September 2003 Archives

Voting on UK TV's future

At the Royal Television Society's convention this weekend, attendees were asked to vote on which of five scenarios for 2010 they thought were most likely. The Guardian discusses the event, with the scenarios (created by Spectrum Strategy) at the bottom of the page. The most popular scenario was "Death of linear TV", forecasting that 40% of TV viewing is done using TiVo-like personal video recorders (so, not quite a "death" of conventional viewing then). I'm not sure what to make of the fact that the attendees' choice wasn't the "Base case" scenario, which is defined as reflecting "industry consensus opinion". (via Blackbeltjones)

Another Matt's scenarios

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Like Jones, Matt Locke has also been writing some mini scenarios. He found it difficult to come up with something he's happy with and has created two exam papers in an effort to avoid extensive exposition. I'm always up for unusual ways of presenting scenarios, but I'm not sure these quite work. It's a fun idea, and they subtly hint at events between now and 2018, but for a scenario to be useful you really want more than this heavily filtered glimpse. The questions read more like the framework for a scenario, and the student sitting the exam would be fleshing it out. Even then, one would be left with a description of the intervening years, rather than an evocative image of life in the future. But interesting reading nonetheless.

Accelerated Democracy begins with the widespread trend that fewer people are voting in elections as years go by. It then suggests four ways in which technology could get people more involved in the democratic process. Few people are likely to think all four are good ideas, but they're all interesting and nicely executed, with varied visual aids:

Matt's 2013 snapshots

Matt Jones has written some mini scenarios for the BBC about technology in 2013 and put four of them online. They aren't full-fledged scenarios, attempting to describe the complete texture of life in ten years' time, but seem to be more about showing how people will regard technologies. Eavesdropping on someone's life for a few seconds while they contemplate a future gizmo. I like the writing too, without all the exposition that drains the life from too many scenarios.

The future's here

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When I read scenarios set in the future they often sound too dramatic and over the top to be believable, as if the author's going way overboard to get across what that world would be like. "Yeah, right," I think, "the world is never that dramatic."