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Victor Van Rij Ircg Wildcards24 10presentation Abu D Abi[1]

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Victor Van Rij Ircg Wildcards24 10presentation Abu D Abi[1]

  1. 1. (potential) wild cards as future shakers and shapers early and weak warning signals <ul><li>Presentation </li></ul><ul><li>For the: Governmental Forum - Abu Dhabi- 24-25 November </li></ul><ul><li>Session 1: “ Weak signals and wild cards; implications in different policies” </li></ul><ul><li>Victor van Rij </li></ul><ul><li>Senior Advisor Foresight </li></ul><ul><li>Ministry of Education, Culture and Science </li></ul><ul><li>Netherlands </li></ul>
  2. 2. Presentation <ul><li>Scanning of future horizons </li></ul><ul><li>The use of the wild card concept (within two FLA of EU) </li></ul>
  3. 3. EU FLA website http://ec.europa.eu/research/social-sciences/forward-looking_en.html
  4. 4. EU FLA - Research projects Blue Sky project <ul><li>Scanning for Emerging Science and Technology Issues (SESTI) </li></ul><ul><li>Use of foresight to align research with longer term policy needs in European Commission (FARHORIZON) </li></ul><ul><li>Visions, scenarios and implications for policy and practice (INFU) </li></ul><ul><li>Participative horizon scanning (CIVISTI) </li></ul><ul><li>Wild cards and weak signals (IKNOW) </li></ul><ul><li>Security and defence (SANDERA) </li></ul>
  5. 5. EU FLA - Research projects <ul><li>European Foresight Platform – supporting Forward Looking decision-making (EFP) </li></ul><ul><li>The World and Europe in 2030 (AUGUR) </li></ul><ul><li>The future of the Mediterranean area (MEDPRO) </li></ul><ul><li>The evaluation of EU policies (DEMETER) </li></ul><ul><li>Post carbon society (PACT, GILDED, PASHMINA) </li></ul>
  6. 6. Horizon scanning Horizon scanning as integrated approach
  7. 7. Horizon scanning <ul><li>Horizon scanning is an instrument to shape the future to (common) desires, needs after participative thinking and debating </li></ul><ul><li>Horizon scanning </li></ul><ul><li>Systematic Search for Issues with Potential high (Future) Impact on what we consider to be important </li></ul><ul><li>Issues are statements /narratives/storylines about the future, based on outcomes of research, trend analysis, scenario studies, weak or faint signal analysis but also on our imagination </li></ul><ul><li>Issues are therefore based on a mix of scientific knowledge and tacit knowledge including our imagination </li></ul>
  8. 8. Issue dimensions <ul><li>IMPACT : Issues that may have great or less great impact on what we see as important (seize of impact) </li></ul><ul><li>PROBABILITY & PLAUSIBILITY : Issues that are certain or less certain but still plausible (probability and plausibility) </li></ul><ul><li>DESIRABILITY : Issues that are desirable or not desirable for society (desirability, common or opposed values) </li></ul><ul><li>CHANGEABILITY : Issues that are not changeable or changeable by human action (changeability) </li></ul><ul><li>TIME : moment of observation , interaction, dynamics </li></ul>
  9. 9. Opportunities/solutions : Threats/problems from: And Ecology, Ecosystem Biodiversity Human: Survival , Health Welfare, wealth Wellbeing Democracy, law Self-realization Culture, ethics Physical environment Natural resources from (Outer) Space, Sun Space Sea and waters Earth and soil Atmosphere Climate Living world Physical environment Shortage/destruction/ (Outer) Space Space Sea and waters Earth and soil Atmosphere climate Living world Human action/brainpower Science & Technology Education Social system Political, Government, legal, economy, finance Other Systems (infrastructures, production, transport, ICT, energy, industry, healthcare, agriculture) Human action/environment Science, technology Education Social system Political, Government, legal Economy, finance Systems (infrastructures, production, transport, ICT, energy, industry, health care, agriculture ) COMMON LONG TERM DESIRES & VALUES With expected large impact on society:
  10. 10. Issues with Potential high Impact on what we consider to be important certainty desirability changeability Climate Change Nuclear War NBIC convergence The Internet Migration Ageing society
  11. 11. wild cards <ul><li>An event or serie (cascade) of events (with seemingly low probability?) </li></ul><ul><li>that changes the settings of our world completely (causing high impact </li></ul><ul><li>shocks/disruptions) </li></ul><ul><li>Which we hardly see coming or we do not want to see coming </li></ul><ul><li>Earth quakes of the mental landscape (Karlheinz Steinmuller), black </li></ul><ul><li>swans (Nassim Nicholas Taleb) </li></ul><ul><li>They usually have immediate and enduring consequences </li></ul>
  12. 12. Wild cards
  13. 13. Rationalisation afterwards <ul><li>After the fact, the event is rationalized by hindsight, as if it had been expected (Taleb) . Could we not have foreseen the event???Could we have done anything about it ???? </li></ul><ul><li>Recent Examples </li></ul><ul><li>Flooding New Orleans </li></ul><ul><li>9 – 11 – </li></ul><ul><li>Financial crisis </li></ul><ul><li>Iceland Volcano </li></ul><ul><li>Oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico </li></ul>
  14. 14. Important distinctions <ul><li>It is important to make distinction between </li></ul><ul><li>Wild cards that happened </li></ul><ul><li>And </li></ul><ul><li>Envisioned (potential) Future Wild cards </li></ul><ul><li>------------------------------------------ </li></ul><ul><li>Nature caused Wild(NWC) </li></ul><ul><li>and </li></ul><ul><li>Human caused (HWC) </li></ul>
