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The futurologist's handbook.
Studying the Future
In a linear conception of time, the future is the portion of the timeline that is still to occur, i.e. the place in space-time where lie all events that still have not occurred. In this sense the future is opposed to the past (the set of moments and events that have already occurred before) and the present (the set of events that are occurring now).
The future always had a very special place in philosophy and, in general, in the human mind because a huge part of human life needs at least a forecast of events that are to occur.
It is perhaps possible to argue that the evolution of the human brain is in great part an evolution in cognitive abilities necessary to forecast the future, i.e. abstract imagination, logic and induction. The earliest cave paintings depicting the hunting for animals did not depict the past, they allowed to anticipate the future, as only a man can do. Inferring what is to come from what is here is what our ancestors did and what we do with futurology. Knowing the future, imagining it, predicting it is in the nature of humans.
Apocryphology the study of fictitional worlds that may on the surface be a work of future theory but is actually just an attempt at daydreaming, and is classified as escape literature rather than interpretative or practical literature. Theorizing about the future is not mere daydreaming, nor the work of much of science fiction such as Star Wars, Star Trek, and StarCraft, to name a few. A discipline has evolved from humanity's need to feel secure about the coming of the future, and search for hope and improvement in the quality of life manifested in many of the world's religions. That said, the end-of-the-world scenarios that have been revealed through religions, and which is more concerned with symbolism and rewarding the good, also fall under this class of future theory.
Futurology is an analytical, reasoned-out prediction of the future, and is what this site is concerned with. This takes the form of forecasts by company analysts, trends in oil prices and fashion design, etc. Though many different versions of the future abound, the study is much more difficult to master and its general principles must be learned through study.
Futures studies is the discipline of exploring possible ends that the beginnings of today and yesterday will transform into. It is a rapidly expanding area of research that has ever increasing impacts on success, both for organizations and individuals, due to the fact that society is so rapidly changing. Many predictions have been turned into reality. Science fiction authors have made many technological predictions, both correct and incorrect, starting with Jules Verne, Herbert Wells and Alexander Belyaev.
Predicting the future is by no means an easy task, and requires considerable erudition, creativity, wisdom, and insight. This is because the future will certainly not be the same as it is today, and if we use what we see around us today to predict the future we will not add into play components from both the past and the future. No one predicted the power of a nuclear explosion before Einstein, who knew his physics. Likewise, no contemporary of Volta predicted the impact of electricity. The amount by which the world can change in just a few decades is beyond comprehension, and clearly beyond prediction. However, part of the joy of forecasting is the process of exploring the possibilities and of searching for future truths.
See main article: Certainties
In the realm of futures studies, there are few certainties indeed. Those that exist will likely exist for all time. A few of them follow.
- Only the existence of something can cause something else to exist (These two should be related.)
- Logical procedures and the resultant Mathematical formulas
- There will always be change in the universe.
- Universal laws (entropy will always increase)
- Human nature will remain constant (though this can be interpreted in many different ways)
- The farther we predict the future, the more uncertainty is involved.
In scenario planning relative certainties are often thought of as assumptions. Those statements about the future that are very likely to occur and hence they can be written in any scenario. They also do not represent variables or unknowns about the future so they are not typically adjusted to one extreme or the other to enrich a set of strategic planning scenarios.
This page contains a list of "Relative Certainties" for strategic planning scenarios out to 2020. For purposes of this page, these relative certainties are presented in two tiers. The first tier (thirteen) is composed of the most important items for the future out to 2020. They are not listed in any specific order. The second tier (ten) is another set of certainties, but of lesser importance.
The original thirteen certainties were extracted from the National Intelligence Council2020 project -- "Mapping the Global Future." Please feel free to edit either tier, and move an item from one tier to another. If you do elect to edit the first tier, please post the rational for your change in the discussion section of this page and provide references, or supporting material to explain or justify your suggested changes.
First Tier, out to 2020
- Globalization is largely irreversible, but likely to become less Westernized.
- World economy will be substantially larger.
- Increasing number of global firms will facilitate the spread of new technologies.
- Rise of Asia will occur and possibly the advent of new economic middle-weights.
- Established powers will have increasingly aging populations.
- Energy supplies “in the ground‿ are sufficient to meet global demand.
