|Authors :||Dennis A. Trinkle, Scott A. Merriman|
|Publication info:||Ann Arbor, MI: MPublishing, University of Michigan Library
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Dennis A. Trinkle, Scott A. Merriman
vol. 6, no. 1, April 2003
|Article Type:||Site Review|
World Future Society
The World Future Society aims to bring people together who are interested in how the future will unfold. Among its ventures are several publications, including The Futurist and Future Survey, and an annual conference. The webpage includes a list of selected books on the topic of the future, information about membership, information about local chapters, and several webforums. Currently, the World Future Society webpage includes a section on "threats of terrorism."
The Futurist is published by the World Future Society and attempts to serve, according to its website as "a neutral clearinghouse of ideas." The online site does not include a full-text edition, but does include a table of contents, and the full text of some "trends and forecasts" articles and some book reviews. The site also presents an online index of stories by author and a listing of every news story. It indicates how one can purchase previous stories and back issues. Contact information for some of the authors is included in the index.
The Futurism Page
This web page is "devoted to the scientific and philosophical exploration of the potentialities and dangers of the immediate as well as the remote future." It links to a variety of well-known articles on a number of topics, including bioscience, nanotechnology and space travel. It includes classic articles and books by authors like Richard Feynman and K. Eric Drexler.
"Foresight Institute's goal is to guide emerging technologies to improve the human condition. Foresight focuses its efforts upon nanotechnology, the coming ability to build materials and products with atomic precision, and upon systems that will enhance knowledge exchange and critical discussion, thus improving public and private policy decisions." Foresight Institute aims to sponsor nanotechnology, and provides an introduction to nanotechnology. Their website contains an introduction for both technical and general readers and links to a variety of well-known and lesser-known resources on the issue. It also includes an FAQ on the whole issue, a list of nanotechnology jobs, a history of the issue and a discussion of technical issues.
Frontiers in Bioscience
"Frontiers in Bioscience is dedicated to fostering science, education and research." The site contains a journal and library, in several different languages. The site examines the continuing developments in bioscience. The library contains links to a variety of useful tools, including many not related to bioscience and the journal contains articles on many advanced bioscience topics, all of which are pushing the frontiers of bioscience. The articles are not for those who are not interested and skilled in the biological sciences.
Police Futurists International
Police Futurists International is a group which aims to predict and understand the future of policing. This group uses futures research in order to "more accurately anticipate and prepare for the evolution of law enforcement ten, twenty, and even fifty years into the future." The group sponsors conferences and has an online newsletter. Among the articles currently on the website are "Improving Our View of the World: Police and Augmented Reality Technology" and "The Impact of Video Monitoring Technology on Police Field Operations."
Futures Working Groups Links
This site, a cooperative effort of the Police Futurists International and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, presents links to a wide variety of websites dealing with the future. Among the areas covered are futures studies, terrorism, technology and organizations.
Institute for Alternative Futures
This organization's motto is "the challenge is not only to anticipate the future, but to create it." The organization was founded in 1977 by Clement Bezold, James Dator and Alvin Toffler. It uses various methodologies to help groups describe possible futures and offers, at a fee, consulting for organizations and individuals wishing to shape their own futures. The term "alternative" here is used in the sense of choosing one's own road, rather than the sense used in the 1960s by the counterculture. The group does not claim to predict the future, and does not use that term, but instead uses the term "futures" and speculates about the possible futures in order to help prepare for the possibilities.
National Human Genome Research Institute
While this organization is not, in the strict sense of the term, a futurist group, its discoveries will greatly shape the future. This organization, which is a joint effort by the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. National Institutes of Health, several other nations, and universities, aims to sequence the entire human genome, as well as the genomes of other species. The website covers continuing developments in genetics, which will greatly shape how the future unfolds. Among the areas covered are "privacy and discrimination," "online resources," and a very helpful "FAQ about genetics." A very complex site at points for those not trained in genetics, but one that will play a large role in the future. Among the current projects supported by the National Human Genome Research Institute is an attempt to create a genetic sequence for cows.
Global Trends 2015: A Dialogue About the Future with NonGovermental Experts
This paper, available on the web in PDF format, examines the forces driving the next fifteen years. It identifies the "drivers," or forces, examines key issues, and presents overviews of the issues. Among the factors discussed are population trends, science and technology, the global economy, governments and nongovernmental actors, and regional issues. It ends with a discussion of four possible "alternative futures." Even for those who do not agree with these futures, this is a good source of information.
The Global Technology Revolution: Bio/Nano/Material Trends and Their Synergies with Information Technology by 2015
This publication, available in its entirety in PDF format, examines the possible developments in technology in the next dozen years. The study was performed by the RAND Corporation for the National Intelligence Council. It argues that "social, economic, political and personal" areas will all be affected by technology in the next dozen years. In the area of biotechnology, the study argues that "biotechnology will enable us to identify, understand, manipulate, improve, and control living organisms (including ourselves)." For those interested in futurism, these arguments are quite interesting, and should be significant to all who are actively engaged in the world while the future becomes the present. Among the areas considered in this report are: genetics, biomedical engineering, "smart materials," self-assembly, nanotechnology, and multi-technology trends.