Chapter 9. Visions and Challenges – Priorities for Professionals

Foresight is Becoming Collaborative

The faster digital change goes, and the better our data and science get, the more we all become aware that big (as in, important) destinations like “teacherless education, driverless cars, and workerless factories” are looming directly ahead, to quote futurist Thomas Frey. Today’s foresighters and futurists have the technological winds at our backs like never before. We are learning that we can easily find collaborators anywhere around the world, and work online together using our powerful social networks, free collaboration tools like Google Drive (Docs) and Hangouts, and self-finance our projects via crowdfunding and crowdfounding platforms like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Assembly, and Quirky.

Massive online talent platforms like LinkedIn, oDesk, and Crowdspring, huge technical solver communities like InnoCentive, and new group foresight platforms like Shaping Tomorrow, TechCast, and Wikistrat are helping us anticipate, create, and manage change together progressively faster and more proficiently.

In our increasingly specialized streaming media, several future-oriented TV series now exist to educate the public about what may come, and we can soon predict one or more Future Channels to compete with our Sci-Fi Channels, and to complement our History Channels.

For many of us, social networks and context engines like Google News are increasingly displacing network media as our go-to sources of news and education, and these networks are becoming increasingly collaborative. Reddit’s r/Futurology community is now approaching 4.4 million “futurists”, and is perhaps the leading current location for group consumption and discussion of foresight material. Such networks will continue to grow, as people demand places to talk about and contextualize our accelerating world. As the last three billion of the poorly-connected get onto the web via wearable smartphones and the conversational interface, and as our collaborative filtering (semantic analysis and contextual delivery) of all that information gets ever smarter and more useful, we’ll see amazing new examples of small-group collaboration and specialization in science, education, products, services, and events, all around the world.