(The content of this paper is presented in a novel format that I would call a "mosaic synthesis". It is characterized by a juxtaposition of quotations, aphorisms and brief, integrative statements which is not governed by strict logic. Marshall McLuhan, in describing (Harold A.) Innis' use of an early version of this style, called it "quantum logic". It is believed to convey more information than traditional linear logic in that it invokes both rational (vertical) and intuitive (lateral) thinking. Intuition is required to recognize a pattern in the ideas presented, while reason must be applied to assess its validity. R.McD.)

"I hold that man is in the right who is most closely in league with the future."

(Ibsen)

If man in the Hunting-Gathering-Agriculture Era based his decisions on instinctive-holistic insights, and man in the Commercial-Industrial Era based his on rational-scientific reasoning, then one might anticipate that, in an Information Era with a holistic ethos similar to that of the earliest period, man may move to exploit the pattern-recognizing capabilities of information technology. That such a move is indeed occurring is evident in the general system theory of Von Bertalanffy (1968) and Fuller (1969), Simon's (1969) science of design, Jones' (1971) technology assessment methodology, and Sackman's (1967) theory and philosophy of man-machine digital systems. We are beginning to see the institutionalization of this approach in such organizations as Hudson Institute, The Futures Group, Institute for the Future, Institute for Alternative Futures, World Future Society, all in the United States, and in similar organizations in the United Kingdom, France (De Jouvenel), Austria (Jungk) and Japan (Masuda). Canada has the Institute for Research in Public Policy and other futures research organizations. Robert Jungk has described such organizations as "lookout institutions". We have seen the rapid growth of what has been called a new discipline, technological forecasting (Jantsch, 1967), and its likely evolution toward a 'science' (though that may hardly be the appropriate word) of futuristics.

What are some of the pattern-generating elements of information technology which may influence the new paradigm? They include remote-sensing such as infra-red imagery, geocoding techniques, real-time data processing, computer mapping and computer graphics generally, public opinion polling via two-way cable, portable videotape equipment, geographic information systems and, of course, the synergistic effect of all these things together.

That's some of the hardware. The software trends are rising, too.

Futurists (and others who might decline the title!) are developing a pattern- oriented library of methods to cope with the interacting complexity of future trends: the Delphi method, cross-impact matrix analysis, morphological analysis, contextual mapping, relevance trees, scenario-writing, envelope curve forecasting, and others. Many, if not most of these methods, are low-powered in the sense that they have questionable validity and thus tend to be exploratory rather than definitive.

But they are also often idea-generators. And there can be little doubt concerning the importance of creativity in the Information Era. Since 1950 creativity has almost reached explosive proportions in music, art, film, writing. This development, in turn, has led to serious investigation into the process of creative thinking, as reflected in the methods of synectics (Gordon, 1961) and lateral thinking (De Bono, 1967).

Another area of interest is simulation, about which exists a vast literature. Perhaps the most relevant work, in the context of this study, is that of Forrester (1971) on urban and world dynamics. Most of the work in this field is currently conducted under the rubric "virtual reality" (Rheingold, 1991).

There are many lessons here for a field such as regional science which came into existence in the late 1950s riding the wave of interest in a more theoretical and quantitative approach to the study of spatial systems. When one has absorbed the ideas in this study, and then turns to examine the nature of regional science, one is struck by its solid footing in the Industrial Age. It reflects a Parmenidean view of the universe where change occurs within a stable state. This view contributes to what Schon (1971, p.32) calls 'dynamic conservatism' - a tendency to fight to remain the same. This situation may be compounded by an attitude which holds that the "past is rich (in data), while the future is sterile".

