AC/UNU Millennium Project

1998 Global Lookout Study


 
 
 
 


Overview of the 1998 Lookout Study and Invitation

22 May 1998
 

Dear Colleague:

On behalf of the Millennium Project of the American Council for the United Nations University in cooperation with the Smithsonian Institution and The Futures Group, we have the honor to invite you to participate in the 1998 Lookout Panel.

This activity is a world-wide effort to collect and synthesize judgments about emerging global issues and opportunities that may affect the human condition. The Project provides information to decision makers and educators to add focus to important issues, clarify choices and improve the quality of decisions. It does this by making future opportunities and dangers more explicit and by identifying a range of views from around the world on actions to address them.

Previous Lookout Panels identified developments that may have important future implications. These panels have involved about 300 people who identified and rated almost 300 developments. These developments have been distilled into 15 Global Issues and 15 Global Opportunities with a range of views from policy makers about actions to address each. The results, together with other work of the Millennium Project, was published in the 1997 State of the Future and soon to be published in the 1998 State of the Future. Those who respond to this questionnaire will receive results in a complimentary copy of the 1999 State of the Future.

While it is not necessary to examine the previous developments, issues, opportunities, and actions to complete the enclosed questionnaire, you may view them at the Project's Web site at:  http://millennium-project.org.

This year's 3-round Global Lookout Study is designed to build on the Project's previous studies, and add new insights. Participants will be listed in the 1999 State of the Future, but no attributions will be made. Please answer just those questions in your areas of expertise and greatest interest. It is not expected that you answer all the questions.

In parallel to this questionnaire, a set of interviews will be conducted among policy makers to identify impediments to timely response to early warnings and ethical implications of suggested actions. The results of these interviews and the enclosed questionnaire will flow into the second round, which will be sent to you. In the second round you will be asked to comment on the suggestions made in the first, as well the impediments to effective actions identified in the interviews.  Please contact us with any questions: jglenn@igc.org. We look forward to your responses.

       Sincerely yours,

       Theodore J. Gordon and Jerome C. Glenn
       co-directors, AC/UNU Millennium Project
 
 



  Millennium Project - 1998 Global Lookout - Round 1Instructions 

The first round has five questions:

1. How have previously identified developments changed in importance and likelihood

2. What are the most important new developments that should be added

3. How have previously identified global opportunities changed in importance and likelihood

4. How have previously identified global issues changed

5. How important are suggested ethical issues and What new ones should be added
 
 The second round, which will follow in about two months, will be based on the responses to this questionnaire and the interviews that are being conducted in parallel.

Some weeks later, a third round will feed back the most relevant ideas from earlier rounds for your information and further comment. The results will be published in the 1999 State of the Future. All those who respond to this questionnaire will receive a complementary copy.
  * * * Please complete the questionnaire and return it to us by 26 June 1998. Please respond by e-mail to jglenn@igc.org otherwise fax to 202 686 5179 or mail to:The Millennium ProjectAmerican Council for the United Nations University4421 Garrison St. NW, Washington, DC 20016 USA

No matter which mode of response you choose, please include your name and post mail address, and- if possible- your phone, and fax number.

If you have not already done so, please send us a copy of your resume (and whether it can be added to those on the Millennium Project's homepage) and any other information about yourself and your work that you feel is relevant.


Millennium Project - 1998 Global Lookout - Round 1Questionnaire

Question 1.

How have the developments rated to be the most important in 1996 and 1997 changed in importance and likelihood ?

The table on the following page lists the developments identified and rated to be the most important by the 1996 and 1997 Global Lookout Panels.  The average responses about importance and likelihood are placed next to each development. If you believe that the importance and/or likelihood of some of these have changed over the last year or two, then please provide your judgements in the next two columns, using the scale below. In the final column, rate your experience with the development. If specific events or new trends have lead you to conclude that change has taken place, then please list them in the space provided below the table.

