Ariadne

Revolutionary cycles

Robert Hickson Mar 14, 2019

Like business and politics, futurism and foresight are susceptible to short-termism, shallow historical perspectives, and a focus on parts not the whole. That’s not necessarily bad, but you need to recognise what perspective you are taking. Good foresight needs to balance the tension between detail and distance. As one interviewee noted for the Thinking the unthinkable report: … Read More

One-way thinking on a two-way street

Robert Hickson Mar 03, 2019

“One-way thinking on a two-way street” is a line from Ogden Nash’s poem “Oh, Stop Being Thankful All Over The Place.” I see it as particularly apt for a lot of the futures speculation and prediction going on all over the place. There is a rapidly expanding market of “futures pundits” who confidently predict what is going to come to … Read More

The further future of healthcare

Robert Hickson Oct 23, 2018

Following on from my last post, the UK has just released its Future of healthcare policy paper. It’s essentially a fluffy digital health information policy. No timelines and no systems-level thinking (apart from IT systems). Just add digital and other technological bits, encourage innovation, and it’s sorted is the short version. I found it a dispiriting read. It … Read More

Healthcare in the future

Robert Hickson Oct 14, 2018

When thinking about the future of healthcare, images of robot surgeons, predictive algorithms, nanoparticles and nanobots in your bloodstream, CRISPR, and wearable or ingestible sensors may come to mind. A future of big technological advances that help get rid of once acute conditions (like cancers, infectious diseases), and improve the monitoring and treatment of chronic ones (like heart … Read More

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Thinking beyond the impossible burger

Robert Hickson Jul 12, 2018

The agricultural sector has long been called a “sunset industry”. If so, it’s more a long drawn out polar twilight than a quick tropical dusk. Rosie Bosworth has written about New Zealand becoming the ‘Detroit of Agriculture’. Scary stuff, for some. A welcome transformation for others, if you read the opinion pieces. But are predictions of the … Read More

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Jetpack joyrides

Robert Hickson Jun 19, 2018

The Jetpack has been a futuristic symbol of techno-utopia, and freedom, for a century. The first jetpack was conceived in 1919. It wasn’t until 1958, though, that the first working model was created. But they still seem further from general availability than the comparatively more pedestrian flying car, which I wrote about last year. There … Read More

Green sky thinking

Robert Hickson Apr 09, 2018

We are starting to see more scenarios about getting to a “decarbonised” future. One where greenhouse gas emissions are no longer a problem. Many scenarios are forgettable. The good ones have the power to create the change. Shell has added a new futures scenario, called Sky, to its New Lens scenario set. I think … Read More