Will it be more like reality TV? Or will it be like a patch? [deployed over several days by The Global Internet Engineering Security and Operations communities: Red are vulnerable domains, green are protected]
Your ability to forecast is important for shaping the future. In fact, the ultimate criterion for a successful forecast is whether is helps people make better decisions. I used to forecast products we imported. Trust me, you learn to know your numbers - no product, no sales, no profit and no growth. Not good.
When we think about the future, what we are doing to some degree or another is infer what is to come from what is now. Going back to my sales forecast, I would make sure many variables were taken into account - especially that no one on my sales team was sandbagging (a technical term for lowering the forecast).
I've written about the work of The Institute of the Future as gleaned from the map of the future and Bob Johansen's book Get There Early before. In the forward, Deloitte's Stanton Smith shares his story of dealing with Parkinson's, his new "normal" as he calls it, and how he's learned to be data based and objective in dealing with his future, yet to remain open to new ways of looking at the data.
People with Parkinson's, he writes, need to learn to deal with dilemmas. He describes Johansen's book as the stage for beginning to connect the dots, to "think the unthinkable". As I'm writing this, leaders are facing a world of increased volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity - a world laced with dilemmas.
We, too, are facing dilemmas on a daily basis. Some of them revolve around the current tight economic cycle, some around the same tools we embraced with such enthusiasm - social media. My take is that we will need to grow our way out of both, and not in the way you may think.
Seeing the world differently can be uncomfortable, yet we must not only adapt, but learn to think differently not merely to survive, but to prosper. To learn to manage our own dilemmas, writes Smith, we need to understand and analyze the future context as well as the present facts using feelings and reason in equal measure.
I was reading some of the background research that generated a report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project survey of internet leaders, activists, and analysts to assess predictions about technology and its roles in the year 2020 [hat tip Geoff Livingston]. These are some of the key findings:
- The mobile device will be the primary connection tool to the internet for most people in the world in 2020. There are many reasons why mobile applications make sense - from lack of infrastructure in poorer countries to faster connectivity. This is great news for those in the mobile application business. However, beware of the get out of my phone sentiments.
- The transparency of people and organizations will increase, but that will not necessarily yield more personal integrity, social tolerance, or forgiveness. We just talked about trust.
- Voice recognition and touch user-interfaces with the internet will be more prevalent and accepted by 2020.
- Those working to enforce intellectual property law and copyright protection will remain in a continuing arms race, with the crackers who will find ways to copy and share content without payment.
- The divisions between personal time and work time and between physical and virtual reality will be further erased for everyone who is connected, and the results will be mixed in their impact on basic social relations.
- Next-generation engineering of the network to improve the current internet architecture is more likely than an effort to rebuild the architecture from scratch.
How do you sense the future to provoke new ways of understanding the present? Can we be open to new ways of looking at the data? Do you think we will learn from our mistakes, and begin to develop a body of ethics - personal and collective? Which one will prevail - being in love with everyone, or learning that not everyone is in love with us?