Dr Joseph Voros

Physicist; ex-Netscaper; Futurist: Educator, Researcher & Consultant

Serious official version

Dr Joseph Voros holds a PhD in theoretical physics on mathematical extensions to the General Theory of Relativity (specifically, on Einstein’s own attempt at a unified field theory). He then spent several years in internet-related companies, including a stint at the legendary Netscape Communications Corporation in Silicon Valley, California, in the latter 1990s, and has been a professional futurist for over around 25 years.

Dr Voros started at Swinburne in 2000 as a project consultant in the former Australian Foresight Institute. Then appointed as a strategic foresight analyst in a top-level strategic planning unit at Swinburne, he was involved in the building of an organisational strategic thinking capacity based on foresight concepts and methodologies, forming strong links with the strategic foresight teaching program, attending every class and providing a practitioner’s perspective in many invited lectures.

In 2003, he formally joined the academic staff of the Master of Strategic Foresight program, researching and lecturing on the theory and practice of foresight in organisations and society. Three articles from his Generic  Foresight Process framework series have won excellence awards, including the 2010 Outstanding Paper Award for the best paper in the 2009 volume of the journal Foresight. He also re-designed, convened and for several years taught the Master of Business Administration (MBA) unit on Corporate Strategy, bringing a unique corporate-level foresight-enhanced perspective to it.

He has a strong belief in the need for both rigorous intellectual discipline as well as practical pragmatic utility in ‘real world’ contexts, and this belief lies at the heart of his approach to Futures Studies and strategic foresight. For many years he used the multidisciplinary frameworks of Cosmic Evolution, Astrobiology, and Big History to frame and explore broad questions about the longer-term futures of global civilisation and humankind, and to explore how these far-reaching perspectives can inform and broaden our present-day strategic and policy choices at individual, organisational, institutional, societal, and planetary scales.

In August 2020, after 20 years at Swinburne, he was one of the ‘COVID redundancies’ resulting from the global pandemic’s devastating effect on Australia’s university sector. However, he remains connected with Swinburne as an Adjunct Professor of Foresight, while he assists current PhD students to complete. Since then, he has been a “freelance futurist”, which has included visiting fellowships at the Australian Defence College, and guest presentations at the ANU’s National Security College, for which he is a Futures Council member. He has also been revisiting earlier work on futures/strategic intelligence scanning undertaken two decades ago, via the ‘scanning retrospective’ experiment, aimed at further refining the practice of ‘futures intelligence analysis’.

He is a member of the World Futures Studies Federation, and the Association of Professional Futurists, and was a founding member and former Board member (2012-2017) of the International Big History Association. He serves on the editorial boards of the UK journal Foresight, the European Journal of Futures Research, the Journal of Futures Studies, and the Journal of Big History.

More fun personal stuff

Fun Fact from the Past:

I worked for Netscape Communications Corp back in the 1990s. The only remaining digital evidence is a posting from rec.humor.funny which shows the email address I had back then (by far the coolest I ever had, frankly:

Somewhat Random Fun Factoid:

I learned Esperanto in early 1994 and seem to have been the first Esperantist to suggest translating ‘world wide web’ into Esperanto. And, in the ensuing discussions, was apparently the first to use the now-currently-accepted short-hand form ‘TTT’, although the exact T-words being abbreviated have been changed by subsequent usage:

Translating ‘world wide web’ (WWW) into Esperanto. In soc.culture.esperanto, May 1994. Reported by Don Harlow (in Esperanto), ‘La Historio de TTT’ [The History of TTT], at: []

Fun Far Future Extrapolation:

Response to ‘The Internet will go Interplanetary’. On the Futurismic weblog, 20 Nov 2008. []

Fun SETI  Hypothesis:

Is the galaxy known popularly as ‘Hoag’s Object’ an example of galaxy-scale macro-engineering? []

Update 2022-05-26: This idea seems to be getting into some serious consideration these days. A recent article notes it (p.4) as one possible target for investigation by Breakthrough Listen, exactly as I said I hoped they would in my Anthropocene Conference presentation in 2015. The article is:

Lacki, Brian C., et al. 2021. ‘One of Everything: The Breakthrough Listen Exotica Catalog’. The Astrophysical Journal Supplement 257(2):42.


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