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FSN Seminar – June 24 at 1 pm EDT

Via Zoom from 13:00 – 15:30 EDT

Register in advance for this meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAucO6srzwsEtZGm05ONLNItVikw5upaYU4

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


Part 1: An Introduction & Overview of Telephony Standards Setting and the Emergence of 5G & 6G

Speaker: C. (Vino) Vinodrai, Telecommunications Engineer (Retired) & Steering Board Member, Wireless World Research Forum (WWRF).

Abstract

This is Part 1 of a 2 part webinar on the above topic.  Mobile telephony has passed through a number of generations since its introduction in Japan in 1979 in the context of 1G, the first automatic analog cellular system.  Today, the majority of mobile phone users in OECD countries are at 4G with a global transition to 5G currently underway.  Each G has occurred in roughly 10 year intervals.  6G is on the horizon with standards currently under development.  The speakers in these two webinars are engaged in the 6G standards process. 

This webinar will provide a brief overview of the history of wireless radio communications and in particular the various ‘generations’ over the past 40 some years.  It also will include a review of how the standards for the latest generations of mobile telephony are developed today. 

Part 2 will be held in the second half of July and will look into more details on the global research efforts for 5G and 6G, with an emphasis on how 6G is being developed to meet the United Nations 2030 Sustainability Goals. 

Biography

Vino is one of Canada’s leading experts in the mobile radio industry with more than 40 years of experience ranging from spectrum engineering, standards development, new wireless services and satellite communication.  

He launched his consulting business in early 2006 following his retirement from Bell where he worked for 16 years.  For the last three of those years he led Bell University Laboratories responsible for research at various Canadian universities in wireline, wireless, internet and portals across Canada.  For Bell Mobility he was responsible for advance wireless technology research, standards work, future technologies, health-related applications and spectrum planning.  He also served on the Board of CITO.ca – Communications and Information Technology Ontario. Vino represented Canadian interest at International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU).  Since his retirement from industry, he volunteers his time with the WWRF based in Switzerland (www.wwrf.ch) and acts advisor to WWRF on ITU matters.

For the last few years he has been involved with others in organizing a series of workshops across the world on “The Future of the Wireless Internet Communication in the 2020s” (Also known as 5G).  Please see www.wwrfhuddle.com for more information and note that the next Wireless World Research Forum Huddle 2021 global conference called 5G and Beyond – the Wireless World in 2030, will be held in Ottawa, September 29-30, 2021. 

Vino was Adjunct Faculty Member, Dofasco Centre for Engineering and Public Policy, McMaster University (2006 – 2019).

Vino obtained his degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of London, United Kingdom.  He is a Fellow of the U.K. Institute of Engineering & Technology (IET) and member of the Institute Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).  He also holds the qualification of Professional Engineer in Ontario (PEO) and the professional title of European Engineer (Eur. Ing). 

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FSN Seminar – May 14 at 1 pm EDT

Title: Propaganda, Technology and Human Freedom: Jacques Ellul’s Vital Relevance Today

Abstract
Jacques Ellul (1912-1994) was an inspirational voice in the USA of the 1960s. His sociological writings drew attention to the growth of technology and techniques, such as advertising and propaganda. All these things created profit for many, but there was little reckoning of the deleterious effects on humans. What makes Ellul more relevant than ever today is the enormous depth and scope of his thinking. His sociological writings give insights into politics and the problem for liberal democracies regarding the use of propaganda. He wrote about “the political illusion” to draw attention to how political decision-making was being determined by forces fostering technological growth, rather than by the people and the politicians they elected.

Ellul claimed that his writings were like chapters in one big book, and it is true that his perspective is richly historical as well as contemporary. His biblical studies and his deep investigation of the history of institutions complement his observations about social action today. What is left as problematic in one text often finds resolution in another.  There are now many scholars around the world who appreciate Ellul’s insights and are engaged in exploring, discussing and developing his ideas in the light of current events and newly published or newly translated works. Problems such as privacy in today’s surveillance society, or the communications problems connected with Covid-19 would benefit from his perspective.

