How to create Feedburner equivalent for “futurosphere”

Author: Ury Smirnov. Category: Future services. Date:29.09.2009, 18:03.

What can unite futuristic community of the world around some internet service? Counter? Rating? But how to count it? By the number of predictions come true? But how many of them will be there, among most futurists, especially the amateurs? In fact, we do not so much predict the future but build its image.

I think that all futurists are interesting (or not interesting) to each other and to readers with their views on the future. The service proposed allows each Futurist, amateur or professional, to form a personal visual profile of the future, that will be a) his business card, and b) its research tool. Users can copy other people’s profiles by fragments or whole in their own profile. Users (and together with them – sociologists, analysts, marketologists) will be able to compare their and others’ profiles with each other and with the “reference image of the future”, which will be formed by the service at the base of generalized statistics.

1. In the beginning it will be the word

At the first stage the members of futurological community create the “Catalogue of technologies”, in which wiki-articles of two types will be accepted:

a) a brief description of the most important technologies introduced by mankind;
b) a brief description of technological forecasts created by known futurologists and subject specialists.

Publications had to resemble rather the dictionary, not encyclopedic article. Quality criteria: the formulation capacity, comprehension, availability of comprehensive reference to the detailed descriptions.

An important attribute of the two types of articles will be the date of the introduction of technology – real or forecast (this is necessary for binding the article to “time line”). Also the author of the article should be listed the direct “parental technologies”, without which the innovation would not have to appear. Technologies will be divided into global and branch.

In drawing up the rules for adding, editing and deleting articles I propose to use the experience of communities Wikipedia, DMOZ, etc.

2. “Web» of World Future Web

Simultaneously with the public “Catalogue of technologies” the application “Timeline” will appear in the accounts of users. Its window will be divided into two parts:

a) on the left – a vertically oriented timeline, where point-labels with the names of appropriate technologies will be placed;
b)on the right – the viewer to see the word wiki-articles and other descriptions (article is called by mouse-clicking on the name of technology on the timeline).

No one technology label will hang on the time scale independently from the other labels. I remind that every innovation has the “parent” technology and can have “daughter” ones. Links between them form a sort of technologies’ web. Hence – the working title of the proposed service, World Future Web, WFW.

I offer for operability to mark technologies with four colors as in wiki-directory, so at the timeline. For example: the embedded technology – labeled in green, researched and implemented – in blue, projected by renowned specialists – in yellow, predictable by service users – in red. Names of global technologies everywhere will be written in bold, branch – in italics. This uniformity is important: profiles should be visible and recognizable. By the way, I apologize for the abundance of the technical details in this post: without them, it will be hard for the reader “to plunge mentally” on the buttons, that does not yet exist.

Naturally, we will take with us into the future social networks! Access to personal “Timeline” in the user’s account will be, at his choice, public, private or “friends only”. To consider or not in the overall statistics in the service summary data from closed and “friends ONLY” accounts – this is an issue that requires discussion: different solutions have their pluses and minuses.

3. “Photoshop” for futurist

Within six months after the launch of this service, even the WFW administrators will not look once the entire web at once – so dense it will become. But any user will “extract” from it his own unique view of the world (or, in terms of service, “profile of the future”), and to make a personal contribution to this picture.

Starting work with the service, the user is looking in the directory listings and descriptions of the technologies and selects those which, in his opinion, have the most profound negative or positive impact on the whole world and his country, region, family, and the branch or profession in which he works. This way the user can generate in the time scale of up to seven layers.

Forecasts of the leading futurists and subject specialists selected by the user from the wiki-catalog form the so-called “Primary layer» of WFW.

The pattern of the first layer will be the base of the so-called “Layer of futurosphere”: technologies will be the same that the user has selected for the first layer. But they may differ in terms of forecasted realization (i.e. collective projections of service users may be different from the predictions of authoritative experts).

In addition to the first two, each user can create up to five individual layers (“world”, “country”, “my region”, “my family”, “my job”) – and fix up his view of the future of technologies and its impact on appropriate levels of existence.

