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11 July 2007

Illustrating the difficulty of futures intelligence

This item by science fiction author Charles Stross is an excellent micro case study of the difficulties of doing good futures intelligence and scenario projection. The issues and concerns of the day, especially in the alternative planes of finance and thought that comprise the Parallel World, are only faintly visible in the distant Starlight. The driving passions, and serious concerns, of those caught up in the future mysteries that will be the realm of tomorrow’s intelligence rely on a series of nested assumptions and understandings that we can only barely begin to sketch the outlines of today.

In a way, our earlier admonition regarding the need to be constantly aware of the fallibility of trying to doing intelligence in the incomplete information space of OSINT also holds true for futures intelligence. It requires a great deal of personal humility, and a very open mind, to get futures intel right. The same even goes true for its easier cousin, horizon scanning, as selection and emphasis is naturally biased by the limitations of one’s own perspective, inevitably and irreducibly rooted in the now. Frequent trips to face Smoking Mirror are called for….

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