Ariadne

After the Pandemic

Robert Hickson Mar 26, 2020

It will pass. What happens next? Not immediately, but longer term. There are many opinions, fewer certainties. Will it “change everything!” as many confidently, and contradictorily predict? In this post I look at how foresight can help bound some of the uncertainties so you can more objectively consider the future.   Opinions and uncertainties Some current headlines … Read More

The futurist’s metaphorical menagerie

Robert Hickson Mar 16, 2020

  Futures folk like animal metaphors for uncertainties. “Black swans” is a favourite one, and currently doing the rounds with opinions about COVID-19. The term “black swan”, popularised by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his 2007 book of the similar name, refers to unanticipated events with big impacts. However, COVID-19 and other epi- or pandemics aren’t black swans. They … Read More

The speeds of life

Robert Hickson Mar 08, 2020

  Many people think that the speed of change today is unprecedented. That’s just because we have short memories. Historians focused on Western civilisation, like Vaclav Smil, point back to the late 19th and early 20th Century when electricity, radio, the telegraph, telephone, phonograph, cars, planes, anaesthetics, and (a bit later) antibiotics emerged. Smil … Read More

Futures Fatigue and Futures Inertia

Robert Hickson Feb 18, 2020

Nobody thinks about the next century anymore. That at least is Sci-Fi writer William Gibson’s observation (in this BBC 4 short interview, starting at 1:43:50 ). He calls it “Futures Fatigue”, but isn’t judgemental about it. Gibson notes that in the 20th century speculation about the 21st (and beyond) was common. Now the focus is much more … Read More

Science in the 20’s – part 2

Robert Hickson Feb 02, 2020

  Will the 2020’s be a case of, to borrow the words of the illustrious Martian botanist Mark Watney,  “sciencing the sh*t” out of the big problems facing us? In some cases yes. In some cases no, because it isn’t science that is missing. In many other cases, maybe. If we can improve the system. Read More