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Factastic Future Engineering

Factastic Future Engineering is a method grounded in factastic epistemology for proactive prediction of the future.

My first experiment with the method is Logical Revolutions. This sketch of the method is prepared concurrently with work on logical revolutions. Prior to begining this work I had been attempting to describe how logic might be exploited in the future in work centering on engineering logic. In that case I had been attempting to describe a vision of the future application of logic first and then go on to consider how to get there. This is pretty hard to do, and so I decided that it would be better to focus on things which have happened and things which are happening using these to make suggestions about what will happen.

So the method runs something like this:

1. Select Axe (to grind)
Chose something important which you think should and believe could happen in the future. (If you don't think its important it probably won't be worth going through the rest of this recipe.)
3. Historical Studies
Now turn to the past find out what has happened which casts any light upon the future changes under consideration. In the light of history is it at all plausible that it will happen? Can you see from our common experience how it might come about? Put together concise stories on historical themes which relate to the anticipated future changes. Focus on transitions, why they occur and what they achieve. Make full use of what you can find elsewhere on WWW, never write what is already available to refer to, but the odds are that not all the particular themes you need can be covered by a simple reference.
5. Plot out the Future
Now tell the story of how it will happen, continuously relating the story to the "hard facts" about past and present. The idea is that this makes the story more intelligible and more credible.
2. Think about whether, why and how it will happen.
This is to soak it into your brain. You can try writing about it if it helps, but I find my projects are hard to describe at this point.
4. Where are we now?
Look at both the statics and the dynamics of the present day. What features of the present seem to invite change which can be illustrated by comparison with past transitions. What trends can be seen which are capable of extrapolation to the kind of change you are anticipating.
6. Take it apart
You were being pretty starry eyed through all that. Now take a hard stony look and locate weaknesses in the story. If you still believe it but aren't convinced that others will, then get to work on the weaknesses.

But what has all this got to do with engineering?

Well, the idea is that creating the future, and forecasting the future are going to get to be pretty much the same thing. You cannot forecast the future without being actively engaged in its creation. Establishing a well founded realistic concensus about the future is creating the future. Increasingly in the future engineering is about design, the details of construction will be close to automatic once the details of design are settled.

Future Engineering Related Netlinks
The Future - Fatasias page of links to lots more futuristic stuff.
The Artemis Project - vacations on the moon.
GBN Scenarios - scenario planning at Global Business Network.
How to Build Scenarios - scenario planning at HotWired.

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