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TMCNet:  Social Technologies: How to Use Timelines for Futures Research

[August 19, 2008]

Social Technologies: How to Use Timelines for Futures Research

(M2 PressWIRE Via Acquire Media NewsEdge)

Washington, DC -- Social Technologies announces the release of its new
global trend and events timeline. The work, developed by Social
Technologies futurist and trend expert Peter von Stackelberg, visually
depicts the main political, environmental, economic, technological, and
social trends since 1750 CE and forecasts how those trends will play
out through the year 2100.

"For more than 250 years, timelines have been a useful tool for the
temporal visualization of events," explains von Stackelberg, noting
that the earliest modern timeline was a 54-foot scroll created in 1753
by Jacques Barbeu-Dubourg that provided an annotated history since
Creation. "My timeline, originally published in 1994, is unique in its
use of quantitative and qualitative data across a variety of domains,
as well as historical and futures perspectives."

Using a seven-step process, von Stackelberg's timeline develops and
assesses forecasts based on patterns and historical data. Unlike
traditional forecasts, these are not intended to be predictions of the
future, but a hypothesis of a possible future that can be monitored and
assessed using scanning, trend analysis, and other futures research

"We are at a critical tipping point in history," von Stackelberg
believes. "The next two to three decades will see deep, fundamental
changes occurring across multiple technological, social, political,
economic, and environmental domains. This timeline was developed as a
tool to provide insights that will help us understand these changes."

What the timeline tells us

Some of the possible futures indicated by the timeline are as follows:

* A long economic boom beginning around 2010 and lasting through about
2025, followed by an increasingly challenging economic climate lasting
at least a decade

* A shift in American politics from right of political center to left
between 2005 and 2030, followed by a swing of the political pendulum
back to the right from the mid-2030s through the early 2050s

* Decline of America's global leadership and the rise of one or more
challenger states between 2010 and the mid-2030s, with heightened risk
of a major global conflict around 2040

* Declining influence of the religious right on American politics
through the mid-2030s and continued growing interest in alternative
spiritual experiences

* Increasing social tensions in the US between 2010 and the mid-2030s

* Maturing of the communications and information technology sectors and
the emergence of the Molecular Age, which will be the key driver of the
technological, economic, and social change through the end of the 21st

"Timelines can be a powerfully effective tool for analyzing events-both
in the past and the future-providing insights into long-term changes
and provoking thought and discussion about the future," von Stackelberg

notes. "We feel that our timeline offers greater insight than many
others, with its uniquely rich overlays of events, trends, drivers, and
archetypal patterns of change spanning America and the world."

Critical praise

"Peter von Stackleberg's development of the strategy of
'timelining'-the visual representation of the events of history by
'kind' in parallel and correlated tiers-represents a major, qualitative
breakthrough in providing a more systematic understanding of the past,
explanation of the present, and grounded forecasting of the future,"
says Reed D. Riner, professor of anthropology at Northern Arizona
University. "I have only critical praise of Peter's work."

Learn more To get more details and a copy of Peter von Stackelberg's
timeline, contact him at:,
or visit

Peter von Stackelberg ) Futurist Peter von Stackelberg is the leader of
Social Technologies' Futures Interactive program, which enables
organizations to find, analyze, and disseminate trend information. He
brings more than a decade of experience as a futurist, strategic
thinker, and writer to this work. Peter also serving as an adjunct
professor in strategic management of technology and innovation at the
State University of New York-Alfred, and as an advisor to the computer
animation program at Alfred State. A journalist by training, he also
has an MS in studies of the future from the University of Houston-Clear

About ) Social Technologies Social Technologies is a global research
and consulting firm specializing in the integration of foresight,
strategy, and innovation. With offices in Washington DC, London, and
Shanghai, Social Technologies serves the world's leading companies,
government agencies, and nonprofits. For information visit

CONTACT: Hope Gibbs,

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