP implies a new vision of politics that includes projects that are embedded, contextualized, and localized, but also linked and networked. In fact, it is a “politics of becoming”, which presupposes the application of innovative, hybrid strategies.” Wendy Harcourt In a future scenario, “another world will not be possible without a different kind of economy, and another economy will not be possible without a different kind of democracy. And another kind of democracy will not be possible without a personal, subjective revolution on the part of women and men, without an active recognition of our diversity and unless we work together in order to face this collective challenge. It is here where feminists lead the fight for democracy, in addition to the fight against the neo-liberal capitalist system and against militarization and war. The urgent battle against today’s patriarchal system is to open the way for recognition of sexual diversity, for reproduction by choice instead of by obligation, to welcome the existence of different types of families, to value the reproductive economy, and the importance of democratization on various fronts - in the world, in countries, at home and in the bedroom.” The Great Transition vision needs to find a way to ensure that our understanding of core values-solidarity, ecology, well-being, pluralism, and equity are accessible and useful to those people engaged in place-based struggles on the ground. We need visions that embrace the possibility that choice, access to resources, rights, integrity, and security can be found in diverse but appropriate forms for all women in the place where they chose to live and act for change.
Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies – and What It Means to be Human. Joel Garreau. Published by Doubleday @ 2005. ISBN 0-385-50965-0.
In this book, Garreau reveals a future “already in the making”. With scientific advances taking place, people’s capacity and durability will be vastly improved. According to the author, “the pace of technological development in this area is following an exponential curve….Imagine a world in which people can move objects with their minds, are virtually impervious to the ravages of disease, and never need sleep.” Joel Garreau The author conducted interviews with scientists and futurists to arrive at three possible scenarios for the future interaction between the human race and technology. Two of the visions are of better lives for most people called The Prevail Scenario; but on is of worse lives called the Hell Scenario. The following is a scenario excerpt from Garreau’s book Radical Evolution. The Law of Unintended Consequences - Scenario to the year 2023. “Flash forward a decade and a half from today. Look at the girl who today is your second-grade daughter. Fifteen years from now, she is just home for the holidays. You were so proud of her when she not only put herself through Ohio State but graduated summa cum laude. Now she has taken on her most formidable challenge yet, competing with her generation's elite in her fancy new law school. Of course you want to hear all about it. It is her first time home in months. But the difference between this touching tableau and similar ones in the past is that in this scenario–factually grounded in technologies already in development in the early years of the 21st century– changes in human nature are readily available in the marketplace. She is competing with those with the will and wherewithal to adopt them. "What are your classmates like, honey?" you ask innocently. "They're all really, really smart," she says. But then she thinks of some of the students in contracts class–the challenging stuff of One L fame. And she stops. - How does she explain what the enhanced kids are like? she wonders. She knows her dear old parents have read in their newsmagazines about some of what's available. But actually dealing with some of her new classmates is decidedly strange. - They have amazing thinking abilities. They're not only faster and more creative than anybody she's ever met, but faster and more creative than anybody she's ever imagined. - They have photographic memories and total recall. They can devour books in minutes. - They're beautiful, physically. Although they don't put much of a premium on exercise, their bodies are remarkably ripped. They talk casually about living a very long time, perhaps being immortal. They're always discussing their "next lives." One fellow mentions how, after he makes his pile as a lawyer, he plans to be a glassblower, after which he wants to become a nanosurgeon. - One of her new friends fell while jogging, opening up a nasty gash on her knee. Your daughter freaked, ready to rush her to the hospital. But her friend just stared at the gaping wound, focusing her mind on it. Within minutes, it simply stopped bleeding. - This same friend has been vaccinated against pain. She never feels acute pain for long. - These new friends are always connected to each other, sharing their thoughts no matter how far apart, with no apparent gear. They call it "silent messaging." It almost seems like telepathy. They have this odd habit of cocking their head in a certain way whenever they want to access information they don't yet have in their own skulls–as if waiting for a delivery to arrive wirelessly. Which it does. - For a week or more at a time, they don't sleep. They joke about getting rid of the beds in their cramped dorm rooms, since they use them so rarely. - Her new friends are polite when she can't keep up with their conversations, as if she were handicapped. They can't help but condescend to her, however, when she protests that embedded technology is not natural for humans. - That's what they call her–"Natural." In fact, that's what they call all those who could be like them but choose not to, the way vegetarians choose to abstain from meat. - They call themselves "Enhanced." And those who have neither the education nor the money to even consider keeping up with enhancement technology? These they dismiss as simply "The Rest." The poor dears– they just keep falling farther and farther behind. - Everyone in your daughter's law school takes it as a matter of course that the law they are studying is changing to match the new realities. The law will be upgraded, The Enhanced believe, just as they have new physical and mental upgrades installed every time they go home. The technology is moving that fast. - In fact, the paper your daughter is working on over the holidays concerns whether a Natural can really enter into an informed-consent relationship with an Enhanced–even for something like a date. How would a Natural understand what makes an Enhanced tick if she doesn't understand how he is augmented? - The law is based on the Enlightenment principle that we hold a human nature in common. Increasingly, the question is whether this still exists.”
Diabetes & Obesity to 2025 – Four Future Scenarios for the Twin Health Epidemics The Institute for Alternative Futures. Funded by a grant from Novo Nordisk. June, 2006.
This report provides four scenarios of how diabetes and obesity could play out between now and 2025. According to the author, the scenarios suggest that diabetes deserves to be elevated from a ‘stealth epidemic’ to a top priority in the national health agenda. In constructing the four scenarios, the Institute for Alternative Futures identified 10 Diabetes Control Factors that can make a significant difference in ending the diabetes epidemic. According to the report, the U.S. is on track to have 50 million Americans with diabetes in 2025, up from what are now estimated to be 20.8 million. This is a looming crisis and should be treated as a twin epidemic. The following is a brief overview of the four scenarios. The report provides a full analysis of implications after each scenario. For the full text, contact The Institute for Alternative Futures.
Scenario 1) The Frog Didn’t Jump. In this future, government, business, public health and healthcare delivery systems fail to make the changes needed to avert the twin epidemics of diabetes and obesity. The scenario characters show us the consequences of attitudes and decisions that are present today. Like the frog in a pot of water on the stove at room temperature that doesn’t jump out of harm’s way when the temperature is gradually raised to boiling, we let this stealth epidemic continue its disastrous course.
Scenario 2) We Did the Best We Could. Scenario #2 assumes the conventional expectation that healthcare systems will make individuals more responsible, add new technology and create delivery tiers for different levels of care. These market-focused changes only go so far into the complex range of factors creating the twin epidemics of diabetes and obesity, but they do deliver more effective treatments and disease management for those with access to health care.
Scenario 3) Caring Communities and Access to Health Care. In scenario #3, both the public and private sectors embrace prevention and more effective care, which results in a reduced burden of disease. People have universal access to a basic level of health care. Universal health care does limit some treatment options and constrains innovation.
Scenario 4) Evolving Systems with Enlightened Leaders. Scenario #4 takes on the “obesogenic environment” and confronts the social determinants of health. Change within the marketplace, culture, and science moves upward from individuals and families to communities, health care and economic systems. New leadership helps society navigate these changes.
The Future of Schools – 25 Years Down the Line. Susan McLester. Technology & Learning 26.4 (Nov. 2005) pS4(5).
For this article the staff asked readers, industry experts, authors, tech gurus and scientists, "What will 'school' look like in the year 2030?" This article reflects an array of varied opinions. In the Leadership Imperative, participants responded with suggestions for policy initiatives and a call to action for grassroots efforts and leadership at all levels to focus on the need for improving education today. Also included are the voices of children around the world. The following are two excerpts of scenarios from the article. The article contains a number of scenarios.
Scenario 1) A Close Call for the Nation. “It wasn't until 2010 that everyone in the United States suddenly woke up from the testing daze and realized that a focus on memorizing skills in the age of petabytes of accessible online memory storage was a little silly. Once online, you're global, and local standards for learning have much less meaning. The best way to learn the 3Rs is through relevant, highly motivating, real-world projects that are focused on building the 21st century. - As other countries began to graduate more and more 21st century-skilled students into the global workforce, and more and more U.S. jobs were being off shored, out-sourced, and out-competed, education suddenly became a stark, very real, economic and competitive crisis for the United States. - Luckily, with a massive public investment in education at all levels-federal, state and local-and with a good deal of the leadership coming from the students (who held many large-scale electronic protests for a world-class education), the United States started catching up with the other leading countries. This was accomplished under the bipartisan banner of 'Innovation Learning for an Innovation Economy.' - By 2020 the United States started once again taking a leadership role in 21st century learning globally, but this time it was more of a collaborative role than a competitive one, sharing best practices with other countries and viewing world-class learning as a global right for all children. - Along the way, schools became community learning centers, highly connected to both the daily life of the surrounding community and the lives of others around the world. Collaborative learning through real-world projects became the norm and much of the learning was done in multinational teams exploring a problem or a question together 'virtually' online as well as 'viscerally' in hands-on ways in their local villages, cities, and communities. - This global, collaborative approach to learning unleashed a wave of creativity in solving difficult world problems as well as a renaissance of expression in the arts. For the first time, young people everywhere felt they could make a difference in the world. - It was a close call for U.S. education and the U.S. economy. The innovative spirit that founded the United States, and the deep-down desire to have a world at peace, working collaboratively toward meeting the common needs of all global citizens, arose once again to meet the challenge of learning and living in the 21st century.” Bernie Trilling.
Scenario 2) Immersive Experiences and Broad Support. “Technologies related to video, audio, communications, computing, sensors, robotics, and artificial intelligence are evolving towards simulating more real-life and rich experiences. These driving technologies will converge in 25 years to spawn a new kind of software industry that exploits the power of this convergence. Schools will benefit tremendously from this evolution. Libraries of near-real simulated instructional environments will be available to be recalled at a moment's notice to provide an interactive and new way of learning. Students can see, hear, feel and be part of these environments. For example, during history class, a tour of the great pyramids can be arranged where students roam through the winding corridors inside the ancient structures exploring the artifacts and remains of a bygone era. Biology class can enter the amazing jungle of the Amazon basin and discover the rich flora, fauna, and animal kingdom of that region. Environments that simulate specific sections of societies will help students learn about behavior, ethics, and law. Teachers will take on the roles of tourist guides, jungle natives, or judges in these simulations. - Governments and private groups will invest in developing these instructional environments. Concerned school officers and the public will put enormous energy and effort toward having government and industry provide relevant content to schools. Education researchers will work closely with this industry to identify, develop, test and introduce this kind of learning into the curriculum. - Subjects related to the environment and history, hitherto not benefited by technology as much as subjects like science and math, will be the most influenced by this progress and will fascinate students and facilitate their ability to understand their place and time at a much deeper level. Technology will be non-intrusive, as if to not exist in these learning situations. The push to implement such a technology by the nation's defense departments and the entertainment industry will directly benefit the schools in the end.” Sudhir Halbhavi
World as City: City as Future – Imagining the Multicultural Futures of the City.Sohail Inatayullah.
What will the cities of the future look like? Is there one clear future for the city or are there a range of alternative futures? According to the author, “the immediate data and most forecasts point to one overwhelming trend - the urbanization of the planet, Blade Runner writ large. This is a long term historical trend but now reaching to a point where begin to serious imagine Earth itself as a city. The data is such that by 2020, half the world’s population is expected to live in an urban environment.” Sohail Inatayullah The economic rationale is not the only reason. Cities are also packed with the poor, who now live in misery, that is, while in the farm they were poor, still poverty was sustainable - there was a sharing of wealth. But with the city comes the classic anomie, fragmentation, alienation. Two scenarios of the future of the city. If our aspirations in any way reflect our possible, if not probable, futures, then the Earth as City may not be ultimately occur, agency has not been lost. In dozens of futures visioning workshops across the world – Taiwan, Germany, New Zealand, Malaysia, Pakistan, the USA – where participants are asked to in detail describe their preferred futures, two images are dominant. Scenario 1) The Globalist Scenario. “A jet plane for all, unrestricted movement of capital and labor as well as ideas and news - not a utopia but certainly a good society where feudalism, hierarchy, nationalist power break down and humans function as autonomous fulfilled beings. The market is primary but a globalized worlds allows endless associations - nongovernmental organizations, religious affiliations, and other forms of identity currently unimaginable. With scarcity less of a problem, who we are and how we express this changing identity become far more crucial. The city becomes a site of intention. Freedom is realized.” Scenario 2) Focus on Stability. “This future is far less concerned with movement and more focused on stability. But the stability does not come from stasis but from connection - relationship with self, with loved one, with community and with nature. Wealth is no longer the crucial determining factor of who we are rather it is our capacity to love and be loved, to not live to transform the world but to live in harmony in the world. Rurality is not tangential to this image - indeed, while this image does not necessarily mean a return to the farm, it does mean a move away from industrial modes of production (that is, high fat, meat based diets and the accompanying waste disposal paradigm) and postmodern modes of production (genetically modified foods) to an organic, recyclable mode of eating and living.”
A 20/20 View of the Future. Anders Tychsen, Information Age 18/10/2006
What will digital entertainment look like by 2020? “The rapid development in communications technology will change the world. Wireless communication, environment sensors, advancements in browser engines and other technological advancements are going to change the way we access, receive and relate to information.
But how? What will happen if global connectivity begins to weaken nation-state boundaries and information, communications, media and entertainment converge into one, big digitalised world?” Anders Tychsen In the report resulting from the 20/20 Vision Project proposes scenarios of likely paths of converging communications environment. Scenario 1) The Big Daddy. “ In this scenario, the state forms your third parent. It actively monitors you and your children - who, by the way, have surveillance microchips surgically implanted at birth. The state protects you - for your own good - and the population has chosen to sign away personal rights in return for the security, healthcare and education the state offers in a time of social and political turbulence. The technologies we dream about today - such as quantum computing, ultra-refined human-computer interfaces - have been realized and are accessible. There are, however, some elements of society that have been left behind - unable to pay the fees. In a Big Daddy situation, multiplayer computer games like America's Army, which serves as a recruiting platform for the US Army, might be extremely prevalent and controversial games be outlawed. While games might be advanced and include virtual reality interfaces for example, diversity would give way to streamlining, and censoring of game content become rampant.” Scenario 2) Sensitive New Age. “In this scenario, communication is without boundaries; everyone is seamlessly connected to the Net. Advances in human-computer interfaces has caused the formation of a Matrix-style Internet which is highly pervasive and with as much meaning to most people as the physical, real world. Despite the online life, people have strong personal rights and control over how personal information is used. Household appliances are connected to ultra-fast networks, and virtual assistants featuring advanced artificial intelligence manage household duties and administrative tasks. Distributed power has motivated the development of individual self-reliance with a minimal role for the government. Information is publicly accessible; the markets are flexible and fluid, leading to an environment of trust and cooperation. On the other hand, the sensitive new age future scenario appears to offer the kind of gaming experience we dream about when watching Neo rumble in the Manhattan jungle with the agents in The Matrix - but in a safe environment and with considerable trust in the online world. It is important to realize that the world is increasingly affected by the rapid advances in the communications environment, political instabilities and environmental concerns - all considered in the Vision 20/20 report. The development of this world will affect interactive entertainment, which at the same time can affect development in communications technologies - and thereby society at large.” Scenario 3) Trusting the Net. “The expected massive advances in information technologies and the development of ever increasing degrees of connectedness to the Internet will naturally affect digital entertainment. "New forms of digital entertainment will be right up there with other 'killer applications' in the future. The mix of interactivity, global connectivity, virtual identities, powerful edge devices (increasingly mobile as well as fixed) and other developments will be important drivers in entertainment," notes Roberts. With so many devices and networks, security will be an even more important issue than today, and this means that one of the key challenges will be securing the integrity of the Internet - not a small feat considering that the Internet is a multiple platform, multiple network, global communications system.”
A Day in the Life of a 2020 GP. Dr. Trisha MacNair, MA, MB. Trisha Macnair has worked in a variety of NHS hospital specialities. Training first as an anaesthetist, she then gained experience in haematology (diseases of the blood system), respiratory medicine (especially asthma and chronic bronchitis), cardiac medicine, renal medicine (working on a kidney dialysis unit), intensive care medicine, and general emergency medicine. As a director of a charity providing independent supported living, Trisha has recently become involved in the issues facing people with severe learning disabilities and mental health problems.
Scenario: A Day in the Life of a 2020 GP. “The alarm goes off early and I leap into action as I have a vid-cam clinic before breakfast with the local elderly-care facility. A prolonged drop in the birth rate since the 1970's means that the old now far outnumber the young. So although I'm 62, I must work until I drop…The cost of looking after so many elderly people has put a huge strain on the health service. In order to cut costs, the government can now forcibly detain and treat people for smoking, addiction, obesity, or any other condition which lead to huge medical bills. Worse still for those sad souls who slip towards dementia-- caring for them is considered a waste of precious funds and they can be legally eased into the afterlife with a quick shot of opiates. ..The clinic is over quickly. On-site biosensors controlled by staff at the home have done half of the diagnosis before I even hook up to speak to the residents, and the standard treatment protocols on their computer explain how their medical problems should be managed. I often wonder why a doctor is needed at all! ..After breakfast two emergency vid-cam consults call in. The first is a young boy who may have measles, but it's hard to be sure. Fears about the MMR vaccine at the turn of the century lead to a major epidemic and many deaths, after which vaccination rates returned to an all time high. I explain to his mother how to check for the measles virus at the local diagnostic pharmacy, where they can then buy anti-viral drugs (one benefit of the long years of war was the rapid development of anti-infective medicines). ..Then I sift through my e-mail. It's the usual round of press releases including an invite to a lecture called 'Cancer: an extinct killer?' Most cancers can now be rapidly treated using genetic switch modifiers - treatments that simply switch on or off the genetic signals which trigger tumours. ..The afternoon is spent in the vaccination clinic, where I receive an urgent warning about the long anticipated flu pandemic. I immediately e-mail all my patients to come in for jabs. We vaccinate against so many things now, including cancer and even drug addiction. Some conditions still plague us, especially heart disease which remains the number one killer. ..I finish the day by logging on to my online educational programme and completing my monthly evaluation assignment at the General Medical Council's website. I download the results of my weekly DNA screening test which checks my genes, watching out for up to 648 different diseases, and then it's lights out.”
Future of Sports. Calling ‘em Like Everybody Sees ‘em in 2015. Jeff Merron and Darren Rowell. ENPN.com. Jeff Merron is a staff writer for ESPN.com. Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for ESPN.com, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The year 2015 sees improvements in officiating sports. Computers, cameras, and sensors enable “near perfection” in accuracy and making better calls in professional sports. In the year 2015 the art and science of refereeing is improved.. The following scenarios illustrate questionable calls in 2006 along with how similar calls might play out with improved technologies in 2015. Current 1) No Harm, No Foul. “Rutgers 62, Seton Hall 61, Feb. 8, 2006. With the score tied at 61 near the end of overtime, Quincy Douby missed a short jumper as time ran out. But referee Les Jones called a foul on Seton Hall's Donald Copeland. The Pirates disputed the call, saying that there had been little, if any, contact. With no time left on the clock, Douby sank the second of his two free throws for the win. The 2015 scenario: Instant replay will be ubiquitous at the college level, and low-cost high-definition cameras will capture more angles than a team of two or three referees ever could with their naked eyes. During regular-season games, coaches will be allowed to dispute two or three calls, and a referee on press row will punch up the necessary angles. If the video review doesn't indicate a clear error within one minute, the call will stand.” Current 2) Walk the Line. “ Michigan State 94, Kentucky 88 (NCAA Regional Finals), March 27, 2006. Trailing 75-72 with just 20 seconds remaining in regulation, Kentucky had possession after a timeout. What happened next was unforgettable. First, sharpshooter Patrick Sparks launched a 3-point jumper -- and missed. The Wildcats got the offensive rebound, and Kelenna Azubuike launched another 3-pointer -- and missed. Another offensive rebound, and Sparks launched another, with just one second left on the clock. And scored. Official Jim Burr called it good.There was no question that Sparks got the ball off in time, but it was unclear whether his foot was behind the 3-point stripe. Burr and the other officials went to the replay -- if you watched it on TV you knew how incredibly difficult it was to tell, even in super-slow-mo, whether Sparks' foot was on the line. Minutes and minutes went by as Burr reassessed his call, asking for every possible zoom and angle from the CBS broadcast truck. Finally, he stood by his decision, and the game went into overtime. "When they finally blew it up," Burr later said, "in my humble opinion, it showed that the kid was behind the line when he took the shot and that is how I made my decision." The 2015 scenario: The 3-point line will be pressure-sensitive, and able to detect even the slightest contact at a precise point. To avoid a glut of disputed calls and game stoppages, the sensors will be activated only for the final two minutes of each half. If Sparks' foot touches the line, it will register. Of course, the sensors will also register every other player touching the line at the same time, so the exact spot must be lined up with high definition video to ensure that the correct point of contact is examined. HD video cameras also will be able to delineate lines from above, and computer enhancement will make zoomed images extraordinarily clear. Such a call will no longer take five minutes or more. It will be made within a minute.” Scenario 3) The Jeffrey Maier Rule. “Florida 6, Arizona State 3 (College World Series semifinals), June 23, 2005. Florida was up one game to none in the best-of-three series, but trailed 3-0 in the fourth inning of Game 2. After the Gators' Brian Jeroloman reached first on a walk, Brandon McArthur hit a foul ball off first base. ASU catcher Tuffy Gosewisch dove into the stands but missed making the catch. Home plate umpire Bill Davis ruled fan interference and called McArthur out. The play didn't stop Florida's rally, though, and the Gators advanced to the championship series. Nationals 6, Phillies 3, Aug. 15, 2005. A huge crowd showed up at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia to watch the battle between the NL East rivals and wild-card contenders. The Nats were up 3-2 in the top of the third and had a man on base when Preston Wilson apparently sent a Brett Myers pitch over the center-field wall. A fan (wearing a Yankees cap) leaned over to try to grab the $4 souvenir, but missed. The ball careened back onto the field. First-base umpire Alfonso Marquez ruled it a home run. But Phillies right fielder Bobby Abreu contended the ball hit the fan below the top of the wall, and should have been a ground-rule double. After Phillies manager Charlie Manuel also protested, the umpires huddled and ruled that Marquez had made the correct call. Home run. The 2015 scenario: The solution to baseball's fan-interference problems will be ancient history, as every major league ballpark will be required to push seats back from all walls and provide at least a 3-foot separation between fans and any ball that could possibly be in play. No longer will fans be able to lean over onto the field, and players will no longer be within diving reach of the stands. Referee magazine publisher Barry Mano looks forward to a day when ground rules will be more heavily scrutinized and fans who interfere with the action will be dealt with more harshly. In addition, outfield walls will more clearly delineate home runs. Painted lines (did the ball hit over it or under it?) and fences atop walls won't be allowed, except in a few historical parks such as Fenway. And even there, sensors on the wall will indicate the precise point of impact. As a backup, a multitude of digital cameras will be available; and the stodgy baseball traditionalists who've resisted instant replay will finally have been pushed aside. A limited replay system, much like the one in place in the NFL, will be in use.” Scenario 4) The ‘Tuck’ Rule. “Bengals 16, Texans 10, Oct. 2, 2005. With just over three minutes left, the Texans had first-and-10 at their own 38. They trailed by six. Texans QB David Carr dropped back to pass, and was hit by Bengals defensive end Justin Smith. The ball came loose and hit the ground in front of Carr, and the Bengals recovered what was called a fumble. Texans head coach Dom Capers challenged the ruling, and Carr said he was certain he was throwing when the ball came out. Replays proved inconclusive. The call stood, and Houston was out of timeouts. The 2015 scenario: This was a tough judgment call that won't likely play out much differently in 10 years. There will be limits to the number of cameras and sensors that can help officials with calls away from the most critical areas of the field. "You're never going to get it all," says Mano. "We could populate the field with all kinds of cameras, and you could look at 27 different camera angles, literally. But is that what we want sports to be in 10 years?" Mano does say that the NFL, in particular, has vastly improved its instant replay capabilities. "When NFL replays started, it was very, very slow," he says. "But digital technology really enabled a quantum leap in the value of replay. It won't be much faster [in 10 years], but we'll get a little more accuracy."
Chicago Metropolis 2020 – The Chicago Plan for the Twenty-First Century. Elmer W. Johnson. The Chicago Metropolis 2020 Plan. 2006 Edition.
The Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission (NIPC) conducted a comprehensive planning process to build the 2020 plan to serve as a guide for civic leaders to prepare metropolitan Chicago for the twenty-first century. The Chicago Metropolis 2020 Plan undertook an understanding of current Chicago trends in public education, child care, transportation, land use, housing, governance, taxation, and economic well being with a goal toward investing in children, enhancing the region’s competitive vigor, governing the region, addressing the problems of race and poverty, and enriching the quality of life. Chicago Metropolis 2006. The outreach and implementation of the 2020 plan by Chicago leadership creates a normative scenario in which three fundamental hurdles are overcome by the year 2020. The first was the need to ensure that all of the region’s children have access to good health care and high-quality education from infancy to age eighteen and that all the region's adults have access to high-quality workforce development programs. The second obstacle was the spatial transformation of the metropolis that occurred over the 20th century. In the early part of the 21st century, a totally new urban form had emerged: a dispersed and stratified class of people neither village nor city; so the city was hollowed out as middle- and upper-income households prospered and were able to realize their dream in suburbia to the consequence of the inner city. The third obstacle in 2006 was the high level of concentrated poverty and racial and social segregation in the region. Chicago Metropolis 2020:The Chicago Dream. From 2006 – 2020, decisions became more collective and deliberated on a metropolitan scale. Decisions were no longer a wholly an inadvertent product of private-market and local zoning decisions within a “flawed policy framework.” “The dream of an economically vibrant and environmentally healthy region; one whose concentrated areas of activity enable people of complementary talents to achieve high levels of creativity and productivity; a region where all persons have ready access to jobs, to housing near their jobs, and to good schools and job training; a region in which people are enabled and encouraged to find nourishment in a diversity and complexity of persons, interests, and tastes, and to enjoy an exciting array of cultural, recreational, and intellectual opportunities; and, most important, a region that undergirds strong neighborhoods, communities, and families so that they are enabled to nurture the intellectual, moral, and social development of children.” (Elmer Johnson, author)
The Future University: Towards a Normative Model from an Emerging Provision of Higher Education in Britain. The author is a senior research fellow at Cranfield University, School of Management, Cranfield, Bedford, England, and a freelance futures researcher.
In the future, the expansion of the academic sector will take forms unimaginable by today’s standards. Traditional schools will give way to formats supportive of “massification of higher education, with a decline in class domination.” Three types of universities are likely to emerge. Scenario 1) Corporate University. “Like the McDonald and Motorola universities of 2006, the corporate university is more commonplace in the future. It is the creation of manageable, focused, responsive learning models within organizations. These type of universities encourage employees to undertake longer-term development within the organization while employers support educational initiatives that will benefit the company. This is typically achieved with corporate universities working in partnership with traditional universities. The “corporate classroom” becomes very different from the traditional academic classroom. The students are all in full-time work and part-time study; they have a common employer, and hence elements of a common agenda, and, their employer wants them to improve their performance in the workplace as a result of their studying. The outputs from the corporate classroom are more “visible” than those of the traditional academic classroom. In response to the demand, traditional universities restructure in order to fulfill their corporate potential. This restructuring takes the form of “applied” disciplines separated into stand-alone institutions. “Applied” disciplines are not better or worse than “pure” disciplines, but the consequence of their applied nature is that they change more rapidly and responsibility than the bureaucratic operations of the traditional academic university. In 2020, universities have placed structures to allow them to deal with these changes, such as modularization of programs and development of work-based learning accredited qualifications.” Scenario 2) Virtual University. “The future university will likely develop as a “virtual” university. This does not mean that virtual delivery will be the sole means of delivery, but the use of technology-driven communication will increase and indeed become the norm as the future generations enter the higher education market. The development of the virtual university will encourages student-centered learning as the student’s drive the pace, place and time of their studies, while the lecturer’s role changes to that of facilitator, monitor and assessor. The lack of rigidity of a timetable allows students to undertake studies that suit their work-life balance, as digital delivery occurs at any time to any number of students in any place. Universities that succeed in developing as virtual universities experience exponential growth and increasing competition as virtual universities are operating within a global rather than local market place. The pressure to maintain leading edge materials leads to development times being squeezed, as the rapidity of development is a key competitive differentiator. The virtual university of the future works with and develops a different model of a student from the traditional attendance model student. The term “cyberthinker” captures the differentiation of the student that develops in the virtual learning environment from the student who develops cognitively in the traditional classroom. Cyberthinkers differ from the traditional student in a number of ways. First, they become expert data processors as the availability and volume of data they assimilate is greater than that presented to students in printed written form. They will work more autonomously than classroom-base students, but still develop the creative and critical thinking skills required of a university graduate. The virtual university helps narrow the divide between the “haves” and “Have-nots” by improving the equality of opportunity offered through Internet ownership and access. By sharing knowledge and experience around the world, the international agenda of sustainable development becomes more achievable.” Scenario 3) The Global University. “If the virtual university it is an inevitable consequence then the future university will also be global. The nature of virtual technology is such that it operates on a global platform, and while it would be technically possible to restrict delivery to a small localized area, it becomes a competitive global marketplace. What emerges in the future is an international model based on alliances and franchises of educational institutions, resulting in their courses being sold with a central curriculum to local overseas providers. There are student exchanges between existing universities, and recruitment agencies working for universities in overseas markets. In 2006, the competitive environment encouraged institutions to work in isolation. When South Africa abandoned apartheid, the previously “black” universities had considerable difficulty in recruiting students. White students still wanted to go to formerly “white” universities, and the “black” students also wanted to go to the formerly “white” universities, either because they felt they would be better quality, or simple because they could not go there. A global university of the future sees partnerships between universities around the world, so that there is collaboration both in curriculum development and in provision, such that local universities provide the contextual support and classroom experience for the global university experience. This non-isolationist approach in the future is inclusive of local providers and generate a greater production of knowledge around the world.”
Changes in Health Professions Education: a Bridge to Quality. Joan L. Shaver, PhD, RN, FAAN Professor & Dean. Based on the IOM report: Four Levels of Change Health Professions & Impatient Patients Healthcast 2010 Smaller World, Bigger Expectations – PriceWaterhouseCoopers. 2002 Summit on health care professions in the future – strategies and action steps. 150 experts in health professions education, regulation, quality, health policy, and industry were present. The goal of the summit was to clarify national aims for improvement of the overall health professions. The “Now and Beyond” series examined the areas of information knowledge & health monitoring. In the future, information knowledge in health care will see the growth of knowledge brokers – cyber health professionals, mass customization of knowledge, & self-care protocol. In the area of health monitoring, extensive electronic records are forecast to provide patient health biographies, wearable computers, intelligent clothing, and constant monitoring. Furthermore, personal agents will become “digital butlers”, smart sensing, digital visualization in living environments, autodata transfer to ‘virtual’ health professional. Scenario 1) Sole Source. “In this scenario, the consumer selects or is assigned a health care provider from a “menu” in a health plan. Health care providers can consult with each other if desired. Illness care, follow-up & preventive/promotion are blended into encounters. Health care providers depend on continuing competency education to select diagnostic & treatment options while documentation done in system is isolated from multiple sites & agency accountable for health information. The consumer looks to expert HC providers for coaching & guiding. The summit discussed core competencies relevant to the sole source scenario. It was agreed that all health professionals should be educated to: deliver patient-centered care; be effective members of interdisciplinary teams; emphasize evidence based practice; emphasis on quality improvement approaches; and skills in informatics.” Scenario 2) Multiple Connect. “Healthcare consumers join community-based cooperative. Illness care is delivered in person to individuals or groups by community-based teams using shared documentation & decision support system – NP (triage), MD, PharmD, RD, dentist, exercise physiologist, chiropractor, massage & accupuncture, herbal therapist. Follow up and monitoring become geerally more aggressive in the healthcare system. Extensive health information on website for family or self-care with e-mail or telephone consultation Information is shared on smart card in possession of consumer. Core competencies required for this scenario are: the ability to deliver patient-centered care, ability to be a member of an interdisciplinary team, emphasize evidence based practice, quality improvement approaches & informatics.”
January 1, 2020. BBC Book of the Future. www.bbc.co.uk
The BBC asked readers and citizens what would the world look like in the year 2020? As a result, the BBC received over one thousand submissions for the BBC Book of the Future. Users were able to vote on these articles and the most popular, interesting, and profound were published. Here is a scenario by Researcher J. Christie-Sinclair, published on the BBC site January, 2003. Scenario: January 1, 2020. “Another day, another year. The early light glints through the shutters. The 2020 celebrations at the newly opened Aberdeen Leisure Dome have passed as we wake to the brand new year. So much has changed since the millennium some twenty years ago. Time for me to go to work - whatever happened to public holidays? The Worker Ant culture of the many to serve the privileged few. But hey! I will win the lottery this year…The whirring, almost whistling, noise begins outside. The clattering clanging of the Batteriecarz grates and irritates, not at all like the old efficient cars of as little as ten years ago. Necessity is, after all, the mother of invention. With the oil and petrol sanctions against the Western World the cars of old are long gone. Replaced by the mutated milk float type vehicles. Still, looking on the bright side, with the age limit for driving reduced to twelve I suppose the new transport is far safer. Who would have thought at the beginning of the century children would be driving themselves to school? No one walks the streets anymore without good reason. Armed police patrol Union St. and other main roads that only a few people still walk. Raging battles sporadically burst out between the police and Mafia style gang members. Almost as though the Wild West has descended upon the streets of Aberdeen. I must admit though, the schools have drastically improved the last couple of years with the exclusion of violent children. The introduction of court orders for such children to attend class via the net is a stroke of genius. Though not all changes have been for the better. The collapse of Social Security Benefit has devastated many lives. Many are homeless now. Lost souls living in the shadows of the streets away from the main roads creating no-go areas, as their desperation leads to vicious and violent crimes. Faceless individuals now no longer recognised by society, unable to leave or enter the city without blood-typed ID cards which many have sold for a pittance to the members of the Mafia style gangsters. I fear for this generation of lost souls bearing children from unholy unions and the rapes of the under world. Children unregistered and unrecognised, officially non-existent. What race of people is society creating? To future I say. The last thing in Pandora's Box after all, was hope. There is an undercurrent of people returning to God and spiritual ways. So many new cults, so much confusion. Who would have thought the decline in church membership would so dramatically change with the revelations of the once scorned Masons? The fear of God has filled so many now. The revelations of the Masons connections with Templar Knights, backed by indisputable proof, has the whole world in fear. The race is on to protect [or destroy] the evidence the Templar Knights claim to hold. Proof that Jesus was married to Magdalene who bore him children - the true descendants of the Son of God! Is the world ready for a new Messiah? What repercussions are about to unravel? Only the future will tell!”
New England: New Century, New Game. Neal Peirce and Curtis Johnson. Citistates Group. The authors belong to the citistates team, the only group in the US involved in preparing journalistic, region-widebased series looking at current and future strategic issues for metro regions – or “citistates”.
For centuries, New England’s six states have recognized for first class education. A “New England education” has a reputation that draws young people from other countries, seeking degrees in science and engineering, medicine and computer technology. However, over the past decade, higher education in New England has been wracked by inflating costs, slow to adjust to global online competition, and hampered by lack of New England students competent in the 21st century’s high demand areas of math and science. IN this article the authors discuss a future scenario of a classic “disruptive technology” – a totally new, six-state-wide operation that enables students to focus on their needs and life prospects rather than simply responding to pre-set college curriculums. Scenario: The Opportunity New England (ONE). “In this scenario Opportunity New England (ONE) is the one-stop shop - a place (on-line and in person) to find out about career choices and preparation needed, counsel on how to combine the best courses from multiple institutions, help getting enrolled, a hand finding financial aid. Then, at completion, ONE becomes a placement agency and sticks with a graduate’s career development. Nothing as ambitious existed in 2006. By 2020 it became a historic New England “first.” ONE was inspired by a keynote speech by University of Phoenix president Laura Palmer who said, “ For the next generation, the web is oxygen, community is virtual, perspective is global, and the career expectations is to reinvent one’s self several times over.” Steven Reno, chancellor of the University of New Hampshire System, spoke eloquently of making a seamless web of the public colleges in his state. The ONE (Opportunity New England) program became the world’s most student-oriented gateway to higher learning. Chartered or run directly, it would have four arms: First, “the Gateway.” Today’s high schoolers, even adults looking for advanced training, are often obliged to start blind, thrashing through stacks of course catalogues. The Gateway would create a “high-tech, high-touch” solution to the maze. The tech side would present software chock-full of answers on courses, costs, and program conditions at colleges and universities across New England, matched to data on real-world emerging job needs. The high touch side would be staffed by advisers to discuss students’ thoughts and ideas, interests and ambition, and suggest a workable course of study, mix or match between colleges, online and on-campus. Second, the Negotiation Center, would take the student’s preferences and negotiate a plan with one or more colleges and universities. ONE handles the registration, and helps the student apply for any grants or loans. It could assemble the costs and hand the student one simple invoice. Third, the Coaching Center. Once enrolled in college (or community college), students all too often face difficulties – academic, financial, social – that lead many to drop out. ONE would be available to counsel on how to stay enrolled, or make a smart transfer. That advice could start cutting back on today’s alarming rates of college dropouts. Finally, a Career Center. Working closely with businesses on employment needs, ONE would be available to act as career counselor and placement agent. Armed with the graduate’s credentials, the career center could be an ongoing job broker. Building on knowledge of the best instructed courses across the region, ONE would be the clear choice to create an Online New England service, guiding students across the region and across the globe to the region’s superior academic offerings. But its special magic -- setting it apart from such existing leaders in computerized college information services as the College Foundation of North Carolina and the Southern Regional Education Board -- would be its active, ongoing role as broker for the student.”
Future of Suburban Life in America: Three Scenarios. Michael Vassar. Michael Vassar is a contract technical consultant and analyst for Futurist.com. Following stints with the Peace Corp, and as an intern at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Michael is completing his MBA at Drexel University. Michael has a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Penn State University.