- Power of nonstate actors is growing.
- Political Islam will remain a potent force.
- Some states will see improved WMD capabilities.
- An arc of instability will span from the Middle East, Asia, to Africa.
- Great power conflict escalating into total war is unlikely.
- Environmental and ethical issues will come even more to the fore.
- US will remain the single most powerful actor economically, technologically, militarily.
Second Tier, out to 2020
- World population will be between 7 and 9 billion people.
- Technological advances will maintain the present rate or advance slightly faster
- No new source of energy will be found, the world will continue to be fossil fuel driven
- World economic growth will be between 1.5% and 4% but variations among nations will continue to exist.
- No major anti-US alliances will be formed, but NATO as an institution will be changed, and less likely to be used for coalition planning.
- States will have increased reliance -- especially at the end of the period -- in bilateral alliance relationships.
- War on Al Qaeda will wane through the time period, but other terrorist threats will remain or emerge.
- Oil prices will remain at their recent prices of $40 to 50 per barrel -- adjusted for inflation.
- There is at least a moderate probability of another Major Theater War involving the United States in the time frame.
- There will be discontinuous growth rates – some regions will grow, others will remain stagnant, income inequality will increase.
See main article: Uncertainties
In any attempt at theorizing upon the future, a given amount of uncertainty exists; and as the theory becomes more specific or forecasts further into the future, that amount of uncertainty increases. Certainties and uncertainties come mainly through analysis of current trends, laws of society, and laws of nature.
Key Scenario Variables
In scenario planning relative uncertainties are often thought of as key drivers or variables that may shape the future. They also represent variables or unknowns about the future that are typically adjusted to one extreme or the other to enrich a set of strategic planning scenarios.
This page contains a list of "Relative Uncertainties" for strategic planning scenarios out to 2020. For purposes of this page, these relative uncertainties are presented in two tiers. The first tier (thirteen) is composed of the most important uncertainties for the future out to 2020. They are not listed in any specific order. The second tier (ten) is another set of certainties, but of lesser importance.
The original thirteen certainties were extracted from the National Intelligence Council 2020 project -- "Mapping the Global Future." Please feel free to edit either tier, and move an item from one tier to another. If you do elect to edit the first tier, please post the rationale for your change in the discussion section of this page and provide references, or supporting material to explain or justify your suggested changes.
First Tier, out to 2020
- Will globalization pull in lagging economies; and to what degree will Asian countries set new “rules of the game?"
- What will happen to the gaps between "haves" and "have-nots", will there be backsliding by fragile democracies; can the international system manage or contain financial crises?
- Will increased connectivity challenge governments?
- Will the anticipated rise of China/India occur smoothly?
- Will the EU and Japan be able to adapt work forces, welfare systems, and integrate migrant populations, will the EU integrate to become a superpower?
- Will political instability in producer countries cause major supply disruptions?
- How willing and capable are states and international institutions to accommodate emerging actors?
- Will religiosity challenge the unity of states and be a source for potential conflict, how will jihadist ideology grow?
- Will there be more or fewer nuclear powers, will terrorists be able to acquire biological, chemical, radiological, or nuclear weapons?
- What precipitating events leading will lead to the overthrow of regimes?
- How robust will the ability of international actors/institutions be to manage flashpoints and competition for resources?
- Will new technologies create or resolve ethical dilemmas?
- Will other countries more openly challenge Washington, and will the US lose its scientific and technological edge?
Second Tier, out to 2020
- Will there be very high demographic perturbations (either high or low) from expectations?
- Will the frequency and importance of shocks to the physical environmental be significant?
- Will world economic growth be much higher or lower than expected?
- Will there be broad global religious or ethnic conflicts?
- Will the level of technology diffusion (know how and distribution) be greatly increased or collapsed?
- Will state stability increase or decrease significantly?
- Will the state alliance and partnership increase or decrease radically?
- Will the US foreign policy engagement philosophy shift radically to either aggressive or passive for the majority of the period?
- Will the level of terrorism grow or subside radically?
- Will the US and developed states face a radical increase or decrease in asymmetric security, economic, and political threats?
- Will the level of regional threats (regional tensions) that must be dealt with grow or fall radically from recent historical norms?