A distinguishing feature of regional science is its focus upon "mathematical models and quantitative methods" as a means of understanding the regional system. Now if the intent of such a statement in its advertisements is to alert the unwary student to the rigors of his/her prospective journey, then it must be considered merely prudent advice. But if, on the other hand, it reflects a bias implying the superiority of the mathematical approach, then at best my agreement is ambivalent. It is a very narrow left brain approach. There are just so many other insightful ways of acquiring knowledge, as may be apparent from this essay, incorporating both left and right brain approaches. It is interesting to note, however, that the definition of regional science given on the University of Pennsylvania Regional Science website is: Regional Science studies the IMPACT of SPATIAL LOCATION on the economic, social, and political activities of individuals, firms, industries, and governments. That would appear to open the door to a much more inclusive approach!

As an alternative objective of regional science, I would suggest the following:

The purpose of regional science is to provide people with the knowledge to adapt themselves, and their extensions, to spaces of optimal stress. In the fulfillment of this purpose regional scientists employ the full range of the creative and technical arts.

Stress, in this context, may be measured by dollars (as in minimizing cost), by effort (as in minimizing energy expended to complete a task), or by psychic income (as in maximizing the sense of well-being in a well-designed structure or neighbourhood). Optimal stress would be the resultant of balancing the various forces. Fuller's principle of tensegrity (below) may serve as useful model here.

"Fuller's principle of tensegrity throws unexpected light on what is wrong with our current concepts about work. Fuller explains that traditional engineering is built around knowledge of the compression of the load bearing elements in a structure (e.g., columns and beams). Tension is treated mainly as a secondary reinforcement of the compression-based structures (e.g. guy wires). By contrast, Fuller's geodesic dome is conceived as a structure of comprehensive tension, that uses localized compression struts for reinforcements."

"It seems to me that our traditional attitude toward work also emphasizes the load-bearing, compression component of work and treats the (playful) tensioning as secondary. Not only does this result in an inappropriate emphasis of work over play, it results in social structures of work that are unnecessarily bulky, unstable and inefficient."

(Tom Walker in posting to listserv Futurework 20 July 1998)

"An astoundingly wide variety of natural systems, including carbon atoms, water molecules, proteins, viruses, cells, tissues and even humans and other living creatures, are constructed using a common form of architecture known as tensegrity."

(For the rest: http://vv.arts.ucla.edu/Talks/Barcelona/Arch_Life.htm)

The reference to spaces (in box above) may remind you that this manuscript is an attempt to juxtapose discontinuous thoughts, and, through optimal spacing, to stimulate involving, creative, synergistic thinking, by forcing you to make logical 'quantum jumps'. This technique was pioneered by Innis. It is somewhat related to De Bono's concept of lateral thinking which has to do with new ways of looking at things.

Meanwhile, back at the new paradigm --

To have a purpose is to have some idea of where you are going. It sometimes helps to know where you have been, and to know that it is still there. This may be analogous to 'regression to the womb'. But while you may know, in general terms, your destination and the path to it, you are not immediately aware of the obstacles which are external to your vehicular system, nor even of those nascent causes of trouble which are internal. The latter could have been detected had you been more perceptive. So, how to make people more perceptive?

Business is coping with the human aspect of this problem through sensitivity training or encounter groups. Where does the time come from? From the reduced work-load engendered by cybernation, which then enables people to develop their humanity.

Some regionalists are already familiar with another approach -- gaming techniques (Abt, 1970). But remember the need to involve the people (i.e. not just faculty and students) in this. After all, it is their problems that you wish to help solve: remember your purpose!

"I believe it's possible that an inadvertent spin-off from technology will transform man into a transcendental being. There isn't much we can conceive now that can give us a clue to how it will come about. But I suspect that vision will play an important role. The eye will have a lot to do with it. It could conceivably be some external thing, which metaphysically will affect the mind and cause some transcendental experience. So with that in mind I've been thinking of ways to integrate the realist image into the nonobjective image so that a synthesis will evolve, a cinematic experience which might contribute to an evolutionary transformation of man's thought processes."

(John Whitney in Youngblood,1970, p. 180)

"We would like to put the researcher, designer, decision-maker or the public at large in an environment where they could be exposed to what various futures may look like. We will do this with computer simulation, which I believe will trigger the next creative leap in the human brain."