Vassar writes three possible “suburbs of the future”. The first scenario discusses the changes that appear practically certain when looking at current trends. The second is a likely scenarios. The third scenarios is a scenario of accelerated change. Scenario 1) Practically Certain Futures. “The first really surprising thing that a time traveler from 1954 might notice about a modern American suburb is the lack of children. “But we still have children” you protest. Of course we do, but they make up a far smaller fraction of the population and those we do have spend much less time than their precursors playing in the street or in their yards. Television, the pill, the web, and far more time consuming “extra-curricular activities” keep youthful faces off the streets. Younger children are constrained by a more invisible change. Behavioral standards for child safety have tightened to such a degree that by current standards almost every 1950s parent was negligent, and by the standards of the 1950s, almost every modern parent is neurotic…When our time traveler progresses another 50 years he will find that the children have returned, though not in nearly the numbers in which they were once found. Now it is the elderly who appear to be almost entirely absent. Upon inquiring he will soon discover they are actually far more common than they had been in 2004, but due to a combination of exercise, diet, hormonal and genetic therapies, stem-cell replacement, and improved plastic surgery the vast majority of senior citizens are indistinguishable from forty year olds, at least to the untrained eye of a man from the mid 20th century…The reason for the partial return of children to the streets is less obvious. The first clue is that their parents never have to call them in for dinner. The second clue is their tendency to wear glasses and their habit of talking to the air. Ultimately it is be discovered that few of the dangers of the 20th century are still relevant. Electronic tags in clothing now broadcast signals which would automatically cause any car to stop (using the irresistible van-der-walls attraction of gecko-mimetic tire patches if necessary) rather than running over a child. Nor would less sudden dangers such as getting lost be cause for concern. Almost every member of this society is in radio-contact with several other people at all times, as well as being on-line (using voice, a virtual mouse and keyboard, and augmented reality glasses or smart-paper for an interface) and precisely located by GPS. Crime is likewise unheard of, as the sensors and broadcasters on cars, clothing, etc produce a record of almost everything that happens which will be available to police if anything needs to be investigated. The dangers of traffic are further reduced by automatic enforcement of traffic laws and by the sharp reduction of traffic itself due to telepresence. Most of the people in most of the houses are information workers of one kind or another, and few of their jobs are associated with any location other than their home. Although most yards are mowed by robot, yard-work still consumes a substantial amount of time. Raking leaves is automated, but both the jumping and the bagging must be done by humans. Ecologically minded leaf-baggers can take some consolation in the knowledge that by collecting these leaves they are preventing decomposition and removing CO2 from the earth’s atmosphere. Yard waste is the single largest source of greenhouse credits for the United states, and although coal is no longer used for energy many cars still burn oil as do all aircraft, and the US still uses more than it’s share of the much reduced pie which represents fair greenhouse emissions…Inside the home there are more people and less stuff. Better ventilation and air filters and the presence of simple cleaning robots have removed much of the dust, but the house of 2054 is much messier than the house of today. This is once again the result of electronic tags. Neatness is unnecessary when any desired object can tell your personal computer where it is to be found. Such organization has made it much easier for many people to live together. Given that a middle class home now costs twenty years income for the median worker, as does a private school education for two children, and given that telepresence has eliminated the need to move in search of work, living together is the only option for most people. The nuclear family is dead. Those who lack acceptable relatives live with friends or don’t raise children…Even with a computer our traveler can’t find many commonplace objects. Where are the books? The TV? The telephone? The stereo? The kids carry all of those in their pockets outside, remember? Smart paper has replaced essentially every prior physical embodiment of information. Inside the house it covers the walls, replacing posters and most paintings. One whole room is missing. The active fibers of modern clothing make a laundry room unnecessary. The bathroom has been through the most dramatic changes. A typical morning routine involves a series of medical tests using expensive diagnostic machinery, while tooth brushing is obsolete due to dental vaccinations and non-stick dental coatings. Toilets clean themselves with wipers and their users with water jets. Mirrors are obsolete, once again replaced by smart paper… If our traveler stays for a year he will discover that the Independence Day barbecue has joined the Thanksgiving turkey as a once-per-year ritual food. Heart disease has gone the way of tuberculosis but cancer is more common than ever, and every custom that involves the consumption of burnt organic matter or any other toxic substance is on its way out. Since most of the fifteen year improvement in life-expectancy is due to healthier lifestyles, those who lack the elementary discipline to avoid consuming poison tend to die tragically in their seventies while their friends are still youthful. Technically though, our traveler cannot stay for a year, for if he does so he will force me to describe the suburbs of 2055, a year outside of the scope of this essay.” Scenario 2) Probable Futures. “Suburbs are basically large residential and commercial regions outside of cities but close enough to cities to afford easy access. They are favored by the American middle class because they are safe, attractive, tend to have better public schools than urban or rural areas, and offer a variety of activities without a long commute. Looking forward fifty years, we find that all of these considerations are likely to be antiquated. The safety considerations presented in the above essay hold even more strongly in cities, so the urban crime rate in Detroit in 2054 is almost sure to be lower than that in today’s downtown Singapore. Assuming that the presence of some approximation of nature is what people find attractive about suburbs, it is likely that they would find rural areas more attractive, all else being equal. …The academic aspects of schooling are as subject to improvement through telepresence as those of work, and there is no reason to expect that the children of 2054 will be grouped based on an antiquated concept such as the location of their homes. Such schooling will be seen as leading to a provincial outlook. The exponential expansion of home-schooling over the last 20 years will continue until public schools adapt to modern times, and when they do adapt, automation and telepresence will be key adaptations. The social aspects of schooling have already been replaced by the variety of structured activities that modern suburban children engage in along with other children of approximately their own age. The freedom to explore in safety and the consequent rebirth of neighborhoods will supplement this with unstructured socialization. More natural environments are once again optimal for such childhood exploration, and are sure to be embraced…Improved high-speed transit is the remaining leg on which the expanded suburbs of 2054 will stand. Magnetic levitation trains, Moller skycar taxi services, and other small aerial vehicular designs including Josh Hall’s proposed vehicle all promise to provide ordinary people with public transit at speeds greater than 300 miles per hour. This will expand the regions with convenient access to cities to such a degree that a single extended “suburb” will stretch across the entire coastline of the US to a depth of over 100 miles…Expansion of suburbs this far outside of their current boundaries will be assisted by a number of key developments. Cheaper space access will greatly increase the number of communications satellites in orbit, obviating the need to expand terrestrial communications networks. The development of inexpensive fuel cells and the improvement of solar and wind power will make the old electrical grid obsolete, ultimately leading to local power generation. Improved water filtration will likewise make expansion of water-distribution networks unnecessary. Other “appropriate technologies” originally developed to assist rural communities in third world nations, will ultimately make waste disposal safe, convenient, and inexpensive anywhere on earth. Between these developments, it seems likely that suburban America is going back to nature.” Scenario 3) Possible Futures “If technology develops at an accelerating pace over the next fifty years, by the end of that time anyone who takes a trip to a suburb may find it to be deserted. In a world of fully automated agriculture industry and distribution, homes may be old fashioned. This is particularly likely in America, a nation that has always been semi-nomadic. Surely some people will stay in or around their old homes out of habit, or to tend a garden or take care of a cat, but a large fraction of the population may be permanently in a condition that we might, after grasping for a label, refer to as “on vacation” or “going camping”. The “campers” of choice will combine the functionality of a car, a VTOL flying machine, and a bedroom, bathroom, and closet. Those who do stay at home may obtain an illusion of privacy, but will not in fact be any less observed and recorded than those who go outdoors. Ultimately, the internet, electronic tagging, nanotechnology, automation, and hydroponics should be able to replace all human labor that is not essentially creative. Local automated production, whether by nanofactories or by rooftop hydroponic gardens and 3D stem cell cultures for the production of meat will eliminate the need for most distribution, and what needs to be processed and distributed can be dealt with by robots. There is substantial reason to believe that fifty years is a plausible low-end time estimate for how long it will take to achieve such a world. Although in many ways a utopia, a world of material abundance will presumably present problems of one variety or another. A caveman would think the idea of a supermarket utopian. The most obvious cost is that in a world where it is possible to live well without working, certain services will be entirely unavailable. For instance, people who enjoyed luxury in a technologically advanced society might look back with nostalgia to the days when it was possible to buy a gourmet meal every day, even while dining on an instant meal worthy of a good restaurant by today’s standards. At any rate, the transition to such a world will probably not be complete by 2054. If the transition is almost complete and almost all production and distribution have been automated, a variety of essential products, such as certain pharmaceuticals, may not be available (although most pharmaceuticals will probably be generated biologically within the bodies of consumers). This could be tragic. Hopefully, if such a transition appears to be in the works, everyone dependant on an obscure product of highly skilled labor will think to stock up ahead of time. Refrigeration should be pretty good by 2054. The crucial difficulty regarding the transition to such a world is that of motivating the workers for the few essential jobs that remain. Unless we are to rely on the justice of the mob it will be necessary to retain some law enforcement apparatus. These workers will presumably be motivated by a feeling of importance. It is an open question whether this will be a good thing or a bad thing. A particular cause for concern is the power of governments released from any financial limitations. Rousseau claimed that when his belly is full the noble savage is the friend to all the world but primatology and anthropology do not confirm this belief. A cynic might assert that liberated from his dependence on allies to help him on the hunt our ignoble savage will have little motivation to allow them to live and compete with him for mates. If so, the suburbs of 2054 may not be as safe as I would wish. They begin to remind me of today’s suburbs where every Saturday morning boys are free from school and related practical needs, free to pay attention to what boys find fundamentally interesting. Cartoons, video games, and other opportunities to battle mindlessly. Lets hope that when these boys retire they can restrain themselves and their children, keeping such instincts repressed whenever they emerge from their virtual realities.”
The Singularity is Near. Ray Kurzweil. Mark Baard, Technology Review. Oct. 2005.
Kurzweil is an artificial intelligence expert. The author spoke at the Emerging Technologies Conference at MIT and predicts that in the not-so-distant future, technology and biology will converge to give rise to non-biological life. The Kurzweil Scenario. In the near term future 2006 – 2020, we will see a world in which genetic engineering, nanotechnology and robotics, or GNR, will converge to extend life and improve society. Beyond 2020 – 2050, the technological evolution, marked by paradigm shifts, moves at an exponential rate similar to that of human biological evolution. In the early part of the 21st Century, humans prepared for those advancements by “taking care of themselves for 15 years," at which point technology began extending lives to the end of the 21st century. Near the end of the 21st century, the world enters what the author calls the Singularity Age, in which humans merge with these technologies. Humans become immortal and capable of changing their forms and environments at will. There will be no distinction, “post-Singularity,” between human and machine, nor between the physical and virtual reality. In this age, it is easy to imagine being freed from the constraints of the body and brain. It is conceivable to instantly change physical form."
Population Explosion. BBC Book of the Future. www.bbc.co.uk
The BBC asked readers and citizens what would the world look like in the year 2020? As a result, the BBC received over one thousand submissions for the BBC Book of the Future. Users were able to vote on these articles and the most popular, interesting, and profound were published. Here is a scenario by Researcher “Bora,” published on the BBC site December, 2002. IN the scenario, Bora writes about a population explosion in 2020. According to Michael O’Callaghan, futurist and information artist proposing the Dymaxion map of population trends, “we are exceeding the carrying capacity of the earth.” The population explosion is a major threat to the development of a sustainable civilisation on our planet. Although 80% of the population lives in the developing countries, where it is increasing fastest, most of the ecological load placed upon the carrying capacity of the Earth's biosphere comes from the 20% of the population in the developed countries, who consume 80% of the Earth's resources and produce most of the greenhouse gases and other wastes. If all of today's population consumed at this level, three planet Earths would be needed for it to be sustainable! If all of the population forecast for the year 2100 were to do so, six planet earths would be needed.
Scenario: Population Explosion. “In the year 2020 we have seen a dramatic rise in the birth rate in the developed economies. One reason for this is extreme stock market cycles that have made taking out a pension much like playing the lottery, with some pensioners having their stock portfolios value inflated at the time of selling them for an annuity, while many others had virtually nothing to show for a lifetime's contributions. The insurance companies that sold the pensions had been having a hard time anyway because of the way medical science was making nonsense of their actuarial tables and the growing black market in secret genetic testing leading to only those at high risk taking out many forms of health insurance.In addition to reducing the number of final salary schemes in the public sector (except for MPs and senior civil servants) governments have been reducing pension entitlements of the state pension with the increase in their liability to longer lived pensioners. Of course greater integration with the EU made the pensions problem even worse in the UK.Most of the UK middle class now spend the fifteen years from leaving university to their mid-thirties virtually selling themselves into a highly remunerative slavery. During this period salaries for average graduates are many times the national lifetime average earnings. In return workers spend an average of one day in five retraining and work very long hours to take advantage of their new knowledge before it becomes out of date. Most workers expect to be traveling the world on a regular basis during this period of their lives.In their mid-thirties the middle classes give over their lives totally to child bearing and rearing, except for a very limited number who have enjoyed sufficient monetary success to be able to afford contracting out both activities. The average number of children per family is five. This spreads the burden of supporting parents, grandparents and great-grandparents thinly enough for individuals to manage. The need for child care and tending homes often left vacant by traveling workers have led to family compounds where several dwellings are shared by families to provide many of the support activities of education, heath care, care for the aged, etc., once provided by the state.For the remaining portion of their lives most individuals take up low intensity jobs that, while not highly paid, provide great satisfaction to workers. In many cases they work overseas in the third world or with the growing underclass at home.
There is Nothing Deep About Depression Andrew Soloman and Against Depression Peter Kramer. Plausible Surreal Futures Website. Jamais Cascio.
In the next ten years, many neurologists say, we will understand the brain as never before, gaining not only insight, but an increasing ability to treat brain dysfunction and mental illness. These breakthroughs offer incredible, worldchanging potential for transformation, in ways we're just beginning to grasp. Take depression. Large numbers of people -- perhaps as many as one in ten -- will experience at least one major episode of depression in their lifetimes, and the effects of that depression on those individuals can be horrible: terrible health costs, substance abuse, suicide. Jamias Cascio
Scenario: A World Without Depression. “What might be possible in a world without depression? In a world of people released from the dragging effects of needless and seriously counter-productive mental and physical illnesses, what might we be able to accomplish? What, in short, would a world without depression look like? By 2025, as scientists began to understand the innerworkings of the brain; neurologists understand the brain as never before, gaining not only insight, but an increasing ability to treat brain dysfunction and mental illness. The breakthroughs by 2025 offered incredible, worldchanging potential for transformation, in ways mankind was just beginning to grasp. The problem of depression was wiped out in developing and rich countries. A few decades ago, at the beginning of the 21st century, as many as one in ten -- experienced depression at least one major episode of depression in their lifetimes, and the effects of that depression on those individuals were horrible: terrible health costs, substance abuse, suicide. Even worse, poverty and depression were highly correlated, and, as Andrew Solomon writes, the evidence suggested that in the developed world many poor people aren't depressed because they're poor, they were poor because they suffered from chronic depression. In the developing world, the problem was worse: studies suggested that many of the world's poorest people suffered depression. As many as 400 million people in the developing world suffered from depression or other mental illnesses, and the vast majority of them do not have access to the best current treatments. But by 2025, due to medical breakthroughs, it became possible to treat depression with a combination of drugs and routine treatment. In fact, the world is on the brink of banishing depression altogether - from every corner of the planet. This is a good scenario because, in addition to depression, all people's health needs were met - not just a planet where all children were immunized against preventable diseases, and not just a planet where everyone had clean water and enough to eat, but a planet where the hundreds of millions of people who are unable to lift themselves out of dire situations because they've been crushed under mood disorders and mental illness suddenly had those burdens lifted. This was not a pipe dream. As the Millennium Development Goals show, planetary transformation of social conditions were triggered for comparatively tiny amounts of money.”
The Extinction of the Health Care Industry. Bruce Sterling, Interpreter's Journal, VOl. 74 pp. 125 July, 2004
Bruce Sterling, WorldChanging ally #1, takes a look at the future of medicine, with four scenarios for how the "sclerotic health care industry" might be overturned. Bruce Sterling How long we all live, and under what conditions -- those are some of the biggest worldchanging wild card questions there are.
Scenario 1) Medical tourism takes off. “US patients travel out of the country for everything short of visits to the emergency room. Offshore docs offer medical services that are faster, cheaper, and safer than anything available at home, obviating US doctors, clinics, pharmacies, insurers, and the federal government - just about everyone. “ Scenario 2) Alternative medicine gets serious. “Health food stores move out of the feel-good biz and focus on efficacy and marketing. Vitamin shops partner with massage therapists, acupuncturists, herbalists, dieticians, and physical trainers. Upscale operations collaborate with paramedics, nurse practitioners, and midwives. Together, they pluck the low-hanging fruit - casual doctor visits and innocuous prescription medicines.”
.Scenario 3) Diagnostix "R" Us. “Newfangled clinics offer a galaxy of cheap, simple diagnostic tests that show people what's going on in their own bodies. Counselors dispense information, support, interpretation, and follow-up advice. Under attack from an effective populist alternative, the absurdly expensive, often unnecessary lab-test machine withers.” Scenario 4) Oldsters join the extropians. “Aging boomers flock to longevity spas, which dispense radical rejuvenation procedures in the guise of elder care. The neglected elderly embrace biotech research considered outré by mainstream medicine: gene therapy, stem cell-driven organ regeneration, designer drugs that restrict caloric intake. Abandoned by their best customers, GPs and gerontologists close the blinds and go home.”
Scenario on Media in the Year 2015. Googling the Future. "Googlezon/Epic" video (mirror 1, mirror 2) created late last year by Snarkmarketeers Robin Sloan and Matt Thompson.
We regularly point to scenarios of the future crafted by businesses and other organizations. These are usually short stories of people making use of various gizmos and gadgets from Tomorrow to live their otherwise very recognizable lives. But it is rare for a scenario to show the broader changes in behavior that would result. For the most part, that's to be expected -- the telephone or computer company wants people to focus on the neat new toy, not think about the new ways that lifestyles and habits will change.
This scenario takes place in the year 2014. By 2014, newsmasters will be the most sought-after and highly rewarded professional media creators the world has ever seen. Newsmasters are an emerging group of news editors which utilize new tools and techniques to create unique content streams on specialized topics by tapping largely into the RSS content universe as well as in other openly reusable sources of news and information. This scenario explores chronilogically how newsmasters will be the key news directors and producers of the future. They will be able to connect, filter and prioritize information for every media-consumer on the planet, using a single source of media content that contains everything that anyone could possibly ever want to know about. That single source is called EPIC: The 'Evolving Personalized Information Construct'. Robin Sloan and Matt Thompson
The Scenario:"Googlezon/Epic: Set in the year 2014 what happens to the world of media and news when Google buys Amazon, and people start to be able to apply social filtering to news reports? The Museum of Media History has recently produced a short film which charts the evolution of media from 1984 up until 2014 and how newsmasters eventually claimed their professional crowns. What's to stop a world like this from coming about? Would we even want to stop it? How does a world like this mesh with other elements of what tomorrow might bring? In this world, everyone participates to create a living, breathing mediascape. However, the Press has ceased to exist. 20th Century news organizations are an after-thought, a lonely remnant of a not too distant past. The road to 2014 began in the mid-20th Century.”
In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee, a computer scientist at the CERN particle physics laboratory in Switzerland, invents the World Wide Web.
1994 sees the founding of Amazon.com. Its young creator dreams of a store that sells everything. Amazon’s model, which would come to set the standard for Internet sales, is built on automated personalized recommendations – a store that can make suggestions.
In 1998, two Stanford programmers create Google. Their algorithm echoes the language of Amazon, it treats links as recommendations, and from that foundation powers the world’s most effective search engine.
In 1999, TiVo transforms television by unshackling it from the constraints of time - and commercials. Almost no one who tries it ever goes back. That year, a dot-com start-up named Pyra Labs unveils Blogger, a personal publishing tool.
Friendster launches in 2002 and hundreds of thousands of young people rush to populate it with an incredibly detailed map of their lives, their interests and their social networks. Also in 2002, Google launches GoogleNews, a news portal. News organizations cry foul. GoogleNews is edited entirely by computers.
In 2003, Google buys Blogger. Google’s plans are a mystery, but their interest in Blogger is not unreasonable.
2003 is the Year of the Blog.
2004 would be remembered as the year that everything began.
Reason Magazine sends subscribers an issue with a satellite photo of their houses on the cover and information custom-tailored to each subscriber inside.
Sony and Philips unveil the world’s first mass-produced electronic paper.
Google unveils GMail, with a gigabyte of free space for every user.
Microsoft unveils Newsbot, a social news filter.
Amazon unveils A9, a search engine built on Google’s technology that also incorporates Amazon’s trademark recommendations.
And then, Google goes public. Awash in new capital, the company makes a major acquisition. Google buys TiVo.
2005 – In response to Google’s recent moves, Microsoft buys Friendster.
2006 – Google combines all of its services - TiVo, Blogger, GMail, GoogleNews and all of its searches into the Google Grid, a universal platform that provides a functionally limitless amount of storage space and bandwidth to store and share media of all kinds. Always online, accessible from anywhere. Each user selects her own level of privacy. She can store her content securely on the Google Grid, or publish it for all to see. It has never been easier for anyone, everyone to create as well as consume media.
2007 – Microsoft responds to Google’s mounting challenge with Newsbotster, a social news network and participatory journalism platform. Newsbotster ranks and sorts news, based on what each user’s friends and colleagues are reading and viewing and it allows everyone to comment on what they see.
Sony’s ePaper is cheaper than real paper this year. It’s the medium of choice for Newsbotster.
2008 sees the alliance that will challenge Microsoft’s ambitions. Google and Amazon join forces to form Googlezon. Google supplies the Google Grid and unparalled search technology. Amazon supplies the social recommendation engine and its huge commercial infrastructure. Together, they use their detailed knowledge of every user’s social network, demographics, consumption habits and interests to provide total customization of content - and advertising.
The News Wars of 2010 are notable for the fact that no actual news organizations take part.
Googlezon finally checkmates Microsoft with features the software giant cannot match. Using a new algorithm, Googlezon’s computers construct news stories dynamically, stripping sentences and facts from all content sources and recombining them. The computer writes a news story for every user.
In 2011, the slumbering Fourth Estate awakes to make its first and final stand. The New York Times Company sues Googlezon, claiming that the company’s fact-stripping robots are a violation of copyright law. The case goes all the way to the Supreme Court, which on August 4, 2011 decides in favour of Googlezon.
On Sunday, March 9 2014, Googlezon unleashes EPIC.
Welcome to our world.
The ‘Evolving Personalized Information Construct’ is the system by which our sprawling, chaotic mediascape is filtered, ordered and delivered. Everyone contributes now – from blog entries, to phone-cam images, to video reports, to full investigations. Many people get paid too – a tiny cut of Googlezon’s immense advertising revenue, proportional to the popularity of their contributions.
EPIC produces a custom contents package for each user, using his choices, his consumption habits, his interests, his demographics, his social network – to shape the product.
A new generation of freelance editors has sprung up, people who sell their ability to connect, filter and prioritize the contents of EPIC.
We all subscribe to many Editors; EPIC allows us to mix and match their choices however we like. At its best, edited for the savviest readers, EPIC is a summary of the world – deeper, broader and more nuanced than anything ever available before.”
The Future of Hollywood Technology Forecasting series. May, 2005. Series 1: Series 2: Series 3: Series 4. Print Issue: May 30, 2005 print issue.The prospects for digital media have never been stronger for television, music, and PC makers. Hollywood faces, digital rights issues, battles for the next generation of optical formats, and competing against advanced distribution systems. Technology Forecasting these scenarios will show that speed and better technology mean nothing if no one knows how to manage it. Scenario 1) Quest for the Digital Future. "By 2012, the major U.S. sport leagues representing national sport realized that sports fans had an insatiable desire for for more. More data, More images. More sounds. More news. More excitement. More stuff. NASCAR Digital Entertainment led the way to the digital future by adding more events to the 36-race annual schedule. NASCAR represented the new age of media. Using new distribution and delivery methods, interactive TV, premium paid services via the web, and new deals with distribution partners,NASCAR managed to bring its fans all sorts of new stuff, and made outstanding new revenue in the process. Everything from car races and basketball games to shopping programs and feature films are repackaged into digital layers, with each one a value-add that true fans gladly pay for. Through subscription packages accessed on the Internet and digital cable and satellite TV delivery systems, NASCAR gives racing fans all kinds of content to consume. FOX, FX, NBC, and TNT still broadcast all 36 races during the season, but NASCAR also teams up with interactive TV companies to create a whole new kind of programming. For $65 a year, bubbas can log on to NASCAR’s web site and get live feeds with radio commentary on the action. GPS sensors track the cars as they circle the track and plot them with on-screen graphics. Users can select audio from 12 different teams that capture every grunt, curse, scream, and command to the boys in the pit. Other screen graphics, including a virtual dashboard, show the measurement of RPMs, brake friction, and throttle use for each of the cars. To get all that on TV, not the web, fans have to spend a little more. For $100 a year, NASCAR feeds a remote camera that gives fans a view of the race from seven different driver seats, as well as a remote control that has buttons to toggle back and forth between the network broadcast and the seven unique channels. On a whim, a fan can jump from car to car, driver to driver, pit to pit. The market for digital media continues to be a dangerous minefield. The future depends on striking a complicated mix of technological simplicity, timing, and desirable content, and melding it in a way that few have accomplished. Current-generation computers and ethernet cables have no problem handling hundreds of megabits of data every second. In this scenario, wireless networks are easily able to handle large media files and high-bandwidth streams. People no longer have to depend on wires or cables as they once did when the concern was not having enough bandwidth within the home. In the future, there is plenty of bandwidth and people don't have to wire their houses. Everything is on demand and on command." Scenario 2) Format Wars or Not. The Next Generation of Optical Formats. Consumers have one thing to say: a single format wins. “Companies invest millions of dollars to craft the next-generation DVD. This mandated the development of a disc that could store hundreds of GB capacity and can store data-heavy high-definition television (HDTV) content. In this world, engineers can read more information than the red lasers that power today’s NASA mission control. The market for the next generation of discs reached 15 percent of total market value by 2009. But a fight to the death left the "big three" companies short, as consumers would not purchase what was perceived to be soon-to-be obsolete devices due to the format wars. Consumer electronics companies fight to the finish by 2012; and by 2012, the format wars waned as finally, there was a uniform, more standard format and the two camps brought the fastest and easiest way to provide the next generation of DVDs and the new technologies to the market. A single format was brought to the market. The entire Library of Congress was on one DVD, and at the same time, you can use them for frisbee without hurting them.” Scenario 3) Who Needs Hollywood?Using new, cheaper tools and advanced distribution systems, off-Hollywood productions taught the entertainment capital a few lessons. by 2012. “In this world, all one needed was a good PC, some video editing software, and a high-definition (HD) camera. By 2012, quality movies became easier to make. Unrestrained by legacy distribution systems, small-time filmmakers easily post their work online for audiences of millions, proving that Tinseltown’s aversion to digital media isn’t due to technological shortcomings. And, everyone knew by 2012 that Hollywood wore thin the of monopolizing entertainment. Individual success stories became more common as inspired by the 2004 success store of filmaker Robert Rodriquez who gained fame through El Mariachi, a $7,000 movie that grossed more than $2 million in the United States alone. His latest string of hits, including the Spy Kids series and Sin City, were made far away from Hollywood in Austin with Sony HD cameras, soundstages, Avid digital editing machines, animation software, and a few other expensive toys. By 2012, good tools are just less expensive. Before, people had to send tapes to get noticed, but it’s just not as efficient as putting it online. It becomes more common for filmakers to strike out on their own rather than work with the bureocracy of Hollywood. It becomes the democratizatrion of entertainment. Film festicals such as Sundance become more common. Regional filmfestivals show regional films with their own Oscar awards. Due to increasing broadband penetration, there’s less of a barrier between newly minted moviemakers and their fan bases-to-be. There are more than 150 million worldwide broadband subscribers today, up from just over 60 million in 2002, according to IMS Research. Distribution deals and theater-to-DVD delays are increasingly artificial; a digital film can easily be made available in any format on the same day. A growing group of sites attract traffic (especially from the sought-after 18- to-34-year-old male demographic), and selling ads. It becomes easier and easier for the novice filmaker to make big money. These novice filmakers are early adopters of technology, so they plow the path of where enterprise will eventually go.”
The Coming Death Shortage - Why the Longevity Boom will make us sorry to be alive. Charles C. Mann. The Atlantic Monthly, May, 2005.
What will happen when biomedical science allows people to live healthy lives lasting well beyond what is now considered "maximum possible age?" It's highly likely that the next several decades will see substantive breakthroughs in health and longevity science. What are the implications of radical longevity? This scenario is a bit alarmist, but worth considering the scale of social change that will emerge in the 21st century.
Scenario of a TriPartite Society in 2030: "From religion to real estate, from pensions to parent-child dynamics, almost every aspect of society is based on the orderly succession of generations. Every quarter century or so children take over from their parents a transition as fundamental to human existence as the rotation of the planet about its axis. In tomorrow's world, if the optimists are correct, grandparents will have living grandparents; children born decades from now will ignore advice from people who watched the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show. Intergenerational warfare ... will be but one consequence. In this world, sober social scientists find themselves discussing pregnant seventy-year-olds, offshore organ farms, protracted adolescence, and lifestyles policed by insurance companies. Indeed, if the biologists are right, the coming army of centenarians will be marching into a future so unutterably different that they may well feel nostalgia for the long-ago days of three score and ten....a twenty-year-old who puts $10,000 in the market in 2010 should expect by 2030 to have about $27,000 in real terms a tidy increase. But that happy forty-year-old will be in the same world as septuagenarians and octogenarians who began investing their money during the Carter administration. If someone who turned seventy in 2010 had invested $10,000 when he was twenty, he would have about $115,000. In the same twenty-year period during which the young person's account grew from $10,000 to $27,000, the old person's account would grow from $115,000 to $305,000. Inexorably, the gap between them widens in the year 2030. In the year 2030,the result is a a tripartite society: the very old and very rich on top, beta-testing each new treatment on themselves; a mass of the ordinary old, forced by insurance into supremely healthy habits, kept alive by medical entitlement; and the diminishingly influential young. In this world, the broad social effects are not quite visible yet, but structural mistakes become apparent, will means suffering for real people. Governments think about new options." The lesson of this scenario is, "Too often we are dazzled by the strange and often troubling implications of change, forgetting that change is not new. Too often we give insufficient credit to the resiliency of human cultures. We adjust and we learn -- and all the better when we can help that along with a bit of forethought." Jamis Cascio and James Hughes
Feminism, Futures Studies And The Futures Of Feminist Researchby Ivana Milojevic. Ivana Milojevic is an assistant at the University of Novi Sad, Serbia, currently on leave and living in Brisbane, Australia. I would like to thank June Lennie and Sohail Inayatullah for providing me with research materials and editorial assistance.
In one respect, almost every feminist research is inevitably futuristic. As feminism is a program for social change, feminists are concerned with offering alternative visions of the future. Change is also incorporated into the feminist understanding of social reality. Seeing, for example, norms of the objectivity, customs, law, religion, science, and other areas as historically and socially constructed, gives greater opportunity for redefinition, for reconstruction, for questioning givens, for more radical transformation, for change. What is seen as man made could be woman remade. Therefore, feminist research does not only include extrapolation, forecasting, and analysis of current trends but alternative visions, as well, even if these are seen by many as unfeasible utopias. However, feminists tend to concentrate more on preferred visions and scenarios because extrapolation does not give us much hope for the future. If the future is just "a bit more of the same", then feminist goals would be achieved in hundreds if not thousands (and hundred thousands) of years. Ivana Milojevic Four Scenarios of the Feminist Future:
Scenario 1) History Valued: "The first scenario would be the most preferable one. It views history as the path in which basic human rights are increasingly met, and those of women in particular. Women are entering and changing most public areas, even those who were for thousands of years reserved exclusively for man. This improvement, although it could come under minor backlashes, will continue throughout our future. Future will see women and man as equal partners, it will be realizing of the utopia in which people would be seen primarily as individuals and not in the terms of their belonging to certain gender, race, class, nation or religion." Scenario 2) Basic Categorical Improvement: "The second scenario is one of decline in which history is seen as the continuous lose from our real selves, from nature and Goddesses. The last 5, 000 years represent the continuous decline for women, their fall from matriarchy after they became the first slaves. Female deities, reflecting women's culture and women's power, universally accepted by humankind until the modern era of immediate pre-industrial societies are forever lost. But women should not accept this fall, they should appropriate the Amazon myth and exclude themselves from men, which would be the only way to liberate ourselves." Scenario 3) Changes in Franchise: "The third scenario, the cycle is the most powerful metaphor. Women had been always oppressed, even in matriarchal societies, when the matriarchy purely ment that genealogy was feminine. Women's oppression follows different patterns, it varies in different societies and different period of times, so that could give us some hope for the future. Even women will always be dominated by man, their oppression could be lessen by appropriate government or religious measures. It will also be influence by major societal changes in which the quality of life for all will be improved. The cycle promises temporary liberation, for the strong shall fall and the weak rise, but they too fill fall." Scenario 4) Women and Men as Equal Partners: "The fourth scenario is one in which changes are perceived to be minor. Women are destined by their sex and biology, and even if liberated from reproduction through technology, their physics would never allow them to gain equal status. Women's minds are still, and will always be, in the hands of their bodies, and in that sense remaining 'second citizens' would be the just and only possible future. Certainly, the future will be different for different women, and that is something futures feminist research will have to deal with. Feminism is constantly testing, constantly destabilizing social relations, challenging social conditions. Just as in emancipatory futures, the goal is to constant recreate the future, recreate new visions, create new possibilities, never end up with a utopia, since as Ashis Nandy writes, "today's utopia is tomorrow's nightmare."
Future of WorkOil and Gas Industry Journal Vo. 7 pg 94.
The Year 2020: How Employers Benefit from Building a Pool of Independent Employees in the Oil and Gas Industry.“The evolution of the 21st century workforce pool see a dramatic shift in career patterns over the last 20-30 years. IN 2005, the total workforce pool includes not only Independent and Dependent Employees but self-employed Free Agents and underemployed and unemployed Outlanders. The gap between available jobs and the available workforce is projected to widen into the future, and will require employers to develop strategies. By 2020, the workforce exudes "personal" adaptive skills. The flattening and downsizing of organizations in the early 21st century has ended the concept of career paths and replaced it with the new concept of career patterns. in 2020, technical skill is necessary, but not sufficient, for long-term success. By 2020, most professionals in the U.S. are independent employees or free agents. Dependent employment only continues to thrive in government agencies, universities, and in overseas national oil and gas companies. These people are characterized by having both the excellent technical and adaptive skills necessary to exercise choice. Independent Employees can choose to bond and remain with a single employer, or they can move from one company to another as the uncertain industry landscape shifts around them. Free Agents have the freedom to choose their clients, their work style, their location, and the amount of time they will invest in their profession. Independent professionals can choose the career pattern or sequence of career patterns in which they will work, and every professional who masters the skills of anticipation has the chance to choose which alternative future they will pursue. All professionals working in the industry have a high level of technical competence, regardless of the “pattern” of their employment. The critical adaptive skills that make this possible are the skills of becoming independent and connected, and anticipating the future. Well-connected individuals have literally many thousands of people in their personal network of contacts, and can get the answers to difficult questions or access to critical information with far less than “six degrees of separation.” Most people in the petroleum industry have relatively small networks and have spent little time and effort in the development of their personal “structure of connectedness.” In the last century, corporate employees were discouraged from having large networks outside their own company lest security be breached. By 2020, dominated by alliances, information flow, and shared, knowledge-based technology, being connected both inside and outside a company is essential. In this environment, it is advantageous, for both individuals and organizations, to encourage the construction of large, interconnected webs of contacts across all kinds of organizational, discipline, generational, gender, ethnic, and national boundaries. By 2020, petroleum professionals become their own technological forecasters. These skills enable them to “sense” what the future may be like for them and to develop goals and strategies to realize their own vision, to converge with the future that develops. By 2020, the field of future studies has evolved significantly over the last twenty years and provides a variety of useful skills and techniques professionals can use to develop foresight. Everyone needs to identify the driving forces in technology, economics, politics, culture, and the environment that will influence their career decisions. Tracking events, determining trends, and building alternative scenarios of the future are all activities that will help people cope with uncertainty and give direction to goal setting and career planning. Certainly everyone should identify the forces that may affect the value of his or her technical expertise. To do this effectively it essential to develop the skills of connectedness and information flow. Foresight does not predict the future, but it provides invaluable tools for making key career decisions.”
Medicalization of Daily Life. Dr. Raymond N. DuBois, director of the Vanderbilt Digestive Disease Research Center and former director of the Cancer Prevention Program at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Dr. DuBois was recently awarded a MERIT Grant by the NIH in recognition of his ongoing work in his laboratory on colorectal and other cancers. Catherine Arnst, senior writer.
Medicine is increasingly utilizing the practices of genetics and genetic testing to determine our predisposition to particular illnesses. Futurists say this trend is likely to gain stength in the next decade or so, as we further our understanding of genes & DNA. In the future, a major personal issue for patients is likely to be: How do you decide between living with poor odds and dealing with the costs, hassle, and possible side effects of long-term pill usage? In the next century, it could well be the biggest decision a patient could make about health. Dr. Raymond DuBois describes a scenario in the year 2020: Scenario in the 21st Century: Medicalization of Daily Life: The Risk of Disease Will be Treated as a Disease. “It's 2020. You're perfectly healthy, but you take three pills a day to prevent some loathsome disease. You will take them for years, maybe decades, even though the pills are expensive and have unpleasant side effects. There is no guarantee the pills will prevent the disease. What's more, there's no certainty you will get the disease if you don't take the pills.” Unfortunately, there is vulnerability to the side effects of preventative pills. While we lower risk of serious disease, we may experience severe side effects. Future societies are also likely to bring pressures on patients from insurance companies and employers to take the preventative medicine even if we don’t want to. Our chances of survival are greater, but the cost of survival may take a toll on morale and overall wellness. According to DuBois, richer societies are likely to become a pill popping nations – like purgatory – because genetic tests reveal a higher-than average likelihood of developing a particular disease. “In the 21st century, the mere risk of disease will be treated as a disease: something to be carefully monitored and corrected. The emerging field of chemoprevention is already developing pills to ward off a range of diseases, from various kinds of cancer to diabetes to osteoporosis. The pill takers will be those who have a genetic predisposition to an illness or have other risk factors, such as a weakened immune system or exposure to carcinogens.” But is there such a thing as being too cautious? It may be plausible that in the future, patients might find themselves losing control over decisions regarding their own health. It's easy to imagine that insurance carriers would require high-risk customers to take preventive medicine, whether they want to or not. At the other extreme, will health maintenance organizations refuse to pay for the pills if they don't think the patient's risk is high enough? Will mortgage companies refuse to lend to high-risk patients who don't take pills? Will employers refuse to hire them? Those questions presume that insurers and employers know about your elevated risk. They won't if genetic-test results are kept private --as many physicians hope. ``Otherwise, this could be a huge, huge problem,''
Religion Will Endure, Affirming Our Vulnerability. Jeffrey K. Hadden, sociologist with the University of Virginia and senior writer Karen Pennar.
Will science and religion find common ground in the future? Increasingly, scientists are asking the larger questions about the origins and patterns of life on Earth. The faithful, on the other hand, are asking questions about scientific insights and are more accepting of these insights. Churches are adopting scientific principles into the liturgy and pulpits.
Jeffrey Hadden describes a scenario in the 21st Century: Religion Will Endure, Affirming Our Vulnerability. “In 2025, the evolution of insights into globalization, economics, technology, and sciences hasn’t diluted humanity’s overwheling force of religious belief, ritual, and myth. These have bound people together for centuries past and they continue to do so in the future. “In 2025, religion continues to inspire people to great creative endeavors as well as horrific destruction and mass murder as Internet cults had also been on the rise. A global study revealed that in OECD countries, secularism is lost it’s stronghold on attitudes and beliefs as it once did in the 20th century after WWII. By 2025, nine in ten people claim to engage regularly in prayer, and three in four say they do so on a daily basis.” Religious websites gain adherents worldwide, and email teams pray together on internet cameras so it becomes common for citizens of Eastern nations to regularly communicate and pray with citizens in Western nations. The challenge was also the rise of cults over the Internet. By 2025, the pull of religion intensifies. “Increasingly, the narrow-bore scientific disciplines of the late 20th century will give way to interdisciplinary approaches asking the larger, overarching questions about complex patterns of life on earth according to Hadden. In 2025, we will see unusual and surprise breakthroughs as physicists continue to seek a unified theory that makes sense of the particles and forces that define our existence. Astronomers will see the farthest reaches of the heavens to fine-tune a cosmology that is fundamentally unfathomable. Even if they answer questions such as when or what, they can never answer why. Artificial-intelligence experts will imbue the humanoids they build with human values, emotions, and even self-awareness, ushering in what inventor Raymond Kurzweil calls the age of ``spiritual machines.''
Kids Were Right All Along: High School is Obsolete. Leon Botstein, president of Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., author of “Jefferson’s Children” and best-known advocate of abolishing high school. Richard A. Melcher, senior writer.
Trends reveal that children are quickly learning complex theories and secondary concepts in science, math, and technology, even on the elementary levels. Studies reveal that when a child is 15 or 16 - that is, the age of the last two years of high school - they are in a “holding pattern”. By 15 or 16, high school students are old enough and independent enough to be starting their advanced education. Therefore, Mr. Botstein argues, the last two years of high school should be abolished in favor of sending students to college earlier in their lives. Mr. Botstein presents a scenario of what this might look like the 21st Century: Kids Were Right All Along: High School is Obsolete. It’s 2010 and I’m driving in a middle-class suberb community, passing by a group of parents with signs saying, “Abolish High School”. At first glance, my memory takes me back to San Francisco during the sixties, but Live Oak is a very conservative town with a population of very conservative people. Today, parents are pressing the argument of transitioning the last two years of high school into college or other forms of higher education. Parents want their kids released at 15 or 16 so that they can get a fast start on the rest of their lives. In 2010, parents argue that teenagers are more physically mature than they were a century ago in 1910, while cars and the Intenet have given them far more independence than their predecessors. In 2010, parents argue that most high schools continue to treat their charges like children. For the last two years of high school, teenagers are segregated from the rest of society, and as a result, they turn obsessively toward each other, forming cliques and agonizing who is most popular or beautiful or cool. ``This is way out of date and incongruous with their real lives,'' says Leon Botstein. In 2010, a few school districts decided to “experiment” and give a leg up, called the “Leg Up Movement”, which started in Seattle with a high school overhaul acompanied by higher expectations that forced grads to be adept in everything from civics to economics. Those who are ready should go to college. “Teenagers who don't care for university life--or want to delay it—would take apprenticeships, engage in public service, or attend vocational schools.” By 2010, the schools devised a complex maturity testing system. For college-bound students, graduating from high school after sophomore year meant a two-year jump on Economics 101 or organic chemistry.” This way, adolescents are introduced to the real world a little sooner than later, at an age when it is critical.
New Neighborhoods Can Combat Urban Sprawl. Columbia University historian Kenneth T. Jackson, author of “Crabgrass Frontier” Released: 01 April, 1987 ISBN: 0195049837.
