Shaping the Present by Creating and Reflecting Futures

  • Armin GrunwaldEmail author
Part of the Technikzukünfte, Wissenschaft und Gesellschaft / Futures of Technology, Science and Society book series (TEWG)


It is a commonly used rhetoric phrase that we develop ideas how to shape the future and that we shape the future exactly by implementing those ideas. However, what does it mean to “shape the future”? We are only able to intervene into the present, by communication, by action, or by decisions to be made. These interventions then might have consequences for future developments or events. Thus, the phrase should better be reformulated: we do not shape the future itself but we intervene into present constellations and thereby influence future developments more or less indirectly. As far as we use socio-technical futures as orientation to identify appropriate interventions into present constellations-as usually is done by technology assessment—we can speak of futures contributing to shape the present. It means that in present time we create futures supporting us to shape the present.


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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems AnalysisKarlsruhe Institute of TechnologyKarlsruheGermany

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