(Peter Kamnitzer in Youngblood, 1970, p.250)

"A film like City-Scape adds still another dimension to the obsolescence of fiction ... Kamnitzer creates not myths but facts --obscuring the boundaries between life and art with a scientific finality unequaled in subjective art. Optimum probability computerized visual simulation of future environments is not limited to economic, social, or political revolutionary and have yet to be attempted. City-Scape is the first step toward that future time in which artists not only will be the acknowledged legislators of mankind but literally will determine the meaning of the word 'man'."

(Youngblood, 1970, p. 252)

This technique seems to be pretty well perfected, with pilots gaining landing and take-off experience with the aid of the simulated appearance of the airfield as they approach and depart. There is great scope and opportunity here for the regional scientist, with a flair for design and some programming skill, to program his region and then see what it 'feels' like. Invite the people to see. Get the psychologists to assess the impact. If the people don't like it, change it. Try again. Have you any idea how many variables could be handled in a video-simulation like this? (See virtual reality.) But what about those obstacles ahead which are external to the local system, in other words, in the environment? Here recourse is had to various methods, such as Delphi, for distilling the forecasts of experts in a variety of fields. Fowles (1976) has suggested that content analysis of advertisements in the mass media may alert us to future valuational and attitudinal shifts.

Gradually the image of one possible future will emerge. It may be considered an 'hypothesis' in that it purports to explain coming events and " suggest(s) ways in which future events might in principle be controlled" (Meehan 1969, p.21). But it is desirable to generate alternative hypotheses or 'alternative futures'. Given the complexity of the probabilistic spatial system, and the implications of the Law of Requisite Variety, the more futures which we have to draw on, the better. The generation of these alternative futures will require large inputs of imagination and creativity.

The current model of Open Source may be relevant here as design is made open to all to assess and modify.

For-profit software companies have recognized the power of the Net enabled bazaar model and, in 1998, began to adopt it. Sun opened its Java offering to customer innovation, and Netscape published the source code to its Web browser. Arguably, bazaar-style software development is a special case - it's a gift economy in which producers (developers) improve their tools as they use them. They fix bugs because they need to use the software personally. They are pure "prosumers." How might Alliance b-web bazaars change your business? Gary Hamel suggests that organizations bring as many as thousands of people into the process of making business strategy: "There is an inflection point where the quest for divergence is transformed into a quest for conver gence, and a new collective point of view emerges." If thousands of people can productively design business strategy, why not other products? Consider these scenarios:

·General Motors collaborates with its b-web to design cars using three-dimensional visual prototypes that it distributes via the Web. Participants include style-conscious customers, fleet buyers, knowledgeable service technicians, supply-chain partners, dealers, car buffs, and industrial designers. These participants are motivated to provide the "gift" of their advice because they love cars, enjoy interacting with the b-web community, and gain pleasure from influencing the design of a future car. When General Motors adopts an idea, it publicizes the news to the community, enhancing the reputation of the contributor. The manufacturer returns the favor by providing buyer rebates based on quality and quantity of contributions.
·Columbia Sportswear recognizes that its millions of customers have thousands of ideas that are better than anything that its in-house designers could dream up. It decides to "open source" the design of an entirely new line of clothing, producing both three-dimensional electronic and physical products in real time, based on the contributions of its panel of consumer experts. These prosumers debug the designs in their sports outings. Panel members get test items for free and gain reputational pride as well. Top contributors gain fame and glory - they appear in advertising, and some have products named after them. As early adopters, they also play a critical role in seeding the market.

If you can imagine such a model working for automotive design and sports equipment, how about surgical instruments, shrink-wrapped foods for gourmet recipes, hotel room design, urban planning, or multimedia computer games?

(Source:D. Tapscott, D. Ticoll and A. Lowy,Digital Capital, Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 2000, pp. 129-130)

The desirability of these alternative futures must then be tested against what is known of human requirements, as indicated by psychological, sociological, anthropological, ethological, etc. theories. But in the self-adaptive "Learning Society" which is envisioned, the opinions of the people must be heard. Increasingly, as noted earlier, two-way cable systems may make practicable a procedure of automatic opinion polling in conjunction with a questionnaire and visual display.