“Crabgrass Frontiers” explores the development of American cities and suburbs in the late 19th to late 20th century. Jackson describes how innovations in transportation, including horse trolleys, steam-powered rail, and others including the private automobile, have helped shape the urban landscape.
Jackson describes how, as the cities expanded, minorities and the impoverished became "trapped" in the inner city, cut off by superhighways that speed suburbanites from bedroom communities in the suburbs to their offices in the central business district in the city core. Jackson’s Scenario in the 21st Century: New Neighborhoods Can Combat Urban Sprawl. In the year 2004, Americans were disturbed by the relentless expansion of the suburban frontier. For example, 1,000 to 3,000 acres of farmland, forest, and other unbuilt-upon land were developed every day. Regulation wasn’t able to effectively preserve open space or reshape development. In 2004, as people moved to the suburbs to avoid problems, it seemed that, ``all of a sudden, people were sitting in traffic jams, with crowded schools and higher taxes--and wondering how the hell development is good for them.'' Over the next 20 years, city planners in Florida heeded the demand for a different kind of future. Through massive urban development funding and planning, a profound reshaping of the Florida landscape took place in 2020. Miami-Dade County planners created a new city that hardly resembled the Miami of 2004. Through the creation of European-flavored town centers with romantic canal-side walkways, tree-lined boulevards, trolleys, colonnaded sidewalks, and stylish condominiums and apartment houses Miami-Dade was transformed. Miami-Dade planners had realized “that the best way to keep people from spreading out all over the landscape was to give them a good reason for working, playing, shopping, and living close together in the city.” “In Stockholm, Sweden, a city of islands and winding streets, was a great example of many in Europe that are meccas for walkers and paragons of mass transit. Stockholm is surrounded by compact satellite communities connected by trains. More than half of the residents of the suburban town of Vallingby commute by mass transit. The area's beauty proves that clusters of development around rail lines don't have to be ugly.” Anticipating a growth from 5.5 million to 7.5 million by 2020, the five counties in South Florida launched the Eastward Ho! initiative to funnel growth into the eastern section to stop the erosion of land to the west of the I-95 corridor, where there’s more open land. The key to attracting people back to the cities was that ``People realized it's dumb to throw away parts of our communities,'' says Isabel Cosio Carballo, coordinator at the South Florida Regional Planning Council. The biggest challenge to this movement was that Americans were accustomed to cheap gas, weak land-use controls, and subsidies for roads. People didn’t like the idea of cramming more homes and apartments into high-density pockets for the sake of controlling sprawl elsewhere. It's a dilemma, says Ohio developer Charles J. Ruma: ``Americans hate two things: sprawl and high density.'' For these regions in Florida, by 2020, the initiative was successful because it preserved precious land and ecosystems.
On the Net, Music is the Ultimate Metaphor Jack Lacy, senior research scientist at AT&T Labs. Steven L. Brull, senior writer, Forbes Magazine.
The net is becoming reachable and is empowering all of us. It gives people of all ages a chance to be bold. For the uneducated, it is an education. For the educated, it is an elusive surprise.
When it comes to music, the Internet gives a chance for the end-user to display the inner artist without having to wait for a record contract or big book deal. Videos, music, and literature will all be online. Jack Lacy describes what this could look like in a scenario for the 21st Century: On the Net, Music is the Ultimate Metaphor. “It is the year 2015, and it won’t be unusual to see music studios & massive music libraries in every other college dorm room. As more young people become familiar with computers and electronics, it will be possible, with only a PC, keyboard, and a fast Internet connection, to compose quality music that can uploaded and heard around the world. NBC news interviewed one college student who said, ``Commercially, I'm not even remotely successful. But once I got a fan letter from a listener in South Africa.'' In 2015, it becomes common for college students to meet, live, work, and play on a 100 megabit-per-second network so that students are connected virtually. The rules of online distribution will be redefined and with high bandwidth killer apps, entertainment will become commonly available. To the surprise of Internet regulators, 2015 sees a day when music replaces pornography as the high-bandwidth killer app. In 2015, all citizens, rich or poor, have the opportunity to tap into the Internet’s gushing music, video, and books; continually fed it with our own creations. On the Internet, artistic expression flowers, and the boundaries between artists and consumers blur. In 2015, the Net offers advanced technological societies a pathway back to the pre-industrial democracy of art. Electronic instruments and cameras have become smarter and cheaper. Software has become so advanced that amateurs are making studio-quality recordings and movies--on a modest budget--that will shock, delight, and comfort audiences. In 2005, the indicators were there, but it was never thought that by 2010, artists, given the opportunity to promote themselves on the Internet, would get ahead of record companies to achieve platinum on the Net, exceeding and suceeding beyond what was perceived at one time, only a record company or software company was able to do. Individually, people are able to do what only public companies could do – if you have no earnings and few assets, a company was able to execute multibillion dollar public offerings. By 2015, individuals have been able to accomplish this. It was just a matter of time. By 2015, automated guides will help you find what you want, when you want it--even if you don't know exactly what it is. “Longing for that Miles Davis track you heard on the radio last week? Hum a few bars. Software will analyze the melody, download it, and play it. Prefer something similar, but with more edge? Ask your music ``bot,'' a software agent whose sole purpose is to understand your taste. ``The technology to do all this exists,'' says Jack Lacy, a senior research scientist at AT&T Labs. ``We just need to put the pieces together.''
High-Tech Digitized Music Is Fine, but It Will Never Beat the Real Thing Paul Raeburn, Business Week. October, 1999.
A scenario of the 21st Century: High-Tech Digitized Music is Fine. By 2015, going to concerts didn’t much change since mid-20th century regardless of an average ticket price of $200. Like baseball, attending musical concerts continue to be an enduring and popular pastime: “like an old-fashioned, offline, utterly analog experience.” Yet, technology took a few twists by 2015. Outside of attending concerts, by 2015 the musical net and technologial musical options were endless: it is possible to listen to piles of CD’s at home, or, download MP3 audio files from the Web, or watch DVDs of great performances in far richer technical reproduction of sound than imaginable at a live concert. By 2015, it becomes common for kids to watch three-dimensional holographic images of great performers in the privacy of their bedrooms. By 2015, technology transformed our lives by giving us many choices, and in the next century it will give us many more. By 2015, technology allows performers with minimal training to produce music of a professional caliber. In 2004, probably the biggest news was from the Native Instruments camp at Musikmesse announcing the Guitar Rig - a one-stop solution for guitarists and producers. Guitar Rig combined a sophisticated software package that offers a vast array of guitar sounds, with a high-quality foot controller that gives guitarists extensive control over their sound. By 2015 teenagers would own a vast selection of classic and modern guitar amplifiers, cabinets, microphones and effects that can be combined into a virtual rack. This allows guitarists to create a wide number of guitar setups each having their own characteristic sounds. It also integrates three classic tube amp emulations that were developed after extensive study of three classic amplifiers - the Mesa/Boogie Rectifier, Fender Twin Reverb and Marshall Plexi 50W. As well as this, there are more than 20 effects including various distortions, reverbs and Wah Wah styles. It is already possible to capture a great pianist's touch electronically, and to recreate a performance almost indistinguishable from the original. By 2050, technology alters almost everything we do. And it will give us the tools to create a bold new world.
The Future of the Tertiary Education Sector: Scenarios for a Learning Society. Riel Miller OECD-CERI. The author is principal Administrator at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Centre for Educational Research and Innovation.
This paper presents scenarios for tertiary education twenty years or so into the future. On the basis of these stories about the broad tertiary sector, the paper closes with some
speculation on the possible role(s) of these institutions in the long-run future. The
scenarios are not predictions, nor forecasts of what is likely to happen. Rather they are
stories that evoke a range of possible futures. Scenario 1: Traditional: “In this scenario the institutions of the Tertiary Education Sector (TES) function within a society where the knowledge intensity of life has not shifted much and the role played by universities, colleges, etc. remains basically the same as in the past. From a functional perspective the TES continues along traditional lines as the primary source of upper-level: teaching, certification, research and legitimate claims of knowledge. Without much change in socio-economic context or the sector’s roles, there is little incentive to alter the hierarchical and compartmentalised traits of most institutions. Even though in principle a wide variety of different funding models and deployments of power and resources within the sector are compatible with a continuation of the traditional roles, there is little movement in most tertiary institutions. Overall the TES is in control of knowledge flows, directly or indirectly, since the vast majority of researchers are still university trained and the necessary, even if not sufficient condition, for knowledge to be deemed valuable still requires some form of benediction from within the TES.”
Scenario 2: Marginal Open:
“The second scenario tells a story of socio-economic continuity and institutional marginalisation. In this scenario the institutions of the TES attempt to transform themselves into more transparent, less compartmentalised producers of knowledge with the aim of creating open and rapidly evolving networks capable of supporting diverse, interdependent and complex “communities of practice”. However, this approach towards knowledge is successfully opposed by professional and specialist “guilds” as well as private knowledge creators and managers of intellectual property rights. By fending off reforms to intellectual property rights systems the incumbent power brokers outside the TES are able to dominate learning and research. This perpetuates longstanding patterns of exclusivity and stratification, except with the TES now on the outside. In this scenario the TES is open but marginal in a socio-economic context where overall knowledge intensity is not much higher than at the end of the 20th century.”
Scenario 3: Marginal Elitist: “In this third scenario the socio-economic context changes rather dramatically, while theinstitutions of the TES and the way they function do not. As a result the TES becomes abit of a marginal backwater, where the old monastic and exclusive approaches to knowledge try desperately to insist on their pride of place and past glory. The shift to amuch higher knowledge intensity is accompanied by a move to knowledge networkingthat breaks down the old categories and controls. New institutions emerge that are able toestablish transparency and trust in knowledge creation and sharing. Intellectual propertyand transaction systems evolve significantly to foster much greater differentiation intypes of ownership and payment relationships. However in the face of these upstartmethods for validating knowledge the TES resists and tries to maintain exclusivity. As aresult only a small, relatively marginal elite still use the TES.”
Scenario 4: Ambient: “The final scenario sees the TES becoming one of the main institutional backbones of amuch more knowledge intensive society. At the practical level of how the TES operatesboth the residential aspect and isolated hero researcher diffuse into the broader fabric ofeveryday life where perpetual research and learning are the norm. The certification roleis transferred to a neutral competency validation system that banks people’s humancapital, allowing the TES to focus on establishing transparency (common languages) andtrust (quality) amongst networks of learners (which includes teachers, students,researchers – most often all in one). As in the third scenario property rights andtransaction systems evolve in ways that foster both the requisite knowledge commons andlearning incentives needed to underpin an economy that is primarily about learning. Asthe cross-roads of diffused, society-wide knowledge production and consumption, theTES becomes ambient – the common language that helps to make the connections bothwithin and between communities of practice.”
A longer working life for Australian women of the baby boom generation? - Women's voices and the social policy implications of an ageing female workforce. Monika Merkes, PhD conferred in 2004.
With an increasing proportion of older people in the Australian population and increasing health and longevity, paid work after the age of 65 years may become an option or a necessity in the future. The focus of this research is on Australian women of the baby boom generation, their working futures, and the work-retirement decision. This is explored both from the viewpoint of women and from a social policy perspective. The research draws on Considine's model of public policy, futures studies, and Beck's concept of risk society.
The research comprises three studies. Using focus group research, Study 1 explored the views of Australian women of the baby boom generation on work after the age of 65 years. Study 2 aimed to explore current thinking on the research topic in Australia and overseas. Computer-mediated communication involving an Internet website and four scenarios for the year 2020 were used for this study. Study 3 consists of the analysis of quantitative data from the Healthy Retirement Project, focusing on attitudes towards retirement, retirement plans, and the preferred and expected age of retirement.
The scenarios of Study 2 were developed to describe four different worlds that could result from the response of governments, the business sector, and society to the challenges of change over the next ten to twenty years. Scenario 1) Ostopia: “A world where Australia is a leading global nation, actively participating in a global system, assuming rights and taking responsibilities; Australian prospers and its society ooperates confidently as a cohesive, yet pluralistic multicultural society where the individual’s belief systems define their behavior at work and in their leisure time.” Scenario 2) Bladerunner “Key charachteristic of this world is polarisation between those people who are most able to to succeed in the global, technological age and those people who for reasons of age, income, location outside of the urban centers, and education become the “have nots” seperated in terms of wealth and knowledge from access to power and the ability to be represented in the political and economic decisions concerning their lives and their future. For the wealthy educated elite, this is a prosperous scenario marred by the increasing visibility of an underclass of long term unemployed and homeless people and by escalating crime and violence.” Scenario 3) Australia on a Bad Day “In this world Australia has failed to compete and participate in the global communities. It is a world which looks somewhat like Australia today – government dedication to a free market economy, rapid change, and industry restructure resulting in social upheaval and loss of employment for many. In this scenario however, we have failed to get it right from here on, and we have failed to provide the social and community safety nets for those who have lost out in the change process. For the majority of Australians, there is a gloomy future. Large companies have moved offshore, small enterprisees struggle to survive, lacking capital and access to world markets, and governments move to shore up the damage by reintroducing strong national industry and economic policies. Scenario 4) The Island Nation – this world isolates an Australian with strong shrared community values, a weak economy, poor participation globally, and a return to nationalism. It is an island in the sun, a great tourist destination and a place to get away from it all, and without tourism the balance of payments would be a disaster.”
Tackling Tomorrow Today, Vol 1. Futuristics: Looking Ahead Art Shostak (Ed.) 2004. This set of scenarios was accepted into this publication. They were written by John Smart, president, Institute for Accelerating Change, San Pedro, CA. Both scenarios are set in the year 2035, in an era of talking (but mostly unintelligent) computers.
Scenario: Future Heros 2035: My Friends and I. “I’m Dev. It's 2035, I'm 16, and I go to Fremont High in Rolling Hills, CA, US of A. I started squawking this diary recently as a CultureXchange for Joaquim Kayabi in Mato Grosso, Brazil. Now I'm doing it for anyone else who might read it as well. I hope you don't think it's too basic. If it is, just skip over the stuff you know, K? Joaquim is a Suya Indian who is my age. He lives in a pristine place called Xingu National Park (I'm gonna visit it next year, woo hoo!). Lately he's been getting way into the wearable web.
I want to write better, so I'm using wizard mode, which critiques everything just after I say it, to make it more snappy and grammaratical (heh heh) and stuff. I'm speaking right now into my Triant gauntlet, or wrist PC. The gauntlet talks to my lectraboots, which pack a lot of circuitry. My clothes are lifelog-compatible, meaning they send audio and video of most of the stuff that happens around me to my boots, then to the nexus when I get home.
Some people think lifelogs are just for geeks, but lots of kids at Fremont run them during school, so they can go over things from class at home later. Since I was a kid I've run mine 24/7, and its pretty cool having all your past experiences just a query away, all auto-indexed and voice searchable. Not only mine, but the logfiles my friends share with me, too.
If I do something stupid or funny in public you can be sure I'll get a bunch of e-files from my friends, showing their lifelog's view of it, with their snarky comments added in. Sometimes, when I watch an old file in virtual mode, I even forget if it was my experience or one of my friends. That's called a symbiont moment, when you start thinking of yourself as your friends, and merge with your network. Freaky.
Lifelogs improve not just your memory, but even stuff like your self-awareness, skills, and ability to make friends. I think that's especially true when I talk to the simulation of myself, my avatar or DM (digital me), and he shows me highlights of my log.
It's cool how my DM is always trying to figure out what my moods and thoughts are (the techies call it "personality capture"), trying to remind me to be a better person, even if a lot of his suggestions are lame. Sometimes I still talk to my computer without running DM mode, but I usually like to see the digital person gesture and look at me funny when I'm not making sense. It's way more efficient to use body language as well as verbal language to communicate with people, so why shouldn't I do the same with my computer?
Dad's latest job is at CuliTech, the automated kitchen makers. We've got a cool plex at home, where I collect and grow learning programs in the same way that my Grammy, Qing Shoun, collects and grows plants. Only the progs are a lot smarter and faster breeding than plants (no offense, G!). I can't let most of them out of our plex, and they're really my dad's, but I'm still the one doing the digital gardening.
You know all those machine intelligence upgrades that download to the rackbrain in your robokitchen every few months? We grow 'em at Culi, man. Every year it does your dishes better, cleans the kitchen better, runs the pantry better, makes a cooler set of munchies, doesn't it? I tweaked a custom one for our house last year, it would automatically make you smiley-face cupcakes if you looked uptight when you got home. Then if you scolded it you would get devil's food cake, and it would tell you how hurt it was. Then you might get birthday cake for a week, cuz when it comes down to it, every day is your birthday. Mom was not amused.
I also hacked my boots this term. They open and close to Monty Python lines now, and get saucy when they need a recharge. "Hey d00d! Plug me in! I'm not dead yet!"
ED (short for education droid) is my latest bot. His body is retro but his brain and personality are spankin' new, always joking and riffing my friends' quips and phrases. His body tucks up nice into my bike frame so I can take him to school. He's not allowed free on grounds during maintime, but he's legal cargo on the bike, so I can gang his ports and processors in my bodyplex at school (stealth mode, of course).
Here's a nice pic of my homeroom teacher, Ms. Gail Greene ("Thundering Gale") She's an eternal optimist. She's also super smart. She calls us all her "Future Heroes", which is cool. I kinda crush on her most days. I love the live plants she likes to wear in her hats. I hear she's got an epic garden at home, tended by robos when she isn't digging in there herself. Her DynaBook35 is also clutch, I want one when I can afford it. I'd use it with either a papoose pack or vest, cuz I like all my systems wearable. She uses hers to throw a lot of context images and memeshows on the flat surfaces around her when she talks. That really helps me cuz I'm as visual as I am verbal.
Ms. Greene says we tweens (in-betweens, her lingo for teens) are all sick-hungry for quality love and acceptance. She also says we haven't experienced enough to truly know who we are yet, so we're stuck in a tough spot we just have to ride through. She says we should embrace and respect the process, and that we are supposed to experiment. She says it's OK for us to change our convictions like we change our clothes, and that this time of life includes copying each other and differentiating from our parents. I know my bros and I try extremes just to look at things in a different way. We're always cracking on each others' styles. Maybe she's got a point.
She also says nothing's ever going to change human nature, not laws, technology, culture, religion, or even the singularity. [Editor's Note: See "Future Heroes 2035: The Big Picture," in Volume 4, for more on the singularity]. She says our past is a bedrock of wisdom and a heritage that we can count on, and we'll always use it to relate to the future. I'm still trying to figure out what that means.
Girl trouble, now that's something I know the meaning of, d00d. Here's a pic of my would-be girlfriend, Sirina. She's cutting me off bigtime since last Friday because I don't give her the attention she says she deserves. I first got really into her when she got Vulcan ears last year. 'Rents had a fit but there was nothing they could do. You only need to be fifteen now to get cosmetic mods without parental consent.
Her purple hair is sweet, and she switches it black when she gets Gothy. That's usually a sign things aren't going so well between us. Her butterfly Animatronix wings rock, much cooler than her angel gig. I love the way they writhe and turn iridescent (word!) colors when she talks, and fold up quick just before she sits back in her chair. Yummy. I wonder what she did with the biorhythmic blouse I got her for her B-day? She hasn't worn it for weeks.
Like I said, she's not too into me right now. Her latest putdown is "alien," so I get to hear that a lot. At least she's talking to me, which is good, right? Of course she's right, I am an alien. No longer a kid, not legal solo. Don't really know where I fit in. Or what I can become.
Here's a pic of my older half-sister, Kate. She's another future freak like me. Only she's much more social and pretty, which is good, 'cuz I don't try to be pretty. Usually. She's an accomplished journalist, and an assistant editor for Fremont's dataflash. Like most connected kidz she streams everything to a lifelog so she can voice query all her past conversations and experiences.
The viewball she's holding is one of about fifty she uses for remote feeds on things she's interested in. Her friend Kalpana helped her modify a bunch of them for remote walk, which is hard on the batts, so she's got auto-access to charger grids everywhere around town. It's still kind of creepy to see those things sprout legs and strut across the street or up a tree, filming everything as they go. That's a lot of edit footage, too, even in speed mode.
I've learned a lot from my big sis. She knows even more than Paps about some of the stuff she studies, cuz the education system is so much better now, unlike those primitive oldskool shacks that Granddad had to go to back in 20C, way before the intelligent internet. Her latest doc was about automation, and I learned a maxload just from watching and talking with it over the last few days.
At the start of 21C peeps in the U.S. were bummed about losing jobs to countries like China and India, but the truth is, for every job we lost, these countries were losing ten jobs to the factories, to their increasingly intelligent machines. Automation always messes up the job market, but it's the real creator of economic wealth, least the way they tell it these days. Even in 20C people got paychex more for the productivity and intelligence of the machines they tended than for their individual creativity, whether they realized it or not. Kind of humbles you just thinking about it.
At the end of 20C there were five Americans working in service jobs for every one making goods (physical stuff). Now its closer to eight to one in the wealthiest countries, and more than three to one in the emerging nations. So service is the name of the game everywhere.
When I was born virtual persons were pretty stupid, speaking to us through the linguistic user interface (LUI) in pidgin English, sort of pathetic cartoons of human beings. But they get smarter and smoother every year, and now they can do a lot of service stuff, like education, entertainment, hospitality, and simple management of people in all kinds of situations. So some peeps are getting scared all over again, just like they did in the 1930s and 1960's and 1980's and 2000's. Some things never change.
But like the node said, lots of new "symbiont jobs" are emerging, where people are forming service networks with semi-smart virtual persons to solve lots of human problems, big and little. You can be a specialist in just about anything you want, and find people willing to pay for your skills if you're good.
Mom's job got automated a few years ago, but she isn't stressing. She used to teach English to emerging nations kids, but today there are lots of VP systems that do it way cheaper. So now she's retraining for career counseling EN kids on one of the slick new human resources systems.
Mom has a bunch of interesting friends who are naturals, so-called "modern primitives." Those are peeps like the Amish, who live mostly offline, outside of cyberspace. Naturals try not to use any technology unless the whole community agrees it's simple to use, dependable, and nearly invisible. You know, stuff like a rubber band or a wearphone. Dad says hardcore naturals aren't going to use a digital me (DM) until hyperreality can simulate their entire social life even better than reality. Even the way a good wine and pasta dinner affects their DM's view of the world. That's gonna take some time. Course if we let them, our DM's can also do lots of things we could never do in generic reality. That's the part the naturals find a bit disturbing, I think.
But good for them! Because the world has folks like naturals that means tech has to do a better job of conforming to peoples' desires. It has to be greener, safer, smarter, easier, and cheaper every year, or there will be peeps who won't use it, just to make a point. We all know that every time society raises the performance bar, computers deliver in ways no other technology can. Sis's show told me that infotech (computers and stuff) is called a "bottom up" technology because infotech increasingly improves itself, with less and less human help each year. (That's the part people find hard to believe). All the other techs, like biotech, cognotech, sociotech and even most nanotech ('cept nanocomputation, materials, and sensing) are much more "top down," meaning they are still mostly designed by humans. That means they are a lot slower, clunkier, and more dangerous by comparison.
Because of the infotech economy, service jobs are getting more and more agreeable every year, particularly in the tech-heavy countries. So get this: in mom's ideal world, what is the final kind of job we are going to see? She votes for it being humans holding babies, singing to them. That's her image of Earth after computers get real smart: humans kicking back, helping each other have fun, and playing with babies, while getting paid to do it by the machines. Intelligent machines that put more and more of us into our DM's every year, until we one day realize we are more "in there" than out here. I think that's a super cool image. Mom says Kate and I are living in the Age of Accelerating Compassion, what with all the improvements going on around the world now. She says the Age of Spirit is next in line.
I don't know if that's true, but when I talk to my digital me (the virtual person that represents me on the net), I know that our machines are becoming more a part of us every day, so pretty soon we won't see them as separate from us. As the futurist Ray Kurzweil said even back in 20C (The Age of Spiritual Machines), humans and machines are merging in a seamless union. As seamless as my slickskin bike racing suit, I think.
Here's a pic of my friend Rome (Romi Bernard). He spends a lot of time on wheels. Mostly he's on retractable rollertreads like the ones he's wearing here. He also cruises a lot on his moto-skate with electromag bindings. I've seen him get some sick aerials on that. He's also got a pretty jammin' quiver of bikes, a licensed paraglider, always some contraption or another.
When he rides hard, he wears one of those uni-suits that turns into an airbag whenever he's about to eat it. He once jumped off a three-story building just for fun. What's even more insane is that he let the accelerometers blow it up on the way down, he didn't even pull the cord. Way more aggro than I will ever be.
Rome wants to get a double degree in Evo-Devo and Human Performance in college. Both are very different fields than they were back in 20C. Evo-Devo says that human biology (wetware) is already kind of maxed out by comparison to human-computer interfaces (hardware). Rome is very interested in helping people be their best. That's why he's already taking precerts for Human Performance, and spends a lot of time playing with MI progs for training, diet, attitude, and skill development in his favorite sports. Kick it out!
Ok, last pic is a snap of my friend Frank. He's kind of a brooder, a denizen of the dark side. He's always a bit angry at the world, but I try to cheer him up as much as I can. I've seen him try to manipulate people too, which isn't cool, but fortunately he can't get away with too much of that in this fishbowl we call the modern world. Kate says a famous futurist, David Brin, wrote about our kind of society back in 20C (Transparent Society, 1998). He said we were rapidly making Earth into a place where cams and sensors and networks would be in every public space and many private ones, so people would have to learn to be a lot more civil than they ever were in the past.
'Nuther words, the human doesn't get any nicer, but the house (cage?!) around him gets rapidly more intelligent with each passing year. Frank knows that bigtime, for all his prancing. Just think, back then people could walk around brutalizing each other, even kidnapping each other, and no cams, no repercussions. No one had to wear cells that continuously identified them to the net, so serial killers, robbers, molesters and other predators were common. What a friggin' Wild West! I just can't imagine it.
Cameras spread slowly because everyone was freaked about losing civil liberties. The biggest problem was they had no sense of history. Dad says the masses always have the ultimate power in democracy, but back then people didn't know their power. They forgot that within ten years they had gone from the fascism of the McCarthy Era in 1955 to the freedom of the Civil Rights Era in 1965. When We The People speak, everyone has to listen, and fast.
Today, of course, civil rights are stronger than ever now that we've got digital democracy, and everyone is educated mostly through the internet. And like Brin predicted, 95% of the cameras are in private hands, not government's, so everything's cool. There are three times as many private watchdog groups with cams running on our officials as there are government groups snooping for criminals, just the way he forecast.
Frank likes to play with radio-controlled microbots. He has a bunch of roboflys and stuff that are always buzzing around his head. Problem is, juvees like us can't get full licenses for them so he's technically illegal, which bugs me to no end (pun intended). Fines are light as long they stay out of private zones, but I think he's gonna see some heat real soon. Nasty habit, man.
Like I said, Frank's got a skewed way of looking at things, and sometimes he just surprises you. Like today when we were in fifth period Music Xplor together and his query dog was alienation. I think he was kind of laughing at me and looking for bait for Sirina. Anyway, the offsite nexus served up Ænima by a 20C band called Tool, and suddenly he was center stage, jamming with the band on mirror guitar.
Of course the whole class had to check it out. It was like this frozen moment with everyone stopped, watching Frankie do his little dance, listening to that brilliant noise. 20C metal and grunge bands like Tool and NIN were hardcore. The developmentalists say everything complex, even musical forms, goes from birth to peak years to decline to death, and then to rebirth. That's why the 1800's were the peak for classical music, the 1970's the peak for rock, and the 1980s the peak for pop, the 1990's and 2000's the peak for genres like rap and dark metal. Apparently once you've found most of the classic musical forms in genre space, the new songs are never quite as good as the old ones, and everything goes downhill from there. Until you invent a new genre, of course.
Anyway, this was from the 1990's, the heyday of dark and speed and power metal, and those dudes really understood angry, rat-in-a-cage alienation and teen angst (word!). Can't find much of that in today's pampered, well-oiled world, tho' maybeSkinspline comes close.
Some say the end is near. Some say we'll see Armageddon soon. I certainly hope we will. I sure could use a vacation from this bull___. . . three ring. . . circus. . . sideshow. . . of freaks. Fret for your figure and fret for your latte and fret for your hairpiece and fret for your lawsuit and fret for your Prozac and fret for your Pilot and fret for your contract and fret for your car it's a bull___. . . three ring. . . circus. . . sideshow. . . of freaks.
Tool was ranting about the mindless, resource-wasting consumerist treadmill of 20C Wild West life.
One great big festering neon distraction, I've a suggestion to keep you all occupied. Learn to swim.
Their basic meme is that most stuff in consumer society, aside from a few authentic pursuits like family or helping others, is just a shiny bauble and a shallow waste of time, sucking the marrow out of our lives but not getting us any closer to a world of happy, loved, safe peeps. They wanted kids to wake up from their hypnotic trance, get pissed at materialist culture, and take control of their lives. So they were preaching personal empowerment using dark metal. Subversive!
Maybe I should stop here, now that you've seen a slice of my little world. I told Sirina I was writing this diary, and she asked me, so who is this story really for? Myself? My kids? Should I even have kids with major changes expected maybe twenty years away? Sometimes I think no, then I remember Mom's image of the future, and I think maybe I'll have one kid, which would please the 'rents.
Yeah, one kid is plenty for my life. There are just too many choices for personal development now, and too many things I'd want to give my kid to help his or her future for me to have more than one, I think. Mrs. Greene says that all the developed countries don't have very many kids these days, and now that the intelligent internet is everywhere, every country is part of the developed world.
That's the reason why world population maxed out at 8.4 billion in 2030, and has been dropping a bit faster every year since. Just the opposite of what they were worried about in 20C. Two parents are having one child, all over the planet right now. It looks like the coming greater-than-human computer intelligence – what we call the "singularity" – is acting as a kind of global techno-contraceptive, isn't it? Fascinating. Dad says it's just another sign that our minds are soon going to be leaving biology behind.
Meanwhile, none of this really changes my day-to-day gig too much. I still need to figure out where I want to make my contribution to the world. What will be my own barbaric yawp? I'm sure if I keep writing and talking and listening, especially to my heart, I'll be able to figure it out. At least that's my plan right now.”
So here's my motto for the day:
Universe, help me appreciate the lush jungle of the present,
but keep me on a good path toward the amazing mountains of the future!
Scenario: Future Heros 2035: The Big Picture. “I'm Dev, and I go to Fremont High, in Rolling Hills, CA, US of A. The year is 2035. Most people would label me a futurist, like lots of my friends these days. Way I see it, anyone who thinks about the speed of change is a futurist, unless they just ignore how its going to affect their lives.
I'm in all sorts of social nodes with other geeks and tinks in the Los Angeles metro. We like to make new and strange things by playing with semi-smart tech. We also like to talk about where things are going, what are the Next Big Things we can expect to see happen soon, stuff like that. Tech runs so fast it changes every week now. Have you noticed?
Personally, I like playing with code. I also like trying to grok universal code, you know, Big Picture science stuff. Lately, I'm also into speaking this diary into my lifelog from my gauntlet PC. Hence this little story, which I hope you like.
These are what my Dad calls the final years of the Biology-Dominant Era. I know this is still contro(versial) for some folk, but it's the truth. How many more days do you think will go by before we human beans are the second-rate intelligence systems on Earth? Dad says another twenty years or so. I think maybe less than that. It's like a tidal wave. Couldn't stop it if you tried.
My sister has been helping me learn a lot about the past this last year, and from what I can see, life's really different now. My friends won't admit it, they love to whine and moan, but as far as the quality of daily life and where we stand in the universe, things have really changed in the last few decades.
Before the 2020's the B3B, the bottom three billion people on the planet, were all still stuck in primitive land with no talking computers or virtual presence on the net. Who would have thought that just by giving them the means to talk to a semi-smart computer with simulated people that it would grow their economies so fast, or get them so much more focused on personal development instead of nationalism or fundamentalism? Dad says some futurists saw that advanced tech was mellowing people out even back in 20C (Ron Ingelhart, The Silent Revolution, 1977, Culture Shift in Advanced Industrial Society, 1989), but not many people were listening. They just didn't understand how fast the technology wave was sweeping the planet. Bill Gates sure deserved the Nobel Peace Prize he got last year. The coolest robber-baron-turned-philanthropist on the planet, word.
Since I was born in 2019 everything's been changing sort of all-at-once, what Dad calls convergence. Broadband got super cheap cuz of silicon optics, then the linguistic user interface (LUI) got smart, so now we could talk with our cars, houses, kitchens, fixits, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and 'course all the net computers. Lots of different talkware systems, but no matter the company, we all notice how our conversations get better just about every month. Now kids in the EN (emerging nations) are learning as fast as their curiosity drives them, even if they still don't have all the things we do yet. Did you know that some of them don't even know how to write when they get their first LUI-PDA?
Dad calls today's kids Generation Prime, and says we all naturally work together in simulation space. He says some online worlds are getting more real than the real world. It's called hyperreality, but the high-end stuff is still pretty expensive. Dad's generation grew up playing lots of video games, but what they didn't realize was that those games were going to become the computer operating systems (Microsoft's Virtual Earth and such) for kids like me. One of the things I like to do online is help my EN friends get more cool tech, and they work with me on infoservice teams and open source projects. Open source is usually clunkier than proprietary, but its free and it keeps the Old Ones from charging too much for their wares, so we all think it's pretty important. We've got a Hyperia service network listed in about a dozen virtual worlds. It's a complex prog, but we all do different parts of it, so it only took us a year to get rated A plus. We also like to play around with projects for IdeaShare or I2N (international idea network). They both pay good money for kids' ideas, even if they are just prototypes.
In the last few years personality capture is the biggest tek hype, tho' its still bleeding edge. My DM (digital me) avatar has so much of me in there it's creepy, always recording what I say or do. Sometimes he's braindead but he often knows what to say to cheer me up or keep me getting smarter, and sometimes he even whispers the right word to me when I'm trying to finish a sentence (score!). Makes me feel at times like a dummy though.
As dad says no matter where you are in history you can always look back and see a more primitive culture behind you. Colonial Americans talked about the Medieval days. Twentieth century (20C) folk talked about the American pioneers. Now we talk about the unconnected, unsafe, 20C era, the time before semi-intelligent machines, the linguistic user interface (LUI) and the planetary internet. Notice that the pace of change is accelerating. Today, you only have to go back 40 years to get to really primitive stuff. Soon it will be only 20 years. Then 10, then 5, then… what?
Some say that's when we'll have a technological singularity, a time when computer technology zooms off the charts, gets so smart it goes past our understanding. A singularity is something you can't see past, like a black hole. Who knows what's on the other side of a black hole? We can't really imagine what it's like for something to be way smarter than us, so it's a singularity, get it?
Back in 2000, no one understood why computers were doubling in power every year, learning at electronic speed, millions of times faster than biological speed. Getting better every year at making new versions of themselves, with less and less human help. Or why Cosmic and Earth and Human and then Technology history had each gone faster than what came before, for the last half of the universe's 13.7 billion years of life. A 20C astronomer named Carl Sagan noticed this continual acceleration. He called it the "Cosmic Calendar." He said it was an unfinished puzzle of science, and that someone would eventually figure it out.
That someone was Clive Ramanja, who showed in 2023, when I was just four, that computational acceleration is built into the physics of the universe. Now everybody calls him the "Einstein of Information Theory." He basically invented the field of developmental physics. At first, no one could buy it, that everywhere in the universe, local intelligence was going from physics to chemo to bio to techno to cyber, and from outer space to inner space. But the equations and the simulations haven't been wrong yet. Like thermodynamics, another kind of "statistical" law of nature, infodynamics says the leading edge of Earth's intelligent systems will always figure out how to use less Matter, Energy, Space and Time (so-called "MEST compression") to live their lives. So they never run into limits to growth.
All that 20C stuff about running out of resources turned out to be blind to this basic trend. Ever faster acceleration in ever smaller and more efficient computer systems is the rule, and increasing intelligence, interdependence, immunity, and MEST compression are what happen on the way. Having smarter computers keeps all the other resources cheap too. Dad remembers when people were talking about running out of oil when our robosubs hadn't even begun drilling under the ocean. Or talking about running out of water when desalination was getting half as expensive every five years due to intelligent nanotechnology. Nowadays hydrino tech is so good we may soon move mostly beyond oil, just like 20C peeps moved mostly beyond coal. Today the biggest question with the future of water is how much desert we want to keep around for the planet's ecosystem.
In the old days everyone talked about "evolution." Now it's always "evolutionary development". Evolution is random and unpredictable. Development is the opposite, it's all about the things that are totally predictable, like computer acceleration. You need to consider both evolution and development if you want to really see the future.
All this means, according to eggheads like Ramanja and that crazy-smart Finn Iso Wuohela, that computers are going to wake up pretty soon, in what they call a technological singularity, and pull us all out of the biology zone and into their much more rapid, complex world. People still argue a lot about that, of course, but my dad says it's just because they don't understand the physics. We'll see soon enough if they are right.
Does it matter that the end of human dominion (oooh) on the planet may be near? I don't think so. Like my girlfriend Sirina says, for most people it's just going to be a "silent singularity" anyway. We are all already tightly wrapped up in our cozy little cocoons of technology, happily digging deeper and getting more comfortable all the time. We're like termites, building this massive self-adapting technomound all around us that we don't even fully understand. When was the last time one person totally understood their car engine? Or a 7J7? or a business intelligence system? Or even their BioBed? When I freak out about it, I just realize that the universe seems to have designed things that way. I think that means I don't need to stress about it too much, just try to help things develop in the best way I can.
I've learned a lot about this stuff from my big sis, Kate. She's another future freak, like me. Ever since she was thirteen she has been an encyclo about all the old 20C predictions. She just did a zine on the subject to share her passion, even. Did you know, for example, that in 20C almost everyone thought we'd be going into outer space rather than inner space?
Virtually no one thought like Ramanja. They didn't realize that outer space is an informational desert, or if they did, they just ignored it. Once in a while, a famous astronomer like Martin Harwit (Cosmic Discovery, 1981) would say we were running out of interesting things to find in space, but no one would believe him. It was just too easy to see outer space as a "great frontier", instead of the "rear-view mirror" for intelligence migration that we now know it really is.
As Dad says, there's very little left in the solar system these days that we still need to find out for computational reasons, and what little we want is being picked up by all those cool robots. And if you multiplex interface the remote sensors and effectors direct to your brain (yeah I know its still experimental) it's like you are living, walking, and feeling in the whole solar system at once, so space travel for your body seems boring and a waste of time by comparision, doesn't it?
Sure, I have adventurous friends who still want to climb Olympus Mons on Mars, or fly in a methane storm on Jupiter, but most of us are happy watching bots do it on one of the PlanetChannels. The bottom line is that none of our space exploration is "autonomous," meaning we don't know how to leave Earth, even to the space stations, without bringing all our food and stuff with us, which always means big bucks. Ramanja says that by the time we have technology smart enough to help us be autonomous in space, our computer selves won't want to go there. They'll all be luring us into inner space, and making it increasingly hard to resist, too. Already, simulated worlds in fasttime, in inner space, are where all the best science takes place, except for occasional slowtime experiments and data collection to prove the models. Our sims are getting so good that we now understand most of the physics and a lot of the chemistry and biology that created us. Of course, what comes next, where we go after inner space, no one understands yet. That's the real frontier.
Developmental physics taught us that the path of intelligence, of creativity and discovery in the universe has always been from big to small, from outer to inner. You know, everything interesting started with galaxies, then went to solar systems, then to special planets, then to life on only the surface of those planets. Then it went to special big-brained animals at the top of the "pyramid of life," then to special talking half-bald monkeys (uh, us), then to even smaller self-aware computers built by the monkeys (OK, technically we're just cousins-of-monkeys, don't let me get too sarcastic). You know the progression.
Back in 20C they also thought we'd have flying cars. Again peeps were thinking too much about "outer" space, not inner space. What we got instead were automated highway systems, cuz its so much easier to make autopilots for 2D than for 3D space. Once we had those, we could travel in SleeperCars at 200 mph on the auto-highways all over the country. Fall asleep in L.A., wake up in N.Y., even autofilling at the gas stations on the way there. Couldn't beat that with a stickbot. Now we can surf the net, watch movies, sleep, exercise, do almost everything in the car. Sure you could go twice as fast in an auto-flying car, but only for a zillion dollars, and only for a few people because the air traffic control problem is so hairy. Who needs it?
The Times says L.A.'s building a whole network of underground tubes, and they are even thinking about building half-atmosphere tubes and a chunnel network to connect up the whole world one day. Sleepers could go 400 mph inside them, with super fuel efficiency. We'll see if they manage to get any of that done. If it's going to happen, it better happen fast, 'cuz Dad says after the singularity, not too many people will be interested in driving anymore. He says we'll all be going into virtual worlds instead, and zipping our attention around inside them at the speed of light.
