Chapter 1. Introduction – Our Emerging Foresight Field

The Two Questions and Four Goals of Foresight

What is foresight concerned with, in its simplest definition?

The graphic below summarizes it as Two Questions, each of which includes two goals, giving us a total of Four Goals (objectives, tasks, duties) of good foresight work.

The Two Questions answer the “Why”, of foresight thinking and practice. They tell us why we must do it, as well as we can, as individuals, teams, organizations, and societies.

The first question we use foresight to answer is:

  1. What Could Harm or Disrupt Us?
    This question can be broken into two goals: Risk Assessment and Disruption Assessment. Risk is concerned with bad things that could happen, and Disruption is concerned with the big changes that are presently happening, with an emphasis on the potentially bad aspects of them, for us and others.

The second question we use foresight to answer is:

  1. How Do We Best Respond and Adapt?
    This question can also be broken into two goals: Opportunity Assessment and Adaptation Assessment. Opportunity is concerned with the potentially good strategies, innovations, and behaviors available to us, the best of which are most often, but not always, due to the disruptions occurring around us.  Adaptation is concerned with deriving and executing Strategy that will make us successful, at least in our current environment, an evolutionary (local, contingent, short-term) strategy, and sometimes, in all the environments we can imagine ahead of us, a potentially developmental (universal) strategy.

The Four Goals summarize the “What”of foresight thinking and practice. They tell us what the questions require us to pay attention to, as goals of our practice.

The Four Goals of Foresight make an acronym, RODA, that we will refer to when helpful in the Guide. In US government practice, a Record of Decision or Agreement (RODA) is a public document that records a decision made by a governing body, or an agreement between public actors, that is relevant to the public interest. That is a convenient coincidence, as seeing RODA is the fundamental job of all foresight work, a job that is certainly in the public interest.

The Two Questions and Four Goals of Foresight

We’ve already discussed System 1 and System 2 thinking. Notice now that Risk and Disruption are very strongly associated with System 1 thinking. Due to our evolutionary history, because until very recently we lived in an often hostile and lethal environment, most of us think of the downsides and dangers of change as our first, fastest, and strongest responses. This kind of thinking is led, at first, by our intuition and emotion. Notice next that Opportunity and Adaptation are very strongly associated with System 2 thinking. Because identifying opportunities and adaptive strategies usually require complex, sequential, and abstract thinking, these are our second, slower, and weaker mental responses. This kind of thinking is led, at first, by our logic and rational, evidence-seeking mind.

As we’ll see in later in this chapter, in the work of Dilip Jeste, people who have an inclination to defensive pessimism, and folks are are protectors and predictors, have a useful inclination to go deeper in imagining to Risk and Disruption. People who are more inclined to strategic optimism, and folks who are experimenters and innovators, naturally gravitate to Opportunity and Adaptation. Both kinds of thinking, and both kinds of minds, are critical to good foresight production.

Finally, notice that we’ve stacked the Four Goals in an alternating sequence, switching back and forth between System 1 and System 2 (defensive pessimism and strategic optimism), with each pair led by System 1, the first, fastest and emotionally strongest thinking type.  We’ll see another alternating sequence later, when we describe the Four Skills of Foresight, as an alternating sequence of divergent, convergent, redivergent, and reconvergent practices of future thinking.

Alternating sequences, cycles (the  Do loop), and several other patterns we’ll see later (positive and negative feedback, thresholds, differentiation, integration) are processes we find in all living systems. We are in search of the most universal and biologically-based models of thinking, foresight, action, and adaptation we can offer you in this Guide.

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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