Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
Ce rapport présente les résultats d'une étude ESTO qui compare des programmes nationaux de prospective technologique en relation avec l'industrie dans quatre pays européens : la France, l'Italie, le Portugal et l'Espagne. La comparaison portait sur trois niveaux : la méthodologie, les résultats dans deux domaines (les produits chimiques et les nouveaux matériaux, l'énergie), et enfin le lien entre prospective et décision. Les quatre exercices reposent sur des consultations d'experts.
Ce rapport rend compte d'un ensemble de travaux de prospective technologique coordonnés par l'OPTI (Observatoire de prospective technologique industrielle), institution basée à Madrid, créée en 1999 par le ministère espagnol de la Science et de la Technologie. L'OPTI est une structure légère et cofinancée par divers centres de recherche technique, fondations et fédérations industrielles. L'étude de prospective a été conduite de manière décentralisée, par différentes institutions para-publiques de recherche technique, spécialisées sectoriellement, selon une méthode commune ...
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L'IPTS (Institute for Prospective Technological Studies) a consacré l'intégralité de son dernier numéro de l'année 2000 à la place du débat éthique dans le monde de la recherche. Après une introduction et deux premiers articles précisant la définition ici retenue de l'éthique et les questions de cette nature posées par l'évaluation de la recherche et de la science, « antidote[s] à l'impunité », Susan Cozzens présente le concept de gestion par les résultats. Depuis 10 ...
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How has the way the French perceive the future changed over the years? In essence, say the authors of this article, it is striking to observe how far attitudes to the future vary according to current circumstances...
Jacques Antoine and Marie-Thérèse Antoine-Paille review the public opinion surveys about the future conducted in France in the second half of the 20th century. These show that:
- during the so-called "30 good years" (1945-1975), the French had an optimistic view of the year 2000, and looked forward to a golden age;
- during the "lean years" (1975-1995), by contrast, their perception switched completely and gave way to a general "fear of the year 2000".
The authors then reflect on what factors might explain the revival of optimism observed since 1997. They argue that it arises from the improvement in the economic situation (including the launch of the euro), the start of a favourable period in politics (marked by the "cohabitation" of a Right-wing President and a Left-wing government in France), as well as happy events, above all the French team winning the football World Cup.
The French, according to the authors, have regained their self-confidence, in part because of generational change: the new generation of adults was born around the time of the first oil crisis.
Is this revival of optimism likely to last? Their answer is mixed: they say that "the images of the future can never again be what they were in 1950 or even in 1980", and, although trust in scientific progress is now seriously undermined, the main reason for French optimism today depends mainly on the situation of the economy and the environment.
Lastly, the authors outline four scenarios for how public opinion will evolve. In their view, this will ultimately be shaped by the same two factors: the economy and the environment.
L'« anthropologie anticipatoire », terme introduit par l'anthropologue Marion Lundy Dobbert en 1984, mais dont les racines remontent aux années 1970, utilise « l'étude de la dimension sociale de l'homme », ses méthodes, les tendances qu'elle parvient à dégager, pour tenter de prévoir les évolutions des systèmes socioculturels. Les articles de ce numéro spécial explorent en effet chacun un aspect de nos modes de vie et d'être ensemble futurs. Claudia Bell et John Lyall prévoient ainsi le développement ...
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"Visions of the Future, a history of the hopes and fears of humanity" is the theme of an exhibition to be put on by the "Réunion des musées nationaux", with financial support from the "Mission 2000 en France", at the Grand Palais in Paris from 5 October 2000 to 1 January 2001.
The exhibition will offer a vast panorama of humanity, and human perceptions of the future from the ancient world's hopes of immortality to the recent challenges to the very notion of "progress". Two hundred works of art have been brought together to stimulate reflection about the beauty and diversity of representations of the future over the centuries, in particular the search for eternal life, the expectation of the end of the world and the dreams of modernity.
Futuribles, which has a regular feature under the title "Futures of yesteryear", is linking up with this exhibition by producing a special issue called "Representations of the Future", with the help of Zeev Gourarier, chief curator and deputy director for international relations at the "Musée national des arts et traditions populaires" in Paris, who is responsible for the exhibition. It offers several visions of the future as expressed in art and hence illustrating how people through the centuries have dreamed of their future.
Five authors share their thoughts with us:
-First, Zeev Gourarier, in his article, shows how the hope of a better world has given rise to a multitude of dreams and also of controversies. He classifies the different visions of the future in three main phases: millenarian, utopian and anti-utopian.
In the first phase, the Middle Ages, the search for imminent happiness was marked by the triumph of the Son of God represented by the Apocalypse. One finds a similar eschatological exaltation in Cromwell's England, whereas in France from the 16th century onwards, the hopes of millenarians became less and less religious, and instead focused on human action, even to the point later on of seeing in Louis XIV the victor over the Antichrist.
