Futures

History, weak

It’s history week at the Cabinet Office, a series of internal events designed to remind the current generation of policy makers both that there is always something to learn from history and that their work will become history in its turn. It being Cabinet Office, there are ways of emphasising history not open to every […]

Public and strategic

  Most of the time, the hottest place in the solar system is the core of the sun. Some of the time, the hottest place in the solar system is tucked away in an obscure building on an anonymous industrial estate on a former airfield in rural Oxfordshire.1 There they use extreme heat and power […]

This was the unknowable future once

Looking for something else, I have just stumbled across some notes I took from a book I was reading almost exactly ten years ago (and which had been published that year). Normally I try hard to give proper attribution to quotations, but this time it might be kinder not to: It seems clear that, unlike […]

Imagining the future

There is a lot of pseudo-scientific claptrap published about the future. There are people who carefully extrapolate trends, construct complex scenarios, weight many outcomes, some of whom necessarily get some things right through sheer chance, but many of whom appear to rely on nobody checking back from the future to see how well they did. […]

Marginal changes and macro impacts

Fifteen years ago, I predicted the demise of the supermarket. Four years ago, I noted that that hadn’t turned out to be the greatest of predictions: I wasn’t quite daft enough to think that everybody was going to do their food shopping online.  My argument was slightly more subtle, though it has so far proved […]