Chapter 1. Introduction – Our Emerging Foresight Field

I. Introduction

Inside Flap

Our world has more intelligent and helpful people, thinking in more truthful, useful, and beautiful ways about the future, than ever before. You’ll encounter quite a few of them in this Guide. This book will introduce you to two very important things: general futures thinking and the emerging field of professional foresight, people who get paid to think about the future for others. You may think you won’t ever do professional foresight, but if you look to the future for others, at any point in your career, you are doing professional foresight, and you owe it to yourself and your teams to understand best practices in that emerging field.

The Guide is written to help you get better at leading positive change, and to do that you need to have a better understanding of the future from personal, organizational, global, and universal perspectives. We call these the POGU Foresight Domains, and all four are fundamentally important areas of foresight education and practice. We introduce them in this order in the Guide, the first two in Chapters 2-6 and the second two in Chapters 7-11, and together they will help you see the great power and scope of the foresight field.

As part of the global and universal domain, the Guide will introduce you to exponential foresight, to the scientific, technological, and entrepreneurial levers that are doing by far the most to change our civilization today. While most areas of human affairs move quite slowly, our digital hardware and software tools and platforms, and the social value that entrepreneurs can create with them, get rapidly more powerful and intelligent with each passing year. As you’ll learn in this book, it is now obvious, to those willing to look, that many of these special systems will continue to accelerate for the rest of our and our children’s lives. In fact, some digital accelerations seem to be driven by the very laws of our universe, and the way it structured at the nanoscale. Good global foresight today begins with this recognition, and the resolve to steer these special accelerating processes and systems for human flourishing. They are increasingly dangerous and disruptive to some people and organizations, the faster they go.

This Guide will also offer a framework, evolutionary developmental (“evo devo”) foresight, to better understand what is predictable and what is unpredictable in the world, and to differentiate realistic from unrealistic futures. You owe it to yourself to understand why change occurs, and what we can most reasonably expect to create and lead in our lifetimes. This Guide certainly doesn’t have all the answers, but it will show you many ways you can use foresight today to make a far better world for yourself, your family, your teams, and your planet, and to see and avoid the pitfalls, blind alleys, and dystopias that we could easily get stuck in along the way.

In sum, the mission of the Guide is to help you see further, work better (improve your teams) and achieve more (create positive change). Get ready for an extraordinary future. This is a truly amazing and fortunate time to be alive!

Promoting Fearless Foresight – The Aim of this Guide

It is the goal of this Guide to inspire you to fearless foresight, to see the universe, humanity, yourself, and technology for what they really are, rather than what society or the headlines tell you. You will learn to look beyond the current debates, and understand the assumptions behind them, and make up your own clear-headed, evidence-based view of them for yourself and your teams.

A growing range of amazing, empowering, disturbing, and disruptive technologies are on the way, whether we want them to arrive or not. What we can control is the way they arrive, and how we integrate them into our societies. Long-anticipated futurist tropes like flying cars, smart robots, and eventually, even the much-debated technological singularity are coming, and many will be here much sooner than most people think. But the future’s not going to be the Jetsons. It will be something interestingly, and yet obviously, different.

For a key example of the different world we are creating, the kind of AI that is coming will be vastly more biologically-inspired, and far more personal, than most of us recognize. Our Chapter 8, on Personal AIs, is our exploration of what the emerging technological singularity is likely to look like over the next fifty years, to the average person, and all the ways that our currently overlooked and yet rapidly-learning digital selves can empower us, or lead us into dystopias that we need to recover from, if we don’t make the right choices with them as they grow up. The reality of these emerging digital selves is unavoidable, for every one of us that continues to use information technology. What we do with that self, whether we recognize it and take control of it or flee from and ignore it, is our social and moral choice, and those choices can empower or disempower us. Many different paths will be chosen, and not all of them will be productive, or safe.

As we’ll argue in Chapters 7 and 11, our species collective intelligence is growing at very fast exponential rates every year now, in both human society and in our new thinking machines. Groups of us are slowly coming to realize that we can build tremendously better futures, if we treat the future as seriously as we treat the past and the present. But how strong our foresight culture becomes, for individuals, teams, organizations, and societies is, like most things in the future, entirely up to us.

Helping our clients to uncover, create and envision better futures—to “level up” in the game of life—is what futurists and foresighters do. You will meet many of them in this Guide.

Let’s begin our journey with a brief introduction to the emerging and uniquely promising field of professional foresight. We need to start with a few definitions, and introduce a few key foresight types and categories. We will end this chapter with a brief and exciting vision of what our world may be like once it develops a stronger and broader foresight culture.

Welcome to the adventure.


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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