The time scale will also allow comparisons with other accounts, the experiments on the “what if …” researches of “futurosphere” in regional, age, professional, gender, and other sections.

4. Comments to eternity

When placed on the timeline of technologies’ labels the user will have to assess the harmfulness or usefulness of each selected technology: from -5 to +5 points (the recommended assessment criteria will be given in the service “Rules”). The user can also change the date of any forecast (to approach or to postpone it in the timeline). But to produce this effect, it will need to write and attach to the “primary forecast” comment to justify his adjustments. All such comments are displayed under the corresponding wiki-article in the “Catalogue of technologies.” Number of comments in the line is limited with the correction step in “primary projection”, is, say, 5 years.

If your comment will impress other people, and they will installed in their accounts your forecast period instead of “primary” then your comment will be climbing in the line of comments. And as soon as the collective forecast of futurosphere on this technology will be closer to your forecast, than to the primary one, your comment will be automatically included in the wiki-article as its update.

5. Green light for “red markers”

If the user sees fit to bring to our days forecast period of appearance of a technology – an interesting effect may appear. Assume that the appearance of technology originally was intended for 2030, and its “parent technologies” – for 2025. If the user shifts the forecast for 2020, technology is “up in the air.” Consequently, he will either have to find suitable “parents technologies” from the catalog, or – make up their own! And to prove it.

Of course, even without this conflict, users have the right to introduce their own technological ideas into their “profile of the future” (with details). If these ideas are supported by a certain number of users, then they will get into the wiki-catalog.

6. Hello! I am Toffler!”

Users can open public access to your account, and generate up to five widgets (on the number of layers, “peace”, “country”, “region”, “family”, “profession”) to be placed in the general and thematic social networks . Likely universal widget with five switches is to be developed for to be placed on a personal websites or blogs.

These widgets should look very simple: stem with gray horizontal stripes, where inscriptions are placed: date, technology, assessment (from -5 to +5). Labels color (blue, yellow or red) indicates if the technology is implemented or only expected, but if projected, then by whom: known specialist or owner of the widget. Well, under the universal widget there is the placement of five tabs switches.

Visitor of social network, site or a blog can bring mouse pointer to any strip and will see a pop-up window with brief explanations. After clicking with the mouse he will move to the detailed comments of the widget author or to the primary wiki-article. In addition, if the visitor is currently logged on the service himself, he would see next to a widget four additional buttons for: to bookmark the widget, to make friends with the author, to copy “profile of the future” or the separate forecasts into his account; to start the script of comparison two profiles.

These little widgets held to service a large number of people – those who are not even aware of the existence of futures and trendsetters online resources. Because the theme of the future worries many people. And its own “window in the future” would be appropriate almost to any thematic site.

7. What is the next?

If service is back on track in runet, it is possible to start opening its “mirrors” in other languages. To take the process faster, one can open the Exchange service Translation: if you want, for example, to get help with the translation of your wiki-article in French help colleague to translate his article from English, etc.

If service is back on track as an international resource, you can go beyond the purely technological niche and take the development of other segments: the political forecasting, forecasting the development of culture, etc.

And the monetization! I guess the service will pay for itself, not only through advertising (perhaps it generally can be reduced to a minimum). I suggest such principle. Almost all statistics of the service will be open to free researches. Almost all, except the forecast for the next year or two. The possibility to analyze short-term data for all profiles will be available exclusively to commercial and government organizations for a fee. A portion of this fee will be distributed among users who take the trouble to make short-term forecasts for the year or two ahead. Users of the service will be able to analyze for this period only the profiles of friends.


So on the one hand, the service will allow users to clearly and comfortably present their Futurological views and ideas. On the other, it will unite the futurologists-amateurs. On the third, it will give the opportunity to form and analyze the collective image of the future.

This third function is particularly important. People are always looking for the key to the future. They tried to awaken special talents, and developing methods guesses and scientific forecasting. Today conscientious futurologists increasingly tell about multi-variant and the unpredictability of the future, the fact is that for the “management” of the future it is more important to understand what we think of it today. Service will allow to look into our collective unconscious. People will begin to understand better who they are, where to go and what they want, how and what they can and should change today.

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