Digital technologies will continue to affect every aspect of our lives as citizens and consumers.
ICT is not the only change agent at work in the world. There are other powerful forces in play that will trigger both massive innovation and pose immense challenges to current social structures and systems.
It is extremely difficult for us to imagine how different changes could interact with each other and what role digital technologies might play in this much wider context in the time period 2030-2050.
The Futurium foresight exercise was launched in autumn 2012 with the twin intentions of priming policy makers' imaginations and prompting wider debate. The aim was precisely to explore potential interactions between different areas of technology, human life and global resources. Foresight has no ambition to predict the future as it will happen, but to explore different futures that might happen.
Foresight is excellent therapy for busy policy-makers whose expectations of the future are short term and linear, based on just extending what is happening today.
Foresight techniques have been refined over many years and ensure that the results of any foresight exercise are not mere guess work, but scientifically grounded. This report has scientific rigour; but I also insisted that the Futurium initiative should not be "just another report by experts from Brussels".
It has two distinguishing features. First most of the underlying visions are crowd-sourced from a much wider range of constituencies than the usual experts. We harvested inputs from a wider range of constituencies beyond the Brussels bubble, for instance students from the Erasmus network. They will after all be building the actual future in the 2030-2050 time horizons. Second, the Futurium exercise contains a philosophical reflection on how our values could be affected by some of these changes and on the choices that will confront us.
Those who read this report will find their minds opening wider to the range of potential outcomes.
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