At present, hypotheses are generated which are then matched against past reality: in future, 'futures' will be generated as templates for making reality. An analogous situation in the field of art developed when paintings in the Commercial-Industrial Era tended to match reality with photography-like precision; later, more abstract art tended to make reality by providing insight into events or processes to which the average person was insensitive.

"Our visual classification of experience under subject headings is beginning to split at the seams. These are projective devices, like metaphor, to make the invisible visible by focussing the light of what is known on the dark of what is unknown. Yet every advance in every subject field has come from looking at the known with scrupulous care. Processes of deduction simply protect the known from contamination. But there is no deductive virus that will innoculate knowledge against the ravaging perceptual effects of moving images. There a time is fast approaching when students of architecture, physics, politics, biochemistry, or whatever, will likely find in moving images many of the modular aspects that inform model-making in their chosen field."

(Slade, 1970, p.l59)

Statistical classification schemes are like metaphors in that they illuminate. But what they illuminate (the data) was initially perceived, and hence subject to the biases of perception. The deductive process merely protects that bias from further distortion. In other works, if what is 'known', i.e. our assumptions or axioms, is misleading or plain wrong, our conclusions may be worse than worthless. This is well-known, but probably bears repeating. If one varies his/her perception, different data come into view, and illumination (i.e. classification methods) reveals a different pattern. The role of "moving images" then is to vary and sensitize perception.

"Now, however, in the electronic age, data classification yields to pattern recognition, the key phrase at IBM. When data move instantly, classification is too fragmentary. In order to cope with data at electric speed in typical situations of 'information overload', men resort to the study of configurations, like the sailor in Edgar Allen Poe's Maelstrom."

(M. McLuhan in Slade, 1970, p.99)

If the situation of information overload is bad today, what will it be like when business, government and other institutional data systems go on-line real-time, with possibly continuous data generation?

"I wonder if any of us are able to organize what is happening to us into meaningful order much less respond to it purposefully ..."

(T.J. Weeden in The Futurist, Aug. 1970, p.l30)

A valuable tool for generating optimal environmental conditions is McHarg's (1969) map analyses, by overlays, which could be accomplished quickly and easily by geocoded information systems with graphic output. An example of the latter is the Macintosh application Map II (Pazner, et al., 1989).

"... constraints inherent in the world of the immediate future make ideas concerned with design (my underlining), rather than accumulation of facts related to growth, the dominant needs in the advancement of science and technology."

(R. Dubos in Science, Nov. 14, 1969, p.323)

'We must use our science to detect the latent outcomes which will one day characterize the future of mankind."

(Beer, 1970, p.42)

"A properly designed structure will have just that degree of redundancy which is sufficient to render it functional in the presence of all the uncertainties involved in the calculation of stresses . . . "

(D. Hawkins in von Foerster, 1968, pp . 163-178)

"The whole philosophical basis of science may change when hypothesized physical laws are no longer required to predict or explain cause and effect. It is possible that large-volume data processing machines will be fed voluminous sets of observed information pertaining to a particular phenomenon and asked to determine the trends in the data, those factors which were important to the process, and how varying these factors varied the results. No theory necessary."

( Gordon, 1965 , p . 85 )

"For a predictive understanding of the course of human affairs, the concept of 'nascent cause' is one whose efficacy is as yet only beginning to make itself felt, so that its workings are subtle and masked by a host of other, currently more prominent factors. A nascent cause is not a trend, but a significant causative factor in a trend of the future."

(Gordon, 1965, p. 105)

"By 2018 there will be many more social indicators ... where will these statistics come from? Some will be collected by sample surveys, but most will be the by-products of normal day-to-day occurrences ... computer-filed samples of the symptoms patients report to their doctors all over the country can provide measures of tension and psychoneurotic reactions.

"By 2018, the researcher sitting at his console will be able to compile a cross-tabulation of consumer purchases (from store records) by people of low IQ (from school records) who have an unemployed member of the family (from social security records)."