Next, in the second phase, the author describes the contrast between the open-ended futures of the millenarians and libertarians, and the closed and homogeneous utopian futures imagined in modern times. In the latter case, it is for human beings to create their own happiness by applying certain rules drawn from pagan Antiquity, going so far as perfect uniformity. The ideal cities or utopian societies dreamed up by Renaissance scholars and humanists were intended to be an embodiment of a better world.
Finally, in the third phase, as people realised that the uniformity of these ideal cities would be hellish, utopianism emerged from its isolation and proposed instead an ideal future world symbolised by the Tower of Babel. The new version favoured free enterprise and personal independence, rejecting uniformity and monotony, yet warning against totalitarian powers and the subordination of the individual to a collective ideal.
-Then, Patrick Prado, in "Island utopias", discusses the island paradises beloved of utopias; whether Arcadia or Eden, humanity has constantly identified traces of these lost paradises and tried to recreate them by inventing innumerable utopian islands where people could live happily ever after. These island paradises crop up frequently throughout history and serve as a setting for a better world, symbolising the perfect models of politics, ethics and aesthetics. Closely linked with visions of things to come and desires for the future, the imaginary islands opened up dreams of eternal life. Nevertheless, although these island utopias, as expressions of hope, represented an escape from the evils of the world that were the subject of philosophical, metaphysical and religious debates, they also offer a glimpse of prevalent anxieties.
-Next, Sophie Makariou, in a paper on "Fatimid rock crystals", invites us to stop and look at rock crystal, which for both Islam and Western Christianity was the substance of eternity, carrying the promi
François Vatin invites us here to look again at the strange futuristic novel by Gabriel Tarde, Fragment d'histoire future, published in 1896. He attempts to decipher its meaning while placing the book within the setting of the school of thought that, at the end of the 19th century, was fascinated both by scientific progress and, already, by the notion of the end of history.
Drawing on the industrial revolution, Gabriel Tarde describes a society that has achieved the peak of prosperity at world level (globalization with a positive outcome), but which is rapidly overtaken by the tyranny of boredom and, in the end, collapses as the result of a natural catastrophe: the sudden extinction of the Sun. It is a society that ultimately, in order to survive, has to turn into a pure civilization of the mind and take refuge in a tiny underground area, forcing the adoption of a strict Malthusian policy.
Gabriel Tarde was strongly influenced by contemporary thinkers, especially Cournot. He provides us with reflections on the future of the human race, order and disorder, progress in science and the arts, constantly vulnerable to the risk of natural disaster and barbaric behaviour.
The Italian industrial areas (districts with small and medium-sized firms, linked by local networks) are an excellent model. Their micro-enterprises, well known for their competitiveness, their entrepreneurial spirit, their capacity to innovate and skill in adapting to the market, are generally the heirs of the long Italian tradition of craftsmanship; they have now organized themselves into networks that make them extremely efficient.
As Florence Vidal clearly demonstrates, these Italian industrial areas are flourishing and make a major contribution to the good reputation of Italian goods. Their very good results (200 industrial areas in 1998, with 2 200 000 employees and 42.5 % of manufacturing jobs) make them key elements in the Italian economy as a whole. As each one specializes in producing just one product, in a flexible system of almost total vertical integration, they benefit from considerable economies of scale, and they are renowned for their good design, creativity and efficiency.
The areas are complex systems that rely on network coordinators who look after the links with national and international markets and funding for projects. They also cooperate in consortia for specific projects, and hence benefit substantially from sharing costs, while also being supported by many local agencies that encourage their development and back their interests by fostering social cohesion, entrepreneurship, product specialization, flexible working and interactive governance.
Florence Vidal examines whether this admirable concept is transferable. The industrial areas are at present concentrated in Central and Northern Italy, but will they continue to prosper and spread to the South, and perhaps to other European countries? Efforts are being made in this direction, with varied results.
As for the future, what will happen when the links based on geographical proximity are replaced by telecommunications links? Will it be possible to reconcile globalization, competitiveness and e-commerce with locally based social and cultural groupings relying on social integration? Will the industrial areas be able to cope with moving into the virtual world and become crucial links in worldwide networks? The author concludes with several scenarios.
There are frequent criticisms of the fact that in France, scientific achievements are perfectly satisfactory but they have little economic impact, and that the country is remarkable for its inability to translate ideas into actions. Such, for example, was the diagnosis of Henri Guillaume in his report on technology and innovation (La Technologie et l'innovation), which came out in 1998, though the handicap had already been pointed out by OECD in 1978 and again in 1986 in its report on innovation policy in France (Paris: OECD, 384 pp.).
