"You can learn more about someone in an hour of play than a lifetime of conversation."    -Plato
Aloha Gamers! 
Welcome to the blog for our Gaming with the Futures platform!
Got questions? Start with these:
Who are we exactly? The Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies, which is based at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. (click around the blog to find out more info)
What is the purpose of the game? Well, it’s twofold:
1) To engage players to think about and explore how communication technology impacts power relations in four alternative futures, and…
2) To integrate Futures thinking into popular and public discourses on power, technology, and social change. 
How do I play? You already are! 
What else can you tell me? The game will be played on Saturday, December 1st, and you must have a smartphone with mobile internet, install the wikitude app, and know how to operate a twitter account (we do! @HRCFS) to play.
Once you get your twitter account setup, follow us! No, really…you should follow us! 
Move from left to right and from top to bottom to get all of the info you need from this site.

"You can learn more about someone in an hour of play than a lifetime of conversation."    -Plato

Aloha Gamers! 

Welcome to the blog for our Gaming with the Futures platform!

Got questions? Start with these:

Who are we exactly? The Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies, which is based at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. (click around the blog to find out more info)

What is the purpose of the game? Well, it’s twofold:

1) To engage players to think about and explore how communication technology impacts power relations in four alternative futures, and…

2) To integrate Futures thinking into popular and public discourses on power, technology, and social change. 

How do I play? You already are! 

What else can you tell me? The game will be played on Saturday, December 1st, and you must have a smartphone with mobile internet, install the wikitude app, and know how to operate a twitter account (we do! @HRCFS) to play.

Once you get your twitter account setup, follow us! No, really…you should follow us! 

Move from left to right and from top to bottom to get all of the info you need from this site.
Power is to a political scientist what the future(s) is to a futurist: the lifeblood of one’s research. This post provides some insight into our starting point for thinking about power and how it drives this project.
Michel Foucault's analysis of power within The History of Sexuality Vol. 1 revolutionized thought on power and ushered in a new era of bio-political inquiry, which is a fancy way of referring to the totality of life as the domain of politics. For Foucault, there is no part of our modern existence that has not been produced by the relations of power endemic to our particular socio-cultural context.
Noting that “where there is power, there is resistance,” Foucault’s engagements with the operative “power relations” within various socio-cultural contexts acts as a starting point for our research, which ultimately explores a number of key questions related to the impact of communication technologies upon power relations in the past, present and four alternative futures. Our question set includes:
What is “technology”? (check other postings to see what we think)
What is the relationship between “power” and “technology”?
How is technological change interconnected with social and political change?
If technology contributes to social change, how does technology change the balance of power within society?
How does the history of technological change illuminate the connection between present and futures social and political transformations?
What generational perspectives on technology exist and how do they impact the relation between technology and social and political change?
What present and future technologies might impact social and political institutions in the futures of America, and how?  

Power is to a political scientist what the future(s) is to a futurist: the lifeblood of one’s research. This post provides some insight into our starting point for thinking about power and how it drives this project.

Michel Foucault's analysis of power within The History of Sexuality Vol. 1 revolutionized thought on power and ushered in a new era of bio-political inquiry, which is a fancy way of referring to the totality of life as the domain of politics. For Foucault, there is no part of our modern existence that has not been produced by the relations of power endemic to our particular socio-cultural context.

Noting that “where there is power, there is resistance,” Foucault’s engagements with the operative “power relations” within various socio-cultural contexts acts as a starting point for our research, which ultimately explores a number of key questions related to the impact of communication technologies upon power relations in the past, present and four alternative futures. Our question set includes:

What is “technology”? (check other postings to see what we think)

What is the relationship between “power” and “technology”?

How is technological change interconnected with social and political change?

If technology contributes to social change, how does technology change the balance of power within society?

How does the history of technological change illuminate the connection between present and futures social and political transformations?

What generational perspectives on technology exist and how do they impact the relation between technology and social and political change?

What present and future technologies might impact social and political institutions in the futures of America, and how?  

Imagine it’s 02040. Now, imagine that eating the meat from living, breathing animals has become so culturally taboo, for various ethical and spiritual reasons, that restaurants only serve lab-grown meat. Now, imagine you sit down, receive a menu, and order your freshly-grown burger or steak from a selection of vials and petrie dishes displayed on a cart that weaves its way around the packed tables. Welcome to The Lab!
If any part of this scenario sounds intriguing, then you’re cut out for Futures Studies. If you find the very possibility of this ever happening to be…well, distasteful, then maybe you’re more cut out for the present, even though in-vitro meat is very much on the way!
As Dator’s 2nd Law of the Future explains, “Any useful idea about the future should appear to be ridiculous.” This infamous maxim offers a baseline for imagining what the future(s) can and might be, and the point of using it as a guide is not to dissuade one from using common sense but rather to question the very nature of what is sensical from the perspective of a certain historical moment, including and perhaps especially our own. We are often victims of “the tyranny of the present,” which is to say that our sense as to what is possible is often limited by what seems probable.
It is not the case, however, that all ridiculous ideas are useful for thinking about the future(s), and building alternative scenarios also involves scanning for emerging issues, mapping trends, and packaging the future(s) as not just a time, which is to say an extension of the present, but as a place and/or world of its own. While one can never account for the litany of factors and variables that bring about change, our primary charge as futurists is to make alternative future(s) apparent in the here and now through various media as a means to critique the present and as the first step in creating a (or a few) preferred future(s).
image credit: Allysha Angeles