Since many developments have been suggested previously by earlier lookout panels, we understand that your suggestions may overlap with the prior lists. In our analysis of the responses we will be looking for developments that were omitted earlier or may have changed in likelihood or importance. For reference, we present a few developments (some in combination and some with slightly modified wording) that were judged to be most important by the 1996-97 panels. Please add other items to this list and provide judgments about the likelihood and importance using the following scales(1):

Importance                                                                         Likelihood

5 = Urgently important or extremely beneficial                5 = Almost certain by 2025
4 = Important or beneficial                                                4 = Likely
3 = Modest importance                                                      3 = As likely as not
2 = Unimportant                                                                2 = Unlikely
1 = Trivial                                                                          1 = Almost impossible by 2025

In the final column please provide your assessment of your own competence and expertise in the area of the development according to the following scale:

Experience:

5= Working in the field; know it well
4= Have reading knowledge in the field
3= Generally acquainted with the field; informed layman
2= Have some interest in the field
1= Have heard about this development
 

Developments of Highest Importance identified and rated by the 1996 and 1997  
Global Lookout Panels 
Prior Import Prior Liklihd Import   1998 Liklihd 1998 Exper- tise
1. Movement toward sustainable development; restructuring of economies: decrease of polluting industries and production processing, increasing services; improving efficiency with less workforce; the concept of sustainability affecting politics and national decision making.. 4.59 3.78      
2. Widespread adoption of a long-term perspective; corporate, political, and personal behavior taking needs of future generations into account.. 4.57 3.17      
3. High population growth among certain poor nations and people; the potential for food scarcity among these nations and people. 4.56 4.58      
4. Increased scarcity of fresh water 4.53 4.32      
5. Threat of regional nuclear conflict when more and more countries and potentially terrorist groups will have access to weapons of mass destruction. 4.49 3.70      
6. Diminishing global population growth rate, due to improved literacy, empowerment of women, diminished infant mortality, improved, inexpensive contraceptives, and effective family planning. 4.47 3.82      
7. The widening economic gap between the 'haves' and 'have nots' within /between countries 4.46 4.42      
8. An emerging peace paradigm; the promotion of peaceful co-existence. 4.45 3.39      
9. Expanding science frontiers: new theoretical principles leading to great improvements in energy, engines, information systems, geophysical devices, material processing, medical devices, etc. 4.43 3.57      
10. Globalization: increasingly clear demand for global thinking, responsibility, global ethics, approach, effort, action and results. 4.42 4.13      
11. Transitions from authoritarian regimes to democracies 4.42 3.60       
12. Development of techniques for non violent conflict resolution.  4.41 3.53      
13. Ecologically based agriculture; science-technology and information replace large consumption and waste of energy and material in agriculture. 4.39 3.66      
14. Improvement in North-South problems 4.37 3.38      
15. Destruction of the environment, especially loss of biodiversity. 4.36 4.04      
16. The use of solar energy, wind or other alternate sources to replace fossil energy sources. 4.33 3.77      
17. Increasing resistance to antibiotics. 4.32 4.43      
18. Nuclear terrorism and proliferation posing far more of a threat to the survival of the human species than is generally appreciated. 4.32 3.51      
19. Doubling of the demand for energy in less than 30 years as a result of population and economic growth 4.31 3.90      
20. New age of enlightenment; changes in global frames of reference and philosophies, e.g. coping with the vicious circle of interacting population growth, unlimited economic growth and environment degradation. 4.31 3.32      
21. Industrialization of China, India, etc., increasing the load on the environment by a factor of five to ten. 4.29 3.86      
For those developments that have significantly changed in importance, about which you wish to comment, please list what has caused the change:

Item # What has caused the change?
 
 

Question 2.

What are the most important developments that should be added?

Please suggest a few future developments that you think plausible and are likely to have significant impact on the human condition by 2025. These may be positive or negative developments, but should have the potential to change the human condition globally. The developments you suggest should not yet be generally known outside of your field, or have potential that is not yet generally realized or is misunderstood. Please briefly describe the likely consequences of each development by the year 2025.
 
 

2.1 Development:
 
 
 
 

Consequences by 2025:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

2.2 Development:
 
 
 
 

Consequences by 2025:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Please take more space if you need.

Question 3.

How have previously identified Global Opportunites changed in importance and likelihood?

