Foreseeing the Future of the Modern Nation-State: the Chronicles of Everstate

Riots and protests have been progressively, and in an accelerating way, occurring in many countries, starting with France in 2005, spreading throughout most of the world, from the Arab Spring to Thailand through Hong Kong, the U.S. or, more recently Venezuela, Algeria and France with the Yellow Vest movement at the end of 2018 and […]

Bomb Cyclone on the Midwest: Floods, the Trade War and the Coming Agricultural Super Storm

Between 14 and 20 March 2019, a historically powerful “bomb cyclone”, combined with snowmelt devastated Colorado and the Central United States, especially the Midwest “farmbelt” of Iowa and Nebraska, South Dakota and Kansas. Consequently, it triggered immense floods, which wrecked more than a million of acres (405000 hectares). These floods have immediate direct consequences, because […]

Smart Agriculture, International Power and National Interest

Smart farming, the combination of agriculture, artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT), will help tackle the various challenges of food security, and usher the happenstance of a new world. It will also change what international food security means. We present here some of the features of the new “international smart food security”. […]

★ Sensor and Actuator for AI (3) – Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things and the Future of Agriculture: Smart Agriculture Security? (2)

One of the current focuses regarding Artificial Intelligence is on ethics. For example, on 8 April 2019 the European Commission published its Communication Building Trust in Human-Centric Artificial Intelligence. Google, despite set backs, also tries to implement an AI ethics board (Kelsey Piper, “Exclusive: Google cancels AI ethics board in response to outcry“, Vox, 4 […]

How to Read a Large Amount of Information and Fight against Fake News

The incredible and growing amount of information available nowadays presents us with specific challenges we need to overcome. Meanwhile, the rediscovery of propaganda and the power of rumours spread on social networks, now labelled “fake news”, only make more acute the need to find our way through the mass of information available. This is even […]

★ Sensor and Actuator for AI (2) – Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things and the Future of Agriculture: Smart Agriculture Security? (1)

This article explores the way artificial intelligence (AI) is inserted within its environment through the Internet of Things in a particular domain, agriculture. As a result, “smart agriculture”, a whole new way to produce food, is born. We look at the way various actors include AI in farming and thus envision and develop the future […]

Scenarios: Improving the Impact of Foresight thanks to Biases

Foreseeing the future, whatever the name given to the endeavour, includes two major tasks.

The first one is, of course, the analysis, the process according to which the foresight, forecast, warning, or, more broadly, anticipation is obtained.

The second one is less obvious, or rather so evident that it may be overlooked. It is, however, no less vital than analysis. We need to deliver the output of the analytical process to those who need the foresight, the decision-makers or policy-makers. Ideally, the recipients must understand that output, because they will act on it. They need to integrate the new knowledge received in the decisions they will take.*

A huge challenge runs across these tasks: biases.

We must overcome the various natural and constructed biases – systematic mental errors – that limit human understanding. This article will present first the classical way we deal with biases: we consider them – quite rightly – as “enemies” and we devote much effort to mitigate them. Then, considering the specificity of the delivery stage, this article suggests that another strategy is necessary. We need to turn our usual strategy on its head and befriend biases. In that case, scenarios become a tool of choice for an enhanced delivery of our foresight to decision-makers […]

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Saudi Arabia and the Chinese Belt and Road: the Great Convergence

In February 2019, during the Saudi Arabia-China economic forum, the two countries signed for more than 28 billion dollars deals (“Saudi-Chinese Investment Forum Signs 35 Deals During Crown Prince’s Beijing Visit”, Ashark Al Awsat, 22 February, 2019). These gigantic deals are part of the growing Saudi-China relationship. They are the economic and political continuation of […]

Horizon Scanning and Monitoring for Warning: Definition and Practice

(Rewritten and revised edition) Horizon scanning and monitoring for warning are part of the family of activities used to foresee the future, anticipate uncertainty and manage risks. Their practice is crucial for successful strategic foresight and warning, risk management, futurism or any anticipatory activity. While monitoring is a generic and common term used for many […]

When Risk Management Meets Strategic Foresight and Warning

Risk management is codified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). It is aimed at any organisation concerned with risk, be it public or private (Sandrine Tranchard, “The new ISO 31000 keeps risk management simple“, ISO News, 15 Feb 2018). Its forebear is actuarial science, i.e. methodologies to assess risk in insurance and finance (e.g. […]

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