- Will multilateral institutions become very strong or very weak in the future?
Points of Divergence
Points of Divergence are particular, specific changes that have far-reaching consequences. Examples include the Schrodinger Equation, the Manhattan Project, and 95 Theses, to name a few. These points of divergence should be labelled in any theory, primarily because they are not likely to happen yet are necessary for the remainder of the theory to be supported. Note that certain events--such as Quantum Theory, which came from the Schrodinger Equation; the bombing of Hiroshima, which came from the Manhattan Project; and the Diet of Worms, which came from the 95 Theses--are NOT points of divergence because they follow logically from the parent event which WAS a point of divergence. Points of divergence are direct causes for alternate timelines, as explained below.
See main article: Timelines
Timelines are chronologies of a duration event (such as World War 2) and consist of a string of events that occur within a particular time, place, or topic frame. Timelines generally diverge from particular changes, or points of divergence, such as the assassination of Franz Ferdinand. Because there are so many possible points of divergence, and because each one acts as a watershed that splits a future into two separate futures, the sheer number of timelines quickly becomes lengthy, and form groups based on how late into the future the point of divergence occurs. One way to deal with this is to establish a Time Tree, in which the one present splits into a few forseeable near futures and multitudes of marginally forseeable far futures. In this Wikia, this can be done by establishing the Points of Divergence as disambigulation pages that serve as a "fork in the road".
The Standard Timeline
In order to establish a view on the future, we must first establish a common timeline which will reasonably follow from past experience and current events. In this way, we will be able to formulate a forecast that is both reliable and specific, instead of prematurely branching off into scenarios. This article will be devoted to establishing such a central timeline.
From the Standard Timeline, we may branch off into various scenarios through the use of Points of Divergence. The first branches will be the most likely, though not as likely as the Standard Timeline, to occur; the subsequent branches off those branches will be even less likely. In this way, the probability of certain events occurring in the future will splinter and become more specific.
Often in scenario planning exercises participants will be asked to build a list of wildcard events. These are low probability events, but if they were to occur they would have a significant impact on the future environment. It is helpful to look at the key certainties (assumptions), key uncertainties (possible variables) and wildcards all together. Such a review will often result in an item moving from one list to another. Either a certainty is judged a variable, or a wildcard is judged not that unlikely an event and hence also worthy of consideration as a variable.
Sessions that are to develop wildcards are often hard to control because participants are tempted to identify those issues which–while truly wildcards—would be very hard for senior managers or decision makers to plan for. Examples of the later would be a meteor hitting the earth, or a visit by extraterrestrials. Please feel free to add to the list of wildcards below.
Wildcards out to 2020
- Dramatic climate change, such that the rate of change of regional or global temperature (up or down) is beyond recent (10,000 years) historical norms.
- Dramatic change in human lifespan enabled by a medical breakthrough.
- Mass Terrorism Attack causing 10,000 or more deaths.
- Nuclear war between regional powers (India-Pakistan, Pakistan/Iran, Iran/Saudi Arabia, etc.)
Extrapolation is the key to understanding and predicting where the world will go toward in the future. We see trends all around us, from the increasingly advanced technology that we call 'progress' to the rise of China to world power status to the increasing rate of change. These trends will likely continue into the foreseeable future, and form the core of all of our predictions. Events that are not warranted by extrapolation methods will not be valuable. In order to be an effective forecaster, you must first learn the trend-recognition skills crucial to futurology.
It is often mentioned that we tend to overestimate short-term progress and underestimate the long-term progress. In the short-term people are often overoptimistic in regards to when particular products can be brought to market and do not foresee all possible setbacks. With larger time scale the dominant problem is that people simply do not realise all the possibilities and all synergetic effects.
This leads to widely divergent opinions about future technologies, where predictions from supposedly qualified experts range from "in 25 years" to "in 5 centuries" to "never". While it's certainly hard to argue for the validity of your own "good" forecasts, you can rest assured that the majority of the "experts" are uninformed and their methodology is nothing more than making uninspired random guesses.
While there is no obvious way to reliably predict the timeframes of future developments, there must be some good shortcuts.
- A possible way is to find the key technology that is required for certain development and can be described quantitatively, e.g. carbon nanotubes for space elevator and their length. This parameter can then be plotted on the time graph and some reasonable forecasts can be made.
