The Ocean Futures team uses foresighting approaches to develop our own skills, as well as prepare for alternative marine futures. These foresights are speculative “views of the future”. We use these to encourage thoughtful dialogue about the  range of potential futures we might encounter.

Foresighting” is a term associated with “Future Studies” to describe activities such as:

  • critical thinking concerning long-term developments,
  • debate and effort to create wider participatory democracy,
  • shaping the future, especially by influencing public policy.

Foresighting draws on approaches used in long-range and strategic planning, horizontal policymaking and democratic planning, and participatory futures studies. Many of the methods that are commonly associated with Foresight (e.g. Delphi surveys, scenario workshops, etc.) – are based on approaches in the Futures field. Foresight is concerned with futures that are usually at least 5-10 years away and is action-oriented (the planning link) and thus will rarely consider perspectives beyond a few decades (though in areas such as marine spatial planning, or major marine infrastructure decisions are concerned, the planning horizon may be longer). We examine alternative pathways, not just what is currently believed to be the most likely future. Foresighting exercises may lead to development of multiple scenarios. These may be an interim step on the way to creating positive visions, success scenarios, and aspirational futures for marine systems.

The Ocean Futures team developed a range of visions for the future (foresights), and evaluated these using a set of metrics to develop probabilistic estimates of these futures occurring. These foresights were developed in 2017-18.

Disclaimer! These foresights are speculative “views of the future”. We encourage thoughtful dialogue about the scenarios envisaged here, which are not complete with regard to the range of potential futures.

Science in the 21st Century foresights

Foresight 1: Rationing air travel

Foresight 2: Privatization of science

Foresight 3: Participatory governance

Foresight 4: Artificial intelligence

Foresight 5: Social media as truth

Foresight 6: Rise of populism

Foresight 7: Gig Economy

Marine resource management foresights

Foresight 8: Precision fishing

Foresight 9: Blue revolution

Foresight 10: Coastal segregation

Foresight 11: Aquaculture divided

Foresight 12: Rise of ocean protection

Foresight 13: Rapid climate change

Foresight 14: Astronaut effect


Data extraction for Alistair