Chapter 12. Visions and Challenges – Priorities for Professionals

Collaborating On Digital Foresight Platforms

Once we’ve opened our eyes to acceleration and development, built some inclusive models and practical definitions, started to ground them in research, and created initial professional standards for certification and continuing education, we reach the threshold of a new level of credibility for our field. But we won’t cross that threshold until we embrace open, accelerating, digital tools and platforms for building collective foresight. Science and technology drive accelerating change. That means we need to be experimenting with and building digital platforms for doing foresight, to improve the value and sophistication of our field. Without these, we are stuck in the past. So let’s turn to that challenge now.

We need better ways to collaboratively find trends, build forecasts, scenarios, and predictions, critique them, and to rate source material. We’ve talked about predictive analytics, statistical forecasting, predictive intelligence, prediction markets, online Delphis and simulations, and other data-rich and collaborative approaches to foresight. Companies using these approaches will continue to grow rapidly in value.

Remember that the digital world is the fastest growing system and process on the planet right now. Leading digital companies’ technology platforms, like Google’s search servers, are growing in storage and processing capacity at 50% a year, nearly as fast as the web grows itself. In 2014, Amazon Web Services added enough new storage capacity every day to house their entire e-tailing business in 2004. Many of the other cloud infrastructure providers are growing even faster in percentage terms, and differentiating their suites with unique new developer services as well. The software platform landscape now changes so fast that information technology foresighters must continually reassess it, or their strategies quickly grow obsolete.

Examples of emerging digital platforms were introduced in Chapter 1. They include crowd forecasting platforms like Good Judgment, the science of which is outlined in Tetlock’s Superforecasting (2015). They include platforms for online Delphi, crowd consulting, and group simulation, like Wikistrat. They include emerging science and technology prediction markets, like Metaculus, and political prediction markets like PredictIt. More experimental digital foresight platforms include Augur, a prediction market company. Auguer raised over $4M in the first month of their crowdsale of REP tokens for their prediction market. Augur is built on Ethereum, a decentralized blockchain network similar to the Bitcoin network, a platform for transparent peer-to-peer contracting that many digital activists are excited about. The last well-known US prediction market was InTrade, whose operations were shut down by federal regulators in 2012. InTrade collided with the SEC and Commodities and Futures Trading Corporations, regulators who maintain monopolies, under current US law, restricting companies from betting on things like stock and commodities prices.

Whether Augur succeeds or fails as the first open money-based prediction market platform for anything people want to bet on seems too early to say. They may not get sufficient market adoption to match their development budget, in these early and still prediction-shy times, and our current legal environment, and its use by more established competitors may keep them in legal difficulties for years. But the fact that the crowd gave Augur so much money so quickly is a great sign that large numbers of investors are ready to use digital platforms for a wide variety of foresight-related activities. Augur is thus one of the new faces of Big Foresight, as we’ll outline at the end of chapter. We can expect many more of these kinds of digital, data-rich, and collectively intelligent companies ahead. This is great news for foresight practice, as it quantifies and monetizes pieces of our work in exciting new ways, and recruits many more of us into online foresight creation activities.

Another key to the future of foresight collaboration will be more platforms that rate, share, and critique foresight work, and the individuals and institutions that do that work and training. We need increasingly open, software-aided, and cognitively diverse criticism in our field, to find the weeble stories, preference landscapes, and counterfactuals, and to help each of us see more what we are still missing.

We also need better ways to assess the skills and reputations of foresight professionals and their institutions. LinkedIn is making small steps in this direction with its skills testimonials, and the ability to display online course certifications and other assessments. Klout offers an early tool for assessing social media influence. But the real work of online reputation and crowdrating has barely begun. See Michael Fertik’s The Reputation Economy, 2015, for a tour of how much we can now easily learn about each other using online tools today, and some fascinating thoughts on where digital reputation may go in coming years.

The promise of foresight for humanity will only be realized when our work becomes broadly socially recognized and respected as one of ways we make a better world. If accelerating change continues, at some point the world will wake up to see what we’ve been saying, and we’ll value foresight as much as we value the past and the present today, rebalancing us in time. In the meantime, we need to do all we can to help our field become better respected, connected, trained, and paid.

Personal foresight needs to be taken seriously as a major part of coaching, counseling, and self-development. Organizational foresight across the skills and specialties needs to be valued like any other function of management. Foresight needs to be something every leader feels naked without. Global foresight needs to help all of us planetary citizens wake up to the realities of accelerating change, a wide range of developmental trends and destinations, and the incredible opportunities those trends offer us, if we only look.

For individuals, organizations, and societies, there is always a limit to how much adaptive foresight, and what balance of foresight skills and specialties are useful in any context. Pursue any foresight type, skill, specialty, or method too much and you will waste resources and dissipate momentum. But ignore a sufficient number of them, and you will be flying blind and unprotected.

At present, most of us are usually in a state of too little foresight work. We are often unaware which foresight skills and functions we are ignoring, and how we need to change our mix to be more adaptive. By developing more evidence-based models, collaborating more closely, harnessing accelerating technology, and using constructive critique, we can and will do better for our planet, our clients, our families, and ourselves.

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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