Scanning Retrospective, No. 7

Foresight Snippets – No. 7

[Originally published] 28 February 2001

  • Would You Like a Mobile Phone With That?
  • Cloning: Could Humans Be Next?
  • A Framework for Making Sustainability a Practical Reality

Continue reading “Scanning Retrospective, No. 7”

Citation managers for futures scanning

Library shelves - lots of info!During our futures scanning – doing what I like to sometimes call ‘futures intelligence analysis’, which therefore makes us ‘futures intelligence analysts’ – we need a way to capture and retain the information about the scanning ‘hits’ we find.

Continue reading “Citation managers for futures scanning”

Scanning Retrospective, No. 6

Foresight Snippets – No. 6

[Originally published] 14 February 2001

  • A University That Wants Students to Stay Away from Class
  • Report: On-line Training ‘Boring’
  • Setting Standards for Web-Ed

Continue reading “Scanning Retrospective, No. 6”

Scanning Retrospective, No. 4

Foresight Snippets – No. 4

[Originally published] 15 January 2001

  • Does Reading Harry Potter Cause Global Warming?
  • Oops! A New Bio-Weapon
  • Back to the Future: 2001 — Is Tablet Computing About to Go Mainstream?

Continue reading “Scanning Retrospective, No. 4”

Scanning Retrospective, No. 3

Foresight Snippets – No. 3

[Originally published] 15 December 2000

  • What price the “.tv” domain?
  • You’d better be good! Darth Vader is coming to the lecture hall
  • Everything old is new again: phone numbers vs URLs

Continue reading “Scanning Retrospective, No. 3”

Scanning Retrospective, No. 1

Foresight Snippets – No. 1

From the Foresight & Planning Unit
[Originally published] 17 November 2000
by Joseph Voros

  • Universities Begin Creating Palm-Sized Versions of Campus Web Pages
  • GM Goat Spins Web-Based Future
  • Stick Your Finger in Your Ear and Go “Ting-a-Ling-a-Loo!”

Continue reading “Scanning Retrospective, No. 1”

Futures Scanning – A Retrospective View

The background

In August 2000, I was hired as a strategic foresight analyst in the Foresight and Planning Unit (FPU) of the (then) Office of the Vice Chancellor at Swinburne University of Technology. Part of this role was to conduct futures ‘scanning’ – by looking at the education ‘landscape’ through a ‘foresight’ time-frame much longer than is usual in conventional strategic planning; in our case, it was 10-20 years out. This obviously means that today, in 2021, the ‘future landscape’ being ‘scouted’ back then has since come to pass and become history. Hence the motivation for this experiment – to look back at what were picked up then as impending signals of change, and to compare what was reported in those days as future possibilities with what eventually came to pass as historical actualities. It has taken two decades to reach this point of being able to conduct such a ‘retrospective longitudinal assessment’ – and hopefully it should prove to be both interesting and instructive. It may also allow some real-world-data calibration of the utility of the heuristic principles for scanning described in the previous post. Continue reading “Futures Scanning – A Retrospective View”

Heuristic principles for scanning

As a futures scanner ‘back in the day’ (as they say), working in the corporate area of Swinburne responsible for undertaking organisational foresight and planning, and in the time since, I came to employ several heuristics or principles of scanning that I had found empirically to be useful. There are about ten of these that I can think of right at this moment, which I will enumerate below. But before I proceed, though, let me first explain one of the (many) models we used in our teaching in the old Swinburne Master of Strategic Foresight (MSF). Continue reading “Heuristic principles for scanning”

Evidence of the future in the present

One of the principal practices involved in doing futures work is known as ‘scanning’. This term has a few variants — sometimes ‘environmental scanning’, sometimes ‘horizon scanning’, sometimes something else again — and these are often used interchangeably. I prefer to use the term ‘environmental scanning’ when the scanning pertains to the more proximal environment(s) of the organisation or entity that is the primary perspective from which the scanning is done, such as the market or industry in which it sits, while reserving the term ‘horizon scanning’ for the more distal aspects of the wider social, national or even international contexts. This is a fairly loose heuristic, but to me it helps connote the relative ‘closeness’ of the organisation’s ‘operating environment’ vs the relative ‘distance’ of the wider contextual ‘horizon’. Continue reading “Evidence of the future in the present”

