Posted in Uncategorized

FSN Seminar – Oct. 23


The New York Times Magazine has a political news column titled The National Circus. The articles, often by Frank Rich, are excellent, analytical and in-depth, going beyond a spectacle which no longer delights us but fascinates as much as it exhausts and maddens us.

For this talk, and forthcoming essay, Nicole Morgan has borrowed and built upon this image and metaphor of the circus, eliminating the overly restrictive qualifier of National. To this she adds the adjective vicious, chosen carefully from all her research on political hatred.  The internet’s instant tweets and circular echo chambers are perfect for compounding the toxicity described by Neil Postman in 1985 in Amusing Ourselves to Death, a book to be re-read. The product of today’s vicious and circular political hatred is death in many forms: death in the mind, death in the streets, death from the sky, and the death of much of our planet. Ms. Morgan will try to demonstrate that this is the goal of this vicious circus, a show with many plotters writing a unified script.

UNESCO video where it explains the analysis our modern world starting from Renaissance:

Date and time: Oct. 23, 2020, 2 pm to 3:30 pm

Location: Zoom, link to be send out shortly before the event.

Posted in Papers, Uncategorized


September 2001. I had just started at the Royal Military College. The World Future Society I belonged to asked me to write about terrorism, a subject they had not been previously studied. In a hurry, I produced the several scenarios trying to go beyond what I call the pull of small events and placed them into the mega changes which were agitating the world. From that perspective a burst of anxious violence was to be expected and not only from Al Qaeda. Although, later I co authored a book on Al Qaida (Mathieu Guidère Le Manuel de recrutement d’Al Qaïda, Paris, Le Seuil, 2007) , I was also lucky enough to work in St. Cyr with experts who looked at the global picture. All terrorism is alike but some is far more dangerous. In 2007 I started studying the emerging violence in the US, which led to my book Haine froide (Paris, Le Seuil, 2012). I qualify the hatred by froide (cold) because it is normalized by cold numbers. The emergence of the white supremacism is global and will persist for the while, whether Donald Trump is reelected or not.

Link to the essay: 2001 WORLD FUTURE SOCIETY

Posted in Events, Uncategorized

FSN Seminar – Feb. 28

Applied Foresight Scenario Principles and Practices

By Greg MacGillivray and Arden Brummell 

February 28, 2020 – DMS 4120

13:30 – 15:30


Update 2: Here are the slides – S2S February 28, 2020 Presentation to FSN

Update: Room changed to DMS 4120.

Arden Brummell and Greg MacGillivray, of Scenarios to Strategy Inc. (S2S), are long-time professional Foresight practitioners who will deliver, via video streaming from Calgary, a presentation on Applied Foresight Scenario Principles and Practices with facilitation in Ottawa by Peter MacKinnon.

The session objectives are: (1) to share the highlights of S2S’ 15 years of scenario planning emphasizing the breadth, depth and strategic nature of the work we have done; (2) to engage the audience and receive feedback from them as experts; and (3) to collaboratively explore opportunities where scenario planning could be deployed to improve complex adaptive systems.

Based on these objectives, S2S has designed and will facilitate along with Peter, a unique mix of formal presentations and highly engaging conversations all focused on scenario planning – a leading strategic foresight tool.

(1) Introduction to S2S & Scenarios (10 minutes) The why, how and what of scenarios and moving from scenarios into strategy.

(2) Survey of S2S Scenario Work (20 minutes, 10 minutes for discussion) Examples showing the range (e.g., energy, environment, health, commercial, aging), depth (issues addressed) and relevance (emphasis on strategic action and outcomes).

(3) Key Learnings from S2S’ Scenario Planning Projects (15 minutes, 10 minutes for discussion) General perspectives on the change driven by our work including key learnings and issues addressed.

(4) S2S-QUEST Case Study (10 minutes) A quick review of the QUEST scenario planning materials from 2008 and how they were used at that time.

The QUEST materials from 2008 are available at

(1) Click on Client Login button at the upper right of the S2S Home page.

(2) Then click on QUEST Title and click I Agree at the bottom of the Disclaimer Page.