- Another way is to guess the number of necessary technological iterations (i.e. generations of the technology) and use the length of R&D cycles as the basic time unit. For example, this can be done to predict when a certain type of a plane/car/CPU can be developed.
- It may be so that the attitude of the society (including the masses, the scientific establishment, mainstream media, etc.) follows a similar path with many different technologies. In that case, when a formerly disputed prediction is finally voiced by a few reputable publications, we can be reasonably sure that the predition is most likely true, but the majority simply hasn't yet catched on and should be ignored.
- We can note similarities with and the models behind technology adoption that have come before: The uptake of email addresses, use of Wikipedia, participation in social networking technologies.
- Perhaps we can look at activities surrounding devloping technologies and draw some parallels with how older technologies have developed. Comparing and contrasting different industries in different times can reveal common patterns, which can be used in predicting. For example, one may ask: In what ways does the development of robotics resemble the development of computers? Are spending and investment patterns similar in large corporations and governments? What kinds of activity are we seeing in amateur communities? How are standardization efforts progressing, are there standard component interfaces? Are there new markets emerging (e.g. a parallel between hobbyist markets for early personal computers and toy robots)? Is experimentation with new products and technologies and their adoption happening in the same way as it was with an older technology before?
Gantt chart, a popular type of bar chart, showing the interrelationships of how projects, schedules, and other time-related systems progress over time (see more on Gantt chart at Wikipedia), can be considered as a method of analyzing of future.
Gantt chart as model of dependent events Gantt chart represents a model of time development consisted of events connected with dependency relations. The dependency is strict - an event can happen (be performed) if and only of the events it depends on happened. The events have durations so the model allows us to estimate when these events could happen and what to be done to make it happen.
Gantt chart as a model of
- future — Suppose we have some future which should be analysed. If the future can be broken into events and those events are strictly dependent, then we can construct the Gantt Chart for the future and make some predictions about when and what happens. If we are talking about the social and technological development of the human civilization, the events are mostly deeds of groups or individuals. To distinguish them from natural events like rain, hurricanes, or an ice age, we call them Artifacts.
- or past — the causality chains in the past are exactly the same as we have in future, so to analyze them, we could use the same methods. We should find the proper set of Artifacts, define their dependencies, and construct the dependency chart. It is important because of we can then test and improve our methods based on a much wider set of factual data.
How to Analyse Suppose we want to make a statement about the possibility of some artifact in the future. To utilize the Gantt chart method, we have to define the dependencies of that artifact upon other artifacts, which could be smaller, simpler, more predictable or even already in existence. Repeating this step for dependent artifacts, we could produce a history for the estimated artifact in the form of the dependency tree. Having the dependency tree (Gantt chart) for that artifact, we now can make more elaborate statements about future.
Restrictions and Enhancements The Gantt Chart model of causality is based on strict causality - an event can happen (be performed) if and only if the events on which it depends actually occur. This is typical for certain kinds of activities - such as an engineering project - but for other activities such as research, it could be different. After all, an event can be caused by several different causes, or not exactly caused but the probability (related to time unit) of the event can depend of presence, extend or age of another Artifacts. Having this enhanced dependency we can construct an enhanced Gantt Chart.
S-curve (S-shaped curve) is a graph commonly encountered when plotting various aspects of technological developments. For example, the growth of knowledge in a newly opened field (Isenson and Hartman models) and the adoption of a new technology are often very well described by an S-curve.
The illustration shows how successive technologies for tire cords (cotton, rayon, nylon and polyester) outperformed older ones and replaced them in the marketplace. After a certain point, spending money on research in the old field is simply pointless and the old technology dies out.
Described by Gartner consultants, the "hype curve" shows over-hype at the beginning, then a crash ("trough of disillusionment") as inflated expectations get pushed aside by the reality of performance, then a gradual restoration as the benefits are better understood and realized, mature and stable offerings emerge.
With hype cycle, we tend to overestimate the potential of the technology early in its life cycle and underestimate it after initial disappointments. As we get closer to realising the initial promises, our perception of it gets closer to the "correct" one.