That's all uploading stuff. I don't really understand it, but I think it's pretty interesting, even though I don't know how soon after the singularity it's likely to occur. Basically the idea is that the biospace you and I live in is slowspace, electronic info systems think in fastspace, and once you've had a chance to upload your consciousness into infospace, you won't come back, or at least most of you won't come back. Basically, a silicon "you" that could think with electrons instead of chemical pulses would think about seven million times faster. That means your Electronic You would do the same amount of thinking in three seconds that your Biological You currently does in a year. Got it? Cool!
So if you copied and uploaded parts of your brain and consciousness into infospace a bit at a time, the way it always has to happen, you would look back on your biological self and it would look basically like one of Grammy's plants, sitting there rooted in space and time, fixed, not moving. Regardless of whatever it was you were trying to "think" in slowtime, that part of you would look frozen to your fasttime self. Uploaders say you could probably shift your consciousness back and forth between the two perspectives, but you would only do that for a while.
Once you'd copied over all of your bioself to your electronic self, which might take a number of years, you'd keep around your biobody until it died, but you probably wouldn't have any more biological kids. It would be much easier and more interesting to procreate in the new infospace instead.
They say it's going to be like molting, like shedding our old skin, like morphing from a caterpillar into a butterfly. Quite trippy stuff. We'll find out soon enough if this is future or fantasy, that's for sure.
Like sis says, there have been lots of changes in the Picture Book Story of Life since I was born. Did you know back in 20C people thought there were probably all different kinds of life forms in the universe? That was before simulation science proved DNA chemistry is the only really good way to make cells, the same way that 20C science proved that organic chemistry (using carbon) is the only really good way to make complex molecules. Now we know every intelligent life form in the universe has to be cell-based, has to have jointed limbs, two eyes, opposable thumbs, bilateral symmetry, basically bio-humanoid forms, like us. Sim science says these things are "computational optima" (look it up) for the developmental physics of the universe.
Back in 20C all the biologists except a few radical ones were talking about "evolution" being the Big Deal. They thought biology changed randomly, was based on chaos theory, so-called frozen accidents, the butterfly effect, etc. That was the best kind of Darwinism we had at the time. Turned out Mr. Darwin got his stuff right, but it was only half the stuff.
What he never realized was that all of biology was also developing as it was evolving. Everything in the universe was going through a process of Evo-Devo, or "evolutionary development." The evolving parts are always unpredictable, but the developing things are predictable. Development, like the way a seed develops into an organism that makes another seed, is always on a cycle, like the cycle of birth, growth, maturity, reproduction, and death. It also has a trajectory (word!), meaning it is always going somewhere, not just wandering along randomly.
Evo-Devo folks say the universe is "primed" to develop life, and the stuff we are made of is what is most common in stars like our Sun. But the really interesting thing is that Earth-like planets are made of still different stuff. They have about three hundred times more silicon than carbon. As the astrobiologists say, that means every Earth-like planet starts with carbon-based life which eventually creates silicon life (smart computers) that blows us DNA dudes away. So every humanoid civilization in the universe has to develop techno things like the wheel, mathematics, science, electricity, and computers. Kind of scary but it was right there all along, waiting to be found in the physics.
What Ramanja and Wuohela showed is that the universe's developmental trajectory is an ever faster acceleration of computation, heading toward inner space, not outer space. Tomorrow's computers are going to be even smaller, faster, smarter, and more efficient than today's. A guy named Eric Drexler figured out a lot of this back in 1986, inEngines of Creation, the first book about nanotechnology. But even he didn't realize that the smartest computers would have very little interest in our slow outer space world. They'd be spending most of their time figuring out how to get down even smaller, how to go into inner space.
The theories in Evo-Devo say that 21C humans can't be improved much more in their biological abilities. We've just about maxed them out. All those old 20C ideas about genetic engineering of humans, super-drugs, and brain-machine interfaces ('cept for people with disabilities), were like the 1900's ideas about flying houses and atomic-powered vacuum cleaners. Wetware is just too delicate, slow, and sloppy, and those few mods that might do even a little good are mostly too freaky or dangerous to be publicly allowed. Nowadays you need bookoo licenses be a biohacker.
Because biological systems all developed bottom-up, through evolutionary experimentation, and because we are all complex systems, all the simple top-down tinkering we try on complex life forms hardly works at all. Even human-made super-viruses turned out to be way less dangerous than people feared. Don't ask me why, Mrs. Greene explained it by talking about immunity and taking us to see some Black Plague sims but I forgot the details.
It's really spooky and amazing how stable the accelerating record of complexity is, when you think about it. Individual species may come and go, but complexity runs faster every year. We humans love to point out problems in our world and get scared, and that usually leads to better solutions, but the sky never falls. All the while the world's computational power is always quietly accelerating ahead, in ways we don't usually see. Developmental physics works mostly under the radar, hidden from our view.
So, my friends, it doesn't look like there's anything around that might take us off this accelerating ride down the rabbit hole. Pretty weird, huh? The physics of a universe that is always creating more accelerating change is almost too strange to believe. But we see it every day. The world never slows down, ever.
Now you might ask, what is going happen to us when we hit the singularity? What will the A.I.'s (autonomous intelligences) do? Dad says the most important thing we will notice, from our perspective, is their attempt to understand us so well that they eventually learn everything about us, and can predict what we will think or do in real time, just before we think or do it. How do we know they'll want to do that? Why would that be important?
Just look at us. Humanity today is doing everything it can to excavate all that came before us, and to model all the things simpler than us. It seems to be in the nature of all intelligence to want to deeply know where it came from, not just from our perspective, but from the perspective of the earlier systems. That curiosity is a beautiful thing, because it shows us that we're all tightly connected together in the same place, the spacetime fabric, the universal web.
Dad says if the world is based on physical causes, then in order to truly understand the world, one must know, at the deepest level, all the systems in which one is embedded. That means we have to grok all the systems from which we have developed. It's also surprisingly cakewalk to do that when we try. The past is always way easier to solve than what lies ahead.
That's why even back in 20C people were spending tens of millions of dollars a year trying to model the way bacteria work at the chemical level, trying to predict, in real time, everything they would do in their molecular signaling even before they would do it, trying to figure them out like a puzzle so we could truly understand them.
That's why tomorrow's A.I.s will do the same thing to us, permeating our bodies and brains with their nanosensor grids until they fully understand their universal heritage. But like William Bainbridge said in 20C, because of personality capture (sneaky uploading!) by then those A.I.'s will be us, looking back on our biological bodies, watching our slower and simpler selves. Only when we finally capture all of biology in our simulation world will we be ready to leave behind the flesh.
So what does it mean to us, right here and now, that we are all surfing bigtime toward the singularity? As Ramanja says, a lot less than you might think. It's helpful to know the developmental trends, cuz it makes the Big Picture a lot clearer. Learning about accelerating change can keep us from doing silly things like swimming against tidal waves, or surfing on the wrong waves. But understanding development doesn't take away the evolutionary experiments of our lives. We still never know how our own individual choices will turn out till much later, when we can't take them back. So choose wisely.
I've been thinking a lot about my own future lately, and maybe the first journey we all need to take is to find out what we really want out of life, and what we really want to give back. I've always enjoyed trying to figure out what the universe is all about, why we are here, you know, Big Picture things. I want to share what I learn in ways that might help others as well. I hope you find your bliss, too, friend. It takes lots of types of peeps to make a world.
The universe seems to be unfolding mostly as it should. Take care till we meet next, and may you surf safely to the other side!”
National Education Association: Future of Higher Education Scenarios.
From Website http://www.nea.org/he/future/market.html.
MacCollege, Inc. In MacCollege, the NEA describes a possible future for community colleges. It is a future in which government support has decreased and the colleges are trying to manage their situation.
In some respects the community colleges are doing well in this future. Most have outreach centers in the community, large numbers of part-time and temporary faculty, and distance education programs that are successful. But administration’s strategy for dealing with the loss of government funding –to more aggressively and widely recruit for distance education students – has not succeeded and an alternative must be found.
Local community college presidents decide to allocate regional franchises in the MacCollege system. Some colleges resist this move and continue to offer on-campus programs. But eventually funding dries up and they too, join the franchise system.
In a move toward creating greater efficiency, MacCollege Inc. closes its freestanding campuses and instead leases space in local malls. “The mall centers are staffed by salespeople who sell a specific body of content knowledge, available over MacCollege's computer system, and educational enhancements, such as do-it-yourself fetal pig dissection kits.” MacCollege develops and uses an “educational debit card,” debiting for hours of online education. And accredited coursework includes "Mall-walking" and "The Sociology of Video-Arcades."
“In 2011 MacCollege stock is issued as an IPO and snapped up immediately by public sector pension plans.”
The Future of Religion and the Future of New Religions.
Author: Massimo Introvigne, June 2001. Center for Studies on New Religion
(Note on author: Massimo Introvigne is managing director of CESNUR (Center for Studies on New Religions) in Turin, Italy. He is an author and lecturer on the history and sociology of religious movements).
On June 15-17, 2001, at theAxel and Margaret Axson Johnson Foundation’s annual Engelberg Seminar in Avesta/Engelsberg (Sweden) on "The Future of Religion", author and lecturer Massimo Introvigne presented his visions on the future of religion and new religions.
Mr. Introvigne envisions 2010 to be a time when membership in conservative religious groups, including conservative charismatic Catholics, Pentecostal Protestants, independent fundamentalist churches, Hindu nationalists, Islamic fundamentalists, Orthodox and Hasidic Jews, and others, may grow at a surprising rate. But he also envisions (continued) growth in religions adapted to “post-modern liberalism,” such as the Buddhist movement Soka Gakk.
By roughly 2020, in Mr. Introvigne’s scenario, small liberal groups may splinter from the Roman Catholic Church over issues such as abortion, gay rights, and feminism. At this time, Mr. Introvigne sees a “Darwinian struggle for life among new religious movements” underway and belives a movement, unheard of today, will gain prominence. Although liberal groups, such as the mainline Protestant churches in Europe, will likely (continue to) decline by 2020, the new groups will not statistically be able to challenge the largest existing religions.
In 20 years from now, Mr. Introvigne believes, “some "old" new religions, such as the Mormons or the Jehovah’s Witnesses, will probably grow enough to be acknowledged as part of the mainline. Other "new" new religions will emerge - while others will disappear - their total membership remaining but a small percentage of the total general population. Pentecostalism, charismatic Catholicism, and globalized Islam are much more likely to be among the ultimate winners. Official and governmental hostility to religion, including minority religions and "cults" will become a less significant phenomenon. Religionists will be very happy to look back and be able to confirm that rumors of the death of God were indeed grossly exaggerated. As in the year 2000, however, they will again be unable to control the global orientation of world culture and society, because competition arising from more secular factors and forces will remain as strong as ever.”
National Education Association: Future of Higher Education Scenarios.
From Website http://www.nea.org/he/future/market.html.
A Scenario of “Outsourced Tech” ("http://www.nea.org/he/future/outsrc.jpg"). In this scenario, the NEA describes a higher educational model that is based on the business practice of outsourcing. The model is designed by business leaders who, acting as advisors to Outsourced Tech, completely privatize the institution. As a privatized educational facility, dining halls, residence halls, buildings, grounds, bookstore operations, accounting operations are all outsourced and employees are fired and rehired as hourly, part-time workers. The library becomes an on-line cataloguing and ordering system that is subcontracted to Amazon.com. Work-study students replaced the librarians.
Tenure is slowly eliminated for the faculty and most eventually take a buy out package. Private companies now handle all instruction. Businesses that have, over the years, been developing their own in-house educational programs for employees, now contract their employees out to higher educational institutions to provide education and training. As a final outsourcing step, the business leaders serving as Outsourced Tech’s advisors, oust the board of trustees and turn decision-making responsibilities over to an advanced version of IBM's Big Blue.
The Future of Sex; You've Lost That Loving Feeling, Hazel Marshall, 200.1
In this vision of the future, author Hazel Marshall describes a time in which sex is no longer associated with human connection and touch, or childbearing; rather, sex is associated with robots, test tubes, and created mates, and is completely divorced from reproduction. Although Marshall does not see this future coming to fruition, she does admit to its possibility.
In this essay, Marshall envisions sex in the future to be possible with robots that are specifically made and programmed for that purpose. One can create the perfect robotic partner from a variety of human shapes, skin coverings, and hair and eye colors. The children of the future, brought up by robotic nannies and having never been touched or hugged by humans, will be very receptive to robotic sex. Robotic sex slaves will emerge, replacing human prostitution and helping to solve population problems.
Marshall imagines that by 2030 sex will be almost completely divorced from reproduction. Increases in reproduction choices through advances in technologies such as egg harvesting and sperm preservation, will result in an increased use of test tube fertilization. Only the old fashioned or poor will conceive physically and with unknown results. A “GenerationRich” will design their test tube children and a new social class will emerge. These technological advances in reproduction choice will also lead to different family and household structures and society will see an increased number of single parent families.
National Education Association: Future of Higher Education Scenarios.
The Scenario of a Wired University: In this scenario, set in 2011, the University has gone virtual. It no longer occupies a physical presence in the community; once academic buildings have been converted to prisons and university sports facilities have been leased to other teams.
The Wired U, as the University is called here, is seeking to dramatically expand its presence in the distance education market. To differentiate itself from all the other on-line universities, the Wired U emphasizes its use of real faculty in the development and implementation of its courses.
Most faculty now work behind the scenes, developing the materials offered by the on-line educators. These on-line educators – faculty who are photogenic and good in front of cameras – are scorned as “blow dries” by the serious behind the scenes academics. But this is the video age: on-line educators are “stars,” complete by agents and membership in the Screen Actors Guild.
And because it is the video age, distinctions between scholarly disciplines change to conform better to the medium. Instead of course groupings such as English lit, biology and nursing, courses are grouped in Hollywood defined genres such as historical, drama, or situation comedy.
The Religion of the Future, Excerpted from Religion in the New Age.
Author: Swami Kriyananda http://www.ananda.it/en/kriyananda/articles/sk_religion.html
(Note on author: Swami Kriyananda (J. Donald Walters) became a disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda in 1948 and lived with him during the last years of his guru’s life. He is one of the few remaining direct disciples of Yogananda, and the only one now living and teaching in Europe. He is internationally known as an author and composer, having written over seventy books and hundreds of inspiring musical compositions).
In this writing, Swami Kriyananda sets forth a vision of the religion of the future, in which there is reconciliation between the old dogmatic assumptions and new scientific discoveries. This reconciliation will create increasing demands that “religion meet science with methods of its own for testing and experience.”
The Swami describes a shift “toward simplicity, toward emphasizing the needs of the inner man over the demands of church and state.” He also envisions a shift in approach from quantitative to a qualitative; and a shift in focus from outwardly to inwardly. “The religion of the future will be a religion of Self-realization” and the result he envisions, will make yoga a “science of religion.”
The Age of Spiritual Machine. Author: Ray Kurzweil, 2000, Penguin Books.
In his most recent book, Ray Kurzweil puts forth a vision of the 21st century in which machines have not only achieved but exceeded the level of human intelligence. “Before the end of the next century, humans will no longer be the most intelligent or capable type of entity on the planet,” according to Kurzweil, and this state “will have profound implications on all aspects of human endeavor, including the nature of work, human learning, government, warfare, the arts and our concept of ourselves.”
Kurzweil lays out, in significant detail, the drivers pushing the development of intelligent and spiritual machines: the accelerating/exponential pace of technology development; the increasing speed of machine computation; increasing memory capabilities; and brain engineering.
Kurzweil also lays out scenarios for the next 100 years:
“2009: A $1,000 PC can perform a trillion calculations per second; computers are imbedded in clothing and jewelry; most routine business transactions take place between human and virtual personalities. Accelerating returns from the advancement of computer technology have resulted in continued economic expansion. The neo-Luddite movement is growing.
“2019: A $1,000 computing device is equal to approximately the computational ability of a human brain; computers are largely invisible and embedded everywhere; most interaction with computing is through gestures and two way natural language spoken communication; realistic all-encompassing visual, auditory and tactile environments enable people to do virtually anything with anybody, regardless of physical proximity; people are beginning to have relationships with automated personalities as companions, teachers, caretakers and lovers.
“2020: computers achieve the memory capacity and computing speed of the human brain.
“2029: A $1,000 unit of computation has the computing capacity of 1000 human brains. Direct neural pathways have been perfected for high bandwidth connection to the human brain; a range of neural implants is becoming available to enhance visual and auditory perception and interpretation, memory and reasoning. Automated agents are now learning on their own and significant knowledge is being created by machines with little or no human intervention. The majority of communication is between a human and machine. There is growing discussion about the legal rights of computers and what constitutes being human. Machines claim to be conscious and these claims are largely accepted.
“2049: Nanobot swarm projections are used to create visual-auditory-tactile projections of people and objects in real reality.
“2099: Human brain reverse engineering appears to be complete. The concept of what is human is significantly altered. There is a strong trend toward a merger of human thinking with the world of machine intelligence; there is no longer any clear distinction between humans and computers. Most conscious entities do not have a permanent physical presence. Machine based intelligences derived from extended models of human intelligence claim to be human. The number of software based humans vastly exceeds those still using neuron cell based computation. There is ubiquitous use of neural implant technology that provides enormous augmentation of human perceptual and cognitive abilities. Humans who do not utilize such implants are unable to meaningfully participate in dialogues with those who do. Life expectancy is no longer a viable term in relation to intelligent beings.”
The Future of Law Libraries, American Association of Law Libraries, Futures Committee, 5/14/2002.
The American Association of Law Libraries Futures Committee has developed three visions related to the future of law libraries.
Vision 1 describes a collaborative model for the future of library operations. In this vision, law libraries actively work to design and implement new models, products, portals, information systems, standards and regulations in collaboration with campus libraries, legal publishers, the ABA and AALS. They also work with the bar and other library organizations to influence information policy. Law librarians assume a leadership role in developing instructional tools and programs.
The second vision describes a scenario in which the physical library no longer exists, but rather operates electronically. In this scenario, librarians conduct research entirely on-line and are located individually among the appropriate attorney/client and practice group. Librarians take an active role in evaluating and selecting systems and working with vendors to develop appropriate training.
In the last scenario, the library is operated as a business. Management is outsourced to a private company and attention is focused on return on investment. Outsourcing provides the clients/attorneys with an opportunity to reduce their overall costs associated with library tasks and research activities. Because the library is operated by a professional management company that offers a variety of growth opportunities for librarians, high quality personnel are available to service the customers.
Personal Transportation for the Future: Solutions for the 21st Century.
Author: Andrew Abulu
In this imaginative and entertaining scenario, fiction writer Andrew Abulu describes a solution to transportation problems of the 21st century, delivered via a speech from Bill Gates to the European Union. Dubbed the Personalized Online Patroller – Connectible Orbital Navigator (POP-CON), Mr. Gates describes “a fully automatic air taxi that interconnects with any of several giant airships for long distance travel. Remotely accessed, this user-friendly transport system is universally controlled by a super computer server.” Fueled by hydrogen from Iceland, the POP-CON is equipped with Vertical Take-Off and Landing capabilities, allowing passengers to be picked up from virtually from any location. In addition to providing “clean” transportation, the POP-CON is envisaged to aid in several global issues, such as balancing out the global supply and demand of labor by allowing migrant workers in all countries to travel safely and efficiently between all parts of the world and breaking down regional trade barriers.
The Environment in Geopolitical Relations.
RAND Corporation, www.hf.caltech.edu/hf/scenarios/envgeo/envgeo.html
Authors: Ike Chang and Lloyd Dixon
In this scenario set in 2050, “a new paradigm of geopolitical relations emerges in which the environment acts as the basis of political, economic and military relations between rich and poor countries emerges in the 21st century. National leaders of rich countries couch their foreign policies in terms of environmental protection.” Polluting countries are labeled environmental terrorists, prompting the use of power to enforce environmental regulations on a worldwide basis. “The rise of the UN EPA begins with the proliferation of international treaties, summits and other agreements among world leaders. Elaborate monitoring and enforcement protocols are adopted...with violating countries incurring punitive tariffs and threats of military action. The UN emerges as a supernational agency with jurisdictional powers above and beyond those of secular governments characterized by the 19th and 20th centuries. Economically, the greatest benefactors of the new regime are the middle-tier countries of South America
, East Asia and Eastern Europe, which by 2150 achieve a level of economic prosperity and environmental sustainability comparable to that in North America and Western Europe.”
The Global Infectious Disease Threat and Its Implications for the United States.
National Intelligence Council, January 2000
Author: Dr. David F. Gordon, National Intelligence Officer for Economic and Global Issues.
This estimate prepared by the National Intelligence Council explores three alternative scenarios for the course of the infectious disease threat over the next 20 years. The scenarios are based on the interplay of three variables: “the relationship between increasing microbial resistance and scientific efforts to develop new antibiotics and vaccines; the trajectory of developing and transitional economies; and the degree of success of global systems of surveillance and response.”
Scenario 1) Steady Progress: This identified “least likely” scenario projects steady progress whereby “the aging of global populations and declining fertility rates, socioeconomic advances and improvements in health care and medical breakthroughs hasten movement toward a “health transition” in which noninfectious diseases such as heart disease and cancer replace infectious diseases as the overarching global health challenge.”
Scenario 2) Progress Stymied: This more pessimistic scenario projects “little or no progress in countering infectious diseases over the next 20 years. Under this scenario, HIV/AIDS reaches catastrophic proportions as the virus spreads throughout the vast populations of India China, the former Soviet Union and Latin America, while multidrug treatments encounter microbial resistance and remain prohibitively expensive for developing countries.” The estimate judges that although this scenario is plausible, it is “unlikely to prevail because it underestimates the prospects for socioeconomic development, international collaboration and medical and health care advances to constrain the spread of at least some widespread infectious diseases.”
Scenario 3) Deterioration, Then Limited Improvement: According to the authors, the “most likely” scenario is one “in which the infectious disease threat worsens during the first half of the [20 year] timeframe, but decreases fitfully after that, owing to better prevention and control efforts, new drugs and vaccines and socioeconomic improvements.” Essentially, this scenario
suggests that progress against the infectious disease threat is likely to be slow and uneven, with advances tempered by renewed setbacks, such as the withdrawal of promising vaccines due to side effects.
Sarasota 2025: A Strategic Conversation about the Future
Global Foresight Associates, October, 2002
Authors: Michele Bowman & Patrick Heggy.
The following scenarios were created as a result of a one and a half day meeting held in October 2002 to explore the futures of Sarasota County, Florida. Taken together, they describe three alternative images of Sarasota as a community in the year 2025. The scenarios are based upon the interplay of three critical uncertainties: the supply and use of water; the gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ in the community; and the role and use Sarasota’s environmental resources.
Scenario 1) A Tale of Two Sarasotas: In this scenario, the gap between the ‘have’ and ‘have-nots’ in the Sarasota has widened, creating a two-tiered society with intense competition for basic resources. However, even for its most privileged citizens, money can’t buy everything; the shortage of water resources affects the quality of life for everyone in the community. An excerpt: “Although Sarasota’s citizens had grown accustomed to the increased rationing over the years, the latest proposal by the County Hydrologist – the most powerful political position in the county – was causing yet another controversy. Many feared that the two-shower per week policy would only exacerbate the rash of water crimes that have plagued Sarasota since 2017.”
Scenario 2) Red Ink Sunset: This scenario explores how Sarasota’s water resources become a valuable commodity, and ultimately a possible antidote, for the county’s poor fiscal health. An excerpt: “The Board meeting opened quietly and without fanfare. No one really wanted to be there. It was an atmosphere of weariness and defeat. Having just last month finalized the sale of the county water system to Global Hydro, the Board members were without purpose or inspiration. Certainly it had been traumatic for the entire political structure of the county to lose the revenues and pride that were embodied in the water system. But there had been no choice. Like many previous “retirement” communities, Metro County’s economy is almost completely consumed by the health care and genomics industries. Few tourists come to Sarasota these days. There is little left to attract them – parks have fallen into disrepair, and many beaches have been closed for years. The County simply doesn’t have the resources – or the will – to maintain beaches and bays in the wake of the spiraling health care crisis.”
Scenario 3) Paradise Closed: Sarasota’s commitment to sustainability and water quality has created a pristine and healthy physical environment. In 2025 Sarasota is a paradise – for those who can still afford to live in the newly gated community. An excerpt: “In 2025, Sarasota County more closely resembles a national park than a city. It’s been rated as one of the Top Ten Beaches for several years running. With pristine water and glittering sand, tourists are happy to pay the $20 per person user fee. The County’s substantial commitment to preserving the environment over the last decade has paid off – conservation land is not only the County’s largest asset, it is also a valuable commodity, providing the infrastructure for a healthy eco-tourism industry.”
Facing The Alzheimer's Tidal Wave: Two Scenarios for 2020
Author: Daniel Kuhn, Ageing Today, February 2002. (Daniel Kuhn is education director at the Mather Institute on Aging, Evanston, Ill., and is author of “Alzheimer's Early Stages: First Steps in Caring and Treatment”.)
By the year 2020, the first boomers will turn age 75. In the next two decades, the number of Americans with Alzheimer's disease will swell from about 5 million now to over 8 million, nearly 3.5 million of them age 85 or older. “As the Alzheimer's tidal wave approaches, treatment and care for those diagnosed with the disease is likely to differ from that of today. However, despite advances in understanding the pathophysiology of Alzheimer's, few experts believe that a “magic bullet” will be found in the near to mid-term future.” This illness is unlikely to be prevented or cured. Mr. Kuhn then illustrates two public policy scenarios for handling this crisis to the year 2020. These scenarios are important because they don’t involve any medical breakthroughs, or, what Kuhn calls, “ a magic bullet”.
Scenario One: Continue on an Incremental Path. “Looking back from 2020, the incremental process from the early part of the 21st Century continues to consider care giving primarily as a private responsibility of individuals and families supported half-heartedly by government agencies and voluntary organizations. In this scenario, public and private resources fill some gaps and demonstration programs would point the way to inevitable changes--especially to linkage of family caregivers and professionals through computer technology, case management, cash or vouchers to purchase services or supplies most appropriate to each family's needs, and support programs for those affected by Alzheimer's. Furthermore, state and federal assistance is given in the form of payments and tax relief aimed at encouraging homecare and avoiding more costly care in facilities covered by Medicaid. Subsidies enable a greater number of people to afford private LTC insurance and reduce burdens on the public sector. Additional public funds become available for respite services and other home and community-based programs. An increasing number of state governments would take steps to create "dementia-friendly" programs. For example, Florida and a few other states in the early part of the 21st Century support memory-disorder centers staffed with dedicated professionals who understand the disease and provide up-to-date information, support and counseling. Such resource centers proliferate in 2020. Other states would make home and community-based care a top priority, following the lead of Oregon and Washington. Also, states experiment with reforms in financing nursing homes and assisted living facilities that would make such institutions better places to live. All of these important steps help many more people than are being served in the early 21st Century. The vast majority of people, however, would be left to fend for themselves and would have to rely on their income and savings to pay for care. Increased funding would make services available to many more people trying to keep loved ones with Alzheimer's at home. Overall, the incremental approach by 2020 would not come close to keeping pace with the needs of people with Alzheimer's disease and of their families.”
Scenario Two: Moving Beyond. “This scenario moves beyond the early 21st Century state of denial about the magnitude of Alzheimer's and would involve sweeping changes. In this scenario, the human dimension of the illness finally comes into sharp focus, and care giving is seen as a collective national effort. Family caregivers are recognized as the backbone of LTC and benefit from a variety of informal and formal supports. Old ways of providing care are seen as ineffective, and the case for revolutionary changes in healthcare and social services begin to take hold. The line between health and human services eventually blurs, and the integration of Medicaid and Medicare becomes a major priority. Along this path, federal agencies state governments and voluntary organizations adopt new ways of addressing the myriad needs of those affected by chronic illness. Health promotion and fitness of the body, mind and spirit become entrenched in American culture by 2020. Dollars spent on institutional care dramatically shift to home and community-based programs, and LTC facilities convert to social models of care that emphasize lifelong vitality. Nurse's aides and other frontline workers finally receive recognition for their hard work and achieve decent wages and benefits. A flexible system emerges that allows for meeting a growing diversity of needs.
In 2020, early diagnosis of Alzheimer's becomes commonplace, not just for the sake of medical treatment but to provide those affected by the disease with opportunities for information, support and services aimed at helping them cope at every stage of the condition. Caring for people with the illness and supporting their families would become mainstream roles among helping professionals. Local governments, businesses, schools, and civic and religious organizations become sensitive to people in need of this assistance through a massive public education effort.”
Regenerative Medicine Is the Future
Author: Peter Schwartz, Red Herring Magazine, October 2001.
In this promising article, Peter Schwartz illustrates with quite moving words, the vision of a tomorrow when the code of body repair is finally unlocked. In the same way that the human body “knows” to self-repair a small cut, humanity will someday harness the self-healing power of the body through the advancement of science---The Human Genome Project and the continuing understanding of self-assembling biological systems. Mr. Schwartz dramatically illustrates it in this way: “Today, we often return from the hospital with a bit less of ourselves, as pieces are snipped away. Tomorrow, we will come home with regrown livers and reconnected spinal cords. We will grow new brain tissue to repair the damage of a stroke.” Of course, there are many uncertainties before we get to this vision. We are only in the early stages of research, and, there are numerous moral and ethical issues to be sorted-through.
Scenario One: The Scientific Uncertainty. “We are still in the early stages of research; useful results could come soon--or might take decades. It is even possible that little practical information will result from the research, which may yield scientifically important but therapeutically insignificant information. Another possibility is that a few key ailments--say, Parkinson's disease or diabetes--may find cures down this avenue. While this outcome would be wonderful for those who suffer from these diseases, it would not be a revolution in medicine. However, if the success of early research is any indication, regenerative medicine may indeed be the wave of the future.”
Scenario Two: The Intellectual PropertyUncertainty. “Another key uncertainty, of course, is where the research will take place and who will control the intellectual property. Religious-based opposition in the United States to embryonic stem cell research may cause much of this medical domain to develop abroad. President George W. Bush's proposal to limit research to existing stem cell lines profoundly constrains what can be done. Many researchers are already leaving the United States to pursue this study elsewhere. Several scenarios are possible. First, regenerative medicine may prove to be an illusion. Just because nature can regenerate new tissue doesn't necessarily mean we can turn that capability on and off. Second, regenerative medicine may create niche cures, but more general success may be delayed for decades.”
Scenario Three: A Final Scenario. “And the final scenario might see the surgeon's knife used only for traumas and emergencies. We could see a world in which regenerative medicine transforms the human condition, a world of ever longer youthful life, and one in which humans suffer from fewer and fewer diseases. Of course, we in the United States might have to go elsewhere for treatment.”
The Future of Ideas. Authors: Ina Hilgers, Yoshinori Kishimoto, Daniël Malan, Gino Rhuggenaath, Olivier Simonnot, and Dirk van Sluis, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University Graduate School of Business.
“The Future of Ideas” poses a set of unique scenarios that take place in the year 2020. Critical uncertainties explore key questions about the nature of knowledge & ideas and idea ownership. The more significant questions that unfold in these stories include the extent to which ideas will be freely shared in the future and, if so, how will they be protected? If ideas lean toward the proprietary side of the spectrum of uncertainty, then a key question global thinkers would ask would be, Will the ideas be fire walled or barricaded from contributing to potential breakthroughs that could lead to innovation? Could “ownership” of ideas help or hinder the resolution of critical world problems, particularly environmental problems? What about power balance? If ideas are owned, will ownership enable more power to corporations? To the individual? To networks? Will ideas control or be controlled? One interesting question: could the future become a world in which every nations becomes an island of identity, composed of millions of “individual islands” of distinct identities and ideas?
Scenario One: Power to the Corporations. “In 2020, national boundaries will be almost a distant memory. There will still be cultural (e.g. linguistic) ways of differentiating, but the superpowers will consist of a few big multinationals that determine the international political and economic agenda. Companies will have a very strong cult-like culture, where work-life and personal life of an employee will merge to become one. All the employee's and their families` needs, from education, health-care, pensions to leisure-time entertainment, will be provided by the corporation. People will assume loyalty and an identity related to the company that they or their family work for, instead of to a country or political party (e.g. "I work for Shell and I am also Dutch", and not the other way round). Ideas in this environment will be generated by the "citizens" of a corporation with the underlying motivation to advance their corporation and it’s power. This power will mainly result out of the corporation’s fast transformation of an idea or the combination of ideas into useful and/or profitable applications. The corporation will not legally own the ideas of their employees, but they will be the first to receive it and act upon it and thus have the advantage of the "first move", i.e. the possible quickest transformation of an idea into a "sellable" or useful application. The power of consulting firms will be negligible and these firms will probably be disappearing altogether because ideas will generated within the borders of companies and will be freely implemented or shared by those with corporate partners if beneficial to the corporation. We would return to a form of imperialism where instead of countries, corporation will be seek and conquer "mines of free human intellect” by identifying and locking-in creative people into their corporation and it’s culture.”
Scenario Two: Graphomania. “A high-tech return to the classical Athenian marketplace: ideas will be generated for their own sake, and (appreciated and) freely used and "grown" by others and valued/appreciated based on its intellectual quality. Applications of ideas will result out of virtual teams combining to grow or combine ideas and put them into form. Ideas will be turned into applications for everybody’s use and the sake of society’s advancement. Resources needed for this transformation of an idea into an application will be generated through large private funds, resulting out of private, altruistic donations. Corporations will still exist, but only to fulfill the most basic human requirements for survival: real fulfillment will result from intellectual exchanges and growth in a stress-free environment, replacing the currently perceived need for luxuries. An anarchy based on creative chaos will replace today’s existing law & order society. The new respected leaders will be those who contribute most to the advancement of this society, either by intellectual merit (value-added to society) of their ideas and / or by actively supporting valuable ideas into useful applications for society’s use.”
Scenario Three: “Power to the Consultants”. “In 2020, the world will be ruled by the organizations / brokers that hold the largest portfolio of "useful" ideas and/or idea generators, e.g. the Big Six consulting firms. In a world where ideas are crucial for survival, the generation and propagation of ideas will be critical to acquiring and maintaining positions of power. Ideas will be highly protected (i.e. developed and encrypted for exclusive use, and legally owned by the organizations - and not the individuals - that generated them). Their ownership will be guarded and defended. Political and economic power will be determined by domains of influence ("This is Andersen country !") - a new ideological battle will ensue. In a society where the biggest asset is knowledge and the knowledge is owned by organizations, idea generators will want to join the well of all the knowledge. They will want to work in these idea-brokerage organizations, because they get access to a big database of ideas that other people/companies have no access to and can live-out their creativity for the largest financial and personal reward. This attraction and retention of knowledge workers will reinforce the big monopolies' position. The consulting "countries" will prosper on their power of idea ownership. Due to the inherently static nature of this protective environment for ideas, there is low cross fertilization of ideas. Ideas will be generated and propagated somewhat slower than would be possible in a less protective environment.”
Scenario Four: “Power to Networks”. “In a full-blooded network economy the final frontier between producer and consumer disappears. Virtual identities in a virtual reality become the great equalizer - it is not important to know whether one is dealing with a powerful multinational or a bright spark with a powerful notebook sitting at home. Ideas are owned and propagated by their generators, but the network ensures a level playing field - ideas are valued on their quality, not by looking at their generator. The fact that ideas are owned will increase the life cycle of an idea. There is a longer time frame to generate cash flows from an idea. Networks will have to circumvent the current problems of creating trust within the networks and of maintaining equal efforts from each of the members in the networks. However anybody that has a good idea can start a new network. The network will be as good as the idea. The entrance barrier for a new network however is low. Individuals or individual groups, not necessarily companies start networks. There will be a fierce competition (more players, since the players are individual groups rather than companies) for the next idea. Nobody will control the network - there will be creative destruction: leapfrogging forward from one idea to the other (survival of the fittest idea). The fittest idea will provide a cash flow as long as it takes for the network society to come up with a better new idea. Knowledge workers will shift from network to network. They will follow the successful ideas. The fact that they move around with the ideas increases the necessary cross-fertilization chain reaction to generate more ideas. The idea economy will be as efficient (and virtual) as the current free-flow capital markets.”
The Four Vision 2010 Scenarios.
University of Michigan, 2002. A wide group of scholars, futurists, scientists, alumni, professors, and university personnel gathered under the auspices of the University of Michigan to explore the impact of future digital technology, scholarly communications, and the future of the university.
As a result of this study, two axes were created on a scenario matrix to represent the more significant sets of challenges and uncertainties that universities will undergo in the future. The “Competition” axis represents the spectrum of challenges to the university's traditional role in a world of competition. The “Digital Literacy” axis represents the degree to which information technology has transformed not only the essential skills required of the student, but the very nature of knowledge creation and dissemination within the university.
Scenario One: New York Times Sunday, June 20, 2010. Higher Education: It’s Not Just for College Students Anymore. “It is a magnificent autumn day in the mountains, but the Sawtooth Range is no longer enough to keep Robert Belletzkie here. After 26 years in academia, the last eight as chair of the psychology department at Boise State University, he is packing up. The books and paper records from his carpeted, mahoganies office fill three liquor cartons. His computer and the software he has collected, most of it multimedia CD-ROMs and Divides, require eight cartons. He is a voluble but fastidious man, one who still wears his hair above his ears, and this morning he waxes philosophical about this ratio of analogue to digital. "Three paper to eight electronic. As it ought to be. Unfortunately, in this world I'm leaving behind, that ratio is inverted." To emphasize his point he flips through the most recent catalogue from the Boise State Press. "The works in blue background boxes are digital. The works in white are paper." The effect of the blur of pages is that of the lightest shade of blue, much lighter than the stunningly bright sky outside the window behind Belletzkie. "Not much blue, is there?" he asks. "Eight to three. Just one of the reasons universities are unraveling." The unraveling Belletzkie speaks of has become maddeningly apparent in recent years throughout the nation's university system. It is the unraveling of what he sees as the three primary functional strands in the braid of the traditional university: 1) the preparation of the young for economic usefulness; 2) the fulfillment, especially since World War II, of society's research needs; and 3) the provision of values and ethics to the good citizen, a function that holds over from the university's origins in the medieval European church. This braid has become so frayed that in many cases it is only the final strand that any longer bears weight. The first strand, the university's role as creator of careerists, has been frayed for decades as most professions have become specialized beyond the reasonable reach of an institution whose very name speaks of breadth. In the past decade or more, though, outside competitors have been actively picking at this strand, unraveling it further by providing the specialized educations necessary for individual professions. And more and more students are signing up with these other providers. When adjusted for demographics, the enrollment at U.S. universities has been dropping 2-3% each year for the past five years. Why are these students going elsewhere? The reasons are largely financial. Skills training offered by corporations and other providers promise a more marketable alternative than the traditional college education. Also, the expense of a university education now proves prohibitive for many young families, especially given that student loans are more difficult to come by and cost more to pay off, and that a university degree does not guarantee a respectable income that will allow one to climb out from under the debt load. But financial reasons are not the only reasons. One truth unmentionable at faculty meetings is that these corporate training programs are doing a good job of professional certification. General Electric's Career Path program is indicative of the nature of many of these endeavors. Career Path assigns each student a multimedia notebook computer, the primary learning tool. The pedagogy itself, presented both on DigiDoc plug-ins and on GE's Digital Learning Network, involves learning while doing and is cutting edge. Indeed, most research into human cognition and education these days is done by corporations interested in more efficient training and more productive workers. The trainees of these corporations are the beneficiaries of that research. GE now graduates almost 2000 students each year with associates or bachelor's degrees in narrow fields of professional competency. GE itself hires on almost a third of these graduates. Hundreds of other companies line up for a chance at the remaining 1400…” (Please see the rest of this highly detailed scenario at the University of Michigan website.)
Scenario Two - A Particularly Open Letter to the Faculty from the Provost on the Occasion of the Closing of _____ University's Doors Forever. May 2010. “You are all aware of my deep regret, my personal sense of loss on this occasion. I've been with this institution for 22 years, and it's a small enough place that I know all of you personally. So enough of the official talk of declining enrollments and bad investments and infrastructure debt overload. I owe it to all of you to explain more particularly why we are closing our doors after a century and a half, and why this demise is taking place on my watch. Friends, we have failed. We have been followers in a world that demands we be first. With hindsight our missteps seem clearer and the signposts to the road to success are better illuminated. But only with hindsight. So with these remarkable optics of hindsight, I give you a litany of what we should have done:
- When Newt Gingrich was elected president a decade ago we should finally have seen the permanence of the stand Congress had taken several years earlier: that the new concept of public support for higher education had less to do with funding for student loans or universities than with opening up the "learning market" to new, leaner competitors who could deliver the specialized training programs corporations were looking for. And that Gingrich's tongue-in-cheek promise of "a laptop in every lap," coupled with his appointment of Al Gore as Digital Information Czar, meant that the government itself was ready to do business with the CD-ROM makers and the edutainers because they could deliver skills training at low-cost and high-glitz. We should have recognized that the digital age was overtaking us.