Imagine it’s 02040. Now, imagine that eating the meat from living, breathing animals has become so culturally taboo, for various ethical and spiritual reasons, that restaurants only serve lab-grown meat. Now, imagine you sit down, receive a menu, and order your freshly-grown burger or steak from a selection of vials and petrie dishes displayed on a cart that weaves its way around the packed tables. Welcome to The Lab!

If any part of this scenario sounds intriguing, then you’re cut out for Futures Studies. If you find the very possibility of this ever happening to be…well, distasteful, then maybe you’re more cut out for the present, even though in-vitro meat is very much on the way!

As Dator’s 2nd Law of the Future explains, “Any useful idea about the future should appear to be ridiculous.” This infamous maxim offers a baseline for imagining what the future(s) can and might be, and the point of using it as a guide is not to dissuade one from using common sense but rather to question the very nature of what is sensical from the perspective of a certain historical moment, including and perhaps especially our own. We are often victims of “the tyranny of the present,” which is to say that our sense as to what is possible is often limited by what seems probable.

It is not the case, however, that all ridiculous ideas are useful for thinking about the future(s), and building alternative scenarios also involves scanning for emerging issues, mapping trends, and packaging the future(s) as not just a time, which is to say an extension of the present, but as a place and/or world of its own. While one can never account for the litany of factors and variables that bring about change, our primary charge as futurists is to make alternative future(s) apparent in the here and now through various media as a means to critique the present and as the first step in creating a (or a few) preferred future(s).

image credit: Allysha Angeles

We are the Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies, which is housed in the Department of Political Science at the University of Hawaii at Manoa where students can pursue BA, MA, and PhD degrees in Futures Studies. As one of the oldest Futures Studies’ centers in the world, HRCFS has pioneered critical research in the field for more than 40 years led by its intrepid Director, Dr. Jim Dator, who taught the first-ever college-level Futures Studies course at Virginia Tech in the late 1960’s. As one of the founders of the academic discipline, Dator birthed a distinct methodology for navigating the multitude of images of the future that would become the hallmark of the Manoa School, which is known for its four-futures method.
The four futures offer distinct lens with which to view possibilities and potentialities for the future(s), and each is situated with its own environmental, technological, social, political, and economic paradigms. They are as follows:
Growth: Tomorrow looks like today, kinda…
Growth presumes that the trends driving social change in the here and now will remain relatively constant, which is to say that there is an expectation that growth is good. While there are many positives associated with this future, the problems of today become the crises of tomorrow.
Disciplined: Sustainable and/or Highly-mediated…
Disciplined contends that the only way to prevent collapse is to tighten one’s belt, so to speak. Whether this means transitioning to renewable energy and/or implementing a one-child policy, a truly disciplined society is one where change is managed.
Collapse: It’s the end of the world as we know it…
For some reason, it has become extremely easy for humanity to imagine its end. In a collapse scenario, an apocalyptic event has occurred, but humanity has endured. It is perhaps best to think of this scenario as a new beginning for those left to rebuild following some cataclysm. 
Transform: Angels or Aliens…
Transform presences the idea that through some high-tech (aliens) or spiritual (angels) advancement or intervention, or perhaps a combination of the two, that humanity has radically altered itself and the world. Whether its the mother ship landing or the second-coming of whomever, Transform is where fantasy becomes reality.
Still not sure what to make of Futures Studies? Keep poking around the site!
Our research team consists of:
Dr. Jim Dator (Jim in action) 
Aubrey Yee (Aubrey in action)
John A. Sweeney (John in action)
We have been extremely fortunate to have the multi-talented Aaron Rosa as an additional researcher on the project, specifically with the gaming platform! 
This research project was made possible through a grant received from the Graduate Research and Education Office at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. 

We are the Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies, which is housed in the Department of Political Science at the University of Hawaii at Manoa where students can pursue BA, MA, and PhD degrees in Futures Studies. As one of the oldest Futures Studies’ centers in the world, HRCFS has pioneered critical research in the field for more than 40 years led by its intrepid Director, Dr. Jim Dator, who taught the first-ever college-level Futures Studies course at Virginia Tech in the late 1960’s. As one of the founders of the academic discipline, Dator birthed a distinct methodology for navigating the multitude of images of the future that would become the hallmark of the Manoa School, which is known for its four-futures method.