Scanning is the activity of rapidly surveying news media, digesting the literature of science, the literature of popular culture, the literature of just about everything. It is usually conducted at the beginning of a foresight study and is considered to be a pre-requisite to any foresight studies. Environmental scanning involves analysing major trends, issues, innovations, events and ideas in the general environment. The purpose of environmental scanning is to gather information that will aid decision makers in situations where uncertainty is high. In scanning, the reader may spot emerging issues. Somewhere where people gather, something new is happening.
To a person versed in scanning, everything fits. After a while news about technological developments stop being mere curiosities and become manifestations of future achievements.
The basic idea of the Delphi method is as follows:
- create a list of statements/questions
- have the experts give their ratings/answers/etc.
- make a report - send it out to everyone
- have the experts revise their answers
- make the second report
You now have the best answers that current expert knoweldge allows. The methodology for Delphi (how to carry out every step) is has been well developed.
Collaborative analysis involves an integration of the various concepts that we encounter in the quest for forecasting the future. Each person has a particular view toward how the future will be, and in any group of such people there will be many ideas to discover and share. The more people contribute their ideas to the group and the more they can work off ideas submitted to the group, then the more accurate the prediction will become. Therefore, articles such as this one are meant to be of community collaborative value.
Innovation is the introduction of new ideas, goods, services, and practices. An essential element for innovation is its application in a commercially successful way.
Innovation has punctuated and changed human history (consider the development of electricity, steam engines, motor vehicles, et al). Economic planners now tout innovation as the route to technological fixes to the crises of capitalism (for instance, achieving environmental sustainability and cleaning up damage), and it is a central element of many policies to increase competitiveness at corporate and national levels. Diffusion of innovations theory, the way in which innovations get accepted by new groups of consumers, was pioneered by Everett Rogers, who drew from early studies by Gabriel Tarde.
Whether innovation is mainly supply-pushed (based on new technological possibilities) or demand-led (based on social needs and market requirements) has been a hotly-debated topic. One point of view is that "recognition of demand is a more frequent factor in successful innovation than recognition of technical potential." (Marquis 1969)
Rate of Change
One difficulty that futurologists may be encountering is what's often viewed as an ever-quickening rate of change. The idea is that not only is progress advancing, but the rate of that progress (the rate of change) is also increasing. In addition, the rate of THAT rate of change is also increasing, and so is THAT rate. The rate of change can be modeled by the equation
for which the derivative and antiderivative (the rate of change of, and the amount of progress caused by, respectively) are also e^x. Every degree of change is increasing by the same degree of change.
This would mean that, for a futurologist, the amount of change that one sees in the last 100 years would repeat itself in only a few decades (such as 2020-2060, or 2060-2080). If true, this translates into a tremendous burden when predicting beyond twenty years into the future; one would need to careful that, in one's predictions, more and more technologies would be discovered faster and faster in any timeline.
There are, however, some challenges to the idea that the pace of change is increasing. Physicist Jonathan Huebner of the Naval Air Warfare Center recently conducted an analysis in which he found that the number of key innovations per person peaked in the last 19th or early 20th century, depending on which criteria he used. Huebner (2005) suggests that the slowing pace of technological development is probably linked to either "an economic limit of technology or a limit of the human brain that we are approaching" (p. 985). If true, then the pace of change may well slow rather than gain speed in coming years, making the more extreme visions of the next century less likely to occur.
Article: Template:Rate of Change
Whatever happens in the 21st century and beyond, it is likely we can't anticipate its scope. To illustrate, let's go not to the future, but to the past — about a century ago. No one in January 1900, not even Edison or Einstein, could have fully understood the sweep of change to come ... and we're talking about what was, in 1900, the immediate future.
Consider the earth-shaking events of the first decade of the century:
- In 1900, Freud published “The Interpretation of Dreams,” in effect creating modern psychology.
- In 1901, Marconi sent the first wireless radio signal across the Atlantic Ocean, a development that eventually led to “Cellular Phones.”
- In 1902, Georges Melies released the cinematic landmark “A Voyage to the Moon,” which along with “The Great Train Robbery” released the next year, invented the storytelling style we know as “the movies.”
- In 1903, the Wright brothers left the bonds of earth ... for 12 seconds.