(Foreign Policy Assn., 1968, p.90)

This, of course, is possible today on a limited basis. Whether or not it is in fact widespread by 2018 will depend, to a large degree, on its perceived threat to people's security. The reference to "social indicators" reminds one of Bauer's (1966) book of the same title, and the great deal of work in the area to be tackled by regional scientists and others. Only by the development of accurate indicators will we be in a position to get adequate feedback from which to assess the 'fit' of our futures.

"But just as scientific knowledge in other fields enables us to replace accident with explicit design, so in the field of human behaviour we must move from accidental sources of a culture to explicit planning. We need to examine the human organism, see what it needs to be happy, productive and creative. We can then design a culture which will take the fullest advantage of man's potentialities."

(B. F. Skinner in Falk, 1970, pp. 83-48)

Skinner (1971) illustrates with rather startling clarity the growing trend in the social sciences to become concerned with questions of design and social technology.

"EVOP (evolutionary operations) is a method of process improvement [Note: Evolutionary Operations is a continuous improvement process for optimizing a full-scale manufacturing process with the objective of moving the operating conditions toward an optimum. EVOP consists of systematically introducing small changes in the levels of the process variables under investigation. Changes in the variables are relatively small to minimize the risk of serious disturbances in yield, quality, or critical product characteristics, yet large enough for potential improvements in performance to eventually be discovered.]. The function of a manufacturing process is not to make a product but also to produce information about itself. Small changes are made around operating points and variance analysis is performed to determine whether changes caused any improvements. If so, the direction toward the optimum is indicated, and small changes are made in that direction."

(Cornish, et al., 1968, p. 31)

It is clear, I think, that some form of such a method may have a role in regional science's new paradigm.

"Sensors -- four basic categories:

  1. Environmental - ambient temperature, atmospheric pressure
  2. Inventory - product quantity (volume and mass, flow rate, tank levels)
  3. Quality - related to physical properties (thickness, color, viscosity, density, strength, hardness
  4. Composition - measure one or more constituents of a product impurities"
(Ibid., pp. 59-60)

"...it seems clear that continued effort ought to be made to conceptualize the entire system in theory at the very least. And that incremental development of existing systems ought to accord with that theory."

(Dial, 1968, p. vii)

Just as the clock enabled the measurement of time and the regulation of an even flow of energy through a fabricating plant, so geocoding (plus the computer) may facilitate the measurement and regulation of space.

Note the rapid development of techniques for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and university GIS courses.

"It is symptomatic of our age that despite its intense turbulence it has not produced a relevant concept of revolution: a strategy of action designed to replace operative institutions and values with a new set; that is, both a method of change and the substance of that change."

(Brzezinski, 1970, p. 119)

Will regional science fill the bill? (Not likely! But then people and ideas change - see the current program at Cornell). An interesting collection of Regional Science ideas may be read on the WebBook of Regional Science. Perhaps of special interest for this paper are the views of R. D. Norton.

Manas Chatterji sees a need to rethink Regional Science:

Increasingly, the central philosophy of regional science based on theorizing is under attack. Under budgetary scrutiny, programs in regional science not related to practical problems are being eliminated. To avoid this problem "it is necessary to integrate, in a more comprehensive way, regional science's avowed primary object of analysis of human spatial behavior in a regional context into the manner (both basic and applied) in which we produce the field". Some scholars want to make regional science more practical. The proper objective should be to develop theory on the basis of a few select variables, preferably economic and in sequential steps extend it to multiple dimensions and time.
...
Ihe challenge for us is to reinvent Regional Science for future generations in the twenty-first century and beyond.