The four futures offer distinct lens with which to view possibilities and potentialities for the future(s), and each is situated with its own environmental, technological, social, political, and economic paradigms. They are as follows:

Growth: Tomorrow looks like today, kinda…

Growth presumes that the trends driving social change in the here and now will remain relatively constant, which is to say that there is an expectation that growth is good. While there are many positives associated with this future, the problems of today become the crises of tomorrow.

Disciplined: Sustainable and/or Highly-mediated…

Disciplined contends that the only way to prevent collapse is to tighten one’s belt, so to speak. Whether this means transitioning to renewable energy and/or implementing a one-child policy, a truly disciplined society is one where change is managed.

Collapse: It’s the end of the world as we know it…

For some reason, it has become extremely easy for humanity to imagine its end. In a collapse scenario, an apocalyptic event has occurred, but humanity has endured. It is perhaps best to think of this scenario as a new beginning for those left to rebuild following some cataclysm. 

Transform: Angels or Aliens…

Transform presences the idea that through some high-tech (aliens) or spiritual (angels) advancement or intervention, or perhaps a combination of the two, that humanity has radically altered itself and the world. Whether its the mother ship landing or the second-coming of whomever, Transform is where fantasy becomes reality.

Still not sure what to make of Futures Studies? Keep poking around the site!

Our research team consists of:

Dr. Jim Dator (Jim in action

Aubrey Yee (Aubrey in action)

John A. Sweeney (John in action)

We have been extremely fortunate to have the multi-talented Aaron Rosa as an additional researcher on the project, specifically with the gaming platform! 

This research project was made possible through a grant received from the Graduate Research and Education Office at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. 

As our game explores how technology can change power relations, players will be asked to make a decision that will alter the balance of power and, perhaps most importantly, impact those around them. 
Will your decision ultimately spread or squash the deadly Rock Flu outbreak? Are you prepared to tell those seeking medical care that they have to be turned away from government clinics? If you are seeking treatment, will you decide to seek treatment elsewhere or break in and take what you need?
Our usage of experiential scenarios derives from the concept of “future jamming,” which was coined by Dr. Jose Ramos of Action Foresight. Dr. Stuart Candy, a Manoa School alum, has outlined the idea here in great detail and actually practiced some “future jamming” in Honolulu with his co-conspirator, Dr. Jake Dunagan, now a Director of Research at the Institute for the Future in California.
Image credit: Aaron Rosa  

As our game explores how technology can change power relations, players will be asked to make a decision that will alter the balance of power and, perhaps most importantly, impact those around them. 

Will your decision ultimately spread or squash the deadly Rock Flu outbreak? Are you prepared to tell those seeking medical care that they have to be turned away from government clinics? If you are seeking treatment, will you decide to seek treatment elsewhere or break in and take what you need?

Our usage of experiential scenarios derives from the concept of “future jamming,” which was coined by Dr. Jose Ramos of Action Foresight. Dr. Stuart Candy, a Manoa School alum, has outlined the idea here in great detail and actually practiced some “future jamming” in Honolulu with his co-conspirator, Dr. Jake Dunagan, now a Director of Research at the Institute for the Future in California.

Image credit: Aaron Rosa  

Banksy decided to give London’s Occupy Movement something to play with as they gathered near the London Stock Exchange. 
As Occupy movements spread around the globe, one of the main questions that arose centered on representation: what will be the relationship between, as Marshall McLuhan would put it, the medium and the message? The relationship between content and form is critical in situating how technologies, especially communication-related media, comes in a variety of shapes with a multitude of aims and ends.  
Banksy’s playful installation gives presence to the integral relation between content and form by re-distributing common sense with regards to the occupation, and one of the clear goals of the global Occupy movement is to re-appropriate public space in an effort to re-claim the commons. As such, Monopoly is more than just a board game; it can also be seen as a training tool or mechanism of enculturation. Furthermore, the Occupy movement’s usage of art and multimedia signals a conscious move to deploy tactical media as an agent of change. 
Can media promote social change?
Does the form of certain communication technologies allow or promote certain messages over others?
Is there a link between communicative literacy and democratic uprisings?
How are you going to score enough points to win the game? Click here to find out.

Banksy decided to give London’s Occupy Movement something to play with as they gathered near the London Stock Exchange. 

As Occupy movements spread around the globe, one of the main questions that arose centered on representation: what will be the relationship between, as Marshall McLuhan would put it, the medium and the message? The relationship between content and form is critical in situating how technologies, especially communication-related media, comes in a variety of shapes with a multitude of aims and ends.  

Banksy’s playful installation gives presence to the integral relation between content and form by re-distributing common sense with regards to the occupation, and one of the clear goals of the global Occupy movement is to re-appropriate public space in an effort to re-claim the commons. As such, Monopoly is more than just a board game; it can also be seen as a training tool or mechanism of enculturation. Furthermore, the Occupy movement’s usage of art and multimedia signals a conscious move to deploy tactical media as an agent of change. 