(3) Please review the QUEST II Scenarios Report – Final at you convenience.

(5) Audience Engagement on the S2S-QUEST Case Study (30 minutes) We will explore the following questions with the audience:

What major developments have occurred that support one or more scenarios?

Has one scenario clearly emerged since 2008?

What developments have occurred that were not anticipated in 2008?

If you were a decision-maker in 2008 and had the QUEST scenarios in hand, what policy action (e.g., legislation, regulation, programs, funding, etc.)  would you have proposed? How would they have worked out?

(6) Participant Feedback & Future Applications (10 minutes)

Open discussion of ideas of where scenario planning could be applied in the future to improve complex adaptive systems.

Posted in Events, Uncategorized

FSN Seminar – Feb. 21

Impact of Advanced IT on the Governance of the State:

Summary Discussions of Workshop Findings

By Stephen Fanjoy & Peter MacKinnon

February 21, 2020 – DMS 7170

13:30 – 17:30


Update – The Impact of Advanced Information Technologies on the Governance of the State

This will be the 4 and final session in a workshop series addressing the topic of the Impact of Advanced Information Technologies on the Governance of the State.  The phrase ‘governance of the state’ is taken to be all forms of national governance structures ranging from autocracies to democracies.

Democratic and autocratic states are increasingly using advanced data and information technologies to monitor people in unprecedented ways.  Democracy is under threat.  Fake news and alternative facts are increasingly penetrating the public commons.  Cyberspace is becoming an environment for nefarious actions by both state and non-state actors seeking many conflicting objectives ranging from eavesdropping and espionage to influencing public processes such as elections. 

This workshop series is a consequence of two past Foresight seminars, namely Technology & Democracy on November 23, 2018 and The History & Foreseeable Future of Artificial Intelligence: Opportunities & Threats on December 14, 2018.  Both seminars raised issues that led to staging this Workshop series. 

The presenters will cover the workshop discussions to date and their synthesis of our collective findings   using visual tools along with comments on gaps and other issues arising.

The presentation materials for both seminars and the previous two workshops are available on the FSN website on the dates noted (


Stephen Fanjoy is a management consultant, director, and interim executive to start-up entrepreneurs, specializing in business software, including significant experience in novel cybersecurity, medical device and data science solutions.

Steve has over two decades of experience in enterprise software, including executive and senior management roles in strategy, product management, marketing, analyst relations, business development, and mergers and acquisitions. He is an honours graduate of the Dalhousie University School of Business and a Certified Management Consultant (CMC).

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.


Posted in About

FSN Plan Jan – May 2020


Date Location Speaker Topic
Fri Feb 14
DMS 4165 Nicole  Morgan TBD by Nicole RESCHEDULED
Fri FEB 21 1330-1700 DMS 7170. Steve  Fanjoy and Peter MacKinnon Impact of Advanced IT on the Governance of the State: Summary Discussion of Workshop Findings
Fri FEB 28 1330-1530 DMS 4165 DMS 4120 Greg MacGillivray and   Arden Brummell  from Calgary via skype or zoom
Memories of the future – reflections on 30 years of scenario  planning
Fri March 13 1300-1530 DMS  6160 Peter  Chapman Quantum physics and  the  future of security RESCHEDULED
FRI March 27 1300-1600 DMS 6160 Guy Stanley and  John Verdon Determinants of future work in the digital transition .
FRI  April 24 1330-1530 DMS 6160 Richard Viger Ethics and Morality in AI
FRI April 24 1530-1700 ROYAL  OAK      PUB LAURIER All welcome FSN Planning session for the spring  term May  –Jul   2020..
FRI MAY 7 1330 – 1530 DMS 4165 or 7170 Chris Cooper Creating a new infrastructural sector; (clean water) the Eco-Future of Carbon Nanotechnology
Wed MAY12 1330-1530 DMS 4165 or 7170. Contingency date for Chris Cooper Creating a new infrastructural sector; (clean water) the Eco-Future of Carbon Nanotechnology

Please note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the FSN seminars are postponed until further notice with anticipation of restarting in May.   Any changes will be posted here and sent via email to those on FSN distribution list.

