A movie star as governor? No way! Planes hitting skyscrapers? The stuff of horror films! Forecasters struggle to anticipate an ever-stranger geopolitical reality. In this moment of unprecedented uncertainty and change, says Paul Saffo, it is tempting to conclude that forecasting is as dangerous as it is futile.
In fact, connecting short-term policy to long-range forecasting is surprisingly easy -- and absolutely crucial to meeting the challenges before us. All it takes is a simple shift in perspective and a few common-sense heuristics.
Saffo is a legendary technology forecaster, with over two decades of experience exploring long-term technological change and its impact on business and society.
Paul Saffo is a forecaster with over two decades experience exploring the dynamics of large-scale, long-term change. He is Managing Director of Foresight at Discern Analytics, teaches at Stanford University and is a researcher through mediaX at Stanford University. Saffo serves on a variety of not-for-profit boards including the Long Now Foundation, and the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. Saffo’s essays have appeared in a wide range of publications including The Harvard Business Review, Fortune, Wired, The Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, The New York Times, and the Washington Post. Saffo holds degrees from Harvard College, Cambridge University and Stanford University.
Study of current trends in order to forecast future developments. The field originated in the technological forecasting developed near the end of World War II and in studies examining the consequences of nuclear conflict. Studies in the 1960s sought to anticipate future social patterns and needs. The Limits of Growth by Dennis Meadows, et al. (1972), focused on global socioeconomic trends, projecting a Malthusian vision in which the collapse of the world order would result if population growth, industrial expansion, pollution, food production, and natural-resource use continued at current rates. Later reports reiterated many of these concerns, with critics contending that futurologists' models were flawed and futurologists responding that their analytic techniques were becoming increasingly sophisticated. Other notable works include Alvin Toffler's Future Shock (1970), Daniel Bell's The Coming of Post-Industrial Society (1973), Jonathan Schell's The Fate of the Earth (1982), and Nigel Calder's The Green Machines (1986).
@ ~ 36:40 ... He's still living in the old long ago debunked myth that it take as much energy to make PV as you get from them... the devil is always in the details ... To be that grossly wrong about something that there have been numerous studies on debunking several times ... just makes me wonder about the credibility of the basis for his opinions.
Otherwise he seemed a well thought speaker ... but that one just jumped out at me as being 99% fictional without supporting evidence to back his personal belief that he felt he had to bring up... wasn't even related to the question asked.