Chapter 1. Introduction – Our Emerging Foresight Field

How Large is Our Community?

The website Inside Jobs reports that “futurist” is one of several little-known job classifications with “awesome or unusual” perks, whatever that means. They don’t yet list “foresight specialist” “forecaster” or other foresight-related terms. They also estimate 75% of us hold bachelors, 21% masters, and 4% doctoral degrees, and that our salaries range from $33K to $111K. A 2009 BLS article on the futurist occupation guessed that there are just 500-1,000 practicing futurists in the US. But as we’ve seen, the label futurist is only the most public of the titles used in our profession, and far too narrow and simplistic a way to understand the foresight profession.

LinkedIn: The Top Global Business Social Network

LinkedIn: The Top Global Business Social Network

How many people would self-describe as foresight professionals using the definition we’ve given above? The top global business social network LinkedIn currently has 280 million users. This is about 60% of the 500 million people with a college degree globally, and about 40% of the world’s 700 million postsecondary-educated knowledge workers.  These 700 million are our pool of current potential foresight practitioners, a pool that should grow greatly in coming decades, as they represent only 20% of our current global workforce of 3 billion. Given current penetration rates, we can guess that LinkedIn’s current user base represents roughly a third of those who might self-identify as foresight professionals today, if given a survey. At present growth rates LinkedIn or its successor might contain two-thirds of our professional community by 2020, and even more circa 2030. In other words, our global social network of foresight practitioners will soon be relatively detailed and representative. Lots of good things are likely to happen as that occurs.

The better we define foresight’s full extent, the more talented and diverse our practitioner community will become. There are just 5,000 personal profile hits, out of 280M global users, in which the word “futurist” appears somewhere on a LinkedIn member profile. But searching a broader sample of foresight related words returns the following profile counts:

5,000 “futurist”

7K “actuarial and future”

8K “Delphi and future”

10K “probability and future”

12K “uncertainty and future”

18K “predictive and future”

24K “foresight”

28K “scanning and future”

29K “alternatives and future”

48K “scenarios and future”

60K “trend and future”
79K “prediction”

80K “statistical and future”

82K “forecast and future”

138K “risk managment & future”

166K “innovation and future”

169K “vision and future”

185K “predictive”

293K “scenarios”

415K “create and future”

587K “forecast”

690K “strategy and future”

1M “planning and future”

1.5M “innovation”

2.1M “future”

2.3M “forecasting”

7.6M “strategic planning”

[As “futures” is a dual-use term that describes both our set of future options and financial derivative trading (a specific type of investment foresight) we elected not to use that term in our searches above.]

Anyone want to conduct a statistical survey? There are methods for measuring the size of a large population you cannot directly survey, based on the redundancy that occurs in repeated small independent samples. In the absence of such a survey, we’d guess there are at least 10 million people around the world who would presently self-identify as foresight professionals, using the definition offered in our previous section. There might be ten times as many (100 million of our 700 million potential members) who have engaged in 2+1 or more of the Eight Skills for their organizations in their past, but do not do it routinely at present.

This is a very big community! It is waiting patiently to be better trained and networked. With roughly 8,000 attending the Association for Talent Development conference, 1,000 folks attending the annual World Future Society conferences, 1,000 attending Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals, and the same or less attending perhaps a couple hundred other planning, forecasting, scanning, trends, visioning, intelligence, risk management, ideation and related foresight conferences globally today, there is great room for better integration and growth of our profession.

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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