In my presentation I will focus on Ellul’s profound study of propaganda, my specialty since 1980 following a year spent following his courses and meeting with him at the Université de Bordeaux. But I will also make links to his other writings.

Here is a link to a brief article by Randal: https://ellul.org/current-drift/dynamic-tension-for-pandemic-times/

Reference: ellulsociety.org

Bio

FSN seminar is on May 14th on Propaganda by Randal Marlin, a recognised authority on the topic.  Here is his bio for the FSN posting for his talk.
Randal Marlin is Adjunct Research Professor in the Philosophy Department at Carleton University. His current focus of research activity is communication ethics, in particular the study of ethical dimensions of persuasion and propaganda. His most recent publication is Propaganda and the Ethics of Persuasion (Broadview: Second Edition, 2013). A fellowship from the Department of National Defence facilitated a sabbatical year in Bordeaux with Jacques Ellul, in preparation for his course on Truth and Propaganda. This has been given regularly at Carleton since 1980, most recently in 2020. He is a Board member and former Vice-President of the International Jacques Ellul Society, and member of the Association Internationale Jacques Ellul. He has also published articles on free speech issues and is active in civil liberties, having served as a president of Civil Liberties Association, National Capital Region.

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FSN Seminar – March 30 at 1 pm EDT

Update: Here are the slide –


Next FSN seminar, March 30, 2021 via Zoom from 13:00 – 15:30 EDT

Please register to attend.

Title: Some Reflections on the Pandemic

Speaker: Robert Hoffman

Abstract:

This presentation challenges the now conventional wisdom that the novel coronavirus is so deadly that extreme public health measures such as lockdowns and stay-at-home orders are warranted, at least until vaccines have been developed and the population immunized. It poses questions about how well the pandemic is understood and how appropriate is the public policy response. The first question that came to mind while locked down on the Spanish coast of the Mediterranean in March 2020, was ‘What information would be needed to understand the parameters of the pandemic?’ It became clear that case-counts and deaths attributed-to-covid were not only insufficient as indicators, but by themselves were wildly misleading. To date there has been little concerted effort to measure the missing parameters.  Consequently, public policy has been flying blind and the hypothesis that covid is just another influenza, perhaps a little more serious than some, cannot be rejected

Bio:

Robert Hoffman, Principal and Founder whatIf? Technologies Inc.

Economist by training and systems modeler by vocation, Robert Hoffman has been active in integrated socio-economic and biophysical systems modeling for four decades, first as an analyst and research program director at Statistics Canada, then as Research Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo, and since 1990 as founder and principal of whatIf? Technologies Inc.

After receiving an MA degree in economics from the University of Western Ontario, he joined the team at Statistics Canada that pioneered the development of commodity-by-industry and multi-regional input-output analysis and a succession of dynamic socio-economic resource systems models for Canada, taking inspiration from Leontief’s activity analysis and Forrester’s system dynamics. From this work emerged the ‘design approach’ to modelling, that focuses on the stocks and flows of materials, energy and information among the Earth system processes that open to radiant energy from the sun and consequently to unpredictable evolutionary change. 

At whatIf? Technologies Robert Hoffman, in collaboration with Bert McInnis and Michael Hoffman, oversaw the creation of the whatIf? software platform for dynamic systems modelling and the development of models in problem domains including urban and regional planning, integrated energy systems, natural resource management, and sustainability at global and national scales that are used for strategic planning, scenario analysis and policy development. 

Robert Hoffman was a visiting researcher at both the Harvard Economic Research Project and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, a participant/contributor at international conferences, and a consultant to United Nations agencies in the field of energy analysis. He is author or co-author of articles and professional papers published in scholarly journals and books. His work in global systems modeling has been recognized by the United States Association for the Club of Rome for which he received a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Robert Hoffman is an active participant in Club of Rome related activities.  Since 1990, he has served the Canadian Association for the Club of Rome as member, director and officer, including secretary-treasurer and chairman. He became Associate Member of the Club of Rome in 2009 and Full Member in 2014 and has contributed to the ‘decoupling’ and  ‘circular economy’ initiatives. In 2016, he was recognized as Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science and is active in the Working Group on New Economic Theory, pursuing the development of an evolutionary systems approach to a new economics that would encompass biophysical processes and technologies as they are influenced by the behavior of economic agents. He is a member and Trustee of the American Society for Cybernetics.

