what could happen? what do we want to happen?
today we had the first meeting of Future of Infrastructure. the class started with the instructor/professor Art Kleiner asking us where phantom traffic jams come from. the traffic jams that appear seemingly for no reason and just as quickly dissipate. these traffic jams, think LA, are caused by tailgating, and the accordian effect of drivers reacting to what is happening in front of them. the system of highway traffic is basically unchangeable, because the required action to remedy the situation, slowing down and allowing more space in front of your car for reactions, invites other drivers to get in the space that you have left. you become the chump.
Scenario planning is the method/framework that will will be using to evaluate What we care about in the future. Herman Khan originated the practice with his 150 some odd ‘scenarios’ for the outcome of nuclear armegeddon. the idea is to look at multiple possibilities, to think the unthinkable. Modern scenario planning proved itself with Royal Dutch Shell (oil company) evaluating, in 1968-71 the future of the oil market, in particular the socio-political situation in the middlle east and preparing accordingly for the possibility of the upcoming oil crisis. Their scenario planning led them to become successful through the oil crisis and become the largest oil company in the world. This story is detailed and analyzed in one of our course books The Art of the Long View.
We have to keep in mind there is a differance in what could happen and what we want to happen. These are different. making decisions is OK. there are no sure bets, but choices made must be robust and informed.
As students at ITP we ask of ourselves, “What is our role as new media producers / consumers?”
We went throught the class, each answering “Given the guarentee of an accurate answer what would we ask an oracle about ten years in the future?” and we discovered our concerns, and they were certainly concerns as most of us had a ‘glass half full’ , lay mostly in questioning where our personal geographical place would be and what the cultural/political climate would be (particularly in the United States).
for next meeting we have to come up with an answer to:
What is this class trying to ask about the future? What do we care about?
the class blog is here.
Written by admin (contact).
It was written on January 24th, 2005 at 12:35 pm
Filed in the Category orphan