Chapter 9. Trends and Progress – Leading Positive Change

II. Science and Technology Foresight: Ten Areas of Trends and Progress Visions

Let us now attempt a brief, executive-summary level overview of trends and progress visions in ten areas of scientific and technological change. These summaries focus on the first two ST factors in the STEEPS global foresight domains. They look out over a three to twenty year foresight horizon and were first written for busy leaders and entrepreneurs. As I could only pick one categorization system, either science or technology, for the ten areas, I chose technology, and thus each category is called a “technologies overview”, and the relevant sciences are included in each category of technological change.

In my view, all ten of these categories are critically important to our accelerating future. I don’t think we can think well about any one of these areas, such as the future of security technologies, without also thinking carefully about the way change and constancy in the other nine areas will influence the future of that area in coming years.

I’ve tried to address some of the evolutionary opportunities and developmental constraints that will simultaneously exist in each category. I have also roughly ranked each of these categories from easiest to hardest to think about from a developmental perspective. As our society is presently biased against both seeing and accepting developmental trends and destinies, as we describe in Chapters 1, 7 and 11, many readers may find the arguments in the earlier areas more easily acceptable than the arguments in later areas. In the books section at the end of each overview, consider following the links to “look inside” recommended books on Amazon or Google Scholar. Each area ends with a few foresight and leadership questions for readers to consider. 

I’ve tried to state my biases and assumptions when relevant. You may have different biases and assumptions. This overview is guaranteed incomplete and wrong in many parts, but I hope it sparks useful discussion for students and leaders. Eventually, we’ll get these on a crowd-editable platform, per the Futurepedia project vision. Have disagreements or questions? Let me know in the comments or in private email, thanks.