Can media promote social change?

Does the form of certain communication technologies allow or promote certain messages over others?

Is there a link between communicative literacy and democratic uprisings?

How are you going to score enough points to win the game? Click here to find out.

Technology is “how humans ‘get things done.’” -Jim Dator
Our guiding ethos for this research project stems from the Futures Studies’ maxim, which is also known as the first of Dator’s Laws of the Future: “the” future does not exist, but alternative futures can and should be forecast. As this relates to technology, future(s) are set into motion and brought into being by drivers of social change, and technology, in its various forms and functions, is one of, if not, the primary forces that can shape and/or transform the nature of power relations within a given social context. 
As one of many parodies of Shepard Fairey’s iconic Obey Giant, the Futures image, which was created by alumni, reflects the nature of Futures Studies at the Manoa School. While Fairey initially used Andre the Giant as an inside joke, the ubiquity of the image began to derive real power, which is to say influence, from perceived power. The same, as the Manoa School argues, can be said about the future, which is often seen as merely being an extension of the present. We believe that nothing could be further from the truth.
image credit: Aaron Rosa and Cyrus Camp

Technology is “how humans ‘get things done.’” -Jim Dator

Our guiding ethos for this research project stems from the Futures Studies’ maxim, which is also known as the first of Dator’s Laws of the Future: “the” future does not exist, but alternative futures can and should be forecast. As this relates to technology, future(s) are set into motion and brought into being by drivers of social change, and technology, in its various forms and functions, is one of, if not, the primary forces that can shape and/or transform the nature of power relations within a given social context. 

As one of many parodies of Shepard Fairey’s iconic Obey Giant, the Futures image, which was created by alumni, reflects the nature of Futures Studies at the Manoa School. While Fairey initially used Andre the Giant as an inside joke, the ubiquity of the image began to derive real power, which is to say influence, from perceived power. The same, as the Manoa School argues, can be said about the future, which is often seen as merely being an extension of the present. We believe that nothing could be further from the truth.

image credit: Aaron Rosa and Cyrus Camp

Gutenberg’s printing press dramatically altered European society as scribes and the institutions and bureaucracies supporting them became obsolete almost overnight.
Gutenberg’s press also played a significant role in fomenting conflict between Catholics and the emerging Protestant movement.
As Jeff Jarvis notes, “On the one hand, Gutenberg’s presses produced the indulgences against which Luther rages. On the other hand, he provided Luther with the tool to foment revolt against Rome and become, says Man, history’s first best-seller— with 300,000 copies of his 30 tracts sold.” 
The conflicts between Catholics and Protestants resulted in The 30 Years’ War, which ultimately led to the Treaty of Westphalia and the birth of the modern nation-state.
Is Gutenberg’s technology somehow responsible for the war and its results?
How did this revolution in communication technology impact power relations?
What role did increasing literacy play in the development of new forms of governance?
How did the expansion of religion impact socio-political institutions?
These are just a few of the question we’ll be exploring in our historical overview as well as in four alternative futures.

Gutenberg’s printing press dramatically altered European society as scribes and the institutions and bureaucracies supporting them became obsolete almost overnight.

Gutenberg’s press also played a significant role in fomenting conflict between Catholics and the emerging Protestant movement.

As Jeff Jarvis notes, “On the one hand, Gutenberg’s presses produced the indulgences against which Luther rages. On the other hand, he provided Luther with the tool to foment revolt against Rome and become, says Man, history’s first best-seller with 300,000 copies of his 30 tracts sold.” 

The conflicts between Catholics and Protestants resulted in The 30 Years’ War, which ultimately led to the Treaty of Westphalia and the birth of the modern nation-state.

Is Gutenberg’s technology somehow responsible for the war and its results?

How did this revolution in communication technology impact power relations?

What role did increasing literacy play in the development of new forms of governance?

How did the expansion of religion impact socio-political institutions?

These are just a few of the question we’ll be exploring in our historical overview as well as in four alternative futures.

Can dictators and old spreadsheets simply be deleted?
Was it a change in consciousness that led to the Arab Spring or did it have more to do with Facebook and Twitter?
How did a certain materiality related to the affordability of and access to communication technologies aid in both the organization and formation of protests leading to the overthrow of President Mubarak?
What’s a QR code? Do they all end up going here? You will need to download a QR code scanner for your smart phone. 
This is what we’re going to find out!
image credit: Getty Images

Can dictators and old spreadsheets simply be deleted?

Was it a change in consciousness that led to the Arab Spring or did it have more to do with Facebook and Twitter?

How did a certain materiality related to the affordability of and access to communication technologies aid in both the organization and formation of protests leading to the overthrow of President Mubarak?

What’s a QR code? Do they all end up going here? You will need to download a QR code scanner for your smart phone. 

This is what we’re going to find out!

image credit: Getty Images

"You can learn more about someone in an hour of play than a lifetime of conversation."    -Plato
Aloha Gamers! 
Welcome to the blog for our Gaming with the Futures platform!
Got questions? Start with these:
Who are we exactly? The Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies, which is based at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. (click around the blog to find out more info)
What is the purpose of the game? Well, it’s twofold:
1) To engage players to think about and explore how communication technology impacts power relations in four alternative futures, and…
2) To integrate Futures thinking into popular and public discourses on power, technology, and social change. 
How do I play? You already are! 
What else can you tell me? The game will be played on Saturday, December 1st, and you must have a smartphone with mobile internet, install the wikitude app, and know how to operate a twitter account (we do! @HRCFS) to play.
Once you get your twitter account setup, follow us! No, really…you should follow us! 
Move from left to right and from top to bottom to get all of the info you need from this site.

"You can learn more about someone in an hour of play than a lifetime of conversation."    -Plato

Aloha Gamers! 

Welcome to the blog for our Gaming with the Futures platform!

Got questions? Start with these:

Who are we exactly? The Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies, which is based at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. (click around the blog to find out more info)

What is the purpose of the game? Well, it’s twofold:

1) To engage players to think about and explore how communication technology impacts power relations in four alternative futures, and…

2) To integrate Futures thinking into popular and public discourses on power, technology, and social change. 

How do I play? You already are! 

What else can you tell me? The game will be played on Saturday, December 1st, and you must have a smartphone with mobile internet, install the wikitude app, and know how to operate a twitter account (we do! @HRCFS) to play.

Once you get your twitter account setup, follow us! No, really…you should follow us! 

Move from left to right and from top to bottom to get all of the info you need from this site.
Power is to a political scientist what the future(s) is to a futurist: the lifeblood of one’s research. This post provides some insight into our starting point for thinking about power and how it drives this project.
Michel Foucault's analysis of power within The History of Sexuality Vol. 1 revolutionized thought on power and ushered in a new era of bio-political inquiry, which is a fancy way of referring to the totality of life as the domain of politics. For Foucault, there is no part of our modern existence that has not been produced by the relations of power endemic to our particular socio-cultural context.
Noting that “where there is power, there is resistance,” Foucault’s engagements with the operative “power relations” within various socio-cultural contexts acts as a starting point for our research, which ultimately explores a number of key questions related to the impact of communication technologies upon power relations in the past, present and four alternative futures. Our question set includes:
What is “technology”? (check other postings to see what we think)
What is the relationship between “power” and “technology”?
How is technological change interconnected with social and political change?
If technology contributes to social change, how does technology change the balance of power within society?
How does the history of technological change illuminate the connection between present and futures social and political transformations?
What generational perspectives on technology exist and how do they impact the relation between technology and social and political change?
What present and future technologies might impact social and political institutions in the futures of America, and how?  

Power is to a political scientist what the future(s) is to a futurist: the lifeblood of one’s research. This post provides some insight into our starting point for thinking about power and how it drives this project.

Michel Foucault's analysis of power within The History of Sexuality Vol. 1 revolutionized thought on power and ushered in a new era of bio-political inquiry, which is a fancy way of referring to the totality of life as the domain of politics. For Foucault, there is no part of our modern existence that has not been produced by the relations of power endemic to our particular socio-cultural context.

Noting that “where there is power, there is resistance,” Foucault’s engagements with the operative “power relations” within various socio-cultural contexts acts as a starting point for our research, which ultimately explores a number of key questions related to the impact of communication technologies upon power relations in the past, present and four alternative futures. Our question set includes:

What is “technology”? (check other postings to see what we think)

What is the relationship between “power” and “technology”?

How is technological change interconnected with social and political change?

If technology contributes to social change, how does technology change the balance of power within society?

How does the history of technological change illuminate the connection between present and futures social and political transformations?

What generational perspectives on technology exist and how do they impact the relation between technology and social and political change?

What present and future technologies might impact social and political institutions in the futures of America, and how?  

Imagine it’s 02040. Now, imagine that eating the meat from living, breathing animals has become so culturally taboo, for various ethical and spiritual reasons, that restaurants only serve lab-grown meat. Now, imagine you sit down, receive a menu, and order your freshly-grown burger or steak from a selection of vials and petrie dishes displayed on a cart that weaves its way around the packed tables. Welcome to The Lab!
If any part of this scenario sounds intriguing, then you’re cut out for Futures Studies. If you find the very possibility of this ever happening to be…well, distasteful, then maybe you’re more cut out for the present, even though in-vitro meat is very much on the way!
As Dator’s 2nd Law of the Future explains, “Any useful idea about the future should appear to be ridiculous.” This infamous maxim offers a baseline for imagining what the future(s) can and might be, and the point of using it as a guide is not to dissuade one from using common sense but rather to question the very nature of what is sensical from the perspective of a certain historical moment, including and perhaps especially our own. We are often victims of “the tyranny of the present,” which is to say that our sense as to what is possible is often limited by what seems probable.
It is not the case, however, that all ridiculous ideas are useful for thinking about the future(s), and building alternative scenarios also involves scanning for emerging issues, mapping trends, and packaging the future(s) as not just a time, which is to say an extension of the present, but as a place and/or world of its own. While one can never account for the litany of factors and variables that bring about change, our primary charge as futurists is to make alternative future(s) apparent in the here and now through various media as a means to critique the present and as the first step in creating a (or a few) preferred future(s).
image credit: Allysha Angeles

Imagine it’s 02040. Now, imagine that eating the meat from living, breathing animals has become so culturally taboo, for various ethical and spiritual reasons, that restaurants only serve lab-grown meat. Now, imagine you sit down, receive a menu, and order your freshly-grown burger or steak from a selection of vials and petrie dishes displayed on a cart that weaves its way around the packed tables. Welcome to The Lab!

If any part of this scenario sounds intriguing, then you’re cut out for Futures Studies. If you find the very possibility of this ever happening to be…well, distasteful, then maybe you’re more cut out for the present, even though in-vitro meat is very much on the way!

As Dator’s 2nd Law of the Future explains, “Any useful idea about the future should appear to be ridiculous.” This infamous maxim offers a baseline for imagining what the future(s) can and might be, and the point of using it as a guide is not to dissuade one from using common sense but rather to question the very nature of what is sensical from the perspective of a certain historical moment, including and perhaps especially our own. We are often victims of “the tyranny of the present,” which is to say that our sense as to what is possible is often limited by what seems probable.

It is not the case, however, that all ridiculous ideas are useful for thinking about the future(s), and building alternative scenarios also involves scanning for emerging issues, mapping trends, and packaging the future(s) as not just a time, which is to say an extension of the present, but as a place and/or world of its own. While one can never account for the litany of factors and variables that bring about change, our primary charge as futurists is to make alternative future(s) apparent in the here and now through various media as a means to critique the present and as the first step in creating a (or a few) preferred future(s).

image credit: Allysha Angeles

We are the Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies, which is housed in the Department of Political Science at the University of Hawaii at Manoa where students can pursue BA, MA, and PhD degrees in Futures Studies. As one of the oldest Futures Studies’ centers in the world, HRCFS has pioneered critical research in the field for more than 40 years led by its intrepid Director, Dr. Jim Dator, who taught the first-ever college-level Futures Studies course at Virginia Tech in the late 1960’s. As one of the founders of the academic discipline, Dator birthed a distinct methodology for navigating the multitude of images of the future that would become the hallmark of the Manoa School, which is known for its four-futures method.
The four futures offer distinct lens with which to view possibilities and potentialities for the future(s), and each is situated with its own environmental, technological, social, political, and economic paradigms. They are as follows:
Growth: Tomorrow looks like today, kinda…
Growth presumes that the trends driving social change in the here and now will remain relatively constant, which is to say that there is an expectation that growth is good. While there are many positives associated with this future, the problems of today become the crises of tomorrow.
Disciplined: Sustainable and/or Highly-mediated…
Disciplined contends that the only way to prevent collapse is to tighten one’s belt, so to speak. Whether this means transitioning to renewable energy and/or implementing a one-child policy, a truly disciplined society is one where change is managed.
Collapse: It’s the end of the world as we know it…
For some reason, it has become extremely easy for humanity to imagine its end. In a collapse scenario, an apocalyptic event has occurred, but humanity has endured. It is perhaps best to think of this scenario as a new beginning for those left to rebuild following some cataclysm. 
Transform: Angels or Aliens…
Transform presences the idea that through some high-tech (aliens) or spiritual (angels) advancement or intervention, or perhaps a combination of the two, that humanity has radically altered itself and the world. Whether its the mother ship landing or the second-coming of whomever, Transform is where fantasy becomes reality.
Still not sure what to make of Futures Studies? Keep poking around the site!
Our research team consists of:
Dr. Jim Dator (Jim in action) 
Aubrey Yee (Aubrey in action)
John A. Sweeney (John in action)
We have been extremely fortunate to have the multi-talented Aaron Rosa as an additional researcher on the project, specifically with the gaming platform! 
This research project was made possible through a grant received from the Graduate Research and Education Office at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. 

We are the Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies, which is housed in the Department of Political Science at the University of Hawaii at Manoa where students can pursue BA, MA, and PhD degrees in Futures Studies. As one of the oldest Futures Studies’ centers in the world, HRCFS has pioneered critical research in the field for more than 40 years led by its intrepid Director, Dr. Jim Dator, who taught the first-ever college-level Futures Studies course at Virginia Tech in the late 1960’s. As one of the founders of the academic discipline, Dator birthed a distinct methodology for navigating the multitude of images of the future that would become the hallmark of the Manoa School, which is known for its four-futures method.

The four futures offer distinct lens with which to view possibilities and potentialities for the future(s), and each is situated with its own environmental, technological, social, political, and economic paradigms. They are as follows:

Growth: Tomorrow looks like today, kinda…

Growth presumes that the trends driving social change in the here and now will remain relatively constant, which is to say that there is an expectation that growth is good. While there are many positives associated with this future, the problems of today become the crises of tomorrow.

Disciplined: Sustainable and/or Highly-mediated…

Disciplined contends that the only way to prevent collapse is to tighten one’s belt, so to speak. Whether this means transitioning to renewable energy and/or implementing a one-child policy, a truly disciplined society is one where change is managed.

Collapse: It’s the end of the world as we know it…

For some reason, it has become extremely easy for humanity to imagine its end. In a collapse scenario, an apocalyptic event has occurred, but humanity has endured. It is perhaps best to think of this scenario as a new beginning for those left to rebuild following some cataclysm. 

Transform: Angels or Aliens…

Transform presences the idea that through some high-tech (aliens) or spiritual (angels) advancement or intervention, or perhaps a combination of the two, that humanity has radically altered itself and the world. Whether its the mother ship landing or the second-coming of whomever, Transform is where fantasy becomes reality.

Still not sure what to make of Futures Studies? Keep poking around the site!

Our research team consists of:

Dr. Jim Dator (Jim in action

Aubrey Yee (Aubrey in action)

John A. Sweeney (John in action)

We have been extremely fortunate to have the multi-talented Aaron Rosa as an additional researcher on the project, specifically with the gaming platform! 

This research project was made possible through a grant received from the Graduate Research and Education Office at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. 

As our game explores how technology can change power relations, players will be asked to make a decision that will alter the balance of power and, perhaps most importantly, impact those around them. 
Will your decision ultimately spread or squash the deadly Rock Flu outbreak? Are you prepared to tell those seeking medical care that they have to be turned away from government clinics? If you are seeking treatment, will you decide to seek treatment elsewhere or break in and take what you need?
Our usage of experiential scenarios derives from the concept of “future jamming,” which was coined by Dr. Jose Ramos of Action Foresight. Dr. Stuart Candy, a Manoa School alum, has outlined the idea here in great detail and actually practiced some “future jamming” in Honolulu with his co-conspirator, Dr. Jake Dunagan, now a Director of Research at the Institute for the Future in California.
Image credit: Aaron Rosa  

As our game explores how technology can change power relations, players will be asked to make a decision that will alter the balance of power and, perhaps most importantly, impact those around them. 

Will your decision ultimately spread or squash the deadly Rock Flu outbreak? Are you prepared to tell those seeking medical care that they have to be turned away from government clinics? If you are seeking treatment, will you decide to seek treatment elsewhere or break in and take what you need?

Our usage of experiential scenarios derives from the concept of “future jamming,” which was coined by Dr. Jose Ramos of Action Foresight. Dr. Stuart Candy, a Manoa School alum, has outlined the idea here in great detail and actually practiced some “future jamming” in Honolulu with his co-conspirator, Dr. Jake Dunagan, now a Director of Research at the Institute for the Future in California.

Image credit: Aaron Rosa  

Banksy decided to give London’s Occupy Movement something to play with as they gathered near the London Stock Exchange. 
As Occupy movements spread around the globe, one of the main questions that arose centered on representation: what will be the relationship between, as Marshall McLuhan would put it, the medium and the message? The relationship between content and form is critical in situating how technologies, especially communication-related media, comes in a variety of shapes with a multitude of aims and ends.  
Banksy’s playful installation gives presence to the integral relation between content and form by re-distributing common sense with regards to the occupation, and one of the clear goals of the global Occupy movement is to re-appropriate public space in an effort to re-claim the commons. As such, Monopoly is more than just a board game; it can also be seen as a training tool or mechanism of enculturation. Furthermore, the Occupy movement’s usage of art and multimedia signals a conscious move to deploy tactical media as an agent of change. 
Can media promote social change?
Does the form of certain communication technologies allow or promote certain messages over others?
Is there a link between communicative literacy and democratic uprisings?
How are you going to score enough points to win the game? Click here to find out.

Banksy decided to give London’s Occupy Movement something to play with as they gathered near the London Stock Exchange. 

As Occupy movements spread around the globe, one of the main questions that arose centered on representation: what will be the relationship between, as Marshall McLuhan would put it, the medium and the message? The relationship between content and form is critical in situating how technologies, especially communication-related media, comes in a variety of shapes with a multitude of aims and ends.  

Banksy’s playful installation gives presence to the integral relation between content and form by re-distributing common sense with regards to the occupation, and one of the clear goals of the global Occupy movement is to re-appropriate public space in an effort to re-claim the commons. As such, Monopoly is more than just a board game; it can also be seen as a training tool or mechanism of enculturation. Furthermore, the Occupy movement’s usage of art and multimedia signals a conscious move to deploy tactical media as an agent of change. 

Can media promote social change?

