Yesterday I came across the post, “Technoethics and The Future of Work,” which from a futures perspective is a good quick dive into the kinds of things that good foresight work requires (or perhaps, uncovers for participants). In the piece Emer Coleman is writing about the new technologies (and their resulting business models) that have been driving so much “disruption” in modern economic life. She is critical not just of the rising techno-crats erecting these new structures in our lives, but also the users as well.
The piece touches on the kinds of critical, systemic, and long-term thinking that is inherent to good futures research and foresight work:
- It is a great example of how people can lose sight of the bigger picture and of the downstream effects/feedback loops that actions and policies in the present can have on the future
- It is also a reminder that the global economy is vast and intricately interwoven; that the comforts that we so readily consume (and happily accept for free on behalf of some company’s “free” business model) of course have important upstream – and sometimes intentionally hidden – costs and ramifications
- It is an example of the deeper questions that futures research tries to guide, in this case highlighting the evolution of our socio-economic life, about the ways in which the roles individuals have and the ways in which we create values for others’ profit has quietly shifted and the ways in which they continue to shift (dipping into the issue of automation and the future displacement of more human labor)
Would that there were more of these kinds of pieces influence policy discussions.