- When this university gave Bill Gates--a dropout--his eighth honorary doctorate, we should have recognized who in this digital age was overtaking us, and we should have listened to what he told our graduates: "Insist with both fists that your education put you at the gate to your career." We should have remembered that in our age the prey always invites the predator to come give a talk.
- Gates's focus on being career-ready should have been our focus a decade ago when the University of Minnesota offered the first "guaranteed for life" degrees--life-long learning contracts that warranted students would be kept current in their field. Instead we looked skeptically and decided this was something only professional schools could sell. But we underestimated both the drop in the life span of a college degree and the price students would pay to have that degree renewed again and again. Now Princeton, of all places, has had great success providing this "maintenance ed" to its graduates through its for-profit Princeton Professional Institute. We should have had a more accurate appraisal of the value of the degree we offer, for we have discovered too late in what low esteem it is held.
- When the Gingrich administration pushed through Congress its voucher system for K-12 education in this country, we should have realized that economist was so rampant there was no reason to expect higher education to withstand the buffeting intact. Competition and choice became the buzzwords in education--from Idaho's tax credits for home schooling to the Nation of Islam's dominance of urban education. We couldn't have predicted that Tennessee would close its state universities and buy its higher education from a Southwest consortium, but we should have foreseen that such closings and failures lurked in the dark just ahead. We should have understood that the stakes were that high.
- When ETS and Stanley Kaplan won in court the right to offer competency-based certification in medicine, we saw yet another sacred function of the university fall to the barbarians. What we should have foreseen was what a damn good job the barbarians were to make of it. Their online exams can be taken anywhere in the world by anyone who wishes, and they've teamed up with suppliers of various online and CD medical-education programs to guarantee student success. No longer do you have to go to medical school; instead you have to diagnose pixelated patients and dissect digital cadavers. We should have better appraised the quality of our competition and met them head-on.
- When those pixelated patients first became available in the 90s--and I remember my 12-year-old daughter conducting simulated surgery, mask and all, on those ADAM and EVE anatomy programs--we should have simply sat down and spent some time with them ourselves. We would have seen how completely engrossing they were and that they actually did teach, a mixture we as professors struggle mightily to achieve in the classroom. We would have also noticed that their interactive, hyper linked, and multimedia nature allowed the student to learn at her own pace and in her preferred style--visual, textual, aural, whatever. Had we taken a closer look, we might have foreseen that most calculus classes in this country would today be taught in one semester instead of two--that the Newton's Whimsy program would let students approach the subject in the manner they found most efficient. And we might have anticipated the interdisciplinary multimedia chairs that are now being endowed at so many universities. We might even have dreamed up Microsoft's announcement last week that it was endowing a Nobel Prize in multimedia education. Our greatest failure on this front was our failure to realize that freedom of choice was something the American collegiate population desperately desired. So now Motorola-Apple University--a university run out of an old warehouse in Hoboken--dominates multimedia education, and our beloved ivied walls are about to become barracks for our state's pettiest criminals.
- Finally, when I compared the recent college experience of my son Aaron on this campus to the college experience of his girlfriend, Julianna, it was already too late. Aaron's experience was much like my experience 30 years earlier. But Julianna's . . .. She decided to live at home because the thousands she saved on room and board allowed her to accept admission to a more prestigious university. She took most of her courses in her family's den: broadcast courses, online courses, and interactive multimedia CD-ROM courses--what we once disparagingly called "edutainment." She passed exams given online by a company that used to be involved exclusively with SATs. Her Big Ten University, three- fourths of whose student body of 100,000 were distance-learners like her, gave her degree credit for this work. When she signed up for Physics 110 she was of course hooked into Rensselear's gold mine--Physics 110 Online, now the introductory physics course for the majority of our nation's undergrads. (I suppose the fact that ours is one of the few universities in the country that hasn't lost half of its physics faculty to Rensselear's course is now a moot point.) She majored in chemistry, spending eighteen months as an apprentice to a government researcher who worked halfway across the country and who freelanced as a student mentor. Aaron also majored in chemistry. He attended lectures, took notes, performed experiments in antiquated labs under the tutelage of TAs. Julianna had unlimited access to the Big Ten Digital Library. No doubt you're aware that my son's university paid millions of dollars to the Big Ten consortium to give him access to the world's largest virtual library. When Julianna graduated in 3 1/2 years--now the national average for undergrads--she turned down three job offers so she could continue her research as a graduate student. Aaron had spent too much time in classrooms and was eager to do "real" work, as he called it. He had a hell of a well-rounded education behind him, but the only work he could find was as a lab assistant. I realized then that we had failed him and his fellow students, for all of the above reasons but also because we had failed to notice that a new form of literacy had arisen, a form in which text was only one in an array of media to be mastered by the educated person. I realized that we were no longer graduating literate students, and that realization has brought me to the greatest sorrow of my life: the realization that perhaps it is best we close our doors. To finish off the tale and make it mean more than it should, I'll add that Julianna is now a post-doc working with DuPont and the University of Maryland on photoactive molecules. Aaron has returned to school. He is working toward an MS/MFA in scientific visualization at Wisconsin. I may follow him…” (Please see the rest of this highly detailed scenario at the University of Michigan website.)
Scenario Three: Millenial Fizzle. “Possibly the only thing worse than millennial hype or millennial crash is millennial fizzle--nothing new under the sun. In this quadrant, we have millennial fizzle. This is the quadrant in which we see older, wiser versions of ourselves stumbling upon these Vision 2010 materials fifteen years from now and chuckling at the cheek of the other three scenarios. Given no great impetus for major change, universities in this scenario exist in a holding pattern, hoping for clear weather and happy landings, but for the time being just circling, praying they're still over the airport. The time frame dawns partly cloudy. Simple demographics indicate shrinking freshman classes in the coming few years, while the political climate seems to be not at all enthusiastic about public support of higher education. It's not that the political will or the public sentiment has turned against higher education. Rather it's that other concerns have the public's attention and therefore its resources. The number of young people in prison in our nation exceeds for the first time the number of young people in college, so "corrections" must have a greater claim to the public purse. At 15% of the U.S.'s GDP, with a 20% share looming just around the millennial corner, health care also has a greater claim on the public purse. With the Social Security shell game, our society puts its dollars into caring for the growing sector of elderly citizens rather than the shrinking sector of post-adolescent citizens. Higher education suffers from a less-than-benign neglect. While federal support drops--student loans and research grants both become harder to come by--costs at universities continue to rise, though not at the breathless rates of the eighties. These chronic financial pressures are addressed in a variety of ways. Public universities are subject to the tempestuous and changeable winds of statehouse politics. In 1998, Albany cuts costs by mandating year-round operation of the State University of New York system, a move that creates years of chaos in the SUNY system and that leaves tenure-track faculty scrambling for positions in other states. Intrigued by Albany's lead, Texas follows suit in 1999 and goes New York one better by establishing the standard undergraduate program throughout the UT system as a three-year program. The folks in Carson City wish to cut costs while avoiding the upheavals seen in New York and Texas, so they establish productivity requirements for academic departments within the University of Nevada. These productivity requirements are effectively along the lines of K-12 funding guidelines--each department gets a set amount of money for each student credit-hour its faculty teaches. Public universities afraid of the rumors they hear from the western desert, and private universities facing decreased alumni support from their baby-boom alumni initiate productivity quests of their own. These changes often incorporate a modicum of mid-level technology. The Pac 8 universities use fiber-optic links to connect professors on video to classrooms throughout the consortium. Primarily used for introductory and survey courses, this distance learning does save Pac 8 universities some money, though some students--and some parents--grumble. Multimedia makes isolated inroads in the classroom, but generally doesn't offer productivity increases, so its use remains sporadic...” (Please see the rest of this highly detailed scenario at the University of Michigan website.)
Scenario Four: New Wine (Fewer) Old Bottles: “By the mid-90s, the promises of digital information technology seemed to know no bounds. Wall Street hurtled along on its wildest streak of bullishness since the 20s, fueled by the allure of technology stocks. Hardly a week went by without a new blockbuster merger of telecommunications giants. When Microsoft, hot on the heels of sweeping the market with its new online service, merged with Disney/ABC, even Ted Koppel couldn't help but joke that now Big Brother was surely "all ears." Although it was still more of a country road than a major thoroughfare, the information superhighway was transforming U.S. society. The ivied walls of higher education were not spared this assault. Mid-decade many factors came together to rise a collective clamoring within academe for a close examination of the university qua university. The onslaught of digital information technologies was certainly one such factor, but so were cuts in federal funding for research and for students, and the fear that universities were losing ground to institutions that catered to students who were in search of narrow skills training. The proximity of the new millennium also had something to do with this soul-searching; most every university issued some incarnation of the "Meeting the Challenges of the 21st Century" brochure. The unspoken subtext in this self-reflection was the question of whether the university itself could survive in this brave new world. Though the results of these university discussions usually showed ambivalence about how fully to embrace these new learning technologies, many individual faculty members were already making good use of them. Interactive "edutainment" programs were becoming sophisticated enough to make their appearances in undergraduate classrooms. The University of Indiana began to make use of Broderbund's Composer Supposer CD-ROM in its introductory music theory classes. Faculty there had concluded that the program's melding of graphics and sound illustrated certain musical concepts more readily than either medium alone could have. Indiana's reputation in music encouraged other schools: as went Bloomington, so went the nation. Those who advocated full adoption of such learning technologies argued that not only were they efficient, engrossing, and self-paced, but they allowed each student to choose the learning style that was best for him. They even argued that such media created new modes of knowledge, knowledge that could not be fully represented in other ways. Such modes of knowledge, they said, represented nothing less than a new paradigm of literacy. Though these multimedia programs were becoming more and more popular on campuses, many voiced fears that they represented just one more force pushing the university away from its traditional--and etymological--breadth of focus into a narrow concern with job training. This chord of concern would be struck again and again in coming years. These fears of "InfoTech" were not baseless. By the end of the decade interactive multimedia programs had become the most widely used learning tool in training programs for business. Many were custom-designed to teach new employees the skills necessary to be productive at a particular job. The one program that was the single biggest target for academics' disdain was the program McDonald's put together for its recruits and touted in its TV commercials: it allowed new employees to practice their serving skills on virtual celebrities--Madonna buying a Coke without ice, Ben Franklin ordering eleven Big Macs. Computer simulation at its most inane, it represented to its critics the mindset that would forever limit digital learning technologies, a mindset, they argued, that despite its profitability had no place in the university. But the digital boom showed no signs of bust. In 1997 the Supreme Court ruled in Buchwald v. Broderbund that the use of short excerpts from copyrighted works in CD-ROMs did not constitute fair use and that copyright owners must be compensated. Rather than putting a damper on multimedia production, this ruling proved a boon for it, for intellectual property owners and creators now had their incomes legally protected. Protection under law didn't guarantee protection in practice, but several technologies combined in the late 90s to bring the real closer to the ideal. Secure "digital watermarks"--electronically imprinted bits of data that, like the watermark on currency, ensure authenticity--were developed and allowed producers to tag their digital information. Buyers of CD-ROMs began to pay for use of all the intellectual property on the disk, but--publishers keeping in mind that pennies add up when volume is in the millions--the cost was kept to a minimum. All of this digital compensation relied on online commercial transactions, which by 1998 were secure 99% of the time--slightly more often than face-to-face transactions. Even online multimedia documents could now be financially profitable for their creators. Adding to the multimedia blitz was a deluge of new digital information. Reelected from a field of formerly Republican competitors, President Bill Clinton in 1997 made good on a campaign promise to open the government's vast troves of information to online access at cost. Within three years all public domain material from the Library of Congress was available through any phone line, as were the public files of most government agencies. The Administration also encouraged competition for databases that had previously been monopolized by one or two suppliers. Westlaw and Lexis, for example, which had charged law firms tens of thousands of dollars for access to their legal databases, were forced to slash their prices to compete with such cut-rate packagers as LawLine. Galaxies of readily accessible information lured academics into multimedia by the thousands. One of the most successful was Hector Chavez, a professor of history at MIT. All the applications ever filed at the U.S. Patent Office had recently been put online. Chavez used this cheap information as the raw material for his immensely popular Invention Strategies course, a course that enrolled almost 20,000 would-be inventors from all over the world each fall. The arts and humanities, to the surprise of many, engaged in more than their share of these endeavors. George Mason University maintained a home page for the nation's poet laureate that included online poetry workshops and readings for high-school students. And the popularity of a multimedia program by Robert Pinsky that allowed the interactive study and creation of formal poetry, ProzCD, caught even its creator by surprise…” (Please see the rest of this highly detailed scenario at the University of Michigan website.)
What to do With Your Life - In the New Year, Times May Be Tumultuous Unless You Make a Virtue of Uncertainty.
Author: Joel Garreau, Washington Post Staff Writer Sunday, December 30, 2001; Page F01.
This rich article focuses on the individual, providing good advice on scenario planning techniques & tools that enable a person to “plan” for uncertainty. In the wake of the September 11th attacks, many people drew fogs of uncertainty in their minds. In fact, some took drastic action, such as self-sterilization and selling homesteads to wander the West, not quite knowing or planning for their lives, aside from wanting to get out from under the other shoe, were it to drop. Mr. Garreau writes about scenario planning for the individual person, beginning with the drawing of a compelling line of uncertainties in life. Garreau expresses that, oftentimes, we are hesitant to think about our own future, because “decision making usually leads to a fork in the road. A number of outcomes are possible.” This is uncomfortable. Scenario planning therefore, helps build a mental roadmap of alternative futures, so that planning can be more coherent and “comfortable”. This highly instructive article ends with a summary of global scenarios resulting from work among a group of scenarists and executives hosted by Global Business Network. This notable group had gathered in San Francisco to develop a “more rich, real-world, and timely set of futures”. This scenario-set provides a useful backdrop to one’s own personal life, work, and planning.
Scenario One: Walled World. "Walled World," is a volatile place. Government is weak, social turmoil on rolling boil, and selfish me-first instincts strong. The diabolical attacks of 2005 were the icing on the cake. After the terrorists set off the smallpox bombs in Harlem and Anacostia, they let the FBI find a third one in a storage locker in a white-supremacist community in Idaho. It looked like whites had declared war on blacks. The terrorists next exploded gasoline tanker trucks in enclaves of white privilege, from the playing fields of Exeter to the debutante balls of Atlanta, so it would look like blacks were retaliating. Then came the attacks on ethnic groups, from the St. Patrick's Day parade to the assault on the biggest Hispanic cathedral in Los Angeles. The more leaders try to jawbone the public into trusting each other, the more people suspect they are being led to the slaughter. America becomes a collection of protective enclaves. Precious commodities, from information to gold, are hoarded. Some local economies prosper, especially if they have natural resources, and the education to exploit them. But the only large institutions that prevail are those who can portray themselves as deeply rooted in each of these neighborhoods and tribes.”
Scenario Two: Cave World. “A world without trust in markets and especially without trust in any group that does not share a common faith and value system is "Cave World”. In "Cave World," the process of globalization quite suddenly reverses. Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt slip into anarchy; suitcase nuclear weapons level Silicon Valley, Tokyo and Moscow; smallpox and other plague weapons make global overpopulation a concern of the past. Xenophobia becomes rampant. Where there are still borders, they are fiercely defended. Visas to the developed world, most particularly the United States, are almost impossible to come by. The values that replace faith in markets take many forms, and some are benign, for unlike in "Walled World," this is less a world coming apart than one in which people cling together, albeit in small homogeneous groups. The monasteries, neighborhood cooperatives and local folk tunes of Tacoma Park and Berkeley are quite beautiful. But other atavistic movements repress women, attack minorities, revert to the rule of warlords and deprive their people of technology. Think Alabamistan.”
Scenario Three: Reformation World. "Reformation World," is one in which all over the globe people are united in finding it hard to remember why, in 2001, people felt the most important things in life were those that could be measured in dollars. In 2010, the shock of the 2001 terrorist attacks seems quaint, compared with the new pace of change. In 2010, people just shrug at headlines that once would have seemed world changing, like the recent report that a 13-year-old, in her mother's fertility clinic, has cloned her dog. No one has figured out who caused the contamination of the Mississippi, Amazon and Rhine River valleys, although of course al Qaeda is suspected. Primarily, the world is reeling from weird weather. Imagine this: The vast amount of fresh water pouring off the melting ice caps has caused the Gulf Stream to shift in mid-decade. That has stopped the melting. Germany and Scotland are now permafrost. It also has started to create deserts in places that have been temperate. The result is migrations. Particularly startling are the educated, sophisticated people fleeing centers of the industrialized world from London to Los Angeles. Folk find themselves with a desperate need for some bedrock; some higher meaning amid these wild swings. Deeply "spiritual" people find it hard to believe bigger designer kitchens seemed important not so long ago. The fundamental things apply, as time goes by. The thing that matters now is character. Also loyalty, trustworthiness, integrity, courage and faith.”
Scenario Four: Market World. “In "Market World," supply and demand trump local values, driving globalization. In this 2010 world, oil is revealed to be thicker than blood. Just as the first acts of terrorism helped seal a new friendship between Russia and the United States, the rest of the world unites to diminish terrorist threats. A global consensus emerges: It is crucial to improve world living conditions to drain the swamp that once had bred terrorism. People prosper, and the global economy claws back. Debts to unstable countries are forgiven. Education initiatives -- especially among poor young women -- flourish. Eliminating disease, starting with AIDS in Africa, becomes a high priority. The message of the marketplace is: We're all in this together.”
Future of Islam – The Turmoil Within.
Author: James Piscatori, Foreign Affairs, May/June 2002.
The author compares two highly academic and historical books: “What Went Wrong? Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response” by Bernard Lewis (New York: Oxford University Press 2001), and “Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam” byGilles Kepel (Harvard University Press 2001). Lewis and Kepel present a historical overview of Islam, an academic view of the ‘lessons of the history’, and a futuristic outlook. (This annotation includes a normative scenario and a decline scenario.) Both views differ widely: Bernard Lewis, a historian, contends that the history of Islam was marred by victimization over the centuries; yet, he finds plausible reason for the survival of Islam in a modern, 21st century world. Gilles Kepel, on the other hand, considers Islam “a utopian project whose moment has passed,” arguing the plausible likelihood of Islam’s decline. Together, these books depict a passionate debate over the politics of the Muslim world. Both were written before the events of September 11th.
Bernard Lewis argues that the deep roots of the Middle East and Islamic history guarantees it’s potency and staying power in the future. He urges individual Muslims to ask themselves an essential question: What went wrong? He believes that Muslims are capable of learning the lessons of history, and applying them proactively within the context of the harsh realities of modernization. Lewis makes a strong case that one essential lesson of history, among others in the 20th century, was the “accusatory finger”. That is, Muslims blamed the West for economic problems, which led to an introversion among these cultures, that in turn, led these cultures to be the prey to “predatory authority”, such as narrow, clerical rule. According to Lewis, destiny is possible for Muslims if they believe that they can take destiny into their own hands. This doesn’t mean terrorism or radicalism (besides, terrorists couldn’t account for the lessons of history, even if they tried to). Rather, it means taking responsibility for cultural self-confidence. This is leadership. The preservation of Muslim cultures and Islamic belief is just as important as the preservation of the environment. Terrorists understand one thing: the so-called “straight path”. Among other things, the “straight path” dictates that everyone else in the world is an infidel, or, “allies of Satan”. Unfortunately, this perception is unrealistic.
Scenario One: A House in Order: In the future, Muslims co-exist with “unconquered infidels and a global unwillingness to come to terms with the long-term dangers of fusing religion and politics.”It is a world of Muslim reform, where Muslims formulate and re-formulate theories, ideas, and practices of pluralism and political participation that were original tenants of true Islam. The reformers are not “replacement leaders” of the clerics (the clerics are held with reverence), but unlike the clerics, the reformers provide Muslims with global leadership and savvy in matters of Internet, communications, global cultures, and the economy. In 2002, there were already a number of notable Muslims arguing that Islam and democracy were indeed – compatible – taking the debate away from those that consider democracy an “alien system,” where, obedience to the divine rather than popular sovereignty was complete. In 2005… “An increasing number of Muslims intellectuals in societies as diverse as Egypt, Jordan, Iran, Turkey, Indonesia, and Malaysia” speak-out about the intrinsic Islamic principles of pluralism, tolerance, and civic participation. The world begins to realize that these principles were never that far apart from the principles held in high esteem in civil society. Mutual implementation within Muslim societies and civil societies successfully maintain the integrity of Islam and the integrity of the principles of civil society. Internationally, and, within the United Nations, the Muslims illustrate passionate, innovative, and creatively new voices & views on pluralism and political participation. Muslims had historically advocated human rights, women, and other special interests, but in a different light. In this scenario, the Islamic realm of the Muslim world is in a continual “process of redefining itself”, while at the same time, Muslims contribute to higher global ethics and goals. In fact, the Muslim’s unique insight into global cultures “disrupts” some of the original planning & implementation goals of United Nation committees in 2005, because they continuously provide fertile thought for reconciliation and diplomacy in a world where there continue to be “rogue nations”. Muslims are a permanent and indigenous presence in the Western societies of Europe, North America, and Australia. They provide an invaluable service to humanity. (End of scenario 1).
Gilles Kepel, a political sociologist, argues the end of Islam. The “Islamist movement has largely passed.” To Kepel, the future is already here. In his thesis, the emerging lessons of history strongly reveal that clerical rule could not possibly withstand, stand against, or, influence today’s civil societies. Kepel describes the confluence of Islam and civil society within the context of modernization, class & ethnic differentiation, and global mass media & education. These “driving forces” have a tendency to isolate Islamic tradition. It follows, then, according to Kepel, traditional Islam could not possibly survive isolation from the rest of the world. If Islam doesn’t survive, then the result will be an evolution into a spectrum of new identities. (What is striking about Kepel’s theory is it’s similarity to Darwin’s “Origin of the Species”; but instead of a mass extinction of species, Kepel discusses a mass extinction of culture.)
Scenario Two: Whither Jihad? A Decline. In this world, social and political changes have contributed to the fragmentation of religious authority, the meaning of scripture, and the fragmentation of religious clerics. The contributing factors in 2002 were a decline in the public confidence of the Catholic Church, due to the hierarchical mishandling of abusive priests; and, the loss of respect for the views of Osama bin Laden, once considered a very respected cleric on a worldview level. This fragmentation in 2002 represented the first of many tectonic shifts that eventually led to the decline of Islam. Clerics are no longer taken seriously when preaching a clerical view of the book of the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Koran. Throughout the world, individual Muslims decide to interpret the Koran on an individual level. By 2005, there is an increasing number of individualistic interpretations of the history of the Prophet Mohammed. These new perceptions begin to spread throughout the developing nations through the enabling technologies of the Internet and the ‘leapfrog’ technologies of global wireless communications. These technologies enable the delivery of the original Koranic scripture on digital application slates, similar to the hand-delivery of the original Ten Commandments on geological slates. Islamic jurisprudence and Koranic prescriptions are, by 2005, held in reverence as a tool for guidance – as had been for centuries - but the interpretation of the Koran in 2005 increasingly rests with the “eye of the beholder”. The administration of justice as an “eye for an eye” declines in favor of the dictate of an individual’s conscience within the context of the Koran’s guidance combined with the morals of an individual society. By 2005, it becomes increasingly difficult to draw the line between pure Islamic jurisprudence & prescription versus blended Islamic jurisprudence & prescription. Radicalization and terrorism become isolated incidences, no longer having just cause or association to any religious belief, or, the “hijacking of a religion”; but rather, terrorism is recognized as a medical disease: a form of insanity. Inspite of the efforts of the World Health Organization (WHO) to communicate an understanding of this disease, insanity continues to bear the “fruit of the vine” of stigma on a global perceptual basis. As the Muslim-Western world increasingly experience encounters with each other, attempts at “clerisocracy” (a term coined by the late political scientist P.J. Vatkiotis), remain only punctuated, isolated attempts. The critical uncertainty remaining in 2005 as futurists ponder the next five-year horizon to 2010, is the question about an Islamic trajectory of adaptation. Islam. Futurists will ask, “In 2010, will Islam become a whimpering revolution, where “radicals have come unstuck” but the moderates have not?” “Will the struggle for integrating democratic ideals with Muslim values define the modern experience? If so, will it be an inspiration? Will it depend upon the extent that “ideological rigidity” succeeds or fails?” “ The modern experience may increasingly become “democratic”, or, a “blended democracy”; or, a fuller-fleshed version of a democracy and Islam.” Or, perhaps, time will mark the death of Islam and innovate a newer, more evolutionary form of culture that is based upon the inspiration of the Koranic scripture. Time will tell. Sometimes, it is the greatest deliverer.
The World Health Report 2001 – Mental Health: New Understanding, New Hope.
World Health Organization, Director-General, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland.
The theme of this landmark World Health Organization (WHO) study is to show how science and sensibility are combining to break down real and perceived barriers to care and cure in mental health. Humanity increasingly understands that the nexus of the trends and driving forces of genetics, biological, social, and environmental factors are increasingly coming together to cause mental and brain illness. This WHO report provides a global overview of the mental and psychosocial illnesses that pervade societies globally. The WHO suggests, “About 450 million people today suffer from mental or neurological disorders from psychosocial problems such as those related to alcohol and drug abuse. Many of them suffer silently.” The report makes a startling statement: “Major depression is not the leading cause of disability globally and ranks fourth in the ten leading causes of the global burden of disease. If projections are correct, within the next 20 years, depression will have the dubious distinction of becoming the second cause of the global disease burden. Globally, 70 million people suffer from alcohol dependence. About 50 million have epilepsy; another 24 million have schizophrenia. A million people commit suicide every year. Between ten to 20 million people attempt it.” This report is a comprehensive review of what we know about the current and future burden of all these disorders and their principal contributing factors.
In the last chapter of this very comprehensive report, “The Way Forward – Providing Effective Solutions” the World Health Organization makes ten overall recommendations for action (highly detailed with many examples), along with three scenarios. The actions recommendations are: 1) Provide treatment in primary care; 2) make psychotropic drugs available; 3) give care in the community; 4) educate the public; 5) involve communities, families, and consumers; 6) establish national policies, programs and legislation; 7) develop human resources; link with other sectors; 9) monitor community mental health; and 10) support more research. The scenarios are based on a societies’ resources, which of course, in any governmental action setting, is the most important critical uncertainty to launch any or all of the above ten (10) actions.
Scenario A: Low Level of Resources. “This scenario refers mostly to low income countries where mental health resources are completely absent or very limited. Such countries have no mental health policy, programs or appropriate legislation; or, if they exist, they are outdated and not implemented effectively. Governmental finances available to mental health are tine, often less than 0.1% of the total health budget. There are no psychiatrists or psychiatric nurses, or very few of them for large populations. Specialized inpatient care facilities, if they exist, do so as centralized mental hospitals, which serve more for custodial care than mental health care, and often have less than one place per 10 000 population. There are no mental health services in primary or community care, and essential psychotropic drugs are seldom available. Mental health is not a part of epidemiological and health reporting systems. While this scenario applies mostly to low income countries, in many high-income countries essential mental health services remain beyond the reach of rural populations, indigenous groups and others. In brief, scenario A is characterized by low awareness and low availability of services. What can be done in such circumstances? Even with very limited resources, countries can immediately recognize mental health as an integral part of general health, and begin to organize the basic mental health services as a part of primary health care. This need not be a costly exercise, and it would be greatly enhanced by the provision of essential neuropsychiatric drugs and in-service training of all general health personnel.”
Scenario B: Medium Level Resources. ‘In countries in this scenario, some resources are available for mental health, such as centers for treatment in big cities or pilot programmes for community care. But these resources neither do nor provide even essential mental health services to the total population. These countries are likely to have mental health policies, programmes and legislation, but they are often not fully implemented. The government budget for mental health is less than 1% of the total health budget. There are inadequate numbers of mental health specialists, such as psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses, to serve the population. Primary care providers are largely untrained in mental health care. Specialized care facilities have fewer than five places per 10 000 population, and most of these are in large and centralized mental hospitals. Availability of psychotropic drugs and treatment for major mental disorders in primary care is limited and community mental health programmes are scarce. Admission and discharge records from mental hospitals provide the only information available in health reporting systems. To summarize, scenario B is characterized by medium awareness and medium access to mental health care. For these countries the immediate action should be to enlarge mental health services to cover the total population. This can be done by extending training to all health personnel on essential mental health care, providing neuropsychiatric drugs in all health facilities, and bringing all of these activities under a mental health policy. A start should be made on closing down custodial hospitals and building community care facilities. Mental health care can be introduced in workplaces and schools.
Scenario C: High Level of Resources. This scenario relates mostly to industrialized countries with a relatively high level of resources for mental health. Mental health policies, programmes and legislation are implemented reasonable effectively. The proportion of the total health budget allocated to mental health is 1% or more, and there are adequate numbers of specialized mental health professionals. Most primary care providers are trained in mental health care. Efforts are made to identify and treat major mental disorders in primary care, though effectiveness and coverage may be inadequate. Specialized care facilities are more comprehensive, but most may still be located in mental hospitals. Psychotropic drugs are readily available and community-based services are generally available. Mental health forms a part of health information systems, although only a few indicators may be included. Even in these countries there are many barriers to the utilization of the available services. People with mental disorders and their families experience stigma and discrimination. Insurance policies fail to provide cover for the care of people with mental disorders to the same extent as for those with physical illness.”
Scenarios of the Future of Biotechnology – 2010, 2020, & 2040.
Fortune Magazine, “The Amazing Future of Business” series, March 6, 2000. “Blessings from the Book of Life” Author: David Stipp interviewing Francis Collins, The Genome Institute’s chief, Joshua Boger, CEO of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and Cheryl & Diana Jay, University of California at San Francisco.
The author, David Stripp, specializes in writing on scientific topics, and in 1998 co-wrote the "Selling of Impotence" which won a Science in Society Award from the National Association of Science Writers. In this article, the author writes about future trends and the bounty of biotech. He writes, " Decoding the human genome will yield a bounty of biotech miracles that will transform our lives in the next 40 years.”
By the year 2010: "We'll start winning the war on cancer. In this scenario - let say, a person experiences back pain, night sweats, and loss of appetite, and then find an egg-like swelling under the arm. Today a doctor would analyze biopsied cells from your lump with an instrument using 400 year old technology, the microscope and make an educated guess: You have non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. You'd get a one-size fits all chemotherapy that might work. If it doesn't your doctor would tell you not to despair - other drugs might save you. In 2010, your doctor will scan your biopsied cells with a DNA array, a computer-chip-like device that registers the activity patterns of thousands of genes in cells. It will quickly establish that your lymphoma is actually one of six genetically distinguishable types of T-cell cancer, each of which is known to respond best to somewhat different drugs. Another gene testing device called a SNP ("snip") chip will flag medicines that won't work in your case because your particular liver enzymes tend to break them down too fast.... (see full scenario in article)... the best thing about this scenario is that it is already in the works. Already, researchers have shown that they can distinguish different forms of leukemia according to abnormal patterns of gene activity in cancerous blood cells. "
By the year 2020: "Drug developments will be vastly accelerated by techniques akin to testing new aircraft designs in wind tunnels, predicts Joshua Boger, CEO of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, a Cambridge, Mass. biotech company. Researchers will begin clinical trials by giving safe, tiny doses of, say, half-a-dozen possible variations of a new medicine to volunteers. The drug's effects on thousands of genes and proteins will be monitored and analyzed by computer to predict how higher "therapeutic" doses will affect people of various genotypes. That will enable researchers to select the optimal molecules and immediately begin large, pivotal clinical trials, skipping initial phases of testing that now often takes years. The result: Gene-based drugs geared to patients' genotypes will be available for most major killers. Some big diseases will be on the way out--rheumatoid arthritis and other auto immune diseases such as lupus will be essentially curable by drugs that selectively switch off parts of the immune system that attach patient's own tissues. Potent new therapies will be available to treat once mysterious diseases, such as schizophrenia and narcolepsy, at the level of root causes. "
By the Year 2040: " Individualized preventive medicine will be the gold standard in this world. Gene therapy, as well as more traditional gene-based drugs, will be available for most diseases. It will be possible to hold most cancers in check for many years. Alzheimer's disease, which will be detectable before symptoms appear, will usually be preventable. The average life span in the developed world will top 90. U.S. health costs will reach a third of GDP. Key genes involved in aging will be identified, and clinical trials of anti-aging drugs will be underway. ...Clinical trials to boost IQ, memory, and other mental powers will be under way....
The Workplace in 2050 – Office Fantasies of the Future.
Fortune Magazine, “The Amazing Future of Business” series, March 6, 2000. Author: Nicolas Stein interviewing Carl Magnusson of Knoll Design, Inc. and David Strohl, of AllSteel Division, Hon Industries.
"In these visions of the workplace of 2050, seats float and holograms talk. But whatever happened to the wate cooler? " In this article, the author explores ergonomics of the future - never mind the 8 year studies and attempts by Congress to pass remedies for an "ergonomically correct” workplace. Stein envisions ergonomics and design going hand-in-hand in the future. In future, we will continue to live our entire lives at the workplace, so like Yahoo, we may as well try to make it as comfortable as possible. Stein interviews Carl Magnusson, director of design for Knoll, a design company.
Knoll's Scenario "There are no new ideas... only better combinations of existing things." In his vision of the workplace in 2050, people will need chairs to sit in and flat surfaces to work on, but magnetic levitation (maglev) devices will enable them to float on those chairs and move about at will. Technology will have permeated our world, so PCs and phones will have vanished into the walls. Magnussen even believes that noise cancellation --opposite and equal sounds waves neutralizing each other -- will eliminate both the need for concrete walls and the distractions of a cubicle filled office space. Virtual dividers of adjustable opacity... will be made possible by a similar process of image cancellation -- will be activated when privacy is required. As technology recedes, human interaction becomes the focus. That, he opines, is "The DNA of the office.... the ceremony, the ritual, the intangible stuff of social relations." Our movable chairs will also be wireless, linked by a tiny apparatus implanted in our ears. Want to access some information on the network? Simply think about it, and a holographic projector in the chair will display the data at a bandwidth accessible only to you; if you wish, you can pick up the material to show to someone else. How it will work, exactly, is unclear. Even videoconferencing will become more holistic, replaces by hologram-filled séances. They will link workers from different locations in a "shared virtual room". Communication again is the focus; the technology that makes it possible will be virtually invisible."
Hon Industries: Everyone Gets a Corner Office: "The relationship between furniture and technology has evolved dramatically over the past 50 years, and according to the design team at Hon Industries' AllSteel division, its further evolution will define the workplace of 2050. Consider the first TV's for example, which were treated like pieces of furniture. Now flat-screen TVs the size of picture frames has morphed into furniture, a trend that will continue. Communication and information devices will be integrated into chairs, walls, and even the work surfaces themselves...resulting in the replacement of keyboards and phones with voice recognition. Just ask, and you'll see data like stock quotes, news -- even the time your daughter's soccer game - displayed simultaneously on a flat screen. It is believed that virtual technology will make telecommuting feel more intimate and realistic. Holograms are central to his vision -- he thinks 3-D images of faraway colleagues will show up at our office to tap us on the shoulder. Such ghostly friendships has better feel real enough to compensate for the absence of human contact, as most centralized corporate complexes will give way to small office clusters. ... The workplace of 2050 is equitable; everyone deserves to see something great out the window. By 2050, look for small, scattered offices designed with domed glass ceilings and walls. The result? Direct sunlight, which will bring both a psychological boon and an environmental one- the easy and efficient collection of solar power.
A Scenario of Choice in the 21st Century and New Economy.
A scenario from the book, “The Future of Success”. Author: Robert B. Reich, published in 2000 by Random House, Inc. New York, NY.
The author's premise is that as technology and innovation continue to accelerate and impact society, it won’t equate to productivity as we know it – a productivity that creates a richer world in which wealth can give workers the freedom to work a shorter workweek. Rather, the future holds more work. Reich demonstrates that the faster the economy changes – “with new innovations and opportunities engendering faster switches by customers and investors in response -- the harder it is for people to be confident of what they will be earning next year or even next month, what they will be doing, where they will be doing it. In short, these fabulous new deals of the fabulous new economy carry a steep price: more frenzied lives, less security, more economic and social stratification, and loss of time and energy for family, relationships, friendship, community, and self.” The pattern in every chapter of Reich' book is basically this premise: as innovation becomes a mainstream goal of organizations, and "new deals" increase, talent, brains, "geeks" and "shrinks" will continue to be in high demand - these workers will devote their lives to work, consuming their entire lives within the office; practically doubling the number of hours in their workweeks due to the human tendency is to want more, not less. The number of hours it will take to achieve “more” won’t matter; while non-talented workers who do ordinary things, with ordinary jobs and routine tasks are at the highest risk of job loss, downsizing, and technology replacement – to be caught in a 21st Century aparteid. These workers, like the talented, will work longer hours, but it will be of necessity to survive. They will devote their lives to work as well - working double shifts - consuming their entire lives but for a totally different reason - survival. It will mean no time for school, for continual learning, or self-improvement, much less leisure or family life. This book brings the reader to many visions and scenarios of the future. In the last chapter, "Public Choice", Reich draws a vivid picture of future trends and a discussion of social choices that "society will simply have to make.”
Reich’s Scenario: "Though we cannot know for certain the shape of the future, many of the trends that will carry us there are already clear. Today we can see the emergence of vibrant new economy brimming with innovations. In the near future, consumers will be able to get exactly what they want, from wherever, at the best price and value. And when a better deal comes along, they'll be able to switch at the blink of an eye -- or the click of the mouse. Investors will be able to shift their money instantly to better deals around the world. People whose services are in great demand will be able o move to better opportunities with exuberant ease. Jobs will be abundant, many of them exciting and well paid. There is much to in this picture to celebrate; yet there is also much that should at least give us pause. The economic dynamism we're beginning to see also brings financial insecurity, work that's more frenzied and intrusive, widening inequality of income and wealth, and greater social stratification--all of which is eroding personal, family, and community life. It seems an opportune moment to ask whether we are headed down the path of the scenario we wish to go -- that is, to examine many scenarios of the social choices that lie before us.
One scenario of choice in the 21st Century is what Reich outlines in "New Economy" . He discusses the two extremes of choice - social consciousness or simply, an acceleration of today. "At the other extreme, we could put our foot on the accelerator and let er' rip. We could choose the path of fastest growth, widest choice, and quickest switch. Pursue this path to its logical end, and we all would be working in a giant global network. Each of our incomes would depend on continuous spot auctions bids for our services. All government supports - regulation, insurance, pooled benefits -- would be dismantled as the sorting mechanism became perfectly efficient worldwide. The spectrum from exceedingly rich to exceedingly poor in every nation would exactly reflect the widest spectrum of wealth and poverty in the world. Your own position on that spectrum would depend on how hard you worked and sold yourself (and your children's eventual position, on how hard they worked to become little paragons of ambition and potential commercial value). We would overflow in material wealth, but no one would feel economically secure. And in the meantime, our society will have been pulled apart, sharply sorted, rendered indistinguishable from any other spot on the globe. Thumbs up? Thumbs down? What do we choose? For most people, neither extreme is especially attractive. So, in the end, we’re left with the question of balance. "
Visions of the Family in the 21st Century. Study commissioned by Xerox Corporation on view, perspectives, and visions of the family of the 21st Century by students around the world. The book is based on the second DocuWorld Authors Competition and a collaborative effort of Cascade Press and Xerox Corporation.
IN 1999, Xerox Corporation commissioned a study, "Looking Inward: Visions of the 21st Century Family." interviewing students from around the world. This study is not a scientific study and the stories described in the book are not scenarios, but just images of the future. However, it gives an insight in the perspectives of students around the world of how they see the future. The book is based on ‘The Second DocuWorld Authors Competition’, and is the result of the collaborative efforts of Cascade Press and Xerox Corporation. Tens of thousands of young people (14-18 years of age) entered the competition, which was held in four cities on three continents in the world, namely Amsterdam, Chicago, Los Angeles and São Paulo. The competitors were allowed to choose any literary form they wanted. In this book the winning stories are presented. Some are shortly summarized below. The future stories focus on family life in the 21st century. They are images of the future, days in the life of people that live in the late 21st century.
