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The Future of The Future

Pretty dumb title really. Taken literally, if it can be, it must surely be either a pleonasm or an oxymoron. Still, there's a pleasing symmetry to it, and if its good enough for HotWired, I might as well have a bit myself.
That Title
What I have in mind is a bit like The Future of Futurology but, bearing in mind the dictum that the best way to predict the future is to invent it, I'm going to plump for the explication The Future of Future Engineering. Future Engineering is not intended here to mean engineering in the future, but, the use of engineering methods (i.e. scientifically well founded systematic ones) for contriving the future of our choice. Having said all that, the topic is still hopelessly broad. After all, almost everything is either in the past or in the future, so the future encompasses about half of everything.
So I'll stick to the not too far distant future (say, the next half a century), and consider mostly this one industry, information engineering (encompassing knowledge engineering).
Plan of Campaign
First I'd like to say a few words by way of motivation, describing:
Contrasting Visions of Future Empowerment
which might persuade you that it matters whether we shape our future or submit to it.

Next we look at:

Some Trends in Business and Economics
which will contribute to the changing face of the future. These concern the downsizing, fragmentation or restructuring of corporations, tending to a greater use of market mechanisms rather than command structures, and the weaknesses in those market mechanisms which are exposed and emphasised by the peculiarities of the IT industry and emerging knowledge industries. (here figures a scenario developed by the MIT Inventing the Organizations of the 21st Century project called Shifting Networks of Small Firms described in Two Scenarios for 21st Century Organizations.)
Then some:
Forces Which Move the IT Industry
past and present. Large corporations such as IBM and Microsoft, prominent individuals like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, organisations such as industry consortia and standards bodies, universities and their researchers, and even science fiction writers like William Gibson or maybe Vernor Vinge.

And finally:

New Players Shape Up to Make the Future of IT (and more)
where we speculate about the role of creative independent future engineers. The discussion of future engineering will include consideration of The Players and The Methods. Each of these dimensions will be discussed Past, Present and Future, to provide the sense of dynamic and the foundation for the projection into the future. These two dimensions of analysis are tied together into one scenario, the Collaborative Independent Creatives Scenario.

see also: The Presentation


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