However, Pascal Byé and Robert Magnaval (who died in August 1999) argue here that the relationship between research and development is far more complex than people usually realise, that the causal links cannot be considered as direct and unambiguous, and that in any case scientific research operates within a different time-frame to industrial development, and the conditions are not so simple.
In particular, they show that factors related to the dynamics of organisations and markets affect the application and spread of the results of public research, and even more for private research. And, rather than endlessly criticising the paradox, it would probably be better to treat the process of innovation differently, according to its own logic.
Under the rubric "Futures of yesteryear" we reproduce old texts in which the authors proved to be particularly innovative and clairvoyant. This is certainly true of the strange extract from Villiers de l'Isle-Adam's Cruel Tales (Contes cruels), first published in a magazine in 1873; in it, the author is worried about how the sky can be made useful and proposes that it should be exploited for display purposes, for products ...or possibly for politicians.
Bernard Cazes tells us that from the commentaries about it in the Castex and Raitt edition for the Pléiade series we learn that it was the earliest of Villiers de l'Isle-Adam's purely satirical stories, in which he expressed his hostility towards the commercial spirit that dominated the society of his time and its reductionist vision that saw in nature - and knowledge - nothing else than the opportunity to make money. Bernard Cazes also emphasises that it was thanks to that edition that he was able to elucidate the allusions in the tale, which are often esoteric.
Colonel Baud, who currently works at the Swiss army's headquarters in Berne, was employed for more than seven years as an analyst by the Swiss intelligence service. He has compiled two encyclopaedias, one on intelligence-gathering and secret services (Paris: Lavauzelle, 1997) and another on terrorism (Encyclopédie du terrorisme. Paris: Lavauzelle, 1999), and he agreed to be interviewed for Futuribles by Jérôme Marchand.
He talks first about intelligence as a profession - which in many ways covers the same field as strategic surveillance - and the special skills required for the job, in particular in terms of intellectual curiosity (and therefore openness of mind), the ability to distance oneself from events (and therefore good judgement), as well as the ability to anticipate what might happen.
Colonel Baud then offers a rapid critical survey of the bodies responsible for intelligence, where their strengths and weaknesses lie, especially in the radically different geopolitical context following the end of the Cold War.
The main topic of the last part of the interview is the new threats that are typical of today's world, which are quite unlike those of the past because the issues of internal and external security, both civilian and military, are increasingly interconnected.
Ce numéro spécial de la revue Panoramiques engage le débat de l'introduction d'une véritable démocratie à l'intérieur de l'entreprise. Il s'ouvre par un clin d'œil : une gravure du phalanstère imaginé par Charles Fourier (la communauté de production dans sa version la plus poussée). Vient ensuite la présentation d'un modèle susceptible de faire entrer la démocratie dans l'entreprise par un autre moyen que les SCOP (sociétés coopératives de production) : la société anonyme à ...
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The arrival on the labour market of the generations born at the bottom of the demographic cycle just as the big 'baby boom' generations are reaching retirement is likely to mean that the economically active population of Europe will fall by 30 million. In France alone, from now until 2020 the population aged between 25 and 54 years could well decline by 30 to 50 000 persons per year.
Consequently, explains François Michaux, we may be facing a lasting labour shortage, especially of skilled workers, particularly if economic growth continues at a high level. He observes that this phenomenon is already making itself felt in the metallurgical sector, in France as well as the other industrialized countries.
He therefore examines the measures already adopted and available in order to make the most of the existing potential labour force, to 'activate' those not currently working and to prolong the working lives of older workers - though this will require, he stresses, a major investment in training that carries the obvious risk of spiralling costs.
But in Michaux's view, it is doubtful whether these measures will be adequate to offset the labour shortages that he foresees, and as a result, he thinks that it will be necessary for France to resort to bringing in foreign workers, a policy already being pursued in the United States and Spain.
The new economy, e-commerce: the two terms are widely used today as if they were synonyms, as if growth was generated only by the new technologies. The question raised by Michel Drancourt - can computers be a source of productivity and growth? - may therefore appear surprising. However, as he shows very clearly, the answer is not that straightforward because, while the increases in productivity are obvious, they are the result of a more complex process of reshaping firms and the system of production, of a mixture of technological innovation and social and organizational changes.
In fact, one of the major challenges facing us today relates to our ability to innovate in these two areas simultaneously, even though the pace of technical progress is clearly much faster than that of social change.
Ce chapitre est extrait du Rapport Vigie 2016 de Futuribles International, qui propose un panorama structuré des connaissances et des incertitudes des experts que l'association a mobilisés pour explorer les évolutions des 15 à 35 prochaines années sur 11 thématiques.