Organized by Aquitaine Europe Communication, directed and curated by myself and Daniel Erasmus, Ci’Num was a global, multicultural, 3-year foresight process (2005-2007) which intended to shed a new light on the future of our digital civilizations, taking into account geopolitical, cultural and economic differences. Our focus was:
- on the specific contribution of, and challenges related to, the emergence of ubiquitous and “intimate” technologies stemming from the convergence between nanotech, biotech, IT and cognitive science;
- on the social appropriation and production of technology;
- and on the ways, tools and methods through which we become empowered to shape our personal and collective futures – i.e., not on figuring out the most likely futures, but in recognizing uncertainties and looking for ways to maximize choices and opportunities in any given future.
Ci’Num 2005 was about stock-taking on scientific and technical advances, globalization and its challenges, diversity and social evolution.
Ci’Num 2006 centred around storybuilding: What are the possible futures of digital civilizations? What do these futures hinge upon? What new questions emerge from this story-telling? On thing we did was invent elements of an imaginary 2026 Universal Expo, an exercice that has since been reproduced many times.
Ci’Num 2007 was about making choices and decisions: How can we imagine and be empowered to build our own paths towards the future , despite all the constraints, the uncertainties, all that could legitimately worry us into inaction – or submission? Although of course dated, the 4 resulting scenarios, written almost as fictional narratives, remain (in my opinion) almost as powerful today as they were 10 years ago: “Collapse” (heard that word recently?), “Imperialism“, “New Enlightenement” and “100,000 Flowers” (Maoist reference intended).
We also took pains to describe what these scenarios meant in 21 areas related to human existence, science and technology, geopolitics, etc.: identity, fashion, money, energy, education, religion, research & innovation, “What is lost or forgotten?”…
Ci’Num continues to inspire me after all these years. Check it out with an open eye, it might do the same to you?