Posted in Events, Uncategorized

FSN round table discussion – Dec. 13

Update: Please note the location and time change to DMS 4165 starting at 1 pm.

Friendly reminder about the FSN round table discussion taking place tomorrow [Dec. 13, 12 1 to 3 pm, DMS 4165 7170] on the NEXT economy and the future of work. This session will be facilitated by Guy Stanley and Steffen Christensen.

Please note this will be the last FSN session for the calander year.

At 3 pm, we plan to adjourn to the Royal Oak pub nearby on Laurier Ave. for general discussion of FSN prospective themes, projects and speakers in 2020, everyone is invited.

Posted in Events, Uncategorized

FSN Seminar – Nov. 29

Update: here is the Presentation Rebuilding Liberalism and Transcript [FSN RB back story GS].

Rebuilding Liberalism: Social Justice with Individual Freedom

Presentation to the Foresight Group, 29 November 2019 [1:30 to 4:00 in DMS 7170]

Guy Stanley

Abstract: Here are the slides for this Friday – FSN Nov 29 Rebuilding Liberalism. As they show,  Guy will be using the material in his book to focus on the more general problem of the Western adaptation to industrialization mainly from 1815-1950 although obviously a lot happened before and after – which will inevitably touch upon. The main point of the presentation is to underline the enormous scale of the transformation involved – a complete civilizational makover – and the quality of the IQ (high) and leadership (varying from inspiring to horrifyingly destructive) the North Atlantic region including Germany brought to different aspects of the problem. He will go beyond the book to introduce some theories of technology and in particular the McLuhan et al on media and culture. This will hopefully set up a discussion about our current readiness for the completion of the digital revolution – or at least the next stages of it. In the process, Guy will also discuss the book’s solution to the general problem of liberalism’s incompleteness – namely a focus on the quality of civil society. Following the presentation, we will spend an hour or so to address the problematique of framing scenarios for the digital impact  we are currently experiencing and for its impending acceleration over the next 10 years.

The book is available on Amazon and Google – and  in a bookstores, quite possibly including the UofO bookstore.

Here is a image of the front cover: 9781459745117.jpg

Posted in Events, Uncategorized

FSN Seminar – Nov. 15

The future of risk in large-scale complex systems

Presentation to the Foresight Group, 15 November 2019 [1:30 to 4:30 in DMS 7170]

Graham D. Creedy, P.Eng., FCIC, FEIC

Abstract: This presentation examines the difference between formal risk assessment and the challenges faced by those actually making the decisions on managing risk. Many of the insights discussed come from the fields of major accident prevention, safety culture and responsible corporate behaviour. They reveal some of the organizational challenges of managing technological risk in complex environments, drawing on lessons mainly from engineering but also from fields as diverse as finance, health care, aerospace and international affairs. The topic is considered from different perspectives to give participants a sense of why those making decisions on risk control act as they do, and how this understanding can be used to develop more effective strategies for managing risk.

The presentation will briefly discuss:

  • the nature of risk and societal control;
  • how the philosophy of risk management has developed (and continues to evolve);
  • some of the common technical approaches to managing risk.
  • The main presentation will then feature an examination of why systems so often fail in actual practice due to sociological aspects of how individuals and organizations make decisions, to show how vulnerabilities arise and also comment on defences that can reduce (though not necessarily eliminate) the likelihood of failure.
  • The discussion will then move to implications for risk management in a global society which is rapidly becoming technically more integrated and complex, while it searches for a consistent moral philosophy amid the undercurrents of tribalism, class, etc. which ebb and flow as history evolves.

Bio: Graham Creedy is a chemical engineer and chemist who spent the first half of his career in the chemical industry, operating plants for some of the world’s leading multinational companies. He then provided consulting guidance to a variety of organizations in the private and public sectors, most notably through his role as Senior Manager, Responsible Care for the Canadian Chemical Producers’ Association (now the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada), a position from which he retired in 2009. He is a registered professional engineer in Ontario and a Fellow of both the Chemical and Engineering Institutes of Canada, and teaches risk management at the University of Ottawa, to pass on some of his knowledge to the younger generation of engineers.