Thursday, April 05, 2007

Scary paranoid aside in AMA article

In Futurism: The Antidote to Chaos, Eric Garland writes:

"Yes, the world is changing quickly. With its promise of chaos and opportunity, it may seem overwhelming. But I have good news for you. Understanding the future, as it affects your decisions, can become an everyday part of the way you think...

"...Exploring the future is about finding a few trends that could change your world and keeping an eye on them on a regular basis. Futuring is about paying attention to both society and technology and asking yourself: 'Yes, but what will this mean in five years? What about ten years?'...

"...Governments use this kind of thinking in a variety of ways. This scary but potentially real scenario is an example of one such application. Terrorism, unfortunately, is on most people’s minds. National governments use futuring to predict the capabilities of the terrorists of tomorrow. They monitor developments in both society and technology to see where terrorists might gain an edge.

"Some forecasts show that the cost of biotechnology will fall far enough that smaller groups could afford to obtain the equipment needed to alter bacteria. Futurists working for the federal government envisioned a scenario in which terrorists might one day genetically engineer a bacterium or a virus that would target Ashkenazi Jews (originally from Eastern Europe) or Japanese people, but it could be any group with a distinct genetic makeup. For this reason, agencies constantly monitor the power of biotechnology as well as any terrorist networks that are showing an interest in science. The goal is to limit the terrorists’ weaponry to homemade bombs and razor blades instead of genetically engineered plagues. In this way, governments are designing policies for biotechnology that allow scientific progress as well as protection for their citizens."

Moving Ahead, a publication of the American Management Association (AMA), is "a monthly e-Newsletter providing management insights and best practices for all business professionals."

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