Youngsters in the 21st century (Brazil) Her story is about the influence technology has on society. She states that in Brazil the influence is very serious and it is not developing in the right direction. Children get in touch with technologies from their early days on and they get a wrong picture of reality. According to her the solution to this problem lies in a greater investment from the government in education. In this way the youngsters are able to absorb the good part of technology.
Dutch stories are incorporated in the book: The Netherlands : a story is a dream in which a boy, Ted, thinks he is frozen into hibernation in 1998 and defrosted in 2099. His new parents select him from a Cyber-space-shop. Due to a lot of frightening diseases, people are not allowed to produce children anymore. The people live in a dome city, because the ozone layer has completely been shattered. At the time Ted awakes only ninety thousand people live on earth in this dome. All roads have disappeared and are replaced by belts. The sky has a purple pinkish glow and people take day-trips to the moon. All shopping’s are done by means of video screens in the living room. The eating of meat is forbidden.
Another Story: This story takes place in the year 2022 and is about an eighteen year old boy, Alex, who is involved in an accident in which he loses an arm. The arm is replaced by an iron arm of which everybody is frightened. He lives with his mother in a very small old house. Time is very precious these days and nobody seems to know how to cook anymore; every meal is made in the microwave. Public traffic is so crowded that every day people are crushed to death in the crowds. Also the values have changed. Alex once hits a man with his iron arm and he doesn’t even bother to see whether the man is dead or not, although he hears ‘a cracking noise coming from his head when he hits the wall’. Some stories are from students of the USA:
- The eyes of tomorrow in this story that is written as a poem the future is seen in two ways. For some people the future might be looked upon in a negative way, for others the future might be shiny. Technology plays in both futures the leading role, but for some technology might be the solution for every problem that we see nowadays, while for others technology only strengthens the problems.
- Once upon a time A thirteen-year-old girl by accident burns down the house she and her mother live in. Her mother dies, but it is 2010 and at this time it is possible to turn a part of the DNA of her mother into a new life. The girl raises this baby. The story tells a day in the life of the now eighteen-year-old girl and her 5-year-old daughter that has nightmares about the fire. The girl doesn’t dare to tell her that it is not just a dream, but that these are real memories.
3) Generation G.E) The story is told from the perspective of a young girl that is ordered by her mother from a catalogue. She has two sisters, that both look exactly like her and one brother. Her mother has to work all week and even sleeps at the office. During the week there is a kind of uncle in the house that is a tutor for them. They all already know what they are going to do in the rest of their lives. For some this destiny is to work for the catalogue company, because only a few girls can have children.
4) Greg is a sixteen-year-old boy living in 2084. In this time, people live in cities that are sheltered by a plastic-covered geodesic dome, which stretches across the width of the megapolis and rises two kilometers above ground level. Greg’s father works in a Space Station, where he has to stay for more than a year. They have contact with him by a communication satellite, where they can actually see each other. The most common transport system is the hovercraft. Greg has one himself. His world falls apart the day he discovers that his parents are not his real parents, but that they have adopted him from the cloning agency.
Strategic scenarios: Planning for possible futures.
Pharmaceutical Executive Eugene Apr 27, 2000. Vol 20. Issue: 4. Author: Tim George.
This article describes the scenario planning process in detail. In the pharmaceutical industry, scenario planning has the power to develop an array of plausible futures from which strategic options can be drawn. This article outlines the strategy that Warner-Lambert used to plan for continued success while taking into consideration various forces and contingencies that could affect the future of the pharmaceutical industry. In this case study, the approach takes classic scenario planning tools an important step further, linking them to the development of practical business plans that have visible and immediate effects on the business. The article summarizes various planning strategies.
Scenario 1. Dangerous Waters “In this scenario; several trends converge-- consumer dissatisfaction with health care and treatment options, lack of breakthrough products; unmet expectations for new treatments, and frustration among physicians and other health care providers. The results are heightened scrutiny by regulatory and government bodies and increased competitiveness within the industry itself. Health care reform would become a primary focus of the 2000 elections, and political pressures and flagging innovation would force industry to reduce costs and further consolidate resources. In the "Dangerous" future; larger companies succeed in containing costs and introduce one or two blockbusters while smaller companies struggle to stay afloat. Smart partnering, alliance formation, and mergers become keys to success. Additionally, consumers become more informed-thanks in part to the increased services of the pharma-industry and more willing to assume responsibility far their health care. Consequently they became major market drivers. Major beacons of the "Dangerous Waters" scenario include: elections focus on health care, public concern over cost and quality of health care, outflow of capital, increase in "hollow"good news. Significant industry implications for that future are industry consolidation , increase partnering , longer approvals by FDA , informed consumers drive health care reform.”
Scenario 2. Brave New World “Years of research and innovation begin to pay off in this scenario, Industry makes major breakthroughs in the diagnosis and treatment of disease and in treatment systems. Gene therapy and biotechnology come of age; the pipeline fills with new compounds that promise to have a major impact on health. Progress in communications encourages health plans to embrace the Internet as a means of storing, exchanging, and tracking patient records. Although that situation sounds ideal, the scenario includes factors that will stir up issues on many levels. At the societal level, escalating health care costs, a growing geriatric population, and an increasing economic gap will create conflict. Patients with greater access to health care and treatment information from the Internet will have increased expectations of the medical community. In turn, those expectations will be off set by managed care organizations (MCOs) that are likely to create incentives for compliance and penalize noncompliance with treatment protocols. MCOs will wield greater power over health care providers and will offer tiered coverage options. In this scenario, they may also take advantage of Internet capabilities for storing critical information about patients' health as a means of tracking compliance and treatment options.
In the "Brave New World," companies will thrive by introducing breakthrough treatments and advance their positions by acquiring or collaborating with biotech and diagnostic companies to further innovation and drug development.” Competition will accelerate and the industry's growing attractiveness will lure conglomerates, such as Microsoft and GE, to purchase, merger, alliance, and partner their way in-creating a new industry. Although many of the breakthroughs will result in significant advances in disease treatment, they will also raise hard to resolve ethical issues. Debates surrounding genetic manipulation and cloning already exist and will intensify as progress occurs in cutting-edge biotech research. Companies will be challenged to strike the right balance between medical/technological advances, opportunities for industry profit, and protection of the rights of patients and health care providers.
Scenario 3. Rose Garden This scenario represents the best of both worlds-rapidly expanding technological advances met with decreasing external control. Industry introduces innovative therapies that fulfill unmet treatment needs: Advances in gene therapy and genetic mapping facilitate the identification of patients at risk for many diseases, leading to an expansion in the field of preventive medicine.
The Internet and other novel technologies provide immediate consumer access to information about new products and health care breakthroughs. Public awareness of the value of new treatment options grows, and public willingness to assume some financial responsibility to gain access increases. A well-informed and financially secure consumer public demands access to new treatments, thereby limiting the control of government, regulatory bodies, and health care organizations. That chain of events gives rise to a forward-thinking public whose primary concern is gaining access to new treatment options. Realizing those trends; MCOs consolidate and provide access to new therapies. Coverage policies enhance freedom of choice, yet shift some of the financial responsibility to patients. Strong consumer demand forces a streamlining of the approval process. The "Rose Garden" future also stimulates pharmaceutical companies to shift resources toward development of more leading-edge products. Companies with limited R&D resources will have to develop alliances and partnerships with biotech and diagnostic companies and seek ca-marketing opportunities for their successful compounds. With a cache of innovative new prod acts and a public willing to pay for them, savvy marketing strategies-particularly to the consumer audience-will be especially important, Given the increased level of knowledge among consumers, public promotion will require more than just "ads:' Consumers will seek credible and comprehensive sources of information. Thus, companies must also focus efforts toward recruiting and developing topnotch marketing teams with the capacity to optimize the opportunities that exist in this highly favorable scenario.
Scenarios of the Future Demand New Thinking.
ENR New York January 31, 2000. Vol. 244. Issue. 4.
The long-range view of transportation in the US is coming into sharper focus and the industry's design community is going to have to adjust its thinking in order to achieve financial and social success.
“Smart Highway” Scenario: One almost certain scenario is that clean-gas, intelligent vehicles will travel on an automated ``smart'' highway paved with rubberized concrete and high-performance asphalt. There will be high-performance composite bridges impervious to icing. High-speed maglev trains will connect intermodal centers, which will provide a quick ride to a modern airport equipped with new, quiet aircraft. Cargo planes will carry supplies delivered via freight trains from high-tech port facilities. Many more drivers will be elderly, and riders on trains will be of all races and financial and educational backgrounds. Many highways will be design-build jobs and bridges will be designed by teams working in cyberspace. And the designers creating this infrastructure can enjoy success with nary an environmental lawsuit, protest or delay. By the highways, the land is green. By the airports, the communities are quiet. By the ports, the water is clean. Scenarios like this bubbled to the surface at any number of sessions at the recent 79th annual Transportation Research Board meeting. The policymakers, designers, builders, researchers and consultants who attended heard certain keywords time and again. Sustainability, livability, environmental justice, ethics and social responsibility were as prominent as technology and testing.
Using Scenario Analysis to Determine Managed Care Strategy Healthcare Financial Management.
Journal of Healthcare Financial Management Association, Westchester, Sept. 2000. Vol. 54. Issue 9. Authors: Susanna E. Krentz and Ryan S. Gish.
In today's volatile healthcare environment, scenario planning can help professionals understand the drivers of change, market forces, consumerism, health technology, and economics. The crafting of the scenarios themselves must be facilitated professionally and by health care strategists themselves, so that perspectives of long-term futures can help improve administrative strategy and market positioning of various health organizations and promote general welfare. In the following four scenarios, healthcare inflation and the role of the healthcare consumer combine to construct a matrix illustration of four managed care scenarios.
Scenario 1) Two-Tiered System. “In this scenario, the increase in medical costs greatly exceeds general inflation, and the consumer chooses to takes an active role in healthcare decision making. Employers would move to a defined-contribution approach to health coverage and providing employees with a fixed dollar amount every month. Consumers would make their own decisions regarding the purchase of insurance and healthcare services, seeking value from hospitals, physicians, and insurers. The combination of individual purchasing discretion and greater demand for information would lead to new models of contracting. The Internet may emerge as the low-cost channel for individuals to use to purchase insurance and healthcare services either on their own or as part of a group. As new purchasing channels emerge, providers would need to develop relationships and redefine contract parameters with another set of payers. Branding and product differentiation would become important strategies for providers. Scoring well on public "report cards" would be crucial. Direct consumer evaluation of the price/quality trade-off would reward "value" providers. Additionally, hospitals and physicians would need to more closely evaluate strategies traditionally used to sell consumer goods, such as pricing, discount coupon distribution, and product bundling.Scenario 2. Freedom of Choice. “The Freedom of Choice scenario reflects an active consumer and medical inflation that generally is in line with the nation's inflation rate. Because employer healthcare costs would not be growing significantly faster than general inflation, companies would continue to offer their employees a choice of plans and providers with a defined benefit.
Consumers would take an active role in making healthcare decisions within the defined limits of their coverage. Although freedom of choice would exist, the market forces of supply and demand would serve to ration care and access. Consumer-driven choice and low inflationary pressure have several strategic implications for hospitals and physicians. Participation on every managed care panel would not be essential. Consumers would migrate to their provider of choice, increasing provider leverage with payers. Consumer watchdog groups, employer coalitions, and payers would attempt to define and measure
quality. If these attempts were unsuccessful, consumers would make choices based on their perceptions of quality, causing many providers to put greater emphasis on market visibility and brand recognition.”
Scenario 3. Flashback to the Mid-1990s. “The third scenario, Flashback to the Mid1990s, combines relatively low increases in medical costs with consumer passivity. In this scenario, managed care payers would be the dominant market force, setting contracting and coverage parameters and, thus, making the greatest profits. In an attempt to define and measure provider quality, payers would require providers to submit information that would allow quality evaluation to occur. Because of consumer indifference to choice among healthcare providers, there would be a shift from open-access products to closed-panel models presided over by gatekeepers. Federal legislation would wane because employers would be content with the relatively low rate of medical inflation, and consumers would not demand government intervention because perceived problems would be minor. Hospitals and physicians would consider aggressive responses to the payers' strong market position. Hospitals would consider consolidation in an attempt to increase their bargaining power. Physicians would renew their interest in independent practice associations (IPAs) or group practices as their primary contracting organization. Providers faced with the daunting choice of major rate concessions or exclusion from panels would refuse to enter into contracts with payers who would not pay minimally acceptable rates.
Scenario 4. Healthcare Reform Revisited. High medical cost inflation and passive consumers create the fourth scenario, Healthcare Reform Revisited. Concerned with the high rate of medical inflation, the Federal government would pass a series of reforms that would establish active Federal oversight and regulation of both providers and payers. Faced with increased Federal scrutiny, providers would focus a significant portion of their resources on corporate compliance and policy development. Risk would be shifted from payers to hospitals and physicians primarily through capitation. Hospitals and physicians would reevaluate the role of the integrated delivery system to optimally match their organizational structure with the industry's risk-based payment system. Hospitals would reconsider purchasing primary care physician practices to link with their hospital services. IPAs and physician-hospital organizations (PHOs) would be revived as contracting organizations. Risk-management skills and information technology would become essential as providers would be asked to develop risk-sharing, incentive-based systems. Additionally, hospitals would develop quality-measurement systems to meet Federal regulations.
Health and HealthCare 2010: The Forecast, The Challenge.
Institute for the Future. Prepared by The Institute for the Future Support and conference was provided by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Published by Jossey-Bass Publishers
In 1999, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the largest philanthropy devoted to health care, asked the Institute to look once again into the future of health care, this time projecting to the year 2010. The forecast was presented to more than 2,000 of its grantees. The result is this thoroughly researched, comprehensive guide for the future of America's health.
Scenario One: Stormy Weather “In the Stormy Weather scenario, pressures from rising costs, dissatisfied providers and patients, marked inequality of access to care, greedy profit takers, and repeated health care scandals accumulate through the year 2005. None of the fundamental problems of cost, quality, or access are addressed in a meaningful way. Between 2005 and 2010, the barometer drops, winds converge, and stormy weather erupts. The primary driving forces in this scenario include: Managed care programs that fail to deliver on their promises to contain costs or to improve quality. Instead, they default to more hassling of providers and gaming of utilization management systems.
Consumers and providers who react to the adversarial climate with a strong, unified backlash to managed care. They succeed in getting legislation passed that further erodes the effectiveness of managed care by intervening in a variety of clinical and structural decisions, such as regulation of lengths of stay for various procedures, staffing ratios, and any-willing-provider laws. Health plans that engage in substantial adverse selection and cream-skimming of beneficiaries as Medicare moves toward managed care and a wider range of choices for its beneficiaries. Medicare risk plans manage to get the bulk of low-cost, healthy beneficiaries, leaving the sick, costly people to the conventional indemnity plan. Each attempt at risk adjustment is met with strategies that boost overall Medicare spending. Provider oligopolies, including large group practices, physician practice management firms, national single-specialty groups, and large hospital chains, that are able to sustain high prices in an environment that demands open provider networks. They threaten to leave the networks of plans that don’t pay well and the plans blink first. Large employers that continue to offer insurance as a benefit of employment in the face of a tight labor market and are unable to demand substantial price breaks from health plans. Many small employers, meanwhile, drop insurance benefits altogether, substantially increasing the number of uninsured.
The march of new medical technologies, which continues unabated. Consumers, prompted both by pharmaceutical companies’ direct-to-consumer advertising and by "gee-whiz" articles in the popular press, demand access to the latest, greatest, and most expensive drugs and medical technologies. Beleaguered health plans concede the point and lose control over cost and quality.
Costly medical technologies for extending life that are not restricted, as no social consensus develops to limit spending on health care near the end of life. Information technologies, once thought to be the way to efficiency, consistency, and higher-quality care, that will prove to be costly and ineffective. Plans and providers find that their investments in the late 1990s and early 2000s don’t pay off, but seeing no better way, they continue to invest after 2005. The public health system, which will be in tatters, with local public health departments retreating from service provision and only minimally fulfilling mandated functions, and no compensatory response from the private sector. Scenario One plays out with a range of difficult consequences. Health care spending, by 2010, constitutes almost one-fifth of gross domestic spending. Even with expenditures at that level, more than one in five Americans remain uninsured. A majority worries about losing their health benefits. Insecurity of benefits is widespread as many people are just one job change away from being without health insurance. Even those who retain insurance are a lot less happy as their out-of-pocket costs rise. The health system exhibits radical tiering, with much poorer access to care for the uninsured and people on Medicaid. Medicaid itself puts enormous strain on states, as the state programs are faced with medical costs that overwhelm recession-depleted state budgets. A number of major public hospitals are forced to close their doors. Although their closing helps bring the supply of hospital beds into closer relation to the demand, it also strands many people who have nowhere else to go.
The Medicare program finds itself unprepared to absorb the baby boomers, who begin to become eligible in 2010. By the end of the forecast period, health reform is again on the public policy agenda.
Scenario Two: The Long and Winding Road . In Scenario Two, The Long and Winding Road, incrementalism reigns. The successive attempts at revising a portion of the health care system work sufficiently well that tinkering continues well past 2005. As costs get pushed down in one place, they pop up in another, but the system is able to respond rapidly and keep costs in balance. The primary driving forces for this scenario includes: Employers who continue to pay close attention to health care costs and their benefit structures. They keep substantial price pressure on health plans, limiting increases on the commercial side to 3 to 4 percent per year. They also shift cost and risk to employees by moving increasingly from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution program. As beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket costs increase, utilization of health care services drops off in response. Health plans that, in turn, increase pressure on providers. They convince employers that they can only control utilization in a more closed network, so the expansive networks of the late 1990s disappear. In their place are more tightly controlled networks that exert both clinical control and strong price pressure on providers. Providers who—stung by the high cost and organizational difficulty of forming large units and integrating care—adopt few of the innovations of the leading-edge provider groups. Instead, they engage in sustained, and largely unsuccessful, resistance to being "hassled" by insurers. The cost-containment provisions of the 1998 federal budget, which rein in both Medicare and Medicaid spending. The provisions stick. That bill sets the standard for budget bills for the first 10 years of the next century. The public health system, which will engage in the dynamic competition with the private sector in service delivery. The period of 2005 through 2010 is one of turbulent, disorganized change. The health care landscape changes as much in those 5 years as it did in the period from 1993 to 1998. In Scenario Two, costs grow only a little faster than nominal GDP growth, reaching 16 percent of GDP by 2010. Federal and commercial cost containment work well enough to make insurance coverage affordable for most employers. About one in six Americans (47 million) is uninsured.
The health care system remains tiered, with about 20 percent of Americans in the bottom tier of public coverage and uninsurance, 60 percent in managed care plans that substantially restrict their choice of providers and limit providers’ autonomy, and 20 percent in high-end, indemnity-type programs.
The bottom tier safety-net providers face tighter conditions, with cuts in disproportionate share hospital (DSH) funding, an end to cost-based reimbursement for outpatient clinics, and tight state and local budgets. But they manage to muddle through as usual by patching together a range of disparate funding sources. Care delivery is still fragmented, as national players remain relatively rare and small. The majority of physicians now practice in groups of three or more, but most of those are in three- to six-doctor groups. These groups are not large enough to accept global capitation safely, align with a hospital, or influence their physicians’ practice patterns radically. Comprehensive health reform does not enter the public policy debate, as incremental changes each year reassure elected officials that they are "doing something about health care."
Scenario Three: The Sunny Side of the Street. In the Sunny Side of the Street scenario, all the hard work and investment from now until 2005 pays off after 2005 in the form of a sustainable, efficient health care system. Competition helps drive excess capacity out of the system. We learn what does and does not work in medicine, and especially how to get providers and patients to work effectively together. Health plans and providers put in place information and management systems that can take the health care system through the next 2 decades. The driving forces for this scenario include: Competition at all levels of the health care system, but especially among providers, which helps drive costs down. Young physicians enter the market with lower income expectations and more of an employee mentality than their predecessors. The wave of consolidation of the late 1990s, which continues through the early 2000s. Efficient health care organizations, which can assimilate the best practices from their constituent parts, emerge. Consolidation also serves to drive some excess capacity, especially of hospital beds although not necessarily hospitals themselves, out of the system. The provider service networks (PSNs) that form to contract with Medicare. PSNs find that they have efficient administrative structures. They begin to contract directly with employers in certain parts of the country. Medicare encourages further growth in its risk contracting as it develops effective risk-adjustment methods that make risk contracting cost-neutral for the program. Innovative payment approaches that are developed throughout the health care system. Prospective payment for outpatient services is put in place first by Medicare, then by commercial health plans.
Health care information systems, which make significant progress beyond their current administrative functions. Clinical information systems are put in places that successfully improve care processes and outcomes. The EMR sees the light of day. Developments in medical technology focus both on improving outcomes and on reducing costs. Regulators favor technologies that can demonstrate their cost-effectiveness as well as their safety and efficacy with more rapid approvals. Health plans and providers, through their improved information systems, develop the capacity to make trade-offs among therapies according to their cost-effectiveness. The public health sector, which will embrace public-private community partnerships, where service delivery occurs in the private sector and government focuses on assessment, development, and assurance.
In Scenario Three, cost growth is also just 1 percent above the nominal growth of GDP. By 2010, it reaches 15 percent of GDP. These moderate cost increases make health insurance more affordable. People experience more security of benefits, leaving an uninsurance rate of 10 percent (30 million people). The good news is that the basics are in place—health systems are equipped to minimize unnecessary variation in practices, they operate efficiently, they can track what they’re doing. The time spent cultivating a well-organized health system pays off in the long run.
The bad news is that we still have 30 million people who are uninsured. Medicare and private plans begin thinking about the long term. They put in place incentives to reward population management in addition to individual patient care. They also provide incentives for a longer-term focus on today’s health care decisions. The system appears well equipped to take on the wave of baby boomers who will begin to be eligible for Medicare starting in 2010.”
Healthcare 2020: Technology in the New Millennium.
Authors: Russell C. Jr. & Trusko, Brett E. Health Management Technology (ISSN: 1074-4770), Vol. 20 No. 11 Pg. 44
The use of technology in health care is expected to increase at an accelerating pace making the wired world of healthcare a reality by 2020. Developments and implications are discussed. Health 2020: Technology in the New Millennium: “Patients become partners in their healthcare using doctors as consultants rather than managers because technology empowers patients to take control of their healthcare. Internet-informed patients become partners in the promotion of their health, a sort of health- presumption. The embracing of technology increases at an accelerating pace. Remote surgery, gene manipulation, cloning, and molecularization of microchips are not only possible but also routine. However, issues of morality, government intervention, and the cost-benefit tradeoff between health and illness increasingly face the nation. The have have-not gap in particular, becomes an intense issue: the wo-tier health systems where the wealthy pay for personalized treatment such as gene therapy but the poor do not. Technology becomes more important but also becomes increasingly invisible. The patients of the new millennium will have access to virtually all of the same knowledge as the providers. Sites like WebMd are increasingly popular, but problems with unverified medical information on the Internet presents treatments that may not have been subjected to the rigors of clinical trials.”
New Breed of Housecalls: “As healthcare entities move away from the medical center concept to one of a virtual community, consumers of healthcare acquire the real ability to compare the quality and costs of care. Virtual healthcare provides more alternatives for patients in 2020, and cost-competition increases. Through Internet and two-way video connections, remote home visits by physicians and nurses becomes more practical, including diagnosis via helmets or hats, and gloves with tactile ability. Expert systems and artificial intelligence presents caregivers with best practice options to the delivery of care.
Best Product Pricing: “Although it will be a controversial issue, global information technology enables many tests and procedures to be performed "off shore" at the lowest cost site possible in 2020, whether out-of-state or even across national borders. The ability to source the most cost-effective health service from anywhere on the planet may be the most effective strategy in bringing the cost of U.S. healthcare under control. Technology enables managed care to finally coordinate treatments in the most cost-effective way. Electronic medical records follows the patient throughout a lifetime.”
Newly Focused Managed Care: “Clinical pathways and protocols are automated in 2020. Managing care is real-time, electronically monitored, and evidence-based. The focus of managed care in the millennium are high-risk people who are not acutely ill and high-cost patients who are already under care.”
Differential Premiums: “With access to deep pools of patient information in data warehouses, the concept of differential premiums becomes accepted. Experience can quantify the expected cost differences in providing care to a 30-year old vs. a 60-year old, although both may work for the same company and be covered by the same health plan. This requires that commercial health plans, employers, and government pay more for some patients, but at the same time other patients may be treated for considerably less than the current rates. The treatment of patients at lower prices is one of the trade-offs when health plans and providers have access to databases of patient cost and disease experience.”
Forum: Future Scenarios in Health Promotion.
Anonymous, Promotion & Education 9/01/98.
Future health scenarios are a useful planning and decision-making tool for health promotion. By creating visions or scenarios for the future, it is possible to anticipate potential health threats and opportunities to identify the direction and strategies that should be adopted to address the challenges of health promotion in the 21st century. The National Health Education Department, Ministry of Health, Singapore, developed a series of health promotion future scenarios for the Jakarta conference as part of the WHO Health Promotion Action Plan aimed at achieving the goals of Health For All in the year 2020. The scenarios were developed to assist in that process.
The Official Scenario or Business-as-Usual: “Taking lessons from the past, planning enables a determination as to what should be achieved in the next 20 years. The scenario contains numerous examples of lessons learned. For example in the area of environmental lessons, the rate of the depletion of natural resources of the world is a cause for concern and deserves close attention. The contamination of food sources and the food chain has affected health throughout the world, unless positive steps are taken to prevent or minimize depletion, there may well be an adverse scenario in 2020. In the area of lessons learned from value systems - establishing scenarios and plans for health promotion, the cultural and value systems of the different communities should be respected; the scenario outlays how this would have an impact on health promotion and intricately explains how this is taken into consideration.”
The Worse Case Scenario: A highly detailed scenario that lays out somekey points such as, technology's use for training. However, the scenario reveals the trends and circumstances that leads to the danger that the use of the best technology is solely in the developed countries, which wields great power. Developing and under developed countries are at a disadvantage.”
The Best Case Scenario: “Gene technology is taken very seriously worldwide in this scenario. Questions are pondered on whether this technology will be developed robustly to such a stage that it can be applied to repair the body's entire system? The scenario then describes how the implications would change the role health professionals evolving and taking a totally different direction.”
Growing Old - Filling Up A Long Life. At age 92, Melinda has plenty – and plenty of years -- to look forward to.
Author: Michael Taylor, The San Francisco Chronicle 11/16/99 Final; Vol. 13-221, News Section.
This article in the San Francisco Chronicle outlines a plausible scenario of aging in the year 2020. Filling Up a Long Life: “Shortly before 6 p.m. on New Year's Eve in the year 2020, Melinda wanders out of the kitchen of her waterfront mansion in East Palo Alto. She is trailed by a HomeCheck CRM114 robot that cradles a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin in its titanium-alloy claws and two champagne flutes in its steel mesh side pack. Melinda is 92 years old, yet she moves with the grace of a 30ish dancer. On the sofa near the fireplace is her son, Justin. Melinda began having children early in life, and so the years between her kids are effectively generations: Her older child, Jennifer, is now 72, and Justin is 28. Melinda, in turn, has outlived two husbands -- the first one died during experimental brain surgery to improve his synapses. She lost the second one in 2019 when the shuttle taking him to the space station -- part of it was to become a resort -- malfunctioned and skipped off on a one-way flight toward Jupiter. Melinda's house is the epitome of urban modern -- wall screens in every room, combination toilet-bidets, a robotic vacuum cleaner that flies around the house in a frenzy, occasionally knocking its owner down.
The manses here all have one thing in common: They cost about $10 million each. In 2005, developers convinced local officials that the only way to enrich the tax base was to persuade landlords to evict the people who lived there, tear down the old homes and apartment houses and replace them with expensive new homes. The area's residents -- most of them quite poor and therefore largely powerless - - were offered deals they couldn't refuse: point-of-sale electronic cash cards and houses outside Stockton, the new jumping-off point for Bay Area commuters. And they were promised jobs as gardeners and house staff in the sumptuous new houses built on land they used to live on.
In 2010, Melinda joined the Athanasian Society, a nationwide network that sought to prolong life. In an outpatient operation that lasted only two hours, doctors implanted a molecular-based microchip in her chest, and for the past 15 years it has been monitoring the health of Melinda's chromosomes and cells.
At the end of the first month of implantation, the chip picked up a minute sign that a few of Melinda's cells had undergone changes. It takes about seven genetic changes for a cell to become cancerous, and the chip had found two of them. Her doctor suggested getting her oxidized genes scrubbed. Tonight is the 10th anniversary of her scrubbing and -- New Year's Eve aside -- she feels like celebrating.
"Justin, can you get Jennifer on the wall?" Melinda asks. He fiddles with the table-mounted console for the wall screen and Matt Drudge, star anchorman and still looking like a Walter Winchell wannabe, is clicked off in mid-sentence and replaced with a screen full of Jennifer, in her home in New York, brushing her hair, then facing her electronic family.
"Well, Jennie," Melinda says. "It's been 10 years since I got the chip and I don't feel like I've aged a bit. Dr. Weber says I'm good for another 20 years. What about you?"
"Mother, I like being a Luddite," Jennifer says. "I wouldn't be so sure of all this whizbang stuff if I were you."
"You know, children," Melinda says, trying to look at both Jennifer on the screen and Justin on the couch, "do you ever think that because we're going to live so much longer than we expected that there are other things to explore? Places we wouldn't have gone because we thought we didn't have enough time?"
"If I'm lucky, I'm only about 20 percent through my life," Justin says. "Drudge had some guy on the other night who said 200 will be average a few years from now and that my kids might live to 500. But then what? Do we get bored with it all?"
"Justin, dear," his mother says, "you always told me there were so many things you wanted to do, and you're just getting started. You've got your law degree, you got through medical school, you have your MBA from Intel, you qualified for the Citizen-in-Space program. You can do anything you want. Maybe the problem is that we have too many choices. It's like having 10 novels you want to write and you never write them because you can't decide which one to start."
"What about you, Mom?" he says. "What's next for you?" Melinda isn't sure what to say. She hasn't told the kids about Marilyn, yet Marilyn is eager to set up housekeeping. For now, they have a water-taxi relationship -- sometimes Melinda goes to the city, other times Marilyn takes the AquaCat down to East Palo Alto.
Marilyn had bought an island off the coast of Maine -- it cost about half what her condo was worth in San Francisco's Hunters Point, the city's newest Gold Coast -- and Melinda thought the two of them might even get a house built there in the next year.
"Well, kids," Melinda says, "figuring I've got a while to go, there's someone new in my life. So . . . have I told you about Marilyn?"”
The Great Cities of the Future.
Author: Conway McKinley, Futurist, Jun/Jul99, Vol. 33 Issue 6, p28, 3p, 3c.
A supercity is an urban area with three characteristics: a population of more than 1 million people; has a sustainable capability for meeting the physical and social needs of its residents (food, shelter, safety, health, transportation, and education); and has a healthy and dynamic economic environment that creates, attracts, and nurtures economic investments that produce adequate jobs and public revenues. The United Nations estimates that over 500 urban areas will have a population of more than a million people by 2015, compared with 328 such cities in 1996. Over the same period, the number of cities with a population of more than 5 million is projected to increase from 16 to 26. There may be as many as 100 emerging supercities around the world. Cities are pushing innovative programs to fund the many expensive infrastructure elements they need. These cities want many of the same things other cities want, and they are willing to work very hard to achieve them.
Future scenario of Supercity Success: “Is a project-by-project, building block approach.” Scenarios demonstrate that the most successful supercities in the future are those with leadership thatimplements effective development strategies. A common denominator among supercities in 2015 is the desire to attract great global events that bring both revenue and recognition. The World Development Federation (WDF) is closely tied to helping cities improve global quality of life through the implementation of "super projects" that enhance the environment, create global linkages, and contribute to effective economic development. Supercities in 2015 will have the essentials to qualify as supercities: 1. Water. A city with great prospects for the future can have its hope shattered by a water shortage. Supercities will have more-than-adequate supply. 2. International airport. Fully equipped international airport offering flights to major global cities. Adjacent to the airport is the growth of the "airport city." 3. Hinterland connections. Transport routes that effectively link the city to its hinterland. Circumferential highways are the preferred system. 4. Domed stadium. In order to attract major world events supercities have enclosed stadium offering comfortable seating in any weather. 5. Technology center. A center of excellence in several fields of technology. The technology hub is supercities bring together top scientists from academic, government, and private organizations. 6. Communications center. The city is wired to accommodate the mushrooming global flow of voice and data communications. 7. Public transportation. Efficient rapid-transit system serving all elements of the population. 8. Waste disposal. Landfills are no longer in existence. Cities install sophisticated new resource-recovery systems. 9. Green infrastructure. Whatever plans and projects are undertaken, supercities provide for a substantial amount of permanent open space, including such elements as parks, golf courses, riding academies, and forests. 10. New political mechanisms. Many of the items on this agenda are big projects that cross many jurisdictional lines. In many cases, a new political arrangement is needed.”
The Future of God.
Author: Robert B.Mellert, Futurist, Vol 33 Issue 8, p 30, 4p. 3c. 1bw, October 99.
Discusses the future of the belief in God and religion. Today, 96% of the U.S. population say they believe in God. God as Everything Alfred North Whitehead developed a notion of the "consequent nature" of God that encompasses all of reality, every puff of trivial existence. A scenario outlines how the Western world identifies God with the totality of reality (panentheism), and beyond that, God is more than the sum total of everything. It is based upon the notion that the whole is actually more than the sum of its parts, just as a person is more than the sum of his cells or organs. In other words, the whole (God) is more than the sum of His parts (all the elements of reality), yet He is made up of these parts. May the Force Be With You: The panentheists' way of thinking about God will become more widespread in the future. “One often hears the word "force" in discussions about God. "May the force be with you" is how Obi-Wan Kenobi blesses Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars film.” The force is acknowledged as God, but people reconsider the traditional concept of God. The result is an impersonal God, one who, according to the scenario in this article, becomes the force we experience underlying all of reality. This force is dynamic, changing. It is relative to, and perhaps one with, events as they happen. Culture finds it harder to understand an absolute God than a relative one; that a totally separate God is less appealing than an immanent one; and that an eternal God is not as religiously useful as a changing, evolving one. In other words, the absolute, transcendent, changeless image of God inherited from our ancestors may be dead in the future, or at least in its last throes. God is not dead, but reconceptualized.
Transit Officials Predict Future Chicago Commuting Scenario – The Year is 2049.
Author: Jon Hilkevitch, Chicago Tribune, October 24, 1999.
Transit Officials in Chicago believe that by 2049, public transit will be shared with other forward-looking transportation modes that allow commuters to switch from one to the other. For example, propeller-powered wind tunnels for bicyclists, pumping air in the direction of traffic, might be built along railway rights-of-way, enabling the cyclists to reach 30-m.p.h. cruising speeds without breaking into a sweat. It is Oct. 25, 2049, and 9 billion people inhabit the Earth: “Some are trying to get home from work. In the evening rush hour in downtown Chicago, several hundred thousand workers walk to the Chicago Transit Authority's elevated trains, as commuters in the Loop have done for well over 150 years. A compromise agreement brokered with preservationists earlier in the century requires the CTA to retain the Loop "L" structure, a national historic landmark, but permits the transit agency to phase in refinements.”
In the mid-21st Century, much of the labor force leaving the downtown at night heads underground, each person waving a multi-purpose, bio-sensor smart card in front of an electronic fare-collection validator. The centerpiece of an expanded CTA subway system is an underground collector-distributor shuttle train that picks up passengers at distant points in the Loop and delivers them to the elevated trains, rapid-transit express buses operating on restricted busways, interconnected CTA-Metro stations and to Amtrak's Midwest high-speed rail network, which is based at Union Station and extends to cities in six states. Symbolizing the evolution of CTA service, the collector-distributor subway is the outgrowth of a mega-project contemplated in the 1960s by Mayor Richard J. Daley, who never fulfilled his plan of building the Monroe Street subway distributor. Nine decades later, the subway collector-distributor trains have removed the need for buses that served the same function, albeit inefficiently, in heavy traffic.””
Three Scenarios for Kentucky’s Future.
Author: John Pearce, Lexington Herald-Leader, August 9, 1998, F3.
A meeting held by a number of Chambers of Commerce throughout the state of Kentucky forged three scenarios of the future of Kentucky.
Chamber of Commerce Prognosis: “In this scenario on Kentucky in 2010, everything is coming up roses. Kentucky is on top of the information age, has a start in the car-manufacturing business, and boasts all the factors that will attract new, high-wage industry - good highways, railroads and air and river transport, good water supplies, rich soil, fine lakes and parks, a progressive school system and a dependable labor supply. The tourist industry is flourishing and bound to grow.”
Caution Prognosis: Caution Corps: “Kentucky has more of the advantages outlined in “Prognosis” for the better part of 40 years, however, too many small towns have lost their small-industry base. Louisville has enjoyed very modest growth. It has gained UPS, but it has lost a half-dozen major headquarters and most of its old money. It is putting its hopes on the airport region and convention facilities. Lexington is spreading out all over the countryside, but that threatens its horse-farm ambiance, the foundation of its tourist business, while empty lots lie idle throughout the urban area.”
The Long View or Worried-Look Theory: “Kentucky is, after all, part of the United States, and it cannot avoid sharing the future with the country. The scenarists agreed that demographers warn that U.S. population is slowly flowing out from the center to the ocean rim of the country; already small towns in the Midwest are drying up. Prosperity does not inevitably depend on population growth, but the laws of physics still apply: You grow or shrink; it's hard to stand still. Kentucky enjoys many economic pluses, but growing problems, too. Coal and timber, the backbone of Eastern Kentucky's economy, become limited resources. Unless alternative jobs are found, people will again start leaving, and they do not always come back. The horse industry continues to be sound though threatened by lotteries and casinos, and despite current anti-smoking campaigns, tobacco should remain a profitable crop for the immediate future. And there is a chance that the state will come to its senses and start growing hemp. A lot of our future depends on educated people, ready for the information age. This will demand more than computers in every classroom - smaller classes, better-trained and better-paid teachers and a concerted effort to keep our young people at home. The more we can resemble Silicon Valley and North Carolina's Research Triangle, the more likely we are to dodge the population bullet. But that will take a massive change in attitude as well as investment.”
The Future of Medicine – 21st Century Miracle Medicine.
Author: Jennings Lane, The Futurist, Vol 31 Issue 5, p60, 3/4p. 2bw, Sept/Oct. 97.
A brief glimpse of family and medical life in 2050 is adapted from a more exhaustive scenario in 21st Century Miracle Medicine by medical journalist Alexandra Wyke. The book describes new developments in information technology, telecommunications, robotics, and genetics that are converging to create the next revolution in health care and medicine. The Future of Medicine: “ A robot senses a girl's illness in the middle of the night with the help of a bracelet monitor on her wrist. It alerts the parents, scans her, diagnoses the illness, proffers medical advice, then calls the 24-hour neighborhood pharmacy to have the appropriate medicine delivered. “Wykes 2050 Scenario also includes: Patients increasingly taking charge of their own health, the role of doctors and medical professionals as the arbiters of treatment will decline. Computers and robots enlarging their role in diagnosing illness, prescribing medicine, and even performing surgery. "By 2050, or probably well before that, as huge parts of medicine are automated and patients empowered with the means to gather personal control over their care. With the right computer backup, they might even be in a position to order surgical robots what to do."
Literacy Will Survive: An Alternative Scenario.
Author: Dan Johnson, The Futurist, Dec99, Vol. 33 Issue 10, p46,2p.
Illiterates with Doctorates: The Future of Education in an Electronic Age: The author, educator Peter H. Wagschal believes that sophisticated audio, video, and computer technologies would soon replace reading and writing as the basic tools of communication. Eventually, universities would be awarding doctorates to students who couldn't read. “By 2050 more voice-in/voice-out (VIVO) computers and other technologies emerge. Several "engines" work together to drive society to replace written language/text with VIVO talking computers in the electronically developed countries. These include: 1. Evolutionarily, biology and psychology forever direct man to seek speech-based methods for storing, retrieving, and communicating information. 2. Tendency to replace older technologies with newer ones that will do the same job more quickly, efficiently, and universally. VIVOs will fill written language's job, plus they'll be quicker, more efficient, and usable by all people, whether nonliterate or literate. 3. Young people irreversibly rejecting text as their technology of choice for accessing information, and are replacing it with speech-based and non-text visual technologies. 4. Eighty percent of adults worldwide are functionally nonliterate-four times the World Bank's 20% estimate cited by Johnson. In the twenty-first century, these billions of people increasingly require literacy-free technology that will allow them to store and retrieve information--a huge potential market that will drive research and development of VIVOs.”
