Chapter 12. Visions and Challenges – Priorities for Professionals

Professionalizing and Continuing Our Training

Efforts to better define and professionalize our field have occurred periodically since the 1950s, and a few are happening now. In addition to the work Foresight U and FERN are engaging in with this guide, the APF is working to better define the scope of our field in its Professionalization Task Force, on which I am a minor member. Nils Müller at TrendONE in Berlin has started a Global Trends Association with a similar objective. Scholars at the EC’s Future-Oriented Technology Analysis group have recently published papers seeking better definitions of what foresight professionals do.

But we have a long way to go. Our (twenty-three or so) academic training programs do not talk very much to each other, or share more than a handful of general texts and curricula, and what they teach remains narrowly defined, and varies widely. Few of them have professional relationships with practitioners of, for example, the Twenty Foresight Specialty Associations in Chapter 1.

Our ten or so certificate programs, for their part, are very new and few, and most define foresight more narrowly than we do in this guide. A mature foresight field would have many more certificate than degree programs (we have the inverse situation at present), across a wide range of specialties. Even our best academic programs presently fall short of teaching the broad definition of foresight we have given here. We also have no program of continuing education. Foresight University will do our small part to offer both initial and continuing education options for professionals.

We foresighters often don’t see ourselves as management consultants first, which we all truly are, or get sufficient behavioral sciences, practitioner, and consultancy training prior to engaging in our work. We sometimes forget to empathize first with our client’s way of looking at the world, or learn to use their language, as opposed to our own. We may exclusively take a top-down approach to recommending change, rather than balancing it with a bottom-up one, seeking to incentivize and motivate our client organizations to change and empower themselves, using personal foresight tools, from the line worker, customer, and stakeholder on up.

Given the inadequacies of definitions, theories, validation, and training, it should come as no surprise that our field is only weakly professionalized. The organizations that lead it today, the WFS, the APF, and others, are underdeveloped relative to other professions. They’ve made some progress, but they are still unsure what our common core is, and what they should say about accelerating change, evolution, development, prediction, and quantification. Most don’t yet advocate skills and specialties certifications. Some still debate the primacy of the Three Ps. We also have few professional standards for ongoing, lifelong education.

Yet it is obvious that foresighters and futurists, to best fulfill our social role, need to be examples and champions of continuing education best practices, in a world of accelerating change. Fortunately, every inadequacy is an opportunity. As our world grows predictably ever richer, faster, and more complex, a few of our better programs are now waking up to the reality of accelerating change and rising to the challenge of better training and professional standards, including more scientific and statistical approaches. Please support those efforts wherever you find them.

Where the field is weak, you can be strong. Help our field grow up. Regularly attend one or more specialty foresight conferences and association that are strongly professionalized (see the list in Chapter 1), and bring their habits, methods, and materials into your primary foresight work.

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

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