O'Reilly logo

Forecasting and Management of Technology, Second Edition by Frederick A. Rossini, Scott W. Cunningham, Jerry Banks, Alan L. Porter, Alan Thomas Roper, Thomas W. Mason

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

7.1 Uncertainty

Technology forecasters need to answer questions about what is known and what is unknown: they must even ask if it is possible to know the future. Answers to these questions guide the selection of forecasting techniques and provide a paradigm for structuring the forecast. This section provides a framework for characterizing and managing uncertainty. The framework is then used to examine the position of scenario analyses among major families of technology forecasting techniques (Chapter 2). Finally, a word about the adaptive paradigm is provided.

7.1.1 Uncertainty Frameworks

Knowledge about new technological systems can be characterized quite simply; either the system and its behavior are known or they are not. Complete system knowledge means that system operation and the full consequences of its behavior are known, and the means to control or adapt it to achieve desired current and future outcomes are understood. Clearly, this is a tall order for any new technology. Thus, knowledge will be a matter of degree.

Table 7.1 compares what is known with what is knowable. This simple matrix, inspired by the Johari diagram (Luft and Ingham 1955), is sufficient to examine categories of technological knowledge.

Table 7.1 Categories of Knowledge

System Is Knowable System Is Unknowable
System Is Known known knowns known unknowns
System Is Unknown unknown knowns unknown unknowns

These are futures about which forecasters:

  • Are quite certain—known knowns
  • Recognize but have ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required