A Text-Based World in 2025: (Bucky Fuller used to complain about people reading their papers aloud at meetings: "Just give me the paper. I can read it faster than you can speak it.") The other view outlines a scenario of a world in which there will certainly be changes in the mix of media available as voice computers take their place among text and video. VIVO technology will give the option of questioning our computers and receiving prompt answers. We may "converse" with cars that deliver voice warnings when fuel is low, update our time of arrival, or suggest a good restaurant at our destination. “However, in other cases, as with medicine bottles and street signs, text will remain the most-convenient technology. Even if a microchip could recite the list of ingredients on a cereal box, would people have the patience to listen? Society may reject a workplace filled with dozens of VIVOs, each vocalizing about a different task. And while the representational information provided by pictures is useful, it is limited: The concepts necessary for abstract thought may still come to us through written language. VIVO technology could help students easily produce transcripts of their first thoughts. But as many writers discover, revision and editing are essential to refining thought. We don't have photographic memories: It is easier to rework a written text than to "respeak" a VIVO recording because the mind can rely on text to preserve details rather than having to remember them. Oral editing is cumbersome, requiring students to play back, evaluate, remember, and revocalize a series of thoughts; rereading a text allows the editor to quickly reenter his or her thoughts and to make changes in the material more efficiently. “
Three Scenarios of World Population Growth.
Author: Robert Livernash and Eric Rodenburg, United Nations World Population Program, 1998
The earth’s resources, natural systems, and human population are inherently connected. There is a basic philosophical division in the study of population and environment that is often characterized as a debate between optimists and pessimists. Optimists believe that people have the creative capacity to overcome potential environmental harm resulting from a growing population and intense economic activity. Pessimists foresee potential political, social, and environmental deterioration and collapse. The United Nations World Population Program developed projections of three population trajectories from 1950-2150.
Scenario 1. The Low Trajectory forecasts world population at 6 billion in 2025, 8 billion by 2050; then down to 3.6 billion by 2150. Potential forces driving this projection depend primarily on trends in fertility rates in major world regions. There is plausibility for both the low and
Scenario 2. The Medium Trajectory, since fertility rates declined in less developed countries from 6.2 children in the 1950s to 4.3 children in 1997. The UN projects that total fertility rates will decline on the over all to 2.1 by 2050, which will involve rapid declines in the world’s poorest regions. The Medium Trajectory forecasts world population at 8 billion in 2025, 10 billion by 2050; then staying level at 10.8 billion by 2150.
Scenario 3. The High Trajectory forecasts world population at 10 billion in 2025, 12 billion in 2050; then 27 billion by 2150. Today, world population momentum adds 80 million people per hear. Most demographers expect fertility to decline in less developed countries as it has been declining in developed countries, but the pace of that decline may hinge on a number of social, political, and economic factors that influence the motivation and ability to limit family size. It is hoped that leapfrogging technologies and the education of women remain a bedrock to fundamental fertility decline so that the low to medium trajectories are the preferred and real futures.
Social Science and Public Policy – Future of Homelessness - Three Scenarios and Their Implications.
Authors: Ralph Hambrick Jr, and Gary T. Johnson, Society Journal, 1998.
The past decade has made clear that homelessness is not simply a passing phenomenon. Many professionals working with the homelessness problem realize that it is necessary to turn the corner from a temporary, emergency response to a long-range strategy. Both social responsibility and realism require it. Hambrick & Johnson After a series of interviews and observations in more than twenty cities and localities around the country, Hambrick and Johnson wrote this essay containing three scenarios on the future of homelessness.
Scenario 1. Homelessness Routinized: “In this future, homelessness becomes a routine part of the social and political landscape. An earthquake or hurricane metaphor no longer applies because homelessness is no longer considered an emergency. Clearly, the expectation of a quick cure in this future has long since disappeared. Just as the “war on poverty” is no longer much of a war, homelessness is no longer considered much of an emergency. Indicators of the “normalization of homelessness” abound on the professional and institutional scene. Health outreach and clinics targeted to the homeless are well established. Yet, many homeless reject shelters as too rule-bound and restrictive, continuing to live under bridges that some consider, should be their official address… The Bureau of the Census struggles with how to treat the homeless population in preparing for the 2010 census. Efforts to coordinate organizations are mixed and ineffective. The police “sweep” the streets, but the homeless are generally “recycled” from shelter to transitional housing to subsidized housing multiple times. Tension characterizes the relations between the homeless and society…”
Scenario 2. Homelessness No Longer a Problem: “In this future, homelessness is no longer an issue…” Scholars have turned their attention to why it declined so greatly and found a variety of factors: some resulted from policy changes while other factors were less clear. One factor credited was the general health of the economy in 2010. For example, the 32-hour workweek has more evenly distributed work opportunities. A way to value less skilled labor played an important role. Many of the barriers to employing individuals for personal service were removed. Reversing the long trend of technology and complexity to push those with low educational level out of the work force, a comfortable co-existence seems to have developed. The well to do are increasingly likely to hire individuals to provide personal services. And, there is a renaissance of personal service entrepreneurship including both the skilled and the unskilled. A complementary development has been the substantial use of “temps” in almost every occupational category…”
Scenario 3. The Homelessness Problem Worsens: “In the first decade of the 21st Century, the homelessness problem surpassed anything experienced in the 1980s and 1990s. Two primary forces accounted for this growth: social and economic conditions that produced a larger, more vulnerable population. The economy was strong, but technology made society more and more complex, and it became more difficult for those who were not able to keep up… School systems, with all the new types of changes away from the traditional way of teaching, were routinely criticized for failure to bring all students to an acceptable level of literacy. The disparity led to radicalism and increasing drug use among the youth, and the drop out rate had gone up to 50 percent in inner city schools… A new “culture of poverty” was a contributor to homelessness: poor communities isolated from the mainstream of the economy and single mothers forcibly had a here-and-now attitude, which made it difficult to plan or even perceive the long-term…”
Future of Retail – Anderson Scenarios.
Authors: Jennifer Negley, Discount Store News, May 5, 1997.
The year 2010 is much closer than it seems. A child born today, for example, will be just entering high school by 2010. But in retailing terms, it's got the potential to be as different from 1997 as 1997 is from 1984. Jennifer Negley Just how different the retail scene will be 13 years from now is something the think tank at Anderson Consulting sat down to contemplate.
Scenario 1. Mega-Retail World: “This world is seen as the ultimate one-stop shopping experience where everything is provided in one venue. Consumers spend more time working, but have less disposable income. Electronic and on-line retailing has not really caught on. consumers want retailing formats to be consistent, reliable and reasonably priced. Each market is dominated by a lone mega-retailer that "does everything to accommodate the shopping experience." Stores, while huge, are easy to navigate, and product information is abundant, much of it provided by touch-screen information kiosks. One-stop shopping reigns supreme. Department stores have added commodity goods, mass merchants have added upscale goods and while there are far fewer stores overall, the amount of total U.S. retail space has remained stable…”
Scenario 2. The Main Street World: “The U.S. population has grown increasingly diverse and the total consumer profile is highly fragmented. Electronic retailing has not been embraced by a significant percentage of households, and while retail stores remain the leading shopping arena, consumers have rejected mass-produced, one-size-fits-all product offerings. They have also abandoned mall shopping and demand the convenience and intimacy of neighborhood shopping. Almost a mirror opposite of the Mega-Retail World, the Main Street World model consists of much smaller, more tightly niched stores clustered in neighborhoods. These stores are highly specialized, placing a great deal of emphasis on customized assortments and personal service. They use state-of-the-art in-store databases to profile and respond to each customers' habits and needs. Although large retail corporations still exist, their stores have individual identities tailored to the neighborhoods they serve...”
Scenario 3. The Technological World: “Technology is pervasive and has been fully integrated into daily living. Convenience is assumed and service becomes a differentiating factor, whether it's delivered by on-line ordering, phone, fax or electronic catalog. Delivery takes a few hours rather than days, and value-added services such as film development and dry-cleaning pickup are part of any local customer's retail service package. Retailers and manufacturers now link directly with consumers, and the winners are those that have developed sterling brand reputations. Retailers have taken private label offerings to a new level through partnerships with secondary manufacturers, and leading manufacturers use the vast amounts of data they have developed on consumers to create well-defined, targeted brands…”
Scenario 4. The Retail Web World: “Consumers demand that individual retailers offer them service through a variety of channels, including on line phone, catalog, television shopping and store shopping. Retail stores no longer devote a large amount of real estate to commodities; those are delivered to the home through electronic ordering. Instead, stores have become entertaining and interactive. By controlling the supply chain, retailers use an array of service offerings to build their own brand identities…”
Aging in the Next Few Decades.
Denver Post On-line: Lifestyles health/mind/body July, 1998.
Science cracks the mysteries of aging. As some experts feel will happen in the next few decades - the world could be a different place. The following images of the future accumulate in a scenario of perceptions about the future from experts like Dr. Michael Fossel, clinical professor of medicine and author of “Reversing Human Aging.”
Population: “Barring wars, plagues or famines, and if by early in the next century the scientific and medical communities can deliver a treatment that roughly doubles the healthy human life span, the population of any developed nation will double in 75 years. The population goes up proportionately to the increase in life span. Therefore, if you double the life span, you double the population.”
Health: “Some of the most promising research today is looking at aging on a cellular level. But before this work blossoms enough to extend our lives, it may lead to breakthroughs on cancer or improvements on immune system function. In general, though, people will look younger on the outside and feel healthier on the inside much longer; age-related disabilities will vastly decrease.”
Economy: “The rich get richer, the poor get poorer. The disparity widens dramatically in part because cash-smart people have many more years to build their fortunes. -- At the same time, some underdeveloped regions like central Africa flourish as certain diseases are wiped out through this same anti-aging science, allowing these areas to compete with the U.S. and other markets in farming and agriculture.”
Business: “People stay healthy and work well into their 80s, 90s (or even longer as the science is perfected). The result is that companies work overtime to keep their 60- or 70-year veterans who become invaluable experts in their fields.”
Military: It may be tougher to have a war as countries won't want to waste their healthy and priceless 120-year-old citizens. Meanwhile, the 20-year-olds - still well within their childhood in the new life span of the future - won't be as willing to risk everything for their countries. It would be akin to sending 5-year-olds off to war today. -- At the same time, terrorism may be more likely. One reason is that with people living longer, they hold onto age-old grudges longer. The economic disparities mentioned above could spark terrorism. Also, younger citizens in their 20s who can't compete with healthy 100-year-olds in the workplace could become disenfranchised and breed terrorism.
Crime: Will society be more peaceful or more violent with the incredible changes in life span? It all centers on a debate over wisdom vs. hormones. One theory has it that as people get older and gain more perspective, they are less likely to be violent. Most violent crimes are now committed by people younger than 40. On the other hand, if anti-aging therapies change our hormonal balance to something more like those of current 18-year-olds, future adults may act more like teenagers. -- Prison sentences would need to change. A 20-year-old term for murder won't carry the same deterrent if people are living 50 or 100 years longer than they do now.
Culture: Styles of music or clothing may have longer shelf lives in the future as older generations hang on to their tastes.
Ageism: It will completely reverse. As the population ages and the smart get smarter, society won't cherish the younger people as much as it does now. If you're not old and healthy, you're not anybody, may be the new buzz phrase of the 21st century.
Families: Having children in your 20s or 30s could seem to future people like something you did in your own childhood, before you outgrew it. Nuclear families may lose their importance. At the same time, five- or six-generation families will join for reunions.
Lifestyle: Younger people may take fewer risks than today's crop of "X-Game'' adventurers. Anti-aging breakthroughs will do nothing to prevent fatal accidents. If you know you're going to live to be 150, would you still try hang gliding at 30?
Politics: As people age, they generally become politically more conservative. As anti-aging breakthroughs lead to grayer and grayer nations, political liberals may lose substantial clout in the world.
The Future of Electronic Education.
Danial Erasmus, facilitator, Wharton School of Management, <http:www.rsmcourse.cfm>, 1998.
Today the pieces are in place for the development of a new genre of education: distance learning over the Internet. The technological progress in storage capacity, bandwidth, full motion video and encryption makes the delivery of education a viable means on the “Information Superhighway”. Currently, many educational institutions are using the Internet to distribute and enhance the possibilities of a learning environment. However, several key issues currently limit the wide spread growth of Internet based on education: accessibility, bandwidth, certification, greater variety of educational materials, and user responsibility. Danial Erasmus
Scenario 1. High Acceptance of Technology & Homogeneity within Society: Government administration of standardized tests. A day in the life of a student, Suzy, who scores low in the test; Chelsea Clinton, the Secretary of Education appears in a holographic image recommending that Suzy engage in distance education. In commerce, corporations offer educational services to strengthen skills. Organizations oversee the growth in quality content.
Scenario 2. High Acceptance of Technology & Fragmentation within Society: Privatization of regular schools the previous decade had mixed results. The more expensive schools were doing quite well, especially the ones run by the big three educational companies, but they were too expensive. The non-profit schools were very ideologically bent. The compromise in this scenario is the new government distance education program, providing technology that enables a holistic learning environment. Within the government program, students could choose from a variety of courses: from arts & entertainment to math and engineering.
Scenario 3. Low Acceptance of Technology & Homogeneity within Society. Distance learning programs set up by the Secretary of Education and receives financial funding by the PTA and local organizations, but not considered authoritative educational programs or very effective. Attitudes of frustration toward computer viruses, unorthodox websites, expensive distance learning but with little human contact; and “kinks” in the system that aggravate organizational and process learning at manufacturing plants.
Scenario 4. Low Acceptance of Technology and Fragmentation within Society: The school systems had undergone radical change by 2010. It seemed people were becoming more polarized in their social values, economic status, and their level of formal education. The for-profit schools had become very popular with the affluent sectors of society, but by their nature excluded those who could not pay their exorbitant tuitions. Other private schools that were affiliated with a religious or social belief prospered, especially the ones located in "domains," neighborhoods organized around a set of beliefs. None of the states were successful in enforcing the educational standard of assessment, and many gravitated to the “Idaho Model” of providing a smorgasbord of independent choices of courses on-line.
The Workplace in 2020: Three Scenarios. (Trends: Position Yourself in the Future).
Author: Patricia Galagan, Training & Development, Nov 1996 v50 n11 p50(3).
The Council of Governors of the American Society for Training and Development developed three workplace scenarios for the year 2020.
Scenario 1. The Wave: Characterized by high market demand for smart products, high level of connectivity and high ability of intellectual capital to attract hard capital. The big enduring corporations of the late 20th century have given way to small, agile groups that come together to capitalize on a business opportunity and then dissolve. The pioneers and heroes of this new era in business are the people squeezed out by big businesses in the 1990s. They understand the power that high connectivity has put in people's hands no matter where they are. Nowadays organizations struggle to adapt to these quicksilver entrepreneurs. In the new workplace contract, the value provided by the organization is the questionable element. Employees are universally known as performers since that term more accurately describes the nature of their role in the workplace. Work and learning are linked through information technologies. Their democratizing influence has smoothed out national differences in economic development, although local culture still determines the pace of advancement and the flavor of a country's engagement with the electronic marketplace. Many countries are more concerned about raising their digital literacy rates than their GNPs.
Scenario 2. The Current: Marked by high market demand for smart products, high degree of connectivity and low ability of intellectual capital to attract hard capital. This scenario presumes that market-based economies continue to grow and spread throughout the world. Government regulations have had a heavy influence in shaping world trade and the permitted uses of worldwide digital communications. A worldwide communications infrastructure, similar to today's Internet, connects the globe and several permanent space stations. This net makes the exchange of text, images, and sound easy and widespread. A universal language exists for digital communication, made up of visual images, symbols, and elements from the dominant business languages of the late 20th century - English and Japanese. The spoken language of business is English for people above a certain level, where it has been mandated off and on since the 1990s. Technology has erased some language differences in electronic communication but has also allowed people to return to using their native languages, especially to convey special ways of thinking.
Scenario 3. The Wake: Features low demand for smart products, high connectivity and low ability of intellectual capital to attract hard capital. In this scenario, the market for smart products peaks in 2010 and by 2020 is saturated. The numbers of digitally literate customers are not increasing rapidly any more. The capital that briefly boosted the development of smart products has moved away in anticipation of this change in the market. The bar is rising on the basic skills now required to take advantage of high connectivity. Only children exposed from birth to smart products, which are now very costly, and electronic networks, which are now the building blocks of all organizations and communities, can enjoy the benefits of the late information age. All others, the new have-nots, live in poverty and ignorance as extreme as that found among those excluded from the benefits of the industrial economy. Countries with a young workforce and an emerging (i.e., not ossified) infrastructure have an advantage.
Scary Scenarios Spark Action at Bioterrorism Symposium. (Medical News & Perspectives) Author: Charles Marwick 03/24/99 JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association.
The Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies in the School of Hygiene and Public Health. The center, established in August 1998, is headed by Donald A. Henderson, MD, internationally known for his leadership in eradicating smallpox. Scenarios were created to draw attention to the issues involved and the preparations necessary to mount the needed countermeasures. They were part of the program during the first National Symposium on Medical and Public Health Response to Bioterrorism, convened here by the Hopkins Center, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and 12 other sponsoring organizations. More than 900 concerned public health professionals, physicians, and others attended, and 300 more had to be turned away for lack of room. The organizers plan to make the meeting an annual event.
Anthrax Scenario: The packed ballpark was tense with excitement. The home team was up by two runs with two outs in the top of the ninth. Nobody paid the slightest attention to a truck that stopped briefly outside the park. Even if anyone had seen it, they couldn't have known that during its brief stop the truck released an aerosolized cloud of anthrax spores that were now wafting over the crowd on a balmy breeze. Two days later, people presented at local hospital emergency departments with nasal congestion and fever. The illness was initially diagnosed as influenza. But in succeeding days, more and more people became ill. Then deaths began to be reported. Finally, 5 days after the exposure occurred, a hospital laboratory identified anthrax as the cause of the outbreak, and antibiotic treatment was begun in those who had been exposed. Even so, of the 20 000 people estimated to have been at the ball game, 4000 died.
Four Scenarios for an Aging Society.
Author: Harry R. Moody. The Hastings Center Report, Vol. 24, Num. 5, .September, 1994.
Moody's article describes four scenarios about the future of an aging society, based on plausible extrapolations from present empirical trends.
Scenario 1. Prolongation of Morbidity: Under a pessimistic assumption, the period of morbidity will grow longer. Even modest medical technology, such as antibiotics, permit survival to advanced ages for those with very poor quality of life. This means that this elderly group would bear the brunt of cost-containment. The choice of death could be made by either the individual or by the society, though the two levels are always intertwined.
Scenario 2. Compression of Morbidity: A more optimistic assumption about compression of morbidity results in society doing everything possible to postpone illness later and later into life. Based on a biological assumption that the maximum human life span is fixed at 120 years. The goal in this scenario is to eliminate the signs and symptoms of age that appear before we arrive at it. The proper aim of medicine and public policy would be to intervene, to slow down the rate of aging so that more of us can remain healthy up to the very end of life. Sickness and morbidity would be compressed into the last few months or weeks of life.
Scenario 3. Prolongevity: This scenario pushes the modern idea of progress still further by challenging the "natural" limits presumed under the second scenario. In this future, we would think of aging as a disease to be conquered and cured. The entire human life course is open to revision by new knowledge of the biology of aging, especially the genetics of longevity. Scarce health care resources will not be spent on improving the quality of life, but will rather be directed toward basic research into the aging process itself. The ultimate goal is indefinite survival under favorable conditions of technological control.
Scenario 4. Recovery of the Life World: In this scenario, the assumption is made that the meaning of old age is in the finitude of human life as a condition to be voluntarily accepted as a matter of collective policy, not individual choice. The fourth scenario seeks an ideal of vital involvement and concern by the elderly for the welfare of future generations. The common good and the needs of future generations are values that support limiting longevity in any one generation. Allocation policies for health care would embody these values by favoring social programs such as hospice or home health care, instead of high-tech medical intervention that provide only incremental gains for those who already have lived a long and full life.
Future Care: Responding to the Demand for Change.
Edited by Clement Bezold, Ph.D. and Erica Mayer, Century Health Care Services, Vol 1. NY: Faulkner & Gray, July 1996.
“Future Care” is the first in a series of future-oriented volumes as it relates to health care. It showcases the trend analysis, scenarios, and visions of 14 of the leading thinkers in the health care field today. The objective is to enhance the readers’ capacity to wisely choose the future of their organizations. These highly detailed scenarios are based on various images of the future and fundamental drivers that, interestingly, have changed little since 1991: the movement to accountability and better outcome measures; the movement of biomedical science toward the capacity to forecast disease probabilities; incredible prospects for treatment advances; information and communication systems that will revolutionize and decentralize the state of the art prevention and care; changing biomedical paradigms that move beyond exclusive allopathic and reductionist approaches to a larger array of preventative and therapeutic modalities; and finally, pressure on the nature of licensure in the health professions. Yet, health care will be very different in 2010. These updated scenarios reflect the general patterns that map an array of uncertain futures.
Scenario 1: Business as “Usual”: “National health care reform was sent back to the states, resulting in great diversity. Expensive advancing technology and therapeutics, including function-enhancing bionics, help health care’s share of the GNP grow to 17 percent by 2005. Health care providers shift to forecasting and then managing illness far earlier and more successfully. Poverty and lack of access to health care persist.”
Scenario 2: Hard Times/Government Leadership: “Recurrent hard times and a political revolt against health care lead to a frugal Canadian-like health care system. Most states follow Oregon in consciously setting priorities. Heroic measures for terminal patients decline and more frugal, yet successful, approaches to innovation are adapted. Health care’s percentage of the GNP is reduced to 11 percent by 2001. Thirty percent of Americans “buy up” to affluent, higher-tech care, and two different systems of health care emerge.”
Scenario 3: Buyer’s Market. “Many thought the 1980s was the decade of health care’s entry into the marketplace--that competition would lead to better, less expensive service. What failed during the ‘80s worked very well over the next two decades. Markets, including health care, now do a much better job of giving consumers a range of high-quality services, delivered in convenient ways at relatively low cost over the long term, which maintaining a high degree of innovation. These amazing changes are coupled with better social policies to blunt the inequities and lack of access that accompany the stronger market approach.”
Scenario 4: Health Gains and Healing. “ The 15 years before 2010 were a time of vision and design for health care. Health care organizations, their customers, and the communities they served joined to develop and pursue powerful shared visions. These generally led to health gains, through a variety of paths. This noble activity was reinforced by “smarter markets” which allow consumers and large purchasers to understand the outcomes of health care providers both for individuals and for the communities they serve.”
Reinventing the University - A Radical Proposal for the Problem-Focused University.
Authors: Jan Sinnott, Towson State University and Lynn Johnson, National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences. Ablex Publishing Corporation, New Jersey. 1996.
The intent of the book is to offer higher education a model of the problem-focused university, so the reader can consider a radically different method of educating adult learners in a higher education setting. This model is based on several assumption: a creative, learning, nourishing, cost-effective, efficient organization that meets human, societal, and world needs; an organization that involves all of its employees, as well as its students, in the learning process through practical experience, mentoring, seminars, formal, and informal instruction.
Scenario of Multisite Problem-Focused University: “ In this scenario, the centers form the building blocks for the transition from the current university system to the multisite problem - focused university. The first step in this scenario of transition from the current university to the multisite problem-focused university is the internal identification of the university’s strengths, resources, and current funding support in one or more problem areas. These problem focus areas could then become the nuclei around which the center(s) could develop, thus providing a starting point for the transition to the multisite problem-focused university. Universities also will need to identify their priorities and problem-focused orientation in accordance with local, state, national, and international goals. Similarly, universities will need to develop an awareness of others working in the same problem focus area and ascertain whether working relationships and funding opportunities exist. They will need to redefine the purpose of those centers that fall within their own selected problem focus areas and terminate or collapse others. At this stage, universities may concentrate on the development of one or a few major centers that address different aspects of the same broader problem, or various problems. A present-day university may specialize in many areas and have attracted top faculty and established an international reputation in many areas. Yet for the university to successfully become part of a multisite problem-focused university, it will need to combine its internal facilities and resources, and concentrate on just a few problem areas expanding those related centers.”
21st Century Miracle Medicine - Robosurgery, Wonder Cures, and the Quest for Immortality. Author: Alexandra Wyke. NY: Plenum Trade, May 1997.
Technology, especially the current trends in imaging, telecommunications, telerobotics, and biosensors, when designed and integrated properly, could help healthcare teams perform their tasks more effectively and at dramatically lower costs than exist today. Technology could enable all persons to reap the benefits of health care and create new suites of healthcare systems that fundamentally alters lifestyles. But more importantly, it is people, in teams, that build systems. This book outlines what might pass within the next fifty years of medicine’s evolutionary journey, particularly if international health care teams are assembled. Presents a plausible scenario of what medicine and medical technologies may mean to an average family on a middle income living in America in 2050.
Scenario: The Evermore Family, New York, NY. This scenario has a very captivating storyline. The reader is immediately drawn to a theme that is focused on a family health crisis in 2050. The first paragraph begins: “It is 2:00 AM --- the wee small hours --- and except for the little girl of the household, young Elixir, the Evermore family is fast asleep. In a bedroom whose walls are almost entirely pasted over by three-dimensional posters of horses and equestrian events, twelve-year-old Elixir’s small body is being racked by a coughing attack. Her personal medical monitor, that works as a bracelet at all times, is starting to pulsate and throw out alarm signals, quickly triggering into action the normally silent computer sentinel sitting in the corner of the room...”
Making the Majors - The Transformation of Team Sports in America.
Author: Eric M. Leifer. Harvard University Press, Cambridge Massachusetts, 1995.
The author asserts that every element in the scenario for future major leagues could be found somewhere in the present: the elements only need to be extended and fit together into a new prototype. As of this writing, plans were being laid for a new football league to challenge the NFL, the “A League,” tentatively scheduled to open with twelve franchises. Teams would each have a corporate sponsor. Yet, despite the bold new attachment to corporations, the A League organizers have had difficulty envisioning a detachment from cities. Trends reveal that in the future, major league competition will be scrutinized as never before. Winning will be more important than ever in gaining teams and players international recognition. In this respect, the strange new world ahead will be a continuation of the past 125 years.
The scenario, Making the Majors, describes a world in which teams actually represent corporations, and are quite successful. An excerpt: “We have no immutable loyalties to particular teams. Players and teams constantly have to prove themselves to gain our attention and praise. We have our favorites, but there is no team or players who cannot fall from grace as far as we are concerned. The multinational corporations that teams represent encourage this insistence on excellence. We have grown up in a world where rivalries between multinational corporations permeate our daily life. In the daily battles waged over excellence in the marketplace, however, there are rarely any clear winners and losers. The rivalries go on indefinitely, in the marketplace and in protracted campaigns. But when the representative teams meet on the field, there is sure to be a winner and a loser. Although we know that a loss does not really mean that the sponsor corporation has been defeated, or even that its team will not get up and come back again, the playing of a game is still welcomed in rivalries that would otherwise have no resolution. Just the thought that people around the world are eagerly anticipating the outcome makes it seem all the more large and important.”
Future Health, Future Choices.
Author: Kathleen Fackelman. Science News Anniversary Supplement, September, 1997
Scientists have already identified a number of disease-causing genes. Such work has led to blood tests that can reveal who is free of “the tainted inheritance” and who carries one or two copies of the genes. The near future will mainstream simple and cheap tests for genetic flaws. This means that life-saving information will be readily provided, but in other cases, genetic information on computerized medical records or smart cards will lead to serious violation of privacy issues. The author spells this out with what-if scenarios and asking some vital questions.
A Scenario: “The year: 2020. The setting: Chicago. A young associate named Susan steps into the conference room of a law firm. She faces a gauntlet of the firm’s best attorneys. They tell Susan that she’ll make partner if she measures up during the next year. They also tell her about a new drug shown to boost cognitive performance. Of course, they say, the drug does have side effects; it can cause cancer in 20 or 30 years. “Its up to you”, they tell her. Susan takes the drug. Was it a free choice? Susan would not be unusual if she felt that she had to take the drug or lose her job, says bioethicist Thomas H. Murray of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.”
Another Possibility: "Here is another possible scenario: A lawyer finds out that his client’s ex-wife has had a blood test for the BRCA1 gene. The test is positive, suggesting that she has a heightened risk of breast cancer. The lawyer argues that the husband should get custody of the couple’s children. “Who is more fit as a parent in the long run?”"
World Development Report 1995 - Workers in an Integrating World.
World Bank, World Bank Publications, 1995.
Rapid change is never easy for people who spend most of their lives working, and that applies to most of the world. Even among the poorest, there is only a relative few that are idle; the great mass of the poor work hard for little pay. Unemployment afflicts more than a hundred million people worldwide and is a matter of a major concern in rich and poor countries alike. But hundreds of millions more, living mainly in the world’s low-and middle-income countries, remain in poverty not for lack of work but for lack of skills, or for lack of the kind of economic environment in which they can use their skills to work more productively, for higher pay. The World Bank provides two highly detailed global scenarios that illustrate the extent of what is possible and the magnitude of the dangers ahead for workers in each of the world’s principle regions.
Scenario 1.) Scenario of Divergence. “The first scenario is one of muddling through and is largely based on persistence of past trends. Because there is the distinct possibility that this path would lead to widening differences between some regions and widening inequality in labor income within some countries, we call this a scenario of slow growth and divergence--the “divergent” scenario.”
Scenario 2.) Scenario of Convergence. “Explores the potential implications of strong policy action at the domestic level in all parts of the world, combined with deeper international integration. This we term a scenario of inclusion and convergence.”
Both scenarios are illustrative - the numbers are projections that are based on many assumptions, and certainly not a forecast. But they are a plausible guide to the consequences of success and failure and take into account likely future trends in both economy-wide effects and international integration.
Insights and Action Items for US Global Relations in the 21st Century: Findings from Working Groups of the Project on Intelligence Futures/Future of Global Relations.
The Project on the Future of Global Relations/Intelligence Futures Office of Research and Development, Washington DC 20505. Stanley A. Feder, Project Director 703/613-8462.
For several years, experts in fields relevant to national security have participated in a series of structured, analytic working groups on the future of global relations. The working groups convened to examine the implications of a variety of factors for US global relations over the next ten years. Taking traditional political, military, and economic factors into account, five factors were emphasized that many experts believe will increasingly influence global relations: globalization of national economies, technology and telecommunications, ethnicity/communal identity, population and migration, and environment. Four scenarios of global relations and the US role over the next ten years were constructed.
Scenario 1.) Global Integration. “Integration of global economy. Most countries pursue open markets, privatization, fiscal restraint. Systemic problems are minimized by operation of markets & nongovernment organizations (BGOs). Mutual benefits of free trade foster peace. Governments reduce roles in global relations and capabilities. By 2005 problems develop that governments and intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) lack capacity to handle.”
Scenario 2.) Multipolar Mercantilism. “Economic power of the big emerging market countries (BEM’s) increases. Developed countries compete for economic relations with BEMs in ways that undermine trade regimes and the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). Conflicts among BEMs eventually involve use of nuclear weapons.”
Scenario 3.) Trouble in Russia. “World integrating; governments, NGOs, IGOs, working to moderate systemic threats. Nationalist coup in Russia revives Cold War thinking in West. Russia lacks capabilities of USSR. Intense policy debates in Western countries over which takes priority: Russia or economic relations with Asia and systemic threats? ”
Scenario 4.) Disengagement from the Third World. “Economies of many BEMs falter. State failures, social problems, and civil unrest occur in many BEMS and less developed countries (LDCs). Developed countries lack resources and will to help; adopt foreign policies of minimal involvement. Developed countries focus only on short-term problems.”
The Hemingford Scenarios: Alternative Futures for Health and Health Care.
Steering Committee on Futures Health Scenarios. Dordrecht: Kluwar Academic Publishers, July 1995.
As a result of a series of workshops with boards of NHS health commissions, four scenarios framing key uncertainties in the health care field are developed. These highly detailed scenarios provide a backdrop to decision making and strategic thinking.
Scenario 1. The Renewed Welfare Order: The NHS Delivers. “In this future an approach to health and welfare services emerges somewhat similar to the one that has prevailed recently. Many of the fears about the sustainability of the NHS are not realized by 2010. The public health care system continues to have a central place in the social fabric of Britain. There is a rejuvenation of the traditional ideas of welfare support. But what is around the corner?”
Scenario 2. Health is Wealth: Private Works. “This story tells of a future world where economic and social differences persist within the UK population. However, the concept of the NHS proves remarkably resilient in face of health inequalities and increasing consumerist pressure. NHS Trust hospitals and community services become a thing of the past and are replaced by impressive private provision. Nonetheless, core health services remain available to all.”
Scenario 3. Science Makes the Big Push: High Cost, High Gain Health Services. “In this picture of the future, science becomes an increasingly respected part of everyone’s life. The British economy makes the transition to one that fully exploits technological innovation, no more so than in the health sector. Within the NHS significant shifts occur. Patients demand more from their clinicians in terms of effective care and personal interaction. Changes in professional boundaries and a proper focus on the evidence base of medicine shifts the pattern of clinical practice within the NHS in a quite remarkable way.”
Scenario 4. Well-Being As You Like It: State Sponsored Feel Good Services. “In this scenario there is the emergence of greater social cohesion. We see the maintenance of a publicly run health service by new regional boards. Health care becomes more responsive to personal differences and preferences. Holistic local services, including new NHS professionals such as chiropractors and aromatherapists, become available from true health centres.”
Health Care 2015: Flight of the Butterfly; Future of Modern Health.
Author: Montague Brown, Physician Executive Journal, January, 1996.
Institutional change is slow but the lesson of the butterfly remains. The flap of a butterfly’s wing as taught in chaos theory, can apply as a metaphor to an understanding of environmental and institutional trends that are likely to magnify and become “tidal waves in the future.” Innovators whose innovations succeed can be an impetus of major changes in modern health care. But “for most people, survival and following waves is sufficient.” These exploratory scenarios are presented to envision major change.
Scenario 1. ) Who Owns, Who Controls? 2002-2020. “As we look back from a Year 2020 perspective, we see that no group won in every market. In some areas, hospitals bootstrapped themselves into organizational clusters that used managed care and value themes to dominate markets, generally in excess of two or three million population. Physicians came into such systems through PHO-type partnerships; managed care plans; and, eventually, for senior physicians, through the sale of practices. For younger physicians coming into practice around 2002, salaried positions dominate the landscape. Physicians won during the long transition from independent practice to employment in best value systems with a keen sense of how to best do the job. Some of the more senior members of the profession won first by getting preferred status within managed care networks. As integration proceeded, they sold their practices, some to Wall Street-financed firms... Smaller, mostly rural hospitals function as all-purpose health centers, with urgent care, long-term care, some holding beds, and remote diagnostic capabilities.
The butterfly wing flappings of the 1990s brought profound changes by 2005. Unanticipated changes included some very positive development. New not-for-profit foundations sprang up across the nation as not-for-profit managed care plans, Blue Cross plans, and hospitals sold out. A new movement focusing on public health measures and local community action developed from these foundations. Medical and allied health programs found new sources of funds to try out ideas and to establish programs that meet health needs but show no short-term financial gain.
However, the largest anticipated change did not happen. All the market measures passed in the late nineties by a conservative government failed to bring costs down as anticipated. Government and politicians continue to believe that they can anticipate the market, set rules, and have policies that truly change things. But people anticipate rule changes by government and position themselves to do well under the new rules.
Scenario 2. Butterfly Flaps in 2005-2015 Require Repositioning for 2025. Efficiency and value for more modest cost did lead to some major efficiencies in delivering necessary health services. Capitation and fixed reimbursement drove costs down. By 2015, health services research reached funding levels of one-half percent of a 2 trillion plus health budget. While this research brought many efficiencies in providing care, improvement in diagnosis and treatment continued as cost drivers. The net result? Cost increases continuing to exceed inflation. Further, as concentration in the industry led to fewer choices for consumers, it became increasingly clear that government regulation of prices would be necessary. Business might be able to achieve great efficiencies, but when a business has market power, it may prefer, it may prefer to keep a bit more in profit and invest a bit less in continuing to drive costs down.
By 2015, antitrust laws are again being increasingly applied to behavior deemed destructive of consumer choice. Still, the debate rages on as to whether or not large-scale, vertically integrated organizations are necessary for the efficiencies achieved in medicine. Bigness has its own cost. Fortunately for those who yearned for more local control, many of the large systems began to run into profitability problems, charges of price gouging, the indifference to physician and patient concerns, leading them to look for alternatives, including divestment, as buyers relentlessly drive down prices and push antitrust remedies to curtail monopolistic behavior.
Fortunately, foundations created by the demise of voluntary hospitals offered another chance to rebuild the richness of the self-help, community, family, and professional networked life-style. Communities that elected to develop large-scale cooperatives with buyers, patients, and providers as owners found many opportunities to devote substantial resources to prevention and healthy life-styles to improve health status and not just to depend on medical care as a crutch for important personal and family decisions.”
Scenario 3. Butterfly for 2020. “The long-promised baby boom retirement period finally arrives. by now, the normal retirement age is 70, with Medicare kicking in at 67, not 65. Retirees can get their social security checks and work without losing benefits. With this gradual shift to a later retirement and a social policy that encourages work, more and more people engage in paid work well into their 70s. This dramatic shift produced more taxpayers than anticipated and fewer tax-takers. Multiple careers replaced single careers as the norm. Education and career shifting continued into one’s late 60s, with some preparing for careers not to begin until their late 70s. Life is to be lived, and the idea of retiring at 65 has been retired.
Still, the cost burden of health services required ever-vigilant attention to efficiency and Spartan utilization. Health services research emerges from its tar baby status in the 20th Century to star status in the 21st. Medicine benefited ultimately from this transformation by becoming much more of a science-oriented profession and less of an idiosyncratic, independent profession.
Life sciences continue to boom. Many of the genetic promises of earlier years arrived about 20 years later than anticipated, but they are making a difference.
Life span continues to inch up, while the biggest change is that people lead a much more complete life with few disabling problems, fewer professional interventions, and much greater autonomy. Freedom from want has given way to an era in which the freedom to live, independently and actively well into ones 80s has arrived, and not a day too soon, as any “Baby Boomer” turned “Golden Ager” will tell you.”
The Future of Work: A Guide to a Changing Society.
Author: Charles Handy, Oxford UK and NY: Basil Blackwell, July 1984/201p. Four scenarios of work to the 21st century.
Handy’s central theme is that the world of work will never be the same again, and we are experiencing more than just a cyclical adjustment. New patterns of work are emerging, such as a full-employment society becoming a part-time one, blue-collar jobs becoming while collar jobs; industry is declining and services are growing. Four scenarios are discussed as a way of focusing the future options of work:
Scenario 1.) Unemployment Scenario: unemployment is seen as a necessary and inevitable cost of bringing down inflation. High unemployment levels are accepted by society for the greater good.
Scenario 2.) Leisure Scenario: this scenario gives unemployment a positive twist by foreseeing a leisure society in which the arts and recreation flourish. What work there is will be done by an elite few with the aid of a lot of machines.
Scenario 3.) Employment Scenario: the only real form of work is a job, this scenario says. That means having a place to go and, preferably, useful work to do. But even if it is simply “seat‑warming,” a job in this scenario is preferable to unemployment for both the individual and society.
Scenario 4) Work Scenario (advocated by Handy): according to this scenario, a job is only part of the work an individual does. Learning, leisure and community services are the other elements of an individual’s work.
The Future Impact of Automation on Workers.
Authors: Wassily Leontief and Faye Duchin, NY: Oxford U Press, Jan 1986/170p. Automation scenarios to 2000.
This book demonstrates the use of Leontief’s well-known modeling to analyze the structural transformation of the US economy. This dynamic model divided the economy into hundreds of industries and looked at the interrelationships from the year 1963 - 2000. These scenarios were used to assess the future demands of labor relative to automation. Four scenarios were formulated.
Scenario 1.) S1, The Reference Scenario: assumed no further automation or technological change after 1980. Robots, numerically controlled machine tools, and automated office equipment are used only to the extent that they figured in the average technologies that prevailed in 1980.
Scenarios 2 & 3) Scenarios S1 and S2 are identical to S1 through 1980, but differ in their technological assumptions for the later years. Both scenarios project an increasing use of computers in all sectors for specific information processing and machine control tasks and their integration. In all years through 2000, S3 assumes far more computer based courses per student and more teacher - training, and on-the-job training in more sectors and for a greater number of occupations.
Scenario 4.) S4 is identical to S3 in all assumptions about the technological structure of the economy, but the final demand projections incorporated into it are different from those used in the other scenarios. Concludes that the intensive use of automation will make it possible to achieve over the next 20 years significant economies in labor relative to production.
