100 Years Ahead: Ten Stories from Our Future
The 2b AHEAD ThinkTank has launched one of the most ambitious long-term future studies to date
Have you ever found yourself asking what life will be like in 100 years? How will political, social, and economic changes affect our lives? Will AIs soon be our teachers, colleagues, political leaders, and managers? Will humans still be working 100 years from now? Will some of us have robots as love partners, best friends, or parents? Will most illnesses be curable by 2115? And how will your country change? Your region? The world?
These are among the thrilling questions we will explore in our extraordinary long-term study "100 Years Ahead: Ten Stories from Our Future." The major focus of the study is to launch a wide-scale public discourse about opportunities for shaping the future. We view our long-term study as a social project that creates the possibility to actively engage with emerging changes. How will we live in the future? And more importantly: How do we want to live?
Nine real-life children and one AI
This long-term study by the 2b AHEAD ThinkTank brings the future alive today: We will narrate ten possible future stories with the help of nine real-life children born in the year 2015. As the tenth member of our group of subjects, we will be adopting an artificial intelligence. We will follow these ten protagonists on their way to various futures that will extend to the year 2115. Together we will explore, observe, and reflect on future living environments. With this, we create space to think about and create answers to key questions: What could life look like in 2025 from the perspective of a ten-year-old? Or life in 2065 from the perspective of a 50-year-old? Or 2115 through the eyes of a centenarian?
A diverse methodological basis for a future full of possibilities
Classic 2b AHEAD future studies generally look 10-15 years into the future. Our researchers interview at least 15 experts on trend developments in various industries. These experts are chosen based on our proven trend-cycle method for identifying relevant stakeholders for business models, topics and industries. They are then interviewed using the established Delphi method. In this way, possible developments for the next decade can be identified and explored in advance.
Our long-term study also employs proven methods for social research. Due to its unique 100-year perspective, however, illustrating a significant number of possible futures is necessary. For this reason, we also draw on scenario technique.
Using the qualitative Delphi method, we interview experts in the areas of the body, movement, learning, places, paths, and relationships. Our pool of experts is composed of players in future-shaping arenas such as politics, tech, business, and social culture. In line with this thematic diversity, we draw on a broad foundation: The first five years of the study alone will involve 500 experts (100 per year). Even later on, the study will remain a dialogue as those experts who took part in the first year will have the opportunity to adapt and expand their predictions five years down the road. From this point on, the study will also offer key insights into predictive competencies in various areas of society.
The most unique characteristic of the long-term study is its 100-year perspective. The further we move into the future, the more difficult it becomes to describe it clearly and reliably. For this reason, we also include scenario technique in our methodology in order to address the plurality of the future. This technique provides a means of depicting a large number of futures which are all possible, yet also differ significantly from one another. Highly predictable near-future developments provide for a common frame of reference: the standard scenario. This serves as the foundation for various core scenarios. This is the point from which the life stories of our protagonists begin to diverge. The 100-year horizon also includes wild cards, massive events – such as climate catastrophes – which cannot be predicted but which significantly change the course of events. This gives our readers a vivid picture of how our future could develop through the year 2115.
Interested in more?!
A blog for our project will soon be available. There you will find news and further impressions about this groundbreaking project. The link will be available here starting in October 2017.