Chapter 1. Introduction – Our Emerging Foresight Field

A Vision of Foresight Culture

One of the powerful sets of methods our field has explored in the last sixty years are those of visioning, the ways we discover, create, and describe aspirational futures. Ever since Fred Polak’s The Image of the Future (1973) foresight practitioners have realized that one of our jobs is to help our clients find motivating and worthy visions (“future images”) to steer toward. Like the force of gravity, a strong vision will pull a group toward a particular preferred future, motivating with a strength proportional to the group’s belief in the worthiness and credibility of the vision and of leadership. Clearly, ensuring the worthiness of our visions and the morality of our leaders is no small thing. Many leaders have used visions, persuasion and propaganda in the past to steer groups toward futures that were ultimately impractical, dehumanizing, or unsustainable.

One strategy to ensure worthy visions is to align them with group values, ethics, and feelings, and if we seek long-term success, with culturally universal values, ethics, and emotional priorities, a topic we will discuss in later chapters. If our visions are not group aligned, either the vision or the group needs to change so the vision can be representative. Another key strategy is to subject our visions to frank feedback and criticism from anyone who will be impacted by them. A third strategy is to search for the most positive-sum outcome we think we can attain, over the time horizon of our vision. Sometimes we need to stretch that horizon to see a particularly compelling vision. At other times, we can usefully shorten it, and motivate our team to reach goals they previously thought were unattainable.

Let’s now introduce one vision of the future of foresight culture. Hopefully it aligns with your own values, ethics, and feelings. We encourage you to share it with and get feedback from colleagues, whenever it might appropriate.

Recalling our discussion of progress hindsight, imagine how different our society would be today, how much farther along we’d all be by now, in our inevitable journey to global civilization and self-actualization, if the majority of us believed, both in the past and today, that thinking, debating, and teaching about the future were as important as the past and the present. Imagine if that future thinking was broadly integrated into our educational system, from Pre-K on up, the way Peter Bishop imagines in his Teach the Future initiative. Our two year old, for example, talks frequently with us about what we might do later today and tomorrow. Foresight is actually fundamental to human consciousness, as we have discussed.

Imagine if every large organization, and our ever-growing community of startups, believed that whenever we use collaborative foresight methods, we have an opportunity to discover and create substantially more innovative and sustainable products, services, and futures. That vision is emerging today, and it is being greatly accelerated by our digital tools and platforms, which are increasingly becoming learning systems, in their own right. If you live another few decades you will have the satisfaction of seeing this vision flower in your lifetime. If you choose you can also lead its emergence, in whatever way best fits your path.

With the growth of our first online foresight production platforms, aided by continually improving AI, large groups of people in the world are only just now learning that foresight is as valuable as hindsight (history) and insight (current conditions) to being adaptive in our complex, accelerating world. As of this writing (2018) users of Facebook, Google, and Android are now the largest “nations” on the planet. Reddit Futurology has 13 million “futurists” on their platform. There are 15 million coders using the open source software platform GitHub. There are scores of cloud services, platforms, AI, digital currencies, smart contracts, and many other collaborative foresight innovations emerging every month now. It is a very exciting time to be alive.

This Guide will introduce you to individuals, organizations, and societies that have consciously chosen to cultivate a “foresight culture” for themselves, their teams, their organizations, and their associates. They offer many lessons and options for establishing and growing your own foresight culture, which can begin with just you and a few of your closest associates. Foresight cultures recognize there are a wealth of useful ways to manage the future, including prediction, forecasting, intelligence, insurance, sensing and rapid reaction, planning, visioning, innovation, and strategy, to name just some of the more popular choices. Such cultures know that while we are still early in understanding which foresight methods are right for which contexts, by choosing to prioritize foresight, we invariably get better at it, and expand our tools and data sets. They also know our future has become too important, and our planet’s lives and purposes are now too valuable, complex, and intelligent, for us to continue to leave tomorrow to chance, to unexamined traditions, or to any other stewards than ourselves.

This is the vision of the future of foresight that we hope to convince you of in this Guide. We hope this vision motivates you to become a foresight leader, beginning with better leadership of your own life. To start us thinking about self-leadership, let’s briefly consider some classic personal foresight practice challenges. These will serve as a soft introduction to personal foresight, the sometimes difficult but immensely rewarding domain we’ll address in Chapter 2.

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Table of Contents


Chapter 2. Personal Foresight – Becoming an Effective Self-Leader

Chapter 2: Personal Foresight

Becoming an Effective Self-Leader

Chapter 4. Models – Foundations for Organizational Foresight

Chapter 4: Models

Foundations for Organizational Foresight

Chapter 7. Acceleration – Guiding Our Extraordinary Future

Chapter 7: Acceleration

Guiding Our Extraordinary Future (In Process)

II. Global Progress: 5 Goals, 10 Values, Many Trends

Innovation: Our Abundant Future
Intelligence: Our Augmented Future
Interdependence: Our Civil Future
Immunity: Our Protected Future
Sustainability: Our Rebalanced Future

III. Universal Accelerating Change

Great Race to Inner Space: Our Surprising Future
Entropy&Information: We’re Running Down & Up
The Puzzle of Meaning: We Have No Einstein Yet
Trees, Funnels & Landscapes: Intro to Evo Devo
Big Picture Change: Five Scales of Accelerating ED
Transcension Hypothesis: Where Acceleratn Ends?
IDABDAK: Social Response to Accel & Developmnt
We’re On a Runaway Train: Being Accelaware

IV. Evo Devo and Exponential Foresight

Seeing It All: Accel., Diverg, Adapt, Convrg, Decel.
Natural (I4S) Innovation: The Evolutionary Drive
Natural (I4S) Intelligence: The Human-AI Partnership
Natural (I4S) Morality: Why Empathy and Ethics Rule
Natural (I4S) Security: Strength from Disruption
Natural (I4S) Sustainability: The Developmental Drive
S-Curves: Managing the Four Constituencies
Pain to Gain: Traversing the Three Kuznets Phases
Hype to Reality: Beyond Hype Cycles to Reality Checks
Exponentials Database: Measuring Accelerations
TINA Trends: Societal Evolutionary Development
Managing Change: STEEPCOP Events, Probs, Ideas
A Great Shift: A Survival to a Sentient Economy

V. Evo Devo and Exponential Activism

Building Protopias: Five Goals of Social Progress
Normative Foresight: Ten Values of Society
Top & STEEPCOP Acceleratns: Positive & Negative
Dystopias, Risks, and Failure States
Three Levels of Activism: People, Tech & Universe
A Great Opportunity: Exponential Empowerment


Chapter 8. Your Digital Self – The Human Face of the Coming Singularity

Chapter 8: Your Digital Self

The Human Face of the Coming Singularity (In Process)

I. Your Personal AI (PAI): Your Digital Self

Digital Society: Data, Mediation, and Agents
Personal AIs: Advancing the Five Goals
PAI Innovation: Abundance and Diversity
PAI Intelligence: Bio-Inspired AI
PAI Morality: Selection and Groupnets
PAI Security: Safe Learning Agents
PAI Sustainability: Science and Balance
The Human Face of the Coming Singularity

II. PAI Protopias & Dystopias in 8 Domains

1. Personal Agents: News, Ent., Education
2. Social Agents: Relat. and Social Justice
3. Political Agents :  Activism & Represent.
4. Economic Agents:  Retail, Finance, Entrep
5. Builder Agents :  Work, Innov. & Science
6. Environ. Agents : Pop. and Sustainability
7. Health Agents :  Health, Wellness, Death
8. Security Agents :  Def., Crime, Corrections

III. PAI Activism & Exponential Empowerment

Next Government: PAIs, Groupnets, Democ.
Next Economy: Creat. Destr. & Basic Income
Next Society: PAI Ent., Mortality & Uploading
What Will Your PAI Contribution Be?

Chapter 10. Startup Ideas – Great Product & Service Challenges for Entrepreneurs

Chapter 10: Startup Ideas

Great Product and Service Challenges for Entrepreneurs (In Process)

I. 4U’s Idea Hub: Building Better Futures

Air Deliveries and Air Taxis: Finally Solving Urban Gridlock
Ballistic Shields and Gun Control: Protecting Us All from Lone Shooters
Bioinspiration Wiki: Biomimetics and Bio-Inspired Design
Brain Preservation Services: Memory and Mortality Redefined
Carcams: Document Thieves, Bad Driving, and Bad Behavior
Competition in Govt Services: Less Corruption, More Innovation
Computer Adaptive Education (CAE): Better Learning and Training
Conversational Deep Learning Devsuites: Millions of AI Coders
Digital Tables: Telepresence, Games, Entertainment & Education
Dynaships: Sustainable Low-Speed Cargo Shipping
Electromagnetic Suspension: Nausea-Free Working & Reading in Cars
Epigenetic Health Tests: Cellular Aging, Bad Diet, Body Abuse Feedback
Fireline Explosives and Ember Drones: Next-Gen Fire Control
Global English: Empowering the Next Generation of Global Youth
Greenbots: Drone Seeders and Robotic Waterers for Mass Regreening
High-Density Housing and Zoning: Making Our Cities Affordable Again
Highway Enclosures and Trail Networks: Green and Quiet Urban Space
Inflatable Packaging: Faster and Greener Shipping and Returns
Internet of Families: Connecting People Over Things
Kidcams: Next-Gen Security for Child Safety and Empowerment
Kidpods: Indoor & Outdoor Parent-Assistive Toyboxes
Microdesalination: Democratizing Sustainable Fresh Water Production
Noise Monitors: Documenting and Reducing Noise Pollution
Oceanside Baths: Sustainable Year Round Beach Enjoyment
Open Blood Scanners: DIY Citizen Health Care Sensor Tech
Open Streaming Radio: User-Centered Audio Creation and Rating
Open Streaming Video: User-Centered Video Creation and Rating
Open Values Filters: Social Rankers, Arg. Mappers, and Consensus Finders
Personal AIs: Your Private Advisor, Activist, and Interface to the World
Pet Empowerment: Next-Gen Rights and Abilities for Our Domestic Animals
Safe Closets: Fire-, Earthquake-, and Intruder-Proof Retreat Spaces
Safe Cars: Reducing Our Insane 1.3M Annual Auto Deaths Today
Safe Motorcycles: Lane Splitting in Gridlock Without Risk of Death
Shared Value Insurance: User-Centered Risk Reduction Services
Sleeperbuses and Microhotels: Demonetized Intercity Travel
Space-Based Solar Power: Stratellite Powering and Weather Management
Stratellites: Next-Gen Urban Broadband, Transparency, and Security
Touch DNA: Next-Gen Home Security and Crime Deterrence
View Towers: Improving Urban Walkability, Inspiration, and Community

Chapter 11. Evo Devo Foresight – Unpredictable and Predictable Futures

Chapter 11: Evo Devo Foresight

Unpredictable and Predictable Futures

Appendix 1. Peer Advice – Building a Successful Foresight Practice