(Source: Some Thoughts on Regional Science Models and Their Potential Uses in New Europe)

"If it is right to see regional science as a peculiarly American project of a particular period, one can perhaps begin to understand an extraordinary statement Isard recently made in an essay speciaIly written for a volume of his collected essays. Isard writes, "Sooner or later [regional science will] be surpassed in the social science arena. Why? In part, because of it already becoming institutionalized ... [and] approaching a dead end - from an overspecialization that becomes fruitless and obsolete ... To conclude, let us guard against the dangers of institutionalization, overspecialization, and overmathematization." Isard makes nothing of the irony that he was primarily responsible for all of the things that he now says regional science should guard against. Nor does he provide any critical analysis of his apparent about-face. That reversal, however, is understandable if we see it as an indication of the changing local context in which Isard operates. For over the past forty years Isard's postwar verities on which regional science was constructed have become clichés in a world of new "post" -isms: postindustrialism, postmodernism, post-Reaganism, and post-cold war. Because Isard's America is not what it was, regional science cannot be what it was either."

(Barnes, 1996. p. 135)

" ... our bias in favor of the rational, the 'scientific', the well-formed and the retrospective causes us to disregard the less visible process and to accept the ideas underlying public conflict over policy as mysteriously given.

"The less visible processes, however, are essential to change in public policy and, in general, to public learning. A learning system must transform its ideas in good currency at a rate commensurate with its own changing situation."

(Schon, 1971, p. 123)

Just as numerical analysis, the study of solutions to mathematical problems, is increasingly influenced by computers, so may we find it also true of locational analysis. The rapid speed of electronic computation makes mathematical elegance less significant. The role of simulation (virtual reality) and genetic algorithms may also be good examples of the increased role of computers.

"In May, 1997, the Smithsonian Institution honored Deere & Company's use of Optimax's genetic algorithm-based schedule optimization software by including it in the Institution's Permanent Research Collection of Information Technology Innovation. On the John Deere seed planter assembly line, more than 6 million combinations of available options can be specified when the planters are ordered by the customer. With this software, the factory's daily assembly schedule is created in minutes.

The Deere & Company case study joined over two thousand other examples of innovative use of information technology. These studies may be available on the Innovation Network Web site at http://www.thinksmart.com/. (Optimax Corporation, the provider of the software to other companies, including Case Corporation, General Electric and Volvo/GM Heavy Truck, announced in August 1998 that it would merge with i2 Technologies, Inc., a provider of intelligent planning and optimization software for global supply-chain management. The merger transaction was valued at approximately $52.2 million.)

Bill Fulkerson is a twenty-two-year veteran of John Deere, a trained mathematician with a biology minor. Fulkerson has the innocuous title of "staff analyst" and an uncanny eye for innovation. He had become intrigued with chaos theory after reading a couple of books during the companywide Christmas shutdown in December 1992. He absorbed the ideas of complex systems readily and became especially enamored of genetic algorithms. The company was assembling an increasing variety of new products while re-engineering their order fulfillment process to reduce time to fill customer orders. Faced with what Fulkerson calls an "infinite variety" of products with an untold number of options that were impossible to forecast, John Deere experienced growing inventories of raw materials and unsold products.

Fulkerson had a visceral sense that genetic algorithms could help resolve Deere's scheduling problems. Perhaps genetic algorithms could be used to search for improved schedules, rather than relying on departmental schedulers with their yellow legal pads and spreadsheet templates.

It was worth a try.

In 1993 Fulkerson found a site on the Internet where scientists exchanged information about genetic algorithms. He posted a message asking if anyone knew anything about scheduling a production line, and one week later, he had a response. Bolt, Beranek & Newman, Inc., had used genetic algorithms to schedule work at a U.S. Navy lab. A prototype scheduling system was developed at John Deere to run on a PC located adjacent to the loading dock. Essentially the software played God (or perhaps more correctly Darwin), running through up to six hundred thousand schedule iterations of a month-long planning horizon of planter orders with each iteration seeking to breed an improved schedule.