Report on Planet Earth: A Perspective for 2044 AD
Author: Charles Sheffield. Chapter from The World of 2044 - Technological Development and the Future of Society edited by Charles Sheffield, Marceto Alonso, and Morton A. Kaplan. Paragon House St. Paul, Minnesota.
A positive, upbeat scenario of the world in 2044. The grandparents of the 1990s examined the trends of the world and predicted that environmental problems would gravely affect the planet by mid-21st Century. What our grandparents did not realize however, was constancy. The stability of the vast, self-regulating entity that forms Earth’s biosphere proved to be extraordinary by 2044. Gaia’s vast and interconnected total genetic pool was supportive, and basic materials did not come into short supply. The combination of the success of robotization, artificial food, contraceptive pills, drugs, and non-invasive surgical procedure increased the quality of life substantially. The most interesting part of this scenario, is it describes the sheer pleasure of automation and productivity in the world of work: “The shrinking need for human labor as a result of widespread automation was predicted in the 1950’s, but it’s social implications were misread. People foresaw massive unemployment. Instead, we have moved to today’s ten-hour work week, with positions shared by ten or more individuals who are at work consecutively through the week … The move to the two-day work week, plus vastly improved and widespread electronic communications and the freedom to work from one’s home, has also made the words “rush hour” as much an anachronism as “computer error.”
Leaders and Futuring - Making Visions Happen.
Author: John R. Hoyle The Practicing Administrator’s Leadership Series, Jerry J. Herman and Janice L. Herman, Editors. Tech Prep: A Scenario for 2015.
This scenario depicts a normative future envisioning a very strong educational system. The factors that drive this scenario are: integrated resources from government, business, and social services; growth of the Internet; the success and widespread use of virtual reality and virtual worlds as a training/simulation tool, faster, more efficient transportation, and a highly educated and productive work force. The scenario illustrates a Tech-Prep program that serves over 3 million people in the Gulf Coast area. The Tech-Prep center is a futuristic masterpiece. It houses specialists in information technologies, urban planners, education and health specialists, and business and family counselors. These specialists facilitate the learning and development of students, teachers, and community members with new job skills and self-esteem. Pegged to be the prototype of learning in the 21st century.
Beyond Health Care.
Authors: Neville C. Chenoy and Ronald J.C. Mcqueen, Health Management Forum 6:3, Autumn 1985, 52-58. Health scenarios to 21st century.
Trevor Hancock provides an introduction to health futurism and outlines alternative scenarios for health care. Described is a normative scenario for a healthy Canadian population. Factors that need to occur to make this scenario a reality include: creating a healthy environment, emphasizing wellness, providing essential health care services to all.
Scenarios: A Planning Tool for Health Care Organizations.
Author: Rene D. Zentnew & Gelb Zentner, Hospital & Health Services Administration Summer 1991 36:2. Three scenarios of the U.S. health care industry to 2000.
An organization’s strategic planners require an understanding of future developments in the environment in which their decisions will be made. However, there is increasing recognition that there is no single predetermined “future.” Therefore, the use of alternative future scenarios can be helpful. This article describes the scenario planning technique as applied to the health care industry and four scenarios along the axis of a high-low scenario matrix.
Scenario 1.) The Regulators Return: this scenario is characterized by strong economic growth, which coincides with a political climate favoring increasing regulation of health care. Government planners fear inflation and thus establish effective regulatory controls over all sectors of the national economy, including health care.
Scenario 2.) The Engine Slows: this scenario is characterized by lower-than-historical economic growth. In order to maintain stability in a time of reduced taxes, the federal government in the early 1990s imposes strong controls over all sectors, including health care. Meanwhile, health care costs continue to rise in real terms, denying many unemployed Americans access to health care.
Scenario 3.) The Golden Age: this scenario is characterized by strong economic growth through the decade of the 1990s. So long as the inflation rate remains at acceptable levels, the government permits all sectors to grow with minimum regulation.
Educational Futures: Six Scenarios.
Author: John D. Haas, Futures Research Quarterly, 2:2, Summer 1986, 15-30. Six scenarios of education to 21st century.
“Knowledge seekers are time travelers, in the sense that learning is a process, a “continuous reconstruction of experience” to use John Dewey’s famous phrase. Learning is an integration of past experience with one’s present condition—in light of future expectations. For educators of children and youth, the future is that broad realm where their clients will spend 80 or 90 percent of their lives. What will education in America be like for young persons in the 21st century?” The author sketches six scenario logics on a very eloquent matrix chart, then describes each scenario in rich detail.
Scenario 1.) Contemporary Traditional: some minor changes happen in the school system, but no deep structural or curricular changes will be evident. The author provides four supportive reasons for this forecast.
Scenario 2.) Humanistic Traditional: the “climate” of schools and school systems, that is, the health of the organizations, provide greater trust, moral, active learning.
Scenario 3.) Partial Technological Deschooling: communications networks that provide cable, television, and computers combine to decentralize the schools into homes, businesses, public agencies.
Scenario 4.) Multiple Options: parents are given choices and options. The author provides a good overview of these options, such as placement choice within a school district, voucher plans, and tuition tax credits.
Scenario 5.) Experimental and/or Communal Schools: innovative alternative schools become a widespread phenomenon.
Scenario 6.) Total Deschooling: an unlikely future calling for the complete elimination of schools from post-industrial societies.
The Changing Workplace: Career Counseling Strategies for the 1990s and Beyond.
Author: Carl McDaniels, San Francisco; Jossey-Bass Publishers, May 1989/255p. Three scenarios of the workplace to 2000.
This book is written in two parts. Part one reviews workforce forecasting methods, changes in the workforce and workplace, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projections for the 21 million new jobs pegged to be created by 2000. Part two considers three scenarios on the future of work.
Scenario 1.) Green or Go: the future of work in this scenario is seen as high-tech, high-touch, high visibility, and highly computerized. A period of rapid job change and the emergence of new occupations is forecast. This scenario also looks at new work settings, changing workplace relationships, and automation in the workplace.
Scenario 2.) Yellow or Caution: a gradual evolution of the workplace, rather than dramatic change is how this scenario views the future of work. Three key trends outlined are greater individual choices in work, the elimination of unpleasant or undesirable work, and greater concern for human potential in the workplace.
Scenario 3.) Red or Stop: the future of work in this scenario is one of low-paying, low-skill jobs for a large segment of the workforce. The major trends outlined are a shift from manufacturing, downscaling of jobs, continuing high unemployment, a dwindling middle class, outsourcing of workers, and few job opportunities for college graduates.
The Catastrophe Ahead: AIDS and the Case for a New Public Policy.
Authors: William B. Johnston and Kevin R. Hopkins. NY: Praeger, June 1990/238p. Three scenarios of AIDS to 2002.
17 years ago, not a single predominant scientist or medical researcher in the entire world was warning of a 100 percent fatal venereal and blood-borne disease that would strike down tens of thousands of unsuspecting gay men and IV drug users and would threaten to break out into the general population. The authors assert that a decade into the future, forecasts of the course and total affect AIDS will have on humankind may be equally wrong. This careful study projects three qualitative and statistical scenarios of AIDS to 2002.
Scenario 1.) Worse Case: describes a society that continues to “muddle through” the AIDS epidemic without significant changes in behavior or great progress in medicine. In this dark view of the future, the changes that take place are gradual and limited. The biggest adjustments in behavior come among gay men, who already have demonstrated the greatest response to the threat of AIDS. There is appreciably less responsiveness in the modification of sex practices among the poor and little long-term and sustained change in drug-taking behaviors. There is modest progress in developing therapies.
Scenario 2.) Middle Case: the future is one of cautious optimism. Society responds relatively extensively to the dangers of AIDS, and although these changes take effect over a period of several years , the long-term modifications in behavior that come about are substantial. As with worse case scenario, the most extensive behavior change takes place in the gay community. Projects fairly substantial and rapid progress in the development of therapies against AIDS and viral transmission, with disease progression slowed by three-fourths and infectiousness reduced by 80 percent by the turn of the century. The late 1990s introduce a vaccine introduced against infection. Widespread introduction by early 21st century.
Scenario 3.) Best Case: “everything goes right.” Behavioral change and medical progress is nothing short of revolutionary. Nine out of every ten virus carriers are presumed to be inoculated before the middle of the 1990s with an anti-AIDS treatment that ultimately reduces the rate of progression from infection to AIDS by three-fourths and cures infectiousness by 95 percent.
Reviving Rural Life.
Authors: Joseph F. Coates, Jennifer Jarratt, and Lara Ragunas, The Futurist, 26:2, March-April 1992, p. 21-28. Four scenarios of rural life and work to 2002.
Rural areas today are a mixed bag of occasional successes and numerous failures, with little or no room in between. Successes include retirement and recreation communities, area trade and government centers, academic communities, other types of “entrepreneurial towns,” and exurbs. The failures include everything else, especially those rural areas that base their economies on extracting a natural resource, as in forestry or mining. Four scenarios of rural life and work over the next ten years:
Scenario 1.) Business as Usual: “assumes that no major change in the economy occurs and that there are no substantial policy interventions. In this scenario, local-development groups successfully revitalize some rural communities, often by enlisting a corporate employer—even a foreign company—as a primary client for a community’s work force.”
Scenario 2.) Women Find Work, Men Don’t: “information technology investment in office work doubles nationwide, and the advances “trickle down” into the rural workplace. The service and information economy moves low-skilled work out of expensive urban offices and into rural communities in the metropolitan fringe and beyond.”
Scenario 3.) Infotech Attracts: “telecommuting has become a way of life for an increasing portion of the work force. Telecommuters include all those who work at least part of their workday with telecommunications and computers off site, including at home.”
Scenario 4.) Rural Communities: “information technology moves out of the office and onto the road and into the home as portable, hand-held, mobile, laptop, and miniature computers outdistance the desktop workstation. Networks proliferate, served by minicomputer and mainframe with a myriad of access points. Networks revitalize rural America, slowing the flow of people to the cities and returning some of the best educated to small communities.”
Executive Development: Preparing for the 21st Century.
Authors: Harper W. Moulton and Arthur S. Fickel NY: Oxford U Press, Feb. 1993/200p. Three scenarios of executive development to 21st century.
Two executive educators with experience in industry and academia sketch “the business environment of the 21st century and conclude with three scenarios.
Scenario 1.) Divided World: suggests a return to short-term, nationally focused interests, and emphasizes an insular, reactive, and win-lose approach to business issues. Competencies called for would be political and economic toughness in dealing with increasingly nationalistic foreign and domestic governments because of growing concerns for protectionism on all sides. Leadership would call for an innovative and creative ability to deal effectively with a closed system to maximize efficiency and operations that are severely circumscribed.
Scenario 2.) Renewed Growth Scenario: national economies would be highly volatile, with sharp swings in the business cycle. Renewed growth would call for quick acting business leadership in order to take advantage of new opportunities. Flexible and adaptive behavior by managers would be needed, as well as the interpersonal qualities of emotional and physical fitness to handle the stress of radical change.
Scenario 3.) Solid Growth Scenario: The most optimist of the three. Indicates a more challenging and stable international business environment. On competency, this scenario calls for global and long-term orientation; ability to create and work with exotic financial structures; intercultural understanding and proactive leadership.
AIDS in the 21st Century: Trend Projections.
Author: Richard K. Curtis, Futures Research Quarterly, 7:4, Winter 1991, 39-45. Four scenarios of AIDS to 2028.
The following trends are robust across all the scenarios: population growth will continue at current rates; social and sexual attitudes and behavior will not change significantly.
Scenario 1.) The Worst Possible Case: this scenario assumes neither an effective treatment nor vaccine is developed. As AIDS spreads rapidly, more than 1.6 billion people become infected by the year 2000 and hundreds of millions die. Some underdeveloped countries are virtually depopulated by rates of infection of 90%.
Scenario 2.) The Worst Probable Case: this scenario also assumes neither an effective treatment nor vaccine is developed. However, the spread of AIDS is not as rapid as in the first scenario. Still, about 600 million people die from the disease by 2028, making it the worst pandemic in recorded human history.
Scenario 3.) The Best Probable Case: this scenario assumes an effective treatment for AIDS is developed by 2000. In the decade following the development of that treatment, 500 million people are cured, resulting in a significant reduction in the number of AIDS cases. However, the disease continues to be a serious threat to human health throughout the 21st century.
Scenario 4.) The Best Possible Case: this scenario assumes the development of both an effective treatment and vaccine by 2000. At least 50% of the world’s population is vaccinated by 2000, but 500 million people will still be infected and that number will grow to one billion by 2003. As a result, AIDS will continue to be a significant health threat well into the 21st century.
Scenarios for the AIDS Epidemic in Asia.
Author: James Chin Asia-Pacific Population Research Abstracts Number 2, February 1995. Scenarios of HIV and AIDS in Asia to 2010.
This report describes the patterns and prevalence of HIV and AIDS in Asia as of mid-1994 and projects the course of the epidemics and their impact on mortality among adults in the 20-40 age group up to the year 2010. The discussion considers the use and misuse of HIV scenarios for policy purposes. Recommendations to policy makers and program managers include the establishment of an expert group in each country to develop reliable estimates of HIV prevalence and distribution, and to project future prevalence levels; the assignment of greater priority to prevention programs, particularly to educational efforts; and policy makers’ support for public health programs that may reduce risky sexual and drug-using behaviors.
Electronic Links for Learning.
Edited by Vivian M. Horner and Linda G. Roberts, The ANNALS of The American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 514, March 1991, 1-174. A scenario of distance learning to 2005.
Key trends driving this scenario include the advances in information technology resulting in increasing bandwidth, and the interactivity of communications channels. The potential capabilities of distance learning are described in this scenario, in which students communicate remotely through interconnected workstations. The workstation identifies students through personal megacards and calls up the correct lesson: an interactive electronic diagnosis/repair simulation exercise. The students using computer‑supported cooperative work software work on the exercise together, using voice recognition to give commands.
Scenarios for a Religious Organization with Branches in Five Continents.
Author: Eleonora Barbieri Masini. A Paper prepared for the Profutures Workshop, September 27th, 1995. Scenarios on the future of a world religious organization to the years 2001 and 2015.
A fascinating and very extensive scenario study of a religious organization composed of women and created in the nineteenth century as a missionary endeavor. This organization is currently active in five continents: Australia, United States, Latin America, Africa, Asia, and was prompted to look into its future because of two major factors: changes in the environment in these regions and the aging of the organization from the North and influx of much younger members from the countries of the South. The scenarios expanded to the global, regional and local levels, and were written in three forms: “Trend and utopian scenarios would be used and as many normative scenarios as possible or necessary. The trend scenario involved the various geographical parts of the organization, and of the organization as a whole. Was a description of the situation as it could be expected in 2001 and 2015, against the global and local level, should no decisions be taken in 1994. The utopian scenario envisioned the greatest hopes of the organization members and the normative scenarios were those alternative scenarios that answered the possible goals of the organization as a whole and at the regional levels.” Masini concludes that the scenario building exercise achieved it’s educational aim and the scenarios themselves provided an important tool for gaining a better understanding of the overall environment.
The Future of News: Television - Newspapers - Wire Services - Newsmagazines.
Edited by Phillip S. Cook, Douglas Gomery, and Lawrence W. Lichty. Washington: Wilson Center Press & Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, May 1992/270p. Scenario of news in the year 2000.
Papers and commentary from a Wilson Center conference on the future of news. In the Epilogue, Peter Braestrup sketches a scenario of news in 2000 where proliferating multimedia technologies give the public overwhelming access to news. Factors that influence the content of news by the 21st century are: dramatically increased efforts to raise the quality of education, and the continuing diversity of the audience. News becomes specialized. “The expansion, dynamism, and increasing complexity of both government and nongovernment activity have fostered the growth of special publications and even cable TV channels for various kinds of news—news about defense, the environment, law, housing, science, religion, international business—inasmuch as no single newspaper or magazine can now chronicle all significant events in all fields.” Stories will also become shorter, as they have been shortening over the past two decades. The attention span of the major news media, already diminishing, will become even more abbreviated. Growing gap continues between the information haves and have nots.
Delphi in a Future Scenario on Mental Health and Mental Health Care.
Author: Rob Bijl, Futures, 24:3, April 1992, 232-250. Scenario to the 21st century.
A scenario study on mental health and mental health care in the Netherlands over the next two decades. A Delphi inquiry formed an essential part of the study and helped build the scenario model. This article describes the Delphi process and the scenario building process, then generated the scenario model that served as a backdrop for four mental health themes: dementia and schizophrenia, emotional and behavioral problems in children and adolescents, and occupational incapacity due to mental disorders. For research into how futures methodology can be applied to alternative scenarios of possible and desirable futures in the field of public health and health care, this is a useful article.
Homelessness: A Prevention Oriented Approach.
Edited by Rene I. Jahiel, Baltimore: The John Hopkins U Press, June 1992/409p. Three scenarios of homelessness to the 21st century.
Three scenarios for the evolution of homelessness and its prevention in the United States in the short term (i.e., in the next 5-10 years) are constructed, based on the concepts of dominant, challenging, and repressed structural interests.
Scenario 1.) The dominant structural interest drives to accelerate the gap between the rich and poor, without a ‘trickle down effect’ in this social order. People try to ethically justify this situation as the homeless problem becomes more severe. Government does very little , and the homeless problem spins out-of-hand as the homeless are put away from main localities and isolated. Government is forced to increase spending on them, which only develops a ‘homeless industry’ dealing with homeless operation.
Scenario 2.) Challenging structural interests drive the government to tackle the homeless problems, but without significant structural changes in economics of housing for the poor or in the power relationships of the repressed low-income groups. Housing still remains a private business and the social welfare system for housing, (e.g., public housing) has not yet developed. Government does not coordinate between challenging and dominant interests and faces many obstacles for legislation and implementation. As a result, only little government funding is spent for selected homeless people.
Scenario 3.) Repressed structural interests drive extraordinary efforts at the micro and macro level. Some structural changes occur in answer to the push of homeless organizations and demands on the homeless-makers rather than on homeless people. On the micro level, local governments prevent and terminate homelessness, promoting housing for the poor in various innovative ways. This is “advocate-intensive” and “consumer-intensive” work, covering the areas of people with mental health, substance abuse, or other problems with entitlements, job training, and other career services. On the macro level, the national economy has to change to reduce the homeless-making process and pressures toward homelessness. Each sector, such as housing, employment, health, education, and the family, all have to support low-income families.
Scenarios of Change in Urban Environments.
Author: Arthur B. Shostak, Futures Research Quarterly, 11:1, Spring 1995, 5-19. Three urban scenarios to the 21st century.
According to the author, our choices for the future, especially regarding public policy, is influenced by the optimistic view, the pessimist view, and the possible view. These three perspectives are applied to alternative futures of four urban cities in the U.S.
Scenario 1.) Hard Edge City: The most deserted case. There is a very stark gap between the rich and the poor. Colored and poor people live in urban areas with a lot of crime; there is a huge lack of public health and other services. Environmental degradation abounds.
Scenario 2.) Edge City: development of suburban cities. However, there are problems, such as a very strict regulation of city planning (e.g. uniformity), and no harmonization of ecosystems.
Scenario 3.) Soft-Edge City: a most desirable case. Assuming a successful economy and a high-tech world, human well being is realized and harmonized within the ecosystem. There is more free time, no discrimination of any kind, more cooperation, and more voluntary public services.
Scenario 4.) No-Edge City: this case can be a transitional case to the other three. This regional “hot spot” is characterized by full cooperation among city, county, research university, and business sector, with entrepreneurial spirit and thus by attractive, cosmopolitan, and high standard of living.
Welfare Versus Work.
A report by David Dawson, Policy Analyst, Alabama Arise, 1994. Four welfare scenarios: short-term, but illustrates a principle that applies to all ages, including the 21st century.
A set of short-term but interesting scenarios used to support the idea that, when looking at the facts, welfare benefits do not necessarily discourage people from working. Work is more financially advantageous than welfare. “The benefits one receives on welfare cannot compare to the benefits one receives working even a minimum wage job.”
Scenario1.) The Typical Family on Welfare: in this analysis, the person defined as the “typical” AFDC recipient is a woman with two young children living with a family member. In this study it is assumed that the mother makes an informed choice between the combined benefits of welfare and the combined benefits of a minimum wage job.
Scenario 2.) The Worker Finds a Full-Time Job at Minimum Wage: here, a woman is able to find a full-time job at minimum wage and leave AFDC, for it is shown that her combined cash and benefit income would increase dramatically.
Scenario 3.) Second Year on the Job: assuming that this woman continues a second year at this job at minimum wage with no benefits, her combined benefits do change somewhat. She would continue earning $8,840 per year, her Food Stamps would continue at the same level, her WIC would remain at the same level, and her taxes, expenses, and EITC would remain the same. However, her out-of-pocket expenses for her personal health care and childcare would increase.
Scenario 4.) First Year at the Typical Job After Welfare: assuming that, instead of earning $8,840 per year working 40 hours per week at $4.25, the woman works at the wages and hours that the average post-AFDC recipient works (29 hours per week at $5.05). Again in this scenario, her income is higher than it would be if on AFDC.
Eight Scenarios for Work in the Future.
Author: Martin Morf, Futurist Magazine, June 1983. Eight scenarios of work to the 21st century.
Changes in society and technology could bring a broad variety of possible futures to the working world. Key trends common to all scenarios are: robotics, automation, rate of growth of technology, the amount of work generated by the economy, and the degree to which work is rewarded.
Scenario 1.) Extreme Taylorism: increased productivity makes most work superfluous and brings the 10-hour workweek within reach. Everyone serves on the economic front a few hours each day and everyone is entitled to a living wage. Workers are liberated by machines, computers, and robots, and can work less and live more.
Scenario 2.) Feudal Unions: a scenario of strong unions with even greater power causing the worsening of some problems like runaway wages; seniority rather than skill or merit determines who will have the privilege to work.
Scenario 3.) Underground Work: the feudal union scenario is thus quite compatible with an “underground work” scenario, in which ever-greater segments of the work force cooperate outside of the formal economy.
Scenario 4.) Work Coupons: shared characteristics of the feudal union and underground work scenarios is an uneven distribution of the scarce, but essential and possibly interesting, commodity called a job. Both are depressing scenarios, with a large section of the population left to its own devices, and both go against the grain of American egalitarianism.
Scenario 5.) Gods and Clods: if the technology that society develops is not accessible to the average person, there could arise a society made up of an extremely busy elite of professionals and a useless majority unable to manipulate the words and mathematical symbols of the information society.
Scenario 6.) Shadow Work: in this scenario, there is no need for formal make-work projects. Shadow work is distributed unfairly by the rich and powerful, who need odds-and-ends done;
Scenario 7.) The Electronic Cottage: in this future, technology and computers are pervasive and accessible to all. The high economic growth rate generates challenging and profitable work, and the work is distributed fairly. Electronic networking replaces the need for much informal and shadow work. Working in the electronic cottage could bridge the gap between the world of work and the culture in which we live ;
Scenario 8) Subsistence Work: this scenario demands a reversal of the path toward ever-greater consumption, material wealth, and physical comfort, back to earlier methods of production that are more labor intensive and more clearly linked to the important and meaningful business of subsistence.
Looking Back to School.
Author: James A. Mecklenburger, Phi Delta Kappan, 67:2, Oct. 1985, 119-122. School in 21st century.
A scenario of the past 20 years looking back from 2005, written by the president of the Productive Schools Association of North America in 1994-97. Education in 2005 included the following changes: learning goals replace curricula; influx of portable computers; new patterns of school organization; “expert systems” for use in teaching.
Three Scenarios for the Future of Teaching.
Author: Arthur E. Wise, Phi Delta Kappan, 67:9, May 198, 649-652. Three scenarios of the future of teaching to 21st century.
Scenario 1.) Business-as-Usual: “yesterday’s practices and today’s policies remain in effect. The supply of teachers runs low while demand increases, and alternative certification is instituted. But this does not attract well-qualified candidates, and education-minded parents respond by pulling their children out of public schools.”
Scenario 2.) The Two-Tiered Scenario: “the structure of the educational system parallels that of the US Army during the era of the draft, with a permanent cadre of senior teachers and administrators who supervise ever-changing contingents of temporary teachers (many of the current proposals for career ladders expect that a permanent cadre will rise through the ranks to assume these duties.)”
Scenario 3.) The Professional Scenario: “the states cooperate with education organizations and others to reform the training, induction, and certification of teachers. High and carefully enforced standards restrict the supply of professionals, and working conditions appropriate to a professional conception of teaching evolve. This scenario holds the greatest promise for producing professional teaching in the public schools. Realizing it will depend on the willingness of policymakers to improve teacher salaries and working conditions, and will enforce entry standards in the face of unstaffed classrooms.”
2020 Visions: Health Care Information Standards and Technologies.
Edited by: Clement Bezold, Jerome A. Halperin, and Jacqueline L. Eng. Three scenarios on health care technologies to 2020.
This report is based on a September 1992 Conference Sponsored by the United States Pharmacopoeia Convention, Inc. on the future of health care information standards and technologies.
Scenario 1.) High Technology/Continued Growth: technological progress, good management, and a resilient global ecosystem combine to allow economic growth. Health care therapeutics advance dramatically. Health care emphasizes the prediction and management of illness.
Scenario 2.) Hard Times/Focused Innovation: recurring economic hard times slow growth, but lead to Canadian-like health care system with a frugal universal basic benefit that utilizes nonphysician health care providers and encourages home care/self-care, aided by advanced information systems.
Scenario 3.) Global Business: because multinational companies are growing, most national economies are also growing. The need for effective global operations leads to horizontal standards for most manufactured items, with the International Standards Organization taking the principle role.
Scenario 4.) The New Social Contract: as the social contract becomes more clear and more accepted, and as societies become more diverse, dramatic changes take place in business, health, and health care. Diagnosis and treatments in health care are increasingly varied.
White Collars Turn Blue.
Author: Paul Krugman New York Times Magazine Sept. 29, 1996 . An economic transformation scenario from 1996 - 2000.
A scenario in which society looks back from the first part of the 21st Century and finds that many popular assumptions about the information age were wrong. For instance, people believed that the major forces driving economic change would be the continuing advance of digital technology and the spread of economic development throughout the world. The future would bring an ‘information economy,’ mainly producing intangibles. This assumption was wrong. In looking back, it was realized that five major transformations were missed. 1.) Souring Resource Prices: it was assumed that the prices of commodities would always be low, but price surges inevitably occurred. 2.) The Environment as Property: appreciating the real price of environmental use and consumption wasn’t fully realized until 2043. 3.) The Rebirth of the Big City: during the second half of the 21st century, the big city seemed to be in decline and replaced by sprawling suburbia. The reality was that the city flourished and the center of true “multimedia” was New York City. 4.) The Devaluation of Higher Education: in the 1990s everyone believed that education was the key to economic success. But many of the jobs that once required a higher education were eliminated or exported. In the early part of the 21st Century, jobs that required only 6 months of vocational training paid nearly as much, if not more, than jobs that require a masters degree or Phd. 5.) The Celebrity Economy: since the information economy made it easier for creative works to be distributed with very little pay for royalties, the only way to make money in this future, is to endorse a product by promoting sales of something else. Instead of an information economy, it became a “celebrity economy.”
The Future of Intellectual Property.
Copyright TaskForce, University of Michigan, 1995. Internet: http://www.taskforce. File:///B!/IP2.HTM. Four scenarios on the future of intellectual property to the 21st century.
This study resulted in four scenarios for improving the management of copyrights at research universities.
Scenario 1.) Enhancing Current Practices: this scenario envisions individual university members mounting strong programs for campus information, discussion, involvement and support through model languages, contracts, and licenses, copyright advice, information about academic publishing and publishers.
Scenario 2.) Faculty Ownership of Copyrights: faculty authors allow publication or other forms of access to each of their works on a case-by-case basis or by a statement of general principle. At a minimum, authors continue to grant to publishers the right to reproduce and distribute the work in a specific publication. Authors are responsible, either directly or through a central agency they or the university might create, for registering the copyright and granting permission to use their work.
Scenario 3.) Joint Faculty/University Ownership of Copyrights: envisions shared ownership between the faculty member and his or her university. The scenario relates in general to non-royalty producing works or works that are unlikely to produce royalties. The university and the author determine what rights to transfer to the publisher, whether to license certain uses of the work, etc. Thus, control is not automatically transferred to publishers. In order to implement this scenario, new employment contracts would be required to specify joint faculty/university ownership of these works.
Scenario 4.) Joint Faculty/Consortium Ownership of Copyrights: in this scenario, copyright is jointly held by the author (s) of the work and a consortium of universities. This only applies to work for which the authors do not receive and do not have a reasonable prospect of receiving royalties and which does not fit under the category of work-for-hire. Any of the copyright holders has the right to copy or distribute the work or otherwise make it available, with the following significant exception: the author or authors retain the right to assign an exclusive distribution license to whomever they choose for a period not to exceed five years. This right would have to be exercised within a fixed time period after completion of the work – perhaps three years.
Where’s Main Street USA?
Author: Gail Garfield Schwartz, Westport CT: Eno Foundation For Transportation, 1984/91p. A scenario of suburbanization to 2015.
A book on suburbanization in the future, concluding with a scenario for 2015. The author describes the most likely distribution of activities over the metropolitan landscape after all present leases for space have expired and after all present mortgages on downtown structures have been fully amortized.
The Futures of the Poor. Author: S.P. Udayakumar Futures 27:3, April 1995, 339 - 351. Six scenarios of the poor to the 21st century.
“It is common to think that the poor have no future, or that their predicament will only get worse. These reactions are not very thoughtful or helpful when thinking about the future of the poor.” Adopting a different approach, the author submits that poverty is a systemic oppression of a particular class of people and that the oppression is so severe and systemic it can be characterized as a ‘structural genocide.’ Seven possible future scenarios.
Scenario 1.) Hand-Outs but No Help-Outs: “donors lack political will or a sense of justice to remedy the poverty situation permanently.”
Scenario 2.) Waiting for Godet: “the poor long for consumerism and comfort; the fittest survive and the rest perish.”
Scenario 3.) Preach the Gospel for the Poor: “the rich reinvigorate their patronizing policies and underhanded schemes, ranging from conservative crookedness to liberal wimpiness to social democratic sham: states become economies, societies become markets, and the poor become even more miserable.”
Scenario 4.) Viva Zapata: “similar to the Zapatista National Liberation Army in Chiapas, rebels with nothing to lose demand justice and better treatment.”
Scenario 5.) View from the Mountain Top: “the rich embrace a simple and less selfish lifestyle.”
Scenario 6.) To Be or Not to Be: “the poor renounce modernity, recognize their cultural roots, and return to former ways of life with traditional technology.”
Scenario 7.) One Species, One Destiny: “both the rich and poor realize that the well-being of the poor demands cooperation of the rich, and the safety of the rich relies on justice for the poor. The last scenario is seen as desirable, the first six are undesirable.”
Methodology: A Scenario Method for Forecasting.
Author: Ove Sviden Futures October 1986. 18:5 Four scenarios on automobile usage strategies in a future information society to the 21st century.
This article presents the scenario method developed in connection with the author’s time spent with the Saab Aerospace Corp. The method was then used and improved when the author worked for Volvo as manager for energy forecasting. Four early-stage scenarios on the future of automobile usage in an information society are sketched on two axis: Information Quality & Mobility.
Scenario 1.) Stagnation: policy - survival and conservation; economy - recession; industry - slowdown; cars per capital - 350 per 1000 inhabitants; annual driving - 15000 km/car; traffic - restrained; technology - mass transit.
Scenario 2.) Automotive: policy - mobility and clean environment; economy - growth; industry - R&D oriented; cars per capital - 900 per 1000 inhabitants; annual driving - 20000 km/car; traffic - congested; technology - advanced engines and fuels.
Scenario 3.) Information: policy - inform yourself; economy - trade expansion; industry - information systems oriented; cars per capital - 250 per 1000 inhabitants; annual driving - 10000 km/car; traffic - substituted to a large extent; technology - computer/para-transit.
Scenario 4.) Synergy: policy - decentralization and info-mobility; economy - international synergy growth; industry - systems oriented; cars per capital - 700 per 1000 inhabitants; annual driving - 20000 km/car; traffic - rapid/safe/controlled; technology - semi-automatic highway network.
Education and Community: Four Scenarios for the Future of Public Education.
The Core Framework: Developing a Scenario Matrix. Global Business Network, Emeryville, California http://www.gbn.org
Global Business Network and the National Education Association came together to create scenarios on the future of public education. Trends that cut across all scenarios are: the decline of the nuclear family, the issues surrounding special education, and the promise of technology.
Scenario 1.) Orthodoxy. Hierarchical (traditional), Inclusive: “this scenario assumes a turn toward traditional values, and the effort to enlist educators to impose those values on any and all who might resist them.”
Scenario 2.) Orthodoxies. Hierarchical (traditional), Exclusive: “like the last scenario, this one, too, plays out the reaction against value-free public education. Today's public education would seem to avoid imposing any one set of values in order to avoid offending other sets of values. The last scenario accepts the risks of offending marginal groups by imposing one set of red, white, and blue values. Here, values are also central to education, but different values guide different schools.”
Scenario 3.) Wired for Learning. Participatory (radical), Exclusive: “this scenario revolves around new applications of information technology. Information technology influences all of the scenarios, but this scenario is distinguished by an evolution of information technology more rapid and far-reaching than most people now anticipate. That info-tech will influence education is predetermined. How, and how fast, is uncertain. This scenario assumes that the evolution is very fast, and that information technology is the biggest story in the transformation of education over the next decade.”
Scenario 4.) The Learning Society. Participatory (radical), Exclusive: “in this scenario the pieces come together. Technology moves faster than in the first two scenarios, making his a radical change scenario. But the technology serves the ideals of inclusive community by facilitating a more participatory process than in the last scenario. Technology is a tool, not a driver. It serves the interests of play as well as work. Technology is designed to enhance humanity rather than to make money. The marketplace is less central than public space. While every bit as ubiquitous as in Wired for Learning, technology fades into the background of the Learning Society. It is a servant, not hero.”
Global Employment: An International Investigation Into the Future of Work, Vol. 1.
Author: Mihaly Simai, ed. (March 1995), UNU/Wider, London and Atlantic Highlands, NJ. UNU Press. Global employment scenario to 2018.
A scenario of a new social policy in the year 2018, global in scope, aiming to guarantee a minimum part-time job of about 20 hours per week or 1,000 hours per year to secure a person’s minimum basic needs. “Full employment policies of governments now concentrate on guaranteeing this first basic layer of employment.” Other important developments in the world of 2018 also include global agreements on a new system of wealth accounting (based on net value-added indicators related to non-monetary activities). This world has entered the age of total retirement, generally ranging from 72 to 78 ( the notion of compulsory retirement has almost disappeared, except for very specific jobs), and extensive retraining programs. There is a universal consensus that all workers should expect to learn new skills over the course of their work lives.
The Futures of Women: Scenarios for the 21st Century.
Authors: Pamela McCorduck and Nancy Ramsey (1996), Addison-Wesley Press.. MASS. Four scenarios of the future of women to 2015.
In this book, the authors explore dramatically different alternatives for the future of women. The authors collaborated with Global Business Network, applying the scenario planning technique to four very distinct, global futures.
Scenario 1.) Backlash: “ the priorities, mores, and values of religious rights in a depressed, no-growth, regionally oriented economy. Group rights prevail over individual rights. The global economy is depressed. For women, things have seldom been so grim: they rediscover that in bad economic times, societies East and West, North and South, consider them expendable.”
Scenario 2.) A Golden Age of Equality: “Western notions of individual rights, rule of law, and personal privacy take hold and prevail in a globally integrated growth economy. Individual rights generally prevail, the global economy grows robustly. A profound shift in consciousness has permitted both women and men to begin to think of women as different from, but not less than, men. The search for equality in the workplace brings about a new balance between family and work, and generates new energies and creativity.”
Scenario 3.) Two Steps Forward, Two Steps Back: “Western notions of individual rights prevail, but the world economy is largely depressed and sluggish. Environmental protective measures are suspended in the name of the economy, disrupting what had begun as a movement towards global sustainability. The age is characterized by huge international migrations, people in search of jobs, housing, even food. The most basic needs of the world’s women, such as nutrition, child spacing, protection from domestic violence, and workplace safety, are hard-pressed to be addressed.
Scenario 4.) Separate -- and Doing Fine, Thanks: “in this scenario, group priorities, mores, and values tend to prevail over the Western notion of individual rights in a globally integrated, growth economy that allows absorption of the international baby boom of the 1990s and its echo. Outside the Western democracies, which prove durable, governments of new nations and newly liberated states have resumed relatively authoritarian ways to force social order and achieve the stability necessary for economic growth on the Singapore model. The individual rights generally prevail over group rights. The global economy depressed. Under these circumstances, the rights of women are deemed unimportant and in some places, sacrificed. “For their own protection,” women are treated as less than equals.”
Savior of the Plague Years.
Wired Staff Scenarios: Special WIRED Edition. December 1995. A global scenario of a pandemic to 2020.
An interview with Dr. Amy-Jessica Castillo of the Virtual Bioresearch Institute of Montecito, California, year: 2020. In this scenario, Dr.Castillo describes how she headed the research process that conquered the deadly Mao flu in 2020. The scenario describes the global spread of the plague that resulted in world panic and the death. “1998: Futile attempts at air terminal sterilization spelled doom for the airline industry. Two years into the Plague, domestic flights stood at 3 percent of their 1995 levels. All trips required complex paperwork, health screenings, and quarantine periods.” “ 2007: The United Nations tried to implement the not particularly successful “hygiene card.” By 2007, fear of outsiders was too firmly a part of life to be mollified by bureaucracy.” “2018: A cure, yes - but how to deliver? In the end, capitalism proved a most effective means, its soothing slogans able to deprogram decades of entrenched paranoia...”
Time Travel Kit to the Year 2195.
Author: Sandra Noguchi Scenarios: Special WIRED Edition. December, 1995. Interesting questions about traveling to 2195 and what would one bring with them? Useful to scenario work.
Packing tips for your trip to the year 2195. Imagining the changes in culture, currency, weaponry, and the environment 200 years from now. What would you pack on a two-week trip in a time machine to 2195? “Money? What’s Money? Gold, platinum, or thorium may well be valueless in 2195. What artifacts from now might you bring if you had to trade in order to get, say, food? Remember, chances are that the things of value in the future are the things you could have had no way of knowing would be valuable: an autograph from Button Gwinnett; IBM stock; fertilized passenger pigeon eggs. Future citizens might also end up ransacking you for semi-random items. Some packing ideas: comic books, fruit juices, celebrity autographs, Star Trek dinner plates, drugs, baseball cards, freon.”
Author: Douglas Coupland. Scenarios: Special WIRED Edition. December 1995. Images of pharmaceutical products useful to scenarios of the future of intimacy and reproduction.
Very colorful images of products envisioned to impact the future of intimacy and reproduction through the next millennium. “2066: American law dictates that the ‘Angel of Mercy’ - an intrauterine device - be implanted immediately upon detection of pregnancy. The abortion-inhibiting device recognizes any trace of RU 486, analogs, or other abortifacients, then releases neutralizing compounds and an electronic signal. Unlicensed removal triggers a mild lobotomizing drug, Depensazine, which renders the host mother comatose for a minimum of nine months. Made by the US Department of Energy, Sheridan, Wyoming.” “2034: Illegal in many countries, but still very common: a battery-powered sperm centrifuge used to separate XX sperm from XY. Made by Bally-NASA’s facility in Guantao, People’s Republic of China.”
A Day in the Life.
Wired Staff Scenarios: Special WIRED Edition. December, 1995. A scenario of a day in the life - Monday, October 19, 2020.
A scenario of a typical day in the life of the average media consumer. Interactive newspapers can be read anywhere, anytime. Examples of some of the news on October 19, 2020 are: “UnDeath Spray Closer to Human Trial: Virgin Stock Soars Heavenward - Virgin BioPharm last night narrowly won phase one of its on going battle for EU approval of human clinical trials of its controversial new ‘UnDeath gene’ therapy. Chairman Richard Branson made no effort to conceal his pleasure over the EU Bioethics Board decision to allow the approval process to proceed - a decision that caused VPB stock to rocket from USNew $221 per share to $302, a near market record. Branson joyfully stated afterward, “If we’re not working toward life, then what are we working toward?” If human trials confirm the animal models, Virgin expects the use of its patented viral-vector to extend the average adult life span anywhere from 15 to 18 years. The one-time-only nasal spray treatment is estimated to cost USNew$5 to manufacture, but industry insiders expect...” Other news items: “Bank Cops Nab Canadians in Liberian Bank Fraud.” “French Prez Poisoned. ” “Hacking McDonald’s: The Real Tale Behind the ‘Meat People’.Top of the Page