Institute for the Future

IFTF_logo_2The Institute for the Future is an independent, non-profit research organization with a more than 45-year track record of helping all kinds of organizations make the futures they want. Our core research staff and creative design studio work together to provide practical foresight for a world undergoing rapid change.

Among our staff are experienced forecasters representing a range of disciplines from the social sciences, public policy, and technical domains. They are joined by creative designers who render our research in accessible and innovative print and digital formats.

Our network extends to include affiliates, bringing a diversity of perspectives and experiences to research and events. From university professors to independent thought leaders and hands-on innovators, they help us work at the forefront of new ideas and practices worldwide.

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The Information Generation: Transforming the Future, Today

an IFTF report

To examine the present-day business landscape of the Information Generation and explore how it will evolve over the next decade, EMC and Institute for the Future undertook a research study to identify and forecast defining attributes and shifts. The Information Generation Outlook Report stems from a six-month intensive research effort that blended strong quantitative and qualitative research methodologies.

The quantitative portion of the research inquiry was led by the technology market research firm Vanson Bourne. Simultaneously, IFTF led the qualitative arm of the exploration.

The Information Generation Outlook Report’s three objectives are to:

  • DESCRIBE the current state of global business and the progress achieved in meeting the new business attributes
  • IDENTIFY important directional shifts that will inform and influence the future of the Information Generation
  • ANTICIPATE what key directional shifts over the next decade will mean for future business attributes

Information Generation websiteThe directional shifts described in this report are based on in-depth interviews with influential decision-makers in multiple industries, including consumer package goods, personal mobility and health care; a day-long, facilitated expert workshop that included a diverse mix of academic, industry, nonprofit and think-tank leaders and resulted in a highly productive conversation on the future of the Information Generation; facilitated discussion with industry leaders at the 2014 Techonomy Conference in Half Moon Bay; and culling relevant research produced by IFTF during the last five years.

This Is How Tech Will Totally Change Our Lives by 2025 | TIME

The ever-increasing hunger for data will fundamentally change the way we live our lives over the next decade. That’s according to a new report by the Institute for the Future, a nonprofit think tank that has released a set of five predictions for the ways tech will change the future.

Personal data will continue to be shared, bought and sold at an ever-quickening pace, perhaps with more benefits to consumers. In the future, people might be able to personally sell info about their shopping habits or health activities to retailers or pharmaceutical companies, according the report. The Internet of Things is also expected to continue to expand, with predictions that everything from cars to coffee cups will be connected to the Internet by 2025.

Increasingly sophisticated algorithms will help workers in knowledge fields such as law and medicine navigate large bundles of information. Automation could either enhance these jobs or replace them outright, depending on how different professional fields advance.

Multisensory digital communications will also become more common in the future. The Apple Watch, which sends notifications via a wrist tap and allows users to transfer the rhythm of their heartbeat to other watches, offers a peek at the way senses aside from sight and sound may be used to communicate.

Finally, privacy tools and technology will likely improve in response to the vast amounts of data that users are constantly sending and receiving from the cloud. Striking a balance between leveraging data to increase efficiency and protecting the privacy rights of individual users will be an ongoing tension in the coming years.

Source: This Is How Tech Will Totally Change Our Lives by 2025 | TIME


2025 tech predictions both thrilling and scary


A new report from the Institute for the Future predicts a coming tsunami of tech-user generated data that will be a personal and societal boon so long as it is secure.

What does 2025 look like from a tech point of view?

We humans will be walking, running, sleeping data streams pumping out constantly updated metrics that will be both safeguarded and valuable.

We’ll do our jobs with the assistance of artificial intelligence to achieve better results faster.

And we’ll leverage technological breakthroughs to create digital gatekeepers that tame the information-overload beast.

At least that’s the idealized vision of our society 10 years down the road, according to a new report out Thursday from the Institute for the Future called Information Generation: Transforming the Future Today. The project was commissioned by cloud-storage company EMC, with quantitative research conducted by Vanson Bourne.

And if things don’t go as planned and all our data are allowed to bolt out of the corral?

“Well that’s the dance that’s happening now,” says Rachel Maguire, research director at Institute for the Future, a non-profit think tank. “We’re in the age of omnipresence, so the question is, can we solve for the privacy issue so we and future generations can enjoy the benefits of technology?”

The institute’s report identifies five “key directional shifts” in the coming decade.

The first is the information economy, which will find the data we generate from workouts and shopping sprees either being securely cached at our directive or else sold, donated or traded for financial or social gain.

Commerce in the data arena will be able to do everything from literally enrich us to helping society at large via the secure transfer of genomic data.

Related in many ways is the second shift, which will find a mushrooming army of connected devices – from cars to toasters – that will relay information and trends to each other and, via the Internet, the companies that manufacture them.

The advantages of such sentient hardware ranges from self-piloting or pilot-assisted cars that can better navigate their surroundings and avoid accidents to freezers that can automatically place orders for your dwindling stash of Rocky Road.

 “All this data exhaust inherently generates privacy concerns and the need for protecting that data,” says Maguire, adding that she’s buoyed by the progress being made on a variety of fronts to protect personal data. “We must have ownership and oversight of our data.”The third big shift being made by the information generation – those growing up in the era of Internet ubiquity – is in the arena of augmented decision making.

“Tech leaders increasingly are saying that we’re moving to a world where employees with smart decision-support systems in the workplace,” says Maguire, citing the example of a doctor pulling from reams of research at the click of a mouse. “We’re not talking about job displacement by AI (artificial intelligence) robots. We’re talking about having workplace tools that let us do our jobs better.”

Examples of this approach include Hong Kong’s efficient subway system, which uses AI systems to run simulated train lines to determine the best possible timetable while saving the company nearly $1 million a year, she says.

The fourth coming shift is dubbed “multi-sensory communication,” and is perhaps best exemplified by one feature of Apple Watch. Using a built-in tech that can tap its user on the wrist with a burst of energy, Watch is capable of relaying wearers’ heartbeats from watch to watch. Maguire calls this just the tip of an iceberg of tech innovations whose mission is to save us from information overload.

“The next decade will find us receiving information in new ways, using new senses,” she says, citing Marriott Hotels’ Teleporter, a roving device that allows visitors to be whisked away to properties around the world thanks to the magic of Facebook-owned Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles.

“Some of this stuff might be clunky now, but early indications are that these breakthrough will become less contrived and more organic,” she says. “Soon we simply won’t be just taking things in through screens.”

The last shift circles back to the first. Under the heading “privacy-enhancing tech” are predictions of cryptographic breakthroughs that hopefully will deliver us from a reality where it seems every major outfit is being hacked on an almost daily basis.

Of all the shifts, however, this one clearly deserves the most attention. Without encrypted and secure data transfer, our digital lives will fast become an open book.

Says Maguire: “The question we need to keep asking is, simply, what is technology setting us up for over the longer term?”

Source: 2025 tech predictions both thrilling and scary

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