- In 1905, Einstein developed the theory of relativity with his famous E=mc2, beginning a chain of events that would allow us to destroy the earth.
- In 1907, plastic — of which our world is made — was first synthesized.
- In 1908, Ford first mass-produced the automobile, resulting in 3 a.m. car alarms and Highway 17, among other curses of contemporary life.
Taken together, those events changed Life As We Know It in a million overt and subtle ways. No feature writer alive at the time could have anticipated such things without the help of the supernatural.
So it is now. If the last turn-of-the-century is any indication, whatever happens is likely to happen quickly and make life a lot more interesting in the meantime. Pay close attention, keep good records. Those thawing from the cryogenic deep sleep are going to want to know every detail.
The mind can only do so much in a given time, and for one mind to analyze a tremendous body of data can be overwhelming. Therefore, our minds unconsciously turn to an age-old method called oversimplification in order to make sense out of the confusion. This is NOT ACCEPTABLE for predicting the future, and we must try our best to make our future timeline as complex as possible and as complete as possible, for there will always be things left out. A manifestation of this is the Single Advancement Problem, the tendency of forecasters to tacitly assume that only one significant technological change will happen in society, but meanwhile everything else will stay same as it is right now.
Many science fiction stories and many futurist scenarios suffer from the "single advancement" problem. The author takes us 20-70 years into the future to tell a cautionary tale about one specific technological development (that they are most interested in), but sacrifices the believability of the future world. Even advanced thinkers routinely ignore the complex interplay of changes in different technological areas. Nanotech proponents ignore developments in the fields of artificial intelligence and virtual reality, space aficionados ignore expected advances in biotech and genetics, etc.
Given the tremendous variety and possibility of the world, it is unlikely that any one trend will continue forever. For example, the exponential increase of horses on city streets led to predictions that the streets would soon be knee-deep in horse manure. For example, one forecaster devised a Dyson Sphere -- a thin orb surrounding the sun 23 000 times the size of Earth -- and believed that one day humanity will actually build one. However, the amount of time needed for such a venture will be so great that in the interim there will be something else developed, which will cause the construction of the said Dyson Sphere to be canceled. Another example can be seen in the "more power in the future" approach, modeled by bombs to nukes to a planet destroyer seen in Star Wars and Ender's Game. It is very unlikely that trends will remain THAT constant.
In crafting a vision of the future, many forecasters jump to the conclusion that their theory must be right because it makes sense to them, or because they feel particularly strongly. An example would be that "Christianity will be the religion of everyone in the world". That was expected centuries ago during the Holy Wars and has still yet to happen, and probably never will because there are fanatics in all religions. Another example, that socialism will prevail, was also thought definite by Karl Marx and has yet to prove the validity of his claim. Clearly, one must be careful in saying that something will occur with absolute certainty.
Future shock is the result of the accelerated rate of overwhelming technological and social change. According to Alvin Toffler, who first introduced this concept in this 1970 book Future Shock, this change leaves people disconnected and suffering from "shattering stress and disorientation".
Tofler actually spoke more about "present shock", failure to adapt to the changes in present reality. With the development of futurology and transhumanism there is now lots of information about the future that people have to adapt to as well. Like when Discovery Channel makes a documentary drama about the future expedition to Mars , people need to somehow make sense of it.
Future Shock Levels are the levels where different people find themselves in terms of their concept of the future, and what they are willing to consider and what is too futuristic or even shocking for them. The classification was proposed by Eliezer Yudkowsky.
Future shock is already visible; older people cannot understand the new technology evolving around them (such as computers and the internet) and would prefer older technology to newer ones. As the rate of change continues to increase, this problem will be come more and more accentuated.
However, future shock will never become too overwhelming for the majority of people. This is because scientists cannot ever come up with new ideas that will cause future shock because their own future shock will prevent them from discovering these new concepts.
Code of Writing
In the future wikia, the code of writing should be followed to ensure quality in the various pages on the site. In order to write effectively and convincingly, please take into consideration the following:
Entries should be:
- about future
- written in popular style
When you do not have time or ability to write a good entry, just dropping a link or two also helps. At least the next person would know where to begin.
What not to do
- Don't add entries with only a link on them.
- Don't add irrelevant entries that do not describe the future.
- Don't add unjustified random speculative predictions.