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FSN Seminar – March 19 at 1 pm EDT

Abstract and Bio of Derek Ireland for FSN Session on “Behavioral Ethics, COVID, and the Wicked Problem of Lockdown Fatigue”

Date, Time and Location Webinar on March 19 at 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM [Ottawa – EDT]

Abstract

As indicated in previous FSN presentations, Derek Ireland is able to find wicked problems virtually anywhere, including the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.  COVID in many ways represents the goliath of all the wicked problems of our lifetime and is making many other wicked problems even more complex and difficult to tame.  About 7 months ago, Derek prepared and placed on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) a working paper on the behavioral ethics challenges of the COVID-19 crisis to recovery.  The major argument of this article is that the insights from the behavioral ethics literature on bounded ethicality, ethical blind spots, ethical fading, erosion, corrosion, numbing, and fatigue and good people acting badly and doing unethical things, can be readily extended to the behaviour of individuals and organizations during the Covid-19 pandemic crisis of 2020/2021.

Special emphasis in the paper was placed on the behavior and misconduct of normally good people when jurisdictions are moving from the crisis to the recovery stage of the pandemic after a long lockdown period and other periods that restricted our behaviour and “personal freedoms”.  This presentation will summarize and update the insights from that article, and will then extend the insights to the behaviour of other often “not-so-good” people including governments, politicians, business people and the media who at times are acting even more badly and opportunistically (consistent with the wicked problem concept) because of their own forms of lockdown fatigue including frustration and boredom.  For those of you who are interested, the earlier article dated August 5 2020 is available at http://ssrn.com/abstract=3667699

Brief Bio

Dr. Derek Ireland has been a senior economist and manager in the Canadian public and private sectors for well over five decades.  He has a BA in Economics and Asian Studies from the University of British Columbia in 1968, an MA in Economics from Carleton University, which he received in the mid-1970s; and he returned to university in the Fall of 2003 as a student in the PhD program in Public Policy at Carleton University in Ottawa Canada, and received his PhD in February 2009.  His area of specialization over the last two and a half decades has been the interactions between law and economics with emphasis on competition policy and law; regulatory reform and impact analysis; consumer policy and consumer protection law; trade policy; intellectual property and innovation policy; urban, regional, rural and infrastructure development; and public administration.

His international experience includes more than 30 major consulting assignments in China, as well as research and policy development work in several other developing countries such as Nepal, Malaysia, Yemen, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, the Mongolia Republic, and in Botswana working with the Secretariat of the Southern Africa Development Community on competition and consumer protection policies and laws in the SADC Member States.  He has been a member of FSN for well over a decade and has made previous presentations on: marketing foresight to the boundedly rational; uncertainty, novelty, innovation, Canada’s innovation challenge and the consumer; and foresight, behavioral economics, disruptive technologies, the crisis of democratic capitalism, and other problems with wicked characteristics including the wicked challenge of developing the Nepal economy.

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FSN Seminar – March 9 at 1 pm EST


We should trust Artificial Intelligent (AI) to make moral decisions under certain preconditions – A foresight view on Artificial Intelligent Systems of tomorrow

Abstract

The presentation will begin by providing an introduction to some contemporary technological issues around Artificial Intelligence (AI).  This will be followed by an examination of the following thesis about the future of AI in the context that “we should trust AI to make moral decisions under certain preconditions”.

A brief review of selected literature related to the thesis statement will follow along with a discussion about some present unresolved ethical and moral issues.  We will then discuss the ‘promise’ of artificial intelligence in serving society.  This will be coupled to the observation that we are living in an emerging technological environment that is going fully digital and in so doing is creating vast quantities of data that can be further exploited.  We will then show how the philosophy of information impacts our understanding through the exploitation of AI.

