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News from the Future curated by Institute for the FutureOctober 20, 2020 – Issue #48
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Welcome to News from the Future, IFTF’s biweekly update.

It’s a tense time: COVID is spiking again worldwide and, in the U.S., we’re two weeks away from a contentious Presidential election. It’s a good time to remember the best way to predict the future is to create it.

In this issue, IFTF Executive Director Marina Gorbis and Jane McGonigal invites us to think longer—in years, not months or weeks. Our popular IFTF Foresight Essentials trainings continue to empower participants with useful foresight skills. A pair of Foresight Talks—one with an Afrofuturism scholar, the other with an expert on the highly adaptive LGBTQ community—offer fresh perspectives, while IFTF Research Director Jake Dunagan explores media, design, and immersive experiences in a new Ask A Futurist chat. Finally, we share some great news about Ethical OS, IFTF’s ethical-future toolkit. 

Hang on. We’ll get through this.Signals from the Future
🥢  Chinese government: please use “serving chopsticks”
For centuries, Chinese families who eat together have used their own utensils to serve themselves and each other from shared food dishes. Then came COVID—and something “new” became the new normal.

  Teens trolling for Trump
Back in the U.S., an Arizona youth group enlisted peers in a secretive disinfo campaign that sought to evade Twitter and Facebook’s policies, born of 2016 Russian interference, to combat deceptive digital politics.

  Caterpillar doubles down on self-driving vehicles
Sales of the company’s bright-yellow bulldozers, excavators, and other construction equipment have plummeted since February. Its solution? Eliminate the drivers. Welcome to the Centaur Revolution.

 Go outside and play!
A Finnish researcher has proven what Mom always suspected: that kids who play in natural outdoor areas such as forests or fields develop a more robust immune systems. And they do it in less than a month.
 Future Factors is IFTF’s proprietary, easy-to-use platform for sharing and synthesizing signals from today that are likely to affect the transformation of tomorrow.Build the American Future
You Want to See
IFTF’s flagship training equips you with the basics of foresight. Learn to filter information to determine its usefulness; transform urgent foresight into actionable insights; disrupt short-termism; and develop and test your own experiments in future-making.Dec 1–15, 2020 | 2 weeks, in PST | Live-Online >>Feb 9–23, 2021 | 2 weeks, in EST | Live-Online>>
Are you and your team equipped to navigate the current global crises? IFTF Custom Foresight Essentials is designed for business leaders and organizations who want a customized session to teach their enterprise teams the tools, frameworks, and language of strategic foresight.

Got questions about either program? Daria Lamb can answer them.IFTF Foresight Talks: Collapse, Survival,
Power, and Liberation
IFTF Foresight Talk:
Queering the Future to Save the Future
Thursday, November 19, 2020
9:00 AM PT/Noon ET

IFTF Research Affiliate Jason Tester discusses “queering the future,” which celebrates the untapped power of looking ahead through the perspective of the LGBTQ community—historically marginalized yet constantly adaptive and resilient. Join us to learn the art and science of seeing hidden resources, alternative systems, and transformative solutions by adopting a more expansive, transgressive, and liberating view of the future. 

Register here>>Ask A Futurist
Design Futures with Jake Dunagan
Wednesday November 11, 2020
9:00 AM PT / Noon ET

Join us Wednesday, November 11 for a conversation with IFTF Research Director Jake Dunagan, who’ll explore how media, design, and immersive experiences help people “feel” futures. Don’t miss this opportunity to have your questions addressed in real time by an expert design futurist.

Sponsored by IFTF Vantage, Ask A Futurist is a public Q&A series that provides a forum for futurists who draw on insights from years of research and experience. Learn more at iftf.org/vantage.

Register here. >>Spotlight on Innovation for the Better
Don’t get blindsided by a future you helped create.

Public purpose is essential for healthy innovation. The Tech Spotlight at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center recently recognized IFTF’s Ethical OS as a model of technology that seeks a safe, fair, and more inclusive future.

With the Ethical OS Toolkit, IFTF encourages technology innovators and designers to ask themselves if what they’re building now might someday be used in unexpected ways. How do you prepare? What risk categories should you pay attention to? Which design team or business model can actively safeguard users, communities, society, and your company from future risk?

Check out the toolkit and stay tuned for a new Ethical OS offering in the works…IFTF in the News
“New game trains your brain to react in emergency situations.” David Louie, the business and technology reporter for ABC7 News in San Francisco, California, speaks with IFTF Executive Director Marina Gorbis about IFTF Director of Game Research and Development Jane McGonigal’s “First 5 Minutes of the Future” game. (10/13/2020) ABC 7 NEWS Bay Area.

“Ep. 167.” Douglas Rushkoff interviews Marina Gorbis about “Post-Pandemic Transformation: Building a Mutualist Future.” (10/14/2020) Team Human podcast.

“Cool Tools Show 247: Vanessa Mason.” IFTF Research Director Vanessa Mason is interviewed by author Kevin Kelly and IFTF Editorial Director Mark Frauenfelder. (10/8/2020) Cool Tools.

“Disinformation from China floods Taiwan’s most popular messaging app.” Nithin Coca quotes IFTF Research Affiliate Nick Monaco and Detecting Digital Fingerprints: Tracing Chinese Disinformation in Taiwan. (10/7/2020) .Coda.

“World Food Day: How soon will we be eating lab-grown meat? Kate Whiting quotes former IFTF Research Director Max Elder. (10/16/2020) World Economic Forum.

Sarita Sharma interviews IFTF Distinguished Research Fellow Jamais Cascio online. (10/15/2020) Transdisciplinary Agora for Future Discussions.
About Institute for the FutureInstitute for the Future is the world’s leading futures organization. For over 50 years, businesses, governments, and social impact organizations have depended upon IFTF global forecasts, custom research, and foresight training to navigate complex change and develop world-ready strategies. IFTF methodologies and toolsets yield coherent views of transformative possibilities across all sectors that together support a more sustainable future. Institute for the Future is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Palo Alto, California.