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The Humanities Conference 2003

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Presentation Details

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Applied Foresight: Exploring Interest in the Creation of a Network of Humanities Scholars to Set a Trans-disciplinary Research Agenda to Address the Critical Issues Relative to Emerging S&T Innovations

Dr Lynn Elen Burton.

Humanity has never experienced the convergence and, in some cases, the collision of global forces of such magnitude and diversity. Understandably, we have extraordinary difficulty imagining the complexity of events that approach us so rapidly.

As these forces merge, recombine, and even crash into each other, they cause successive second and third order events. The resulting interlinked complexity often catches us ourselves, our communities and corporations, our nations and international organizations off balance. (John L. Petersen, Out of the Blue: How to Anticipate Big Future Surprises, Madison Books: Lanham, Md. 1999)
As the developed worlds support systems are constantly being reinvented to accommodate the extraordinary transformations of the information age, this explosion in capability raises the number of possible places of big failure or change.

CORDIS the Communication group of the European Community defines foresight as a systematic, participatory, future intelligence gathering and medium-to-long-term vision-building process aimed at present-day decisions and mobilizing joint actions.. The scope for foresight can be any issue of societal relevance, in which knowledge, and science and/or technology plays a considerable role.

Recognizing this, the purpose of this Applied Foresight workshop is to explore the creation of a network of Humanities scholars to set a trans-disciplinary research agenda to address the critical issues relative to emerging S&T innovations.


Dr Lynn Elen Burton  (Canada)
Associate Professor
Dept. of Humanities
Simon Fraser University

Dr. Burton teaches Futures Studies in the Department of Humanities at Simon Fraser University. Her major research interest is in Applied Foresight, and specifically the potential impacts of emerging scientific and technologigal Innovation on society and culture. Prior to her current faculty role, Dr. Burton was Dean of Continuing Education at both SFU and California State University, Los Angeles. She also served as Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister's National Advisory Board on Science & Technology, and the first Director of Environmental Education at Environment Canada.

  • Applied Foresight Network
  • Trans-disciplinary,
  • Impacts of S&T Innovations

(60 min Workshop, English)