• The first half of this series is now coming to an end; and in the last two articles for 1990 this history of future thinking will move on to the first great outpouring of futuristic fiction in the 1870s. As I. F. Clarke points out, the literature of things-to-come came into existence wholly, solely and exclusively as an Anglo-French invention, or—if you prefer-une initiative franco—britannique. One line of this advance into the future runs from Francis Bacon to H.G. Wells; the other from Rabelais to Jules Verne. Out of this literary common market came the characteristic modes of writing about the seemingly limitless range of future possibilities—from balloon battles to Star Wars. No doubt all those many writers who contributed to the new literature would agree with the Belgian poet and dramatist, Maurice Maeterlinck: ‘The past is of use to me as the eve of tomorrow; my soul wrestles with the future.’
    (tags: future history)
  • Two hundred years ago the image of the future was for the most part a blank, save for the possibility of balloon travel and the hopes that after the extraordinary events of 1789 the government of France would change for the better. One hundred years later the idea of the future had become part of general thinking, thanks to many writers as different as Jules Verne and Karl Marx. Fifty years ago the ever accelerating rate of change, as I. F. Clarke shows, had made the study of the future a crucial matter in peace and war. And so it has gone on, stage by stage, to the international conferences in Washington and Peking, and the beginnings of new professional opportunities for economists, sociologists, political theorists, and all the other experts who investigate the trends that point to the future.
    (tags: future history)
  • With this article I.F. Clarke begins another series in which he will trace the development of future-thinking during the 20th century. The line of advance follows the ever-growing professionalization of the major technological societies—from the first essays and occasional books about the future in the 1890s to the think-tanks, the commissions for the year 2000, the journals and the associations of the 1990s. The two great engines of future-thinking, says I.F. Clarke, have been the rate of change and the scale of change. At every stage in the growth of the modern industrial state the factors making for change have demonstrated beyond all questioning that Homo technologicus has, and knows he has, an urgent need to discover what may lie ahead.
  • This series presses on with the task of isolating and examining the principal factors that helped to develop the new literature of the future in the last century. It will come as no surprise to readers that science fiction was the main agent in spreading ideas about coming things. What began with Jules Verne and reached greater heights with H.G. Wells is now a universal model for writing—dreaming, hoping, and fearing—about the future. Science fiction has had more definitions than any other literary form. It is the one truly Protean form that can deal with any conceivable possibility—from anticipations of space travel to the end of our world.
  • This article moves on to examine the emergence of the first predictions in the USA. I.F. Clarke argues that, although the Americans shared a common culture and the same universal technologies with the Europeans, their response to the new potentiality of nineteenth century society took on unmistakeable American shapes. In particular, he restores the long-forgotten futurologist, David Goodman Croly, to his rightful and prestigious place in the catalogue of forecasters and predictors.
    (tags: future culture)
  • "Fifty years ago the dreadful slaughter of Verdun and the Somme revealed to the still unsuspecting nations of Europe that the applied science of the machine gun, barbed wire and heavy artillery had changed the nature of warfare. Later on, when writers as different as Winston Churchill, Field-Marshall Lord French, Herbert Read and William Faulkner attempted to explain the general sense of stupefaction at the unprecedented massacres of the First World War, they pointed to a catastrophic gap between what had been expected and what came to pass."
  • "Many brilliant strategies fail due to poor execution. It is not sufficient to inform employees of the strategy and provide them with enough resources. To be successful, managers need to provide guidance so that employees can make decisions leading to implementation. This article outlines four execution levers that improve a firm's strategic implementation capabilities when used in concert. The four levers work together to align what the firm desires to achieve (its strategy) and what is actually done by its employees (Simons, 2000) (see Figure 1). The levers are" Diagnostic controls, Boundary controls, Belief controls, and Interactive controls.
    (tags: strategy)
  • Critical examinations of long-range energy forecasts show a remarkable extent of individual and collective failure in predicting actual developments in five distinct areas examined in this article: major energy conversions, primary energy requirements, sectoral needs, exhaustion of energy resources, and energy substitutions. This experiences demonstrates that we should abandon detailed quantitative point forecasts in favor of the decision analysis or contingency planning under a range of alternative (exploratory as well as normative) scenarios.
  • A premise of this paper is that the forecasting process has not been thoroughly investigated in its entirety and that even some of the constituent elements of the process are not well understood. The components of the forecasting process include models, data, the judgment of the forecaster, and their interactions. The paper integrates the research that has considered various aspects of the forecasting process in order to suggest a more complete agenda for improving predictive accuracy. Specifically it was suggested: that past errors be analyzed more carefully; that records that explain the reasons for making adjustments be maintained; and that quality control methods be used to monitor whether or not forecasts are on track.
  • "The heritage of technological forecasting is brief and haphazard. But examination of the rich variety of past assessments of trends and potential may prove useful in directing attention towards more probable futures. This is the first of a series of articles that will assess the pattern of prediction from the primitive forecasts of 1763 to the more modern scientific approach."
    (tags: future history)
  • "For multiple reasons, deliberating groups often converge on falsehood rather than truth. Individual errors may be amplified rather than cured. Group members may fall victim to a bad cascade, either informational or reputational. Deliberators may emphasize shared information at the expense of uniquely held information. Finally, group polarization may lead even rational people to unjustified extremism. By contrast, prediction markets often produce accurate results, because they create strong incentives for revelation of privately held knowledge and succeed in aggregating widely dispersed information. The success of prediction markets offers a set of lessons for increasing the likelihood that groups can obtain the information that their members have."