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The Prospective Method

      Our future will be determined not only by trends from the past but by visions of the future. Michel Godet, in his book The Crisis in Forecasting and the Emergence of the Prospective Method, argues for the need to consider visions as well as trends.

      The Prospective approach, considers the future "not as something which is already decided and which gradually reveals itself to us but as something which is to be created." "One begins by defining ends which are noble enough to be generally pursued and thus can be incorporated into the culture of the society. Then action can be defined through a constant interplay of ends, available means, and present reality". This method has been advocated and used by Kenneth Boulding, Bertrand de Jouvenel, Willis Harman, and many other scholars.

      The Prospective approach makes the common-sense assumption that, in order to get from A to B, one must first know where A is and where B is. In this case, A is the communication system before the current wave of technological innovations and B is the communication system after the revolution. The shift from trends to visions requires "imagination and the ability to conceive of utopias". Our values can be embedded in our visions of a desirable future. Unless we make the shift from trends to visions, our future will be determined by facts rather than values. To quote the famous philosopher Casey Stengel "If you don't know where you're going, you're likely to end up someplace else".

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