The software product was called OptiFlex by its originators, the Optimax Systems Corporation of Cambridge, Massachusetts. The biological parallel is sexual reproduction; the objective is to search through strings of information (schedules) to reduce the impact of infinite variety upon assembly-line effectiveness. "In the past," recalls Fulkerson, "our challenge was volume--now the challenge has become variety." "Planters are ideal for this approach to scheduling," says Fulkerson. "You can configure a rectangular frame to handle from four to thirty-one rows." The assembly has seed boxes and seed delivery systems, a component of the variety. "It's like building a VW bug right next to a big school bus on the same line, the same day. We had the challenge of trying to level the work requirements on the feeder lines as well. Big frames take a long time to build up and cool, and we put every constraint we had to make the software robust."

The use of genetic algorithms enabled John Deere to breed a better class of production schedule that met both market and manufacturing constraints while operating as efficiently as possible. The process starts with a population of schedules (say ten or twenty), from which two parents' schedules are selected by chance, biased by an assessment of their fitness. Two new schedules are derived from the parents by breaking them at an arbitrary point and exchanging parts as in cellular mitosis. In the Darwinian sense, these children undergo natural selection, with superior children being introduced into the original population, keeping the population size fixed. The population becomes more fit at subsequent iterations, until there is little chance of improvement and the process halts with the most fit member of the population designated as the production schedule.

What's next in the genetic algorithm factory? Fulkerson sees most manufacturing software companies racing to incorporate available-to-promise and capable-to-promise routines to take the traditional manufacturer closer to producing customer orders on demand, or mass customization. Then, successful software providers will ultimately move from these strategies to promise-to-profit strategies (PTP). The reduction of capacity coupled with a flexible and agile response to demand variation sets the stage for achieving price realization above "cost plus" formulas. Yield management strategies that reward long-range purchase guarantees with lower prices and extract premium price for short-term delivery appear on the horizon. Firms will reserve capacity for premium-priced short-term production and manage long-term purchase contracts. In the end, not all customers will be of equal value to the firm."

(Moody, 1999, pp. 170-172)

"Rational thinking ... cannot predict the future. All it can do is to map out the probability space as it appears at the present, and which will be different tomorrow when one of the infinity of possible states will have materialized. Technological and social inventions broaden this probability space all the time; it is now incomparably larger than it was before the Industrial Revolution, for good or for evil.

"The future cannot be predicted, but futures can be invented. It was man's ability to invent which has made human society what it is. The mental processes of invention are still mysterious. They are rational, but not logical, that is to say not deductive. The first step of the technological or social inventor is to visualize, by an act of imagination, a thing or a state of things which does not yet exist, and which to him appears in some way desirable. He can then start rationally arguing backwards from the invention, and forward from the means at his disposal, until a way is found from one to the other."

(Gabor, 1963, p. 161)

That is, from the future to the past, then back to the future, back again to the past ... and so on. Get it? Continue the treatment until you have a strong fix on the most feasible and desirable future.

" ... the concept on the future itself could, and in post-industrial society will, provide the basis for cultural integration of the society. By having a common picture of what will be, we will have a means of coping with changes as they come ... the lack of a vision of human existence that can serve as a focus of integration is perhaps most clearly evident in the confusion as to what response shall be made to new developments in medicine and biology ..

"From a long-range philosophical point of view, the greatest failure of contemporary culture in meeting the challenge of the existential revolution lies in its inability to provide a framework for ordering and assimilating the new discoveries that enable man to affect his own biological nature."

(Ferkiss, 1969, pp. 197-199)

"Central thesis of cybernetics: there are natural laws governing the behavior of large interactive systems; these laws have to do with self-regulation and self-organization (flesh, metal, social and economic fabric). Diverse systems are ONE since they manifest viable behavior, i.e. behavior conducive to survival. Outcomes are latent in the dynamic structure of systems that we have or may adopt."

(Beer, 1970, pp. 40-41)

"Data are a whole lot of meaningful patterns ... the purpose is regulation. And that means translating data into information. Information is what changes us."

(ibid., p. 43)

"One cannot discuss the purposive nature of a system in its own language, but only in a higher order language -- a hierarchy of logical systems (metasystems)."

(ibid., p. 46)

"Much of mathematics deals with phenomena which hold true only if their axioms are proven experimentally valid." (Fuller)

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