The following table lists global opportunities grouped from the the most important developments rated by the 1997 Global Lookout Panel. Please provide your judgments about whether these opportunities are increasing or decreasing in importance using the following scale. Over the next ten years do you think the opportunity will become:

5 = much more important
4 = more important
3 = remain about the same
2 = less important
1 = much less important

For those developments that you expect to change significantly in importance, please explain why. The project is interested in vectors of change. In the middle column provide your assessment of your own competence and expertise in the area of the opportunity according to the following scale:

5 = Working in the field; know it well
4 = Have reading knowledge in the field
3 = Generally acquainted with the field; informed layman
2 = Have some interest in the field
1 = Have heard about this development
 

Global Opportunity Importance Expertise Reasons for Significant Change 
1. Achieving sustainable development.       
2. Increasing acceptance of long-term perspectives in policy making.      
3. Expanding potential for scientific and technological breakthroughs.      
4. Transforming authoritarian regimes to democracies.      
5. Encouraging diversity and shared ethical values.      
6. Reducing the rate of population growth.       
7. Emerging strategies for world peace and security.      
8. Developing alternative sources of energy.      
9. Globalizing the convergence of information and communications technologies.      
10. Increasing advances in biotechnology.       
11. Encouraging economic development through ethical capitalism.      
12. Increasing economic autonomy of women and other groups.      
13. Promoting the inquiry into new and sometimes counter intuitive ideas.      
14. Pursuing promising space projects.       
15. Improving institutions.       
 
Question 4.
 
 How have previously identified Global Issues changed in importance and likelihood?
 
The following table lists global issues grouped from the the most important developments rated by the 1996 Global Lookout Panel. Please provide your judgments about whether these issues are increasing or decreasing in importance using the following scale. Over the next ten years do you think the issue will become:

5 = much more important
4 = more important
3 = remain about the same
2 = less important
1 = much less important

For those developments that you expect to change significantly in importance, please explain why. The Project is interested in the vectors of change.

In the middle column provide your assessment of your own competence and expertise in the area of the issue according to the following scale:

5 = Working in the field; know it well
4 = Have reading knowledge in the field
3 = Generally acquainted with the field; informed layman
2 = Have some interest in the field
1 = Have heard about this development
 
 

Global Issue Importance Expertise Reasons for Significant Change
1. Population is growing most where people can least afford the necessities of life.      
2. Scarcity of fresh water in localized areas of the world.      
3. The growing gap in living standards between the rich and poor threatening to become more extreme and divisive.      
4. The growing threat of new diseases and reemerging diseases, and immune micro-organisms.      
5. Diminishing of the capacity to decide (as issues become more global and complex under conditions of increasing uncertainty and risk).      
6. Terrorism, growing in intensity, scale, and threat.      
7. The adverse interaction between the growth of population and economies with environmental quality and natural resources.      
8. Inequities and the chaning status of women.       
9. The increasing severity of religious, ethnic, and racial conflicts.      
10. Information technology holds both promises and perils.      
11. Organized crime groups becoming sophisticated global enterprises.      
12. Economic growth bringing both promising and threatening consequences.      
13. Aging nuclear power plants around the world.      
14. The spreading HIV pandemic.       
15. The changing meaning of work, unemployment, leisure, and underemployment.      
 

Question 5:

What are the most important Moral and Ethical Issues we face today with the greatest future implications for humanity ?

Please rate the list below using the following scale and add what you believe to be more important moral or ethical issues in the space provied.

Importance:

5 = of overwhelming importance
4 = of great importance
3 = of modest importance
2 = of some importance
1 = trivial
 

Moral or Ethical Issue
Importance 
in my country
Importance 
in the world
1. Corruption in government and business    
2. Economic inequities     
3. Lack of honor and lying    
4. Respect for women's civil rights    
5. Disrespect of authority    
6. Greed and Self-centeredness    
7. Lack of compassion and tolerance for others    
8. Godless-ness    
9. Waste    
10. Insufficient attention to the needs of future generations    
11. National sovereignty used to cover human rights abuses    
12. Lack of transparency in decision making    
13. Barriers to freedom of inquiry    
14. Lack of respect for the environment    
15. Lack of a means for educating about morals and ethics     
 

Additional Moral and Ethical issues affecting the future of Humanity:
 
 

Thank you for your participation in Round 1 of the 1998 Global Lookout Panel of the Millennium Project. Please email your response to jglenn@igc.org, or fax to 202-686-5179, or airmail to The Millennium Project, American Council for the UNU, 4421 Garrison Street, NW, Washington, DC 20016 USA to be received by 26 June 1998.



1. For those of you who recall the old scales, a word of explanation is in order. In both 1996 and 1997, the Project used low numbers to indicate high likelihood and high importance. Since this had the potential for confusion, the system has been changed so that high numbers represent high likelihood and importance. The numbers in the tables have been converted to this convention.


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Last updated: May 22, 1998