  15. 15. From wild cards that happened we can learn Different types <ul><li>Tension building - almost invisible trends or sequence of events </li></ul><ul><li>(DDT, Subprime loans) </li></ul><ul><li>Sudden unexpected events with a known very low or unknown </li></ul><ul><li>probability but which we know will happen on basis of historical </li></ul><ul><li>evidence (rare coincidence) </li></ul><ul><li>Sudden unexpected events wich may never occur but can be imagined and which if they happen have an unavoidable character </li></ul><ul><li>The unimaginable </li></ul>
  16. 16. Financial crisis Many sub prime loans gave 3 starting years with no interest Tension building The financial crisis Subprime loans
  17. 17. Tension building The financial crisis Student loans Total Student debt in US Total Articles with worries for a crisis connected to student debt (google news timeline)
  18. 18. Natural caused wild cards (NWC) <ul><li>Laws of Nature , historical evidence , black swans </li></ul><ul><li>The communication of potential wild cards is however a human activity which brings in aspects of social caused wild cards </li></ul><ul><li>Wild card search from natural causes usually delivers an assembly of mainly potential negative challenges with a low probability but potential high impact. </li></ul><ul><li>The “where” and “when” and “seize” of potential wild cards of this kind are usually very uncertain which also means that we can encounter many controversies on the probability estimation or duration and seize of the challenge like climate change </li></ul>
  19. 19. Human Caused Wild Cards (HWC) <ul><li>Are the product of human ideas, emotions, interests, decisions and </li></ul><ul><li>communication mostly in combination with ( perceived) facts </li></ul><ul><li>They can be realized </li></ul><ul><li>But c an also be created (imagined) </li></ul><ul><li>They contain usually wishes and fears, </li></ul><ul><li>Powerful HWC influence the future debate, very powerful HWC influence the course of history (as self fullfilling or self denying prophecies) </li></ul>
  20. 20. Human Caused Wild Cards (HWC) <ul><li>They are used by people who want to change the course of history at </li></ul><ul><li>large as terrorists, political leaders , scientist for good and for bad </li></ul><ul><li>They can be powerful lobby- or propaganda tools to change the discourse on the future (warning, selling) </li></ul><ul><li>The shape , evoked emotions and facts make the strength of the wild card, but also the timing and context, the authority </li></ul><ul><li>Further study is needed on how they work and evolve , also because they can be used to create desirable futures </li></ul><ul><li>Horizonscanning of WC and in depth analysis (of roots-targets of HWC) both needed </li></ul>
  21. 21. Realized ones can successfully influence the (future) course of history
  22. 22. But imagined ones can be used as well as propaganda
  23. 23. as warning cards
  24. 24. as marketing cards Nano saves our lives Bioinspired nanotechnology creates nano - vehicles for targeted drugs application and diagnosis. We will be able to cure cancer? TECHNOLOGY and SCIENCE
  25. 25. “ Signals” for HWC can be found everywhere where people create strong future storylines <ul><li>All media contain signals , internet contains (almost) all media </li></ul><ul><li>HWC signals contain a mix of statements that evoke emotions, appeal interests and facts connected to the future. </li></ul><ul><li>Their initiation may be intended (The Day after Tomorrow or the </li></ul><ul><li>Inconvenient Truth) but also unintended (rumour causing panic, financial crisis), so who is initiating, enhancing etc is important </li></ul><ul><li>Horizon scanning may enhance and create signals for Wild cards, therefore has the potential not only to inform decision makers but also to create new futures (by initiation of strong persuasive wild cards) </li></ul><ul><li>(Potential) wild cards can be used to make the world better but also as weapons in a world of conflict </li></ul><ul><li>Finding them needs understanding of emotions, facts and interests who is behind this (so the search of WS needs inter subjective-cultural assessment) </li></ul>
  26. 26. Gulf of Mexico incident News Google timeline Start of raising uncontrollable risk deep sea drill
  27. 27. DESERTEC plans made public News Google timeline
  28. 28. What is the value of wild card search and thinking <ul><li>Making policies more resilient to the occurrence and the effects of wild card events (more adaptive to what could change suddenly) </li></ul><ul><li>Giving us hints on what kind of early (weak) signals to look for </li></ul><ul><li>Making us able to monitor the arrival/realisation of wild cards and to timely adapt or mitigate the impact by the monitoring of their early warning signals </li></ul><ul><li>Helping to support safety measure investments (like monitor systems , higher dikes, affluence measures for floods, earth quake proof building mechanisms, escape routes etc ) </li></ul><ul><li>Counteracting undesirable human caused wild cards </li></ul><ul><li>Creating futures with positive wild cards </li></ul>
  29. 29. Rationalisation on forehand <ul><li>Before the fact, the event has happened What can we foresee in parallel with the cases before??? </li></ul><ul><li>How can we spot wild cards that may come ??? Can we do anything about it ???? </li></ul><ul><li>Examples </li></ul><ul><li>Earthquake 8.0 Istanbul </li></ul><ul><li>Eruption of the Vesuvius </li></ul><ul><li>EC financial crisis </li></ul><ul><li>US credit card crisis , student loan crisis </li></ul><ul><li>Nuclear war from upcoming nations </li></ul><ul><li>New technologies resolving the energy crisis in a resolute way ?? </li></ul><ul><li>New discoveries keeping us healthy and young while ageing?? </li></ul>

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