Appendix 3. Resources – Media and Tools for Better Futures

Authorial Bias—Mine and Others’

Each of us has both conscious and unconscious biases that influence our work. To understand conscious bias in a foresight author or consultant, you should know their world view. What are their basic theories of universal, societal, organizational, and personal change? Have they explicitly shared them? If not, find them out, if you are contemplating working with them. Know who you are dealing with. For more on unconscious bias, see our overview in Chapter 4 (Personal Foresight) and for a book intro, Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow (2011). As our personal AIs (Chapter 8) start getting smart in the 2030s, one of the greatest benefits we can expect is much better quantifying, visualizing and managing of our and others conscious and unconscious bias.

You can’t get an unbiased perspective. The better you know all the evidence-based competing biases that are in play in the world, and in those you are interacting with, the better you can get what futurist Buckminster Fuller called a “multi-biased” education and perspective. This will keep you mentally flexible and able to quickly pivot to the best current models, as more evidence and argument come your way, and to keep all the relevant biases mentally accessible, so you know how to relate to those who think differently from you, even when you disagree with parts of their world models.

For one example from our professional foresight community, Michael Marien is a deep-thinking futurist who has been reviewing newly published foresight books for decades. He originally published his reviews in an incisive newsletter for the World Future Society, Future Survey (1979-2008), and now independently online at Marien’s reviews are generally excellent, and he continually uncovers new foresight works worth knowing about, but you should also know his conscious bias. His world view leads him to expect severe Global Crises ahead.

In “Global Megacrisis?” (PDF), The Futurist (2011), Marien predicts that due to sustainability issues, led of course by climate change, global civilization will either Muddle Down or Crash (80% probability) in coming decades. The counterpoint in the same article is taken by futurist Bill Halal, who sees civilization either Muddling Up or Getting Rapidly Better (65% probability) due to accelerating scientific and technological advances.

My own personal bias on these complex issues puts me firmly in Halal’s camp, with an even higher expectation (north of 90%) of a Rapidly Better Future in our technical capabilities in the next few decades. That future may not come to individual countries. But I expect it for human civilization as a whole, as an adaptive network, with parts that are always learning from experiments and failures in other parts. I also expect that social or climate catastrophe, if we are unfortunate enough to experience them, will end up catalyzing even faster technical developments to address them. We call this proposal the “catalytic catastrophe hypothesis”, the idea that calamity is, unfortunately, often the greatest catalyst of positive social change, in all adaptive evo-devo networks, including neurons, species, industries, societies, and intelligent planets like ours.

How rapidly one expects our global science, technology, entrepreneurial, and policy capabilities to improve under the possible and probable crises ahead, and how bad one thinks the problems might get will of course have a major impact on one’s outlook, policy, and strategy recommendations. Acceleration of information, computing, communication, and nanotech and the new social resiliences they introduce seem to be rigged into the way social systems develop, as I see it. This, of course, is my conscious bias. Whether it is true or not remains to be determined by future science and practice. You, dear reader, must make your own judgment.

For science and technology accelaware (acceleration-aware) global foresight books I’d recommend reading Benkler, Bremmer, Bryce, Brynjolffson, Diamandis, Glaeser, Halal, Johnson, Kelly, Kenny, Kurzweil, Lomborg, Lovins, Morris, Naam, Pinker, Reese, Ridley, Simon, Toffler, and Wiezsacker on our lists below. These authors can help you see and use the incredible power of our accelerating societal capabilities and resiliencies, both today and in the even more technically advanced years ahead of us.

But while accelerating scientific, technological, innovation, and entrepreneurship progress seems highly likely in coming decades, including the continued rapid emergence of higher machine intelligence during this century, how quickly and how far we advance culturally (freedoms, rights, education, income equity, health care, democracy, security, environment) during this process, and how many setbacks we create for ourselves on the way, seems entirely up to us.

There are many ways our technical progress could come at a very high social, economic, and political cost, as many of the authors above point out. More than ever, we need foresight professionals to help us chart the best evolutionary paths to our inevitable developmental destinies.

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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