‘Dark Clouds in the Crystal Ball’

How DEVO – like Cassandra – saw the future, tried to warn us, and was widely ignored

The title for this post comes from a song lyric by the avant-garde music group DEVO, namely, from the opening song ‘Time Out for Fun’ from their fifth studio album, Oh No! It’s DEVO. By the time that album was released in late 1982, DEVO as a band had spent the better part of a decade promoting the thesis of ‘de-evolution’ – the idea that humanity, rather than progressing, was actually regressing, and was in point of fact not evolving but really de-evolving (which was the origin of their name) to a more primitive state of mindlessly conformist automatons. Continue reading “‘Dark Clouds in the Crystal Ball’”

More Big History outputs

There have been two more formal publications on Big History recently: one a journal article – hinted at in the previous post – written in part to honour the memory of Erich Jantsch, the other a book chapter, as well as an informal podcast episode in the FuturePod series.

Continue reading “More Big History outputs”

Erich Jantsch’s 90th birthday…

Image of EJ relaxing in a chair during an interview.
Erich Jantsch, May 1972 from NW Mag (presumably taken during that interview, as a tape recorder is visible on the table before him). With many thanks to Leah Sciabarrasi for permission to use it here. (https://leahonthelake.com/erich-jantsch-biography/)

would have been today (Capra 1981, p.151). Instead, the world lost an incomparable polymath and genius on 12 Dec 1980, less than a month before his 52nd birthday, and we are all much, much the poorer for that loss (Capra 1981, Linstone, Maruyama & Kaje 1981, Zeleny 1981). Continue reading “Erich Jantsch’s 90th birthday…”

And that’s a wrap! The End of the Swinburne MSF.

Today was the last class ever of the Swinburne MSF (2001 — 2018) — something that has been coming for a long time (announcement of closure was back in May 2016).

There is a KudoBoard where people have posted their memories of the MSF.

Q: What now?

A: Trust emergence…

The Semi-Symmetric Metric Connection – Part II

Mathematical Preliminaries

In the previous post in this series, I gave the rationale for undertaking this extended (re-)examination of the geometry of the semi-symmetric metric connection (SSMC): essentially, it represents (to my mind) the most ultra-minimalist extension to General Relativity (GR) at all possible – or so I thought back in the early 1990s – given that it introduces precisely one new object – a vector field – as part of the connection. Continue reading “The Semi-Symmetric Metric Connection – Part II”

The Semi-Symmetric Metric Connection – Part I

The Background

Many years ago (getting close to 30 now), while doing my PhD (Voros 1996) in theoretical physics on mathematical extensions to General Relativity – and in particular, on Einstein’s own “unified field theory” – I happened across a book by Jan Schouten (1954) called Ricci-Calculus, which was an introduction (by a mathematician) to tensors and their applications, especially to geometrical thinking and analysis.

Continue reading “The Semi-Symmetric Metric Connection – Part I”

Is ‘Hoag’s Object’ an ‘engineered’ galaxy?

The question asked in the title of this post is one I have been pondering for the most part of a decade now, ever since I saw the image, shown in Figure 1, of the galaxy PGC54559 (popularly known as Hoag’s Object) in 2010, following several months of thinking about what Kardashev Type III civilisations might look like.

hoag_hst_big_full
Figure 1. PGC54559 (‘Hoag’s Object’). Image credit: NASA & The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA). Acknowledgement: Ray A. Lucas (STScI/AURA). Multiple formats and sizes are available from: http://hubblesite.org/image/1241/news_release/2002-21

Continue reading “Is ‘Hoag’s Object’ an ‘engineered’ galaxy?”

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