August 2004 Archives

In the Long Run conference

If Pop!Tech and Accelerating Change aren't enough conference for you this autumn, In the Long Run happens in Berlin on October 18-19, run by Z_punkt. As the tag describes, it's about "long-term thinking in business: corporate foresight and global change" and features speakers from large blue-chip companies (Volkswagen, Philips, Shell, Boeing, etc). Take your suit.

A month ago Ian Miles posted a useful comment on a previous posting here which I thought would be worth posting as an entry in its own right. It's hard to get to grips with what's actually happening in the world of practical foresight and future studies, but Ian's collection of blogs looks like a good place to start. Anyway, over to him, with a few added links:

Chinese Rainmakers

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It's always fascinating to see new, if worrying, points on the road towards global water scarcity. According to this Scotsman article the Chinese are really serious about creating rain, "using aircraft, rockets and even anti-aircraft guns to seed the clouds for precious moisture." Provinces are reportedly competing to get the rain before their neighbours using technology that's been around for decades, but never used so intensely. The article reads like the synopsis of some unbelievable sci-fi comic:

Life caching


has a piece on "life caching", poorly-naming the trend for collecting and displaying personal media items: blogging, photos from cameras, online photo albums, iPods. Matt "Brian Hacks" Webb disagrees that this is a trend, saying that we've always collected things and this current phase is just a temporary manifestation of the obsession.

A couple of interesting books

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Over where I keep my notes I've just posted a lengthy paraphrase of a London Review of Books review of two futures-relevant books: Profiles, Probabilities and Stereotypes by Frederick Schauer (general rules often work better than individual discretion) and The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many are Smarter than the Few by James Surowiecki (a group's average decisions are often better than an individual's).

Two future-oriented conferences

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Sometimes I should write about things rather than let the URLs clutter my desktop, and this is one such occasion. Two interesting-looking conferences coming up this autumn, in the US, as ever: