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Neologisms coming to mind during the Institute for the Future Ten-Year Forecast event (Updated):

  • "Mesh-to-Mesh" -- social network applications, like Twitter, structured as overlapping peer networks. Living in the space between one-to-one and many-to-many, mesh-to-mesh networks serve as a medium for discovering & creating new network connections, and bridging otherwise distinct communities. This one emerged as I was thinking about Twitter.

    In brief, questions and responses to someone on my Twitter who's part of one community (say, eco-bloggers) are visible everyone on my Twitter list, across the full array of represented communities. If they aren't already linked, they'll only see my half of the conversation, but (in my experience) speaking directly to someone often leads to some folks on my network becoming part of theirs. Mesh-to-mesh networks are likely to be strongest when there's moderate overlap: too much overlap and they become functionally identical networks; too little overlap and call-outs and links to the alternative networks happen too infrequently. Mesh-to-mesh can have the intimacy of personal links and the diversity of a mass discussion.

  • "Planet-to-Peer" -- an interactive environmental information network allowing for both monitoring and (when appropriate) manipulation. A green sousveillance system with feedback. This one emerged during a small group session led by David Pescovitz, covering eco-monitoring technologies; he'd asked me to describe how some of these networks might work, and by way of explanation I offered "they're planet-to-peer systems."


  • "Adaptive Optics" -- not a new term, but a new use. Optical metaphors are commonplace in consulting, with talk about "lenses" and "prisms" almost a requirement. In thinking about cognitive or cultural lenses for understanding a rapidly changing environment, the term "adaptive optics" came to mind. In reality a technology for dealing with a rapidly changing visual environment (such as turbulence in the atmosphere), the metaphorical version would be systems for dealing with a rapidly changing foresight environment.

If and when more new phrases bubble up during the event, I'll add to this post.

(Photo by Alex Pang)


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