- If you aren't qualified to write about a particular aspect of the future, don't claim to be.
Bias, Justification, Limitation, and Accuracy
Bias: Bias is inherent in every writer's drafts. However, it is not hard to pinpoint. To clear your articles and edits of bias, please proofread them from the perspective of an opponent or the general public. Use of bias appears to strengthen your writing, but it actually hinders it, considering the ability of most people to see and discredit biased writing.
- Example: "All Islamists are terrorist fundamentalists"-- not true, and definitely will result in animosity from more readers than just Islamists.
- Example: "In the future, people must be futurewise or they shall be left behind"-- while this may be true, it does not reflect the beliefs of the majority of the population, who are psychologically more prone to being conservative than radical.
Justification: In any prediction, there should be a good reason for its occurrence. Therefore, they should be justified appropriately. In doing so, you strengthen your article by showing why it is possible or probable.
- Example: "We all gonna die."-- why? If you are going to make statements that are unlikely to occur (and you should know what they are), then you should also take the time to explain why you think so. Don't just put this up with the intention of stirring up animosity.
- Example: "An asteroid will hit the earth and lots of people will die."-- this may be possible, and therefore qualifies as a Point of Divergence. However, you should justify the claim through reasoning.
Limitation: Given the uncertainty in any prediction, almost nothing presented on this Futures Wikia can be taken as definite. Therefore, take care to avoid terms such as "will" and "must" or otherwise self-assured langugae, which will only cause readers to discredit you as a novice, and replace them with words such as "maybe" or categorize your piece as a scenario.
- Example: "We cannot know the future."-- true, but then exactly what is the future? We can know some things to a reasonable extent.
- Example: "Wikipedia gives all the information on all topics that you may want to know."-- Wikipedia is HUGE, but as the contributors are not screened before-hand, the reliability of the source is of great controversy in schools.
Accuracy: Please take the time to proofread your work. Using Microsoft Word's grammar and spelling check will save you much time, and also pinpoint your weak areas. Also, make sure that your work is reliable and plausible.
- Example: "See main article: Futur:Concepts"-- this is spelled wrong. Especially when it comes to links, make sure they work.
- Example: "You've folowed a link to a page that yet doesn't exist."-- error in both spelling and grammar.
Concepts pages are identified by an attempt to elucidate some aspect of futures theories, predictions, and problems suffered by forecasts. This category is nearing completion.
If you are planning to write an article under this category, please consult the list of all Futures Wikia articles to ensure that the topic is not already covered. If there is no similar subject then you may begin a new article for that particular subject. Please do NOT modify the Concepts article directly; that page will be periodically updated from other basic concepts articles selectively.
Articles falling under this category should have the marker of "category: concepts" somewhere on the page and have a template listing all articles in the category.
General predictions show the trend in which a particular aspect of technology, society, or politics is headed toward, or a logical, very likely change or development in the future. Please do not assume that all of your forecasts will be definitively true, as there are cases in which developments cannot be foreseen.
Articles falling under this category should have the marker of "category:predictions" somewhere on the page and have a template listing all articles in the category.
Scenario predictions show the future given a particular hit-or-miss point of divergence and are therefore more specific in scope but less probable, requiring that the given point of divergence take place sometime within a foreseeable time frame in the future.
Scenarios lead to other scenarios; therefore, some scenario pages may have links to even more specific and improbable scenarios that have the same point of divergence plus one or more additional points of divergence that characterize the new scenario. Therefore the result is a scenario tree, also known as a time tree.
Articles falling under this category should have marker of "category:(group of scenarios related by a common point of divergence)" somewhere on the page and have a template listing all of the said scenario articles.
In addition, scenario pages with only one point of divergence will have multiple sub-scenarios, which should be listed using bullet form (* lists) at the end of the scenario article with links to the sub-scenarios. In effect the reader takes a particular path into the future as he/she chooses a scenario, a sub-scenario, and a sub of that sub-scenario, etc.
Huebner, Jonathan. "A possible declining trend for worldwide innovation." Technological Forecasting & Social Change, 72, 2005, pp. 980-986.
Explore the Future--All pages longer than 3000 bytes--pages longer than 10,000 bytes in bold--First see Standard Timeline