Starting a futures discussion – some docs

I’m giving a talk to some masters students in London tomorrow and was asked to suggest something for them to read in advance.

I wasn’t quite sure where they were starting from, or where we might want to take the discussion in a single 90 minute session, so in the end I provided a selection. These are not samplings from the Dark Mountain, or cornucopian blatherings, more entries into some kind of conversation about how we think about the future, and why. Aside from that

The criteria were fairly simple arbitrary:

not by me

not too long

interesting

easily available

exemplifying different approaches/points of view

on my hard drive already

It occurs to me they might be of use to a few other people, so here is the list, with web links.

20 Ways the Future has Let Us Down

One of those, where’s my flying car? pieces…  LINK

A Primer on Futures Studies, Foresight and the Use of Scenarios  Dr Joseph Voros, Swinburne University of Technology LINK (pdf)

The Future of Humanity Nick Bostrom

Big picture/deep time thinking from Oxford LINK (pdf)

 

H. G. Wells – “The future is as fixed and determinate as the past”

(or: The Discovery of the Future) as printed in the New York Times, 1913 LINK (pdf)

 

The Future and How to Think About It.

(old Cabinet Office Paper – gives flavour of some government thinking in UK) LINK (pdf)

 

Outsights – 21 Drivers for the 21st Century

A flavour of independent consultancy in this area. LINK

 

Paul Saffo – Six Rules for Effective Forecasting

Harvard Business Review 2007  LINK

 

And I’ll add a couple of very recent documents which result from large scale, institutional foresight efforts from establishment global elite points of view –

The World Economic Forum – Global Risks 2013 LINK

US National Intelligence Council – Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds

(latest in a series dating back some years) LINK

Also very thought-provoking is this new essay in the American Historical Review on the conflicted roots of post WW2 futurology. LINK

Feel free to add others which might be better in the comments…

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One Comment on “Starting a futures discussion – some docs”

  1. Yoda Says:

    Of possible interest:
    Yannick Rumpala, Artificial intelligences and political organization: an exploration based on the science fiction work of Iain M. Banks, Technology in Society, Volume 34, Issue 1, 2012.


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