Next, we will look at the human moral cognition process that helps us understand the differences between right and wrong and good and bad.  We will then see if we can apply the human concept of “good” to AI systems.  This will be undertaken by considering the philosophy of the Canadian Jesuit priest, philosopher, and theologian Bernard Lonergan and his Generalized Empirical Method (GEM), as an ideal moral practice that could be used in developing moral AI systems.

Finally, we will show through further analysis, as per the use of GEM, a way of doing self-evaluation.  The seminar will end with conclusions and recommendations for future work.

Biography Richard Viger, CD, BSc., MA

After completing high school Richard spent one year studying electronics at the Collège Lionel-Groulx.  He then joined the Canadian Armed Forces in the late seventies, where he was trained as an Air Force Communications and Radar Systems Technician.  He then spent a number of years applying his skills in the NavCom lab at Canadian Forces Base Comox, in British Columbia.

Richard was selected to participate in the Canadian Forces University Training Program.  He completed his Bachelor of Computer Science (BSc.) from the University of Victoria.  Upon graduation Richard received his military commission in the Air Force wing of the Canadian Forces as a Communication Electronics Engineering Officer.  He was then posted to Ottawa to manage various computer systems and act as a communications and security engineer in a number of Defence Headquarters’ offices until his retirement in 2001 after 22 years of service in DND.

Two months after 9/11, Richard joined the Canadian Communications Security Establishment (CSE), where he held a number of positions in various business areas of the Establishment.  He spent his last few years in the Research Coordination Office within the Research Directorate.

In 2020, Richard graduated with a Master of Arts (MA) in Public Ethics, with a focus on Science & Technology from Saint Paul University in Ottawa. Then in the fall of 2020, Richard retired from CSE after 41+ years of service in the Government of Canada.  Today, Richard continues his research in the fields of AI and ethics.

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FSN Seminar – Feb 25

Social technologies and the ideology of connection

Speaker: Dr Zoetanya Sujon, Programme Director for the Communications and Media Department, London College of Communication, University of the Arts, London, UK

Abstract

 
In the transition to the 21st century, we have moved from a media and communications paradigm dominated by mass and broadcast media to one where networked and social technologies shape personal and public relationships. In this talk, Zoetanya Sujon draws from her forthcoming book, The Social Media Age, to share her view of the what this shift means for the infrastructures of everyday life, cultural patterns and economic systems. The aim of this work is twofold: to introduce a critical framework for making sense of social media as historically grounded technologies, and to push users past the seamless interfaces of social media.
Understanding social media means asking questions about society, culture and economy. What we find are dense connections between platform infrastructures and our experiences of the social. Indeed, a closer look unveils complex tensions between the materialities of networks and platform ideologies as they shape and shift social relations with often paradoxical and complex consequences. Sociality, like social media, is increasingly public and private, commercial and personal, hyperglobal and hyperlocal. The links between specific instances of social relations, like memes and selfies fit into the rise of datafication and dataveillance, as well as broader transformations in screen industries, social movements, intimacy and personal connection.

Bio

 
Dr Zoetanya Sujon is Programme Director for the Communications and Media department in London College of Communication (LCC), University of the Arts London. Before joining LCC in 2018, Zoetanya was a Senior Lecturer in Media and Communications at Regent’s University London and lecturer/Fellow in Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where she completed her PhD. Originally trained as a sociologist, Zoetanya draws from an interdisciplinary lens to address the relationships between new technologies and social life. Zoetanya has published in leading media journals such as New Media and Society, Social Media + Society, and the International Journal of Communication.
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US Election Results – Implications

Please find the FSN Discussion Group paper resulting from the January 29th meeting on the US Presidential Election here: FSN Post-US Election Sessions – Final


Thank you all for great discussion, here are the slides:Présentation 29.01.21v.ff


