And as good as our brains have become at planning ahead, we’re still biased toward looking for near-term, simple threats. Subtle, long-term risks, particularly those involving complex, global processes, remain devilishly hard for us to manage.
Stuart's Found Futures 'ambient forecasting' postcard
Stuart Candy, a fabulous futurist chap of The Sceptical Futuryst blog fame will be joining the current Design Interactions MA first years in London for several sessions later this month about the future implications of synthetic biology, to help introduce them to futures and its usefulness in supporting design exploration — and vice versa. Im super jealous that I will not be a student during those weeks but am looking forward to being able to attend in a variety of gatherings he will be involved in. Including an event at the RCA between Architecture and Design Interactions focusing on ‘What if’ story telling. ‘Parallel Worlds’: projects that hint at alternative sets of underlying values, alternative political/economic/social situations.e about story telling.
I first met Stuart during the Lancaster University ‘Designing Safe Living’ Conference last July whilst I was the programme rapporteur for the resarch programme. He is a fantastically enthusiastic chap who is currently a researcher at the infamous Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies, and research fellow of The Long Now Foundation. A lecturer and PhD student in political science at UH-Manoa, and has worked with Jake Dunagan who is now at the IFTF on a variety of proejcts including FoundFutures, a series of public multimedia interventions that tangibly manifest alternative futures and create meaningful encounters with possibility and installations such as the “Postcards from the Future” project.
He also wrote a really interesting piece on his blog about the Tribal Futures open source design research and commerical partnership project between RCA DI and Vodafone that I was involved in as an embedded reporter. Commenting on the pedagogical approach this project had and its open source design approach the research blog fostered to create a communicaiton platform between students and Vodafone stakeholders: buzz by association it might also be called!
Both these mash ups make use of an individuals twwiter updates.
Twistory maps your daily/monthly twitters across your calendar to act as your own diary for you to look over : autodiary making over time.
TwttrStorm makes uses of wisdom of crowds and mass colaboration where you can ask the twitterers a question and receive an answer. It suggests a way to get mass opinion in an instant whether its to spark debate, get feedback or validate a prediciton. This also suggest the opportunity to make a self fulfilling prohecy. This predicitve feature is similar to the way inklingmarkets works and in some ways a paired down version of the more indepth MMORPG simulation environment that SuperStruct offers.
SAN FRANCISCO — There is a new common symptom of the flu, in addition to the usual aches, coughs, fevers and sore throats. Turns out a lot of ailing Americans enter phrases like “flu symptoms” into Google and other search engines before they call their doctors.That simple act, multiplied across millions of keyboards in homes around the country, has given rise to a new early warning system for fast-spreading flu outbreaks, called Google Flu Trends.
Google’s philanthropic arm Google.org has released a new site that tracks the incidence of flu in the US based on terms used in Google searches.The system uses aggregated, anonymous results from searches for flu-related terms and plots their locations.The approach, validated against Centers for Disease Control (CDC) flu records, provides timely data that could be two weeks ahead of government figures.
Catalist is a privately financed large-scale political data-mining shop and has documented the political activity of every American 18 and older: where they registered to vote, how strongly they identify with a given party, what issues cause them to sign petitions or make donations. Catalist offers progressive organizations access to a national database of voting-age individuals in the United States. Their databases are fed by 450 commercially and privately available data layers as well as firsthand info collected by the campaigns. Candidates are then able to target voters from ever-smaller niches. Not just blue-collar white males, but married, home-owning white males with a high school diploma and a gun in the household. Not just Native Americans, but Native Americans earning more than $80,000 who recently registered to vote.
The Delphi Party at EPIC (Photo: Kate Rutter)
The Delphi Party poster at EPIC
High Anxieties: The Mathematics of Chaos was an ace bbc4 doc that was on last week and shown at just the right time in amidst the economic MELTDOWN that is all around us!! David Malone has put together a film about the mathematics of chaos , why things happen the way the do and can they be predicted with a model? From the mechanicalreliability of Newtonian theory, through the shock of the Great Depression and the rise of equilibrium theory to chaos theory, which suggests that we are roller-skating in the dark, with no idea of when we’ll hit the one-in-three downward slope that lies somewhere ahead of us.
Superstruct! Play the game, invent the future.This fall, the Institute for the Future invites you to play Superstruct, the world’s first massively multiplayer forecasting game. It’s not just about envisioning the future—it’s about inventing the future. Everyone is welcome to join the game. Watch for the opening volley of threats and survival stories, September 2008.
On its own, REDS sounds like a major disaster, but it is not the kind of thing that could put an end to the world. But in Superstruct, a large-scale online game put on by the Institute for the Future, REDS is merely one of five independent “superthreats” coming to a head in 2019. The others involve 250 million climate change refugees, the steady breakdown of the global food supply, increasingly brazen attacks on the world’s cyber infrastructure and the rising international tensions surrounding the world’s failure to agree on standards for renewable energy.
PALO ALTO, Calif., Sept 23, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — The Institute for the Future (IFTF), an independent non-profit research organization, has launched a new research platform composed of Massively Multiplayer Forecasting Games (MMFGs). MMFGs are collaborative, open-source simulations of imagined future scenarios. Designed to address real world problems by harnessing the wisdom of crowds, IFTF’s new MMFG platform launches with multiple games this fall that invite diverse global groups of people to contribute to futures research through games. Unlike predictions markets where answers fall within a finite range of outcomes, the Institute has created MMFGs to gain insight into situations where the outcome is unknown.
Q: What is Superstruct?
A: Superstruct is the world’s first massively multiplayer forecasting game. By playing the game, you’ll help us chronicle the world of 2019–and imagine how we might solve the problems we’ll face. Because this is about more than just envisioning the future. It’s about making the future, inventing new ways to organize the human race and augment our collective human potential.
Random Walk—Characterized by volatility. You only find these in textbooks and in essays on probability by people who have never really taken decisions under uncertainty.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the man who wrote of the black swans, the highly improbable and unpredictable events that have massive impact, has recently written an essay for EDGE about how those who are putting society at risk are “no true statisticians”, but merely people using statistics either without understanding them, or in a self-serving manner. its entitled THE FOURTH QUADRANT: A MAP OF THE LIMITS OF STATISTICS and can be found on the EDGE site here>
Statistical and applied probabilistic knowledge is the core of knowledge; statistics is what tells you if something is true, false, or merely anecdotal; it is the “logic of science”; it is the instrument of risk-taking; it is the applied tools of epistemology; you can’t be a modern intellectual and not think probabilistically—but… let’s not be suckers. The problem is much more complicated than it seems to the casual, mechanistic user who picked it up in graduate school. Statistics can fool you. In fact it is fooling your government right now. It can even bankrupt the system (let’s face it: use of probabilistic methods for the estimation of risks did just blow up the banking system).