Does the form of certain communication technologies allow or promote certain messages over others?

Is there a link between communicative literacy and democratic uprisings?

How are you going to score enough points to win the game? Click here to find out.

Technology is “how humans ‘get things done.’” -Jim Dator
Our guiding ethos for this research project stems from the Futures Studies’ maxim, which is also known as the first of Dator’s Laws of the Future: “the” future does not exist, but alternative futures can and should be forecast. As this relates to technology, future(s) are set into motion and brought into being by drivers of social change, and technology, in its various forms and functions, is one of, if not, the primary forces that can shape and/or transform the nature of power relations within a given social context. 
As one of many parodies of Shepard Fairey’s iconic Obey Giant, the Futures image, which was created by alumni, reflects the nature of Futures Studies at the Manoa School. While Fairey initially used Andre the Giant as an inside joke, the ubiquity of the image began to derive real power, which is to say influence, from perceived power. The same, as the Manoa School argues, can be said about the future, which is often seen as merely being an extension of the present. We believe that nothing could be further from the truth.
image credit: Aaron Rosa and Cyrus Camp

Technology is “how humans ‘get things done.’” -Jim Dator

Our guiding ethos for this research project stems from the Futures Studies’ maxim, which is also known as the first of Dator’s Laws of the Future: “the” future does not exist, but alternative futures can and should be forecast. As this relates to technology, future(s) are set into motion and brought into being by drivers of social change, and technology, in its various forms and functions, is one of, if not, the primary forces that can shape and/or transform the nature of power relations within a given social context. 

As one of many parodies of Shepard Fairey’s iconic Obey Giant, the Futures image, which was created by alumni, reflects the nature of Futures Studies at the Manoa School. While Fairey initially used Andre the Giant as an inside joke, the ubiquity of the image began to derive real power, which is to say influence, from perceived power. The same, as the Manoa School argues, can be said about the future, which is often seen as merely being an extension of the present. We believe that nothing could be further from the truth.

image credit: Aaron Rosa and Cyrus Camp

Gutenberg’s printing press dramatically altered European society as scribes and the institutions and bureaucracies supporting them became obsolete almost overnight.
Gutenberg’s press also played a significant role in fomenting conflict between Catholics and the emerging Protestant movement.
As Jeff Jarvis notes, “On the one hand, Gutenberg’s presses produced the indulgences against which Luther rages. On the other hand, he provided Luther with the tool to foment revolt against Rome and become, says Man, history’s first best-seller— with 300,000 copies of his 30 tracts sold.” 
The conflicts between Catholics and Protestants resulted in The 30 Years’ War, which ultimately led to the Treaty of Westphalia and the birth of the modern nation-state.
Is Gutenberg’s technology somehow responsible for the war and its results?
How did this revolution in communication technology impact power relations?
What role did increasing literacy play in the development of new forms of governance?
How did the expansion of religion impact socio-political institutions?
These are just a few of the question we’ll be exploring in our historical overview as well as in four alternative futures.

Gutenberg’s printing press dramatically altered European society as scribes and the institutions and bureaucracies supporting them became obsolete almost overnight.

Gutenberg’s press also played a significant role in fomenting conflict between Catholics and the emerging Protestant movement.

As Jeff Jarvis notes, “On the one hand, Gutenberg’s presses produced the indulgences against which Luther rages. On the other hand, he provided Luther with the tool to foment revolt against Rome and become, says Man, history’s first best-seller with 300,000 copies of his 30 tracts sold.” 

The conflicts between Catholics and Protestants resulted in The 30 Years’ War, which ultimately led to the Treaty of Westphalia and the birth of the modern nation-state.

Is Gutenberg’s technology somehow responsible for the war and its results?

How did this revolution in communication technology impact power relations?

What role did increasing literacy play in the development of new forms of governance?

How did the expansion of religion impact socio-political institutions?

These are just a few of the question we’ll be exploring in our historical overview as well as in four alternative futures.

Can dictators and old spreadsheets simply be deleted?
Was it a change in consciousness that led to the Arab Spring or did it have more to do with Facebook and Twitter?
How did a certain materiality related to the affordability of and access to communication technologies aid in both the organization and formation of protests leading to the overthrow of President Mubarak?
What’s a QR code? Do they all end up going here? You will need to download a QR code scanner for your smart phone. 
This is what we’re going to find out!
image credit: Getty Images

Can dictators and old spreadsheets simply be deleted?

Was it a change in consciousness that led to the Arab Spring or did it have more to do with Facebook and Twitter?

How did a certain materiality related to the affordability of and access to communication technologies aid in both the organization and formation of protests leading to the overthrow of President Mubarak?

What’s a QR code? Do they all end up going here? You will need to download a QR code scanner for your smart phone. 

This is what we’re going to find out!

image credit: Getty Images

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This blog serves as the primary point of contact for a gaming platform to engage participants in research on the relationship between communication technology and power relations.

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