FSN ZOOM DISCUSSION of the US Election Results – implications

29 January 2021, 1:00 – 3:30 pm

Hosted by Peter MacKinnon, moderated by Guy Stanley. Bios attached

Abstract

This FSN discussion is a follow-up to the FSN session of November 26th regarding the then state of the US Presidential Election and gazing into the near-term future post Inauguration.  Thus, the time for the second discussion has arrived.  Here is the  Moderator’s discussion Paper from the November session (US Election FSN Moderator’s report 26.11.20 session). It will be used to set the stage for the ensuing discussion against the themes of the paper and the latest events as they happen up until the meeting date

Two questions that were used to guide the initial discussion can be found below.  They are still relevant in slightly modified form to guide the next conversation:

  • What and when might we see a New Normal, given post US election and post COVID-19?
  • What are the key drivers, trends, wild cards & indicators that will shape and characterize the “New Normal and when?

For this session, the aim is to collect and collate ideas on points in the discussion paper and on questions (a) and (b) above.  The overall objective being to glean a view or views on where the next US Administration is heading, especially with respect to the Trump Administration.

Bios

Guy Stanley has been active with the Foresight Synergy Network for many years. Born in Toronto, he holds an MA and Ph.D. in international history (LSE 1974) and a BA (History & Pol. Sci.) from the University of Victoria (1967).  His career combined consulting with Fortune 500 multinational firms and international organizations with university teaching and research in Geneva, New York, Montréal and Ottawa. Guy was Director of the IMBA program at the University of Ottawa (2000-3) and Director of Technology & Innovation at the Conference Board of Canada. (2004-7) He taught international commerce at McGill and HEC, Montréal 1991-2007 and worked with l’Ecole polytechnique de Montréal (2007-8). His latest book, Rebuilding Liberalism, Dundurn Press, was published in July 2019. He lives in Beaconsfield, QC.

Peter MacKinnon has a background as a scientist, business manager, entrepreneur, domestic and international bureaucrat, executive, diplomat, management advisor, and academic; including affiliation with both Telfer and the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Ottawa.  He is a pioneer in the commercialization of AI and today is actively involved in ethical and policy issues related to AI.  He has an extensive background on the forefront of scientific and technological breakthroughs around disruptive technologies and their impacts on society such as Smart Cities. https://www.linkedin.com/in/peter-mackinnon-ba88682a/.  In late 2020 Peter was appointed a member of one of the world’s major artificial intelligence advisory bodies in the form of the American Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems Committee of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (https://ieeeusa.org/volunteers/committees/aiaspc/).

NOTE/RSVP

The Zoom link will be sent out the night before the meeting. Should you wish to join this seminar and have not done so through the Foresight Network, please contact the host, Peter MacKinnon at “mackinnon.peter” <mackinnon.peter@gmail.com> before 17:00 on January 28th.

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FSN Seminar: An Overview of Smart Cities Five to Ten Years Out in a Post Pandemic World


FSN ZOOM SEMINAR January 15, 2021, 1 to 3:30 pm

Title: An Overview of Smart Cities Five to Ten Years Out in a Post Pandemic World

Abstract
The current pandemic is accelerating the need for cities to transform from independent transactional environments of siloed city operations into open data and digitally interconnected cityscapes.

This presentation is based on findings from a recent research report prepared by a team from Global Advantage, an Ottawa based management consultancy, for a federal agency.  The approach was an internet-based literature review on smart city technologies and trends out to 2030.
This talk will touch on the organization and structure of Smart Cities, the technology components to become a Smart City, Smart City technology trends, and a systems view of Smart City applications with examples in ITS, eHealth and energy.
Bio
Peter MacKinnon has a background as a scientist, business manager, entrepreneur, domestic and international bureaucrat, executive, diplomat, management advisor, and academic; including affiliation with Telfer, the Faculty of Engineering, and the Institute for Science, Society and Policy at the University of Ottawa.
He is a pioneer in the commercialization of AI and today is actively involved in ethical and policy issues related to AI.  He has been involved in Smart Cities initiatives since the mid-1990s.  He has an extensive background on the forefront of scientific and technological breakthroughs around disruptive technologies and their impacts on society and has contributed to building various national technical assets such as Canarie, CIRA, and Compute Canada. https://www.linkedin.com/in/peter-mackinnon-ba88682a/
Note/RSVP
Should you wish to join this seminar please contact the speaker at “mackinnon.peter” <mackinnon.peter@gmail.com> before noon January 15th.
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UNESCO High-Level Futures Literacy Summit – An Invitation to Participate

