In the Spring Semester of 2013 we gathered in the Transdisciplinary Common Room to talk about Future Forecasting and offer our own predictions for 2025.
9/1/13 Prof Sue Thomas
- The skills of Future Foresight will be widely recognised in HE and appear on the curricula of a range of subjects across the disciplines.
- Most things will not have changed
- Some or most of the technologies described by ETICA will still be “emerging technologies”, i.e. not on the market and under development
- New technologies will continue to be (over-)hyped
- Technologies will continue to raise ethical concerns
- There will continue to be disagreement on research and technology policy
- Novel ICTs will produce more data than ever, exacerbating the challenge of making sense of it
- The relationships between academia and industry will be much closer, to the extent that some MSc courses will be completely designed and run by companies but validated by the university.
- Universities will be validating components which together create lifelong learning paths. Some of these components will be provided by a range of different agencies and companies and will be delivered through a mixed menu of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), niche universities, community universities and others.
- The lecturing profession will become more freelance-based with teachers working in their own preferred formats – online, one-to-one, large groups etc. (But we agreed that Oxbridge will have changed very little if at all.)
- The social experience of universities will only be available to privileged students who can afford to pay for it, since most people will be learning individually alone, at work, or online. We thought it likely that because of this, new kinds of social activities mixed with learning groups could arise.
- People will assume responsibility for getting the learning they need, perhaps on a just-in-time basis. Not all of it will have to be validated, although informal certification of bite-sized chunks of learning is likely to grow in popularity.
- From an early-ish age, children may be conscious of their learning profile as something that follows them through life and needs curating and shaping, in the form of a Linked-In style profile not of one’s profession but of one’s learning.
- In 2025 petrol-driven cars will still by far outnumber electric cars.
13/2/13 Prof Andrew Hugill
- Uselessness will increase, and be seen as a positive antidote to an era of utility.
- Pataphysics will become ever more conscious, as physics replaces metaphysics.
- Logical taxonomies will increasingly be replaced by imaginary solutions.
27/2/13 Pat Kane
- We will be having Turing-Test-passing conversations with AI's via intimate sensoria, and getting used to banal service-sector robotics in our shops, offices, hospitals. Anxieties about the ends of human activity will be high, but will be answered by a "quality-of-life" politics that begins to get essential post-productivist infrastructures in place (shorter working week, rich public commons, localised finance/markets, municipal fab-labbing, etc).
- Alongside this, the sheer material impact of global warming will drive a huge amount of innovation - both technological & social - through the North. The South will be a combination of emerging economic vigour, forming around China, India & Brazil--and a climate disaster for many millions displaced from lands due to anthropocene extremes of heat and cold, drought & flood. The great political challenge will be to commensurate radical post-human innovation in the developed world, and extreme & urgent human need & deprivation in the rest.
- Oh, and Scotland will have just celebrated 8 years of existence as an independent, non-nuclear, Nordically-oriented nation-state.
- Printed books will still be published, mostly on-demand or in small print runs. They will continue to be collected and valued as objects
- E-readers will have been replaced by multi-function mobile devices
- Wearable technology will be ubiquitous and will include flexible screen technology
- We will be used to reading non-linear narrative fiction
- Complexity: Amount of information and connectivity of that information becomes more than organisations and society can handle. Responses involve simplicity reducing data sets, automation, handing over the management of information to agents and artificial complex adaptive machines, blinding whereby only one fact, person, website becomes important and we are blind to anything else and any consequences of decisions, as a response to the overwhelming load of interconnected and complex information.
- Power: Information control becomes a prime concern of governments and corporations. Cybersecurity has become big business but hides an agenda of cybercontrol where governments seek to manage information and social computing and use advanced approaches and parallel computing on a scale yet unseen to monitor citizens and companies and to probe other countries. Governments and power groupings are vying for control of the Internet, as digital enclosure spreads whereby previous freely available information sources and sites are surrounded by digital fences and become restricted areas for digital owners and their customers. There is more information, but less availability than twenty years ago. Access to wealth and democracy becomes the gift of digital gatekeepers who manage information access on behalf of governments and corporations. Increasing bureaucracies are conducted over the Internet and the control and information demands placed by governments on citizens seem increasingly arbitrary. The combination of increasing complexity and hence information overload combined with the spreading political, corporate and governmental control of web resources accelerates digital enclosure as people are more and more willing to turn to authorities and third parties to find out what to look at. Information selection becomes more important than information availability. Moral frameworks of security, protection, citizen rights and responsibility are recruited as masks for the restriction of choice and the wresting of power through information management. Political groups born on social media quickly coalese into more physical power structures which seek to manage their social networks. However, these don’t often last long and fizzle out or are absorbed into existing power structures. Existing political parties have honed web skills and are well able to recruit on social media, particularly by managing apparently independent protest groups for their own political purposes. Large religious groupings, particularly where underpinned by legitimate political structures seek to control and manage Internet content, also contributing to digital enclosure. There is a rise in the phenomenon of the islamisation of the web, as well as a socialist web emanating from China and a Hindi web spreading out of India.
- Economics and Technology: As wars break out between countries, between corporations and between interest groups, the casualties are the everyday users who find services disrupted and costs of receiving Internet access rocket as investment in security grows exponentially. Disruptions are also caused by energy issues. Over 10% of power generation goes into IT and the energy requirements of server farms. Increasing energy costs make it less economically viable to allow free space for anyone to put anything and there is a shortage of free cloud computing as companies devise new charging strategies to pay the bills.
By 2005, will see some changes in the teaching of Dance as a discipline in Higher education and as a profession. These predictions are based on what is already beginning to happen:
- More ‘Dance moves’ and ‘steps’ will be taught via the Internet. There will be more online courses. The Internet will be increasingly used as a method of research and transmission. The Internet will be used as a way of overcoming economic constraints caused by a lack of funding.
- More Dance will be produced for mobile devices and electronic platforms. Practitioners will find ways of charging for these products or using them to create interest in touring shows and productions.
- There will be more collaborations between Dance and the gaming industry.
- Dance is now being used in many community, rehabilitation and health settings for its therapeutic qualities. Digital technology will be used to make this go further for example Avatars could be used to train people with limited ability to recognize emotion to socialize and interact better.
- Modules of dance will appear on unlikely courses such as engineering as dance practitioners seek to find new ways to secure funding for the discipline. It will also feature more into the work place as a form of enrichment. Government policy will discourage ‘Art for Art’s sake’.
- The aesthetic appreciation of dance as an art form will focus more on how diverse elements are combined in a production over and above the investigation of technique and style in a discreet dance form i.e. how movement combines with scenery, digital projections, costumes, or how culturally diverse styles of dance are brought together in a production. The taste will be for the large and spectacular.
- One the other hand, there will be the formation of communities around niche dance forms or ways of dancing. The communities might use the web as a meeting place or organize their own conventions or small-scale performances.
- In Dance history, narratives that focus on community, social and political development and change and the production of meaning will be popular.