2.1 What Is Technology Forecasting?

In this text, the definition of technology forecasting is broader than intuition might suggest. Technology is defined as systematized knowledge applied to alter, control, or order elements of the physical or social environments. This includes not only the hardware systems usually equated with technology, but systems of analysis, regulation, and management as well.

People have been adapting to fairly rapid technological changes for a long time. Managers in the latter stages of their careers have seen computer and information technology dramatically change the way they work and live. Their grandfathers may have been born in the era of horse-drawn transportation and steam locomotion and yet lived to see astronauts walk on the moon. However, despite the evidence of technology change and its impacts, organizations and individuals have not learned very much about how to anticipate and plan for it.

Technology forecasting is focused on changes in technology, such as its functional capacity, timing, or significance. It is distinct from forecasts in which technology plays a role but is not the central issue, such as population projections Ascher (1978). Forecasting of any kind is difficult or weather forecasting would be a lot more accurate. Meteorologists at least have data from years of observing weather patterns to help them. Technology forecasters deal with new concepts, with little historical evidence to draw upon. Like weather forecasting, the context ...

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