UNESCO High-Level Futures Literacy Summit – An Invitation to Participate
Online 8 to 12 December 2020
A High-Level Futures Literacy Summit will provide testimonials from around the world that being futures literate changes what people see and do. From high ranking leaders in the public and private sector to activists, artists, students and professors, the Summit will show how people become futures literate and the impact it has on all aspects of life, from dealing with COVID-19 to breaking the reproduction of oppression.

 

Now, as always, the future is uncertain. Climate change, pandemics, economic crisis, social exclusion, racism, oppression of women, inter-generational conflict, and more, shatter the conventional images of the future that humans use to feel secure, to be confident enough to invest in tomorrow.

This is not a small problem. Without images of the future that inspire hope and foster collaboration there is a high risk of despair and war. The malaise of poverty-of-the-imagination must be overcome.

More info and access can be found here: https://events.unesco.org/event?id=255234025&lang=1033
This event runs from 8–12 December 2020, online and at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.  See URL above for details and access.
Access to this event has been made available to the FSN Group via Professor Jonathan Calof of Telfer.  If you have any questions regarding this event please contact “Peter MacKinnnon” <mackinnon.peter@gmail.com>
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FSN Seminar – Nov. 26

FSN ZOOM DISCUSSION of the US Election Results – implications

26 November, 1:30 – 3:30 pm

Hosted by Peter MacKinnon, moderated by Guy Stanley. Bios attached

Two questions to guide the conversation: (1) What and when might we see a New Normal, given post US election and post COVID-19? (2) What are the key drivers, trends, wild cards & indicators that will shape and characterize the “New Normal and for how long?

Basic theme: The new US admin wants to “build back better”: Is this realistic or feasible?

If “Yes” – then what scenarios apply? if No, then what scenarios apply? In both cases, what are the takeaways for the US, the world- and for Canada? And, of course, what could go wildly wrong or right?

Clearly, two hours is not enough to do more than air a lot of possibilities and policy issues. A second session after Jan 20 will re-examine the situation and perhaps aim at some firm(er) conclusions.  For this session, the aim is to collect and collate ideas on points 1 and 2 above. A rapporteur’s summary will be circulated a week or so after this first session which might be used as a starting point for a follow-up session late January, 2021.

Bio-Guy Stanley, Ph.D.

Guy Stanley has been active with the Foresight Synergy Network for many years. Born in Toronto, he holds an MA and Ph.D. in international history (LSE 1974) and a BA (History & Pol. Sci.) from the University of Victoria (1967).  His career combined consulting with Fortune 500 multinational firms and international organizations with university teaching and research in Geneva, New York, Montréal and Ottawa. Guy was Director of the IMBA program at the University of Ottawa (2000-3) and Director of Technology & Innovation at the Conference Board of Canada. (2004-7) He taught international commerce at McGill and HEC, Montréal 1991-2007 and worked with l’Ecole polytechnique de Montréal (2007-8). His latest book, Rebuilding Liberalism, Dundurn Press, was published last July. He lives in Beaconsfield, QC.

Peter MacKinnon has a background as a scientist, business manager, entrepreneur, domestic and international bureaucrat, executive, diplomat, management advisor, and academic; including affiliation with both Telfer and the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Ottawa.  He is a pioneer in the commercialization of AI and today is actively involved in ethical and policy issues related to AI.  He has an extensive background on the forefront of scientific and technological breakthroughs around disruptive technologies and their impacts on society such as Smart Cities. https://www.linkedin.com/in/peter-mackinnon-ba88682a/

Please email foresightsynergynetwork@gmail.com for zoom link.