Posted tagged ‘fast future’

Future jobs article in the Guardian

February 24, 2010


I’ve just had a piece published by the Guardian science blog, about the future jobs report by Fast Future. You can read the article here.

It’s based on my reports in this blog:

Future Jobs Report: Response from Rohit Talwar

February 12, 2010


Here’s a response from Rohit Talwar of Fast Future, to criticisms of their recent “Shape of Jobs to Come” report outlined in this blog, EvidenceMatters, HolfordWatch and Gimpy’s Blog. I have included the entire response unedited.

Personally, I don’t feel the main criticisms are adequately addressed. For example, he talks of “weak signals”, where there are few primary sources from which to draw information. However this is not the case  for the 20 jobs listed, where there is a huge amount of relevant information. Also, whether sources are referenced or not, copying and pasting text from websites is not “acceptable practice” in any field. Saying “we cannot accept responsibility for whether others have chosen to reprint material from the report without citing the original sources”, is not good enough, especially when these exerpts are used in the press release where no references are included.

Basing horizon scans on other horizon scans seems like a closed loop approach to me, cross referencing to give a mutual semblance of credibility. Anyway, I’ve made my case, over to Mr. Talwar.


Thank you for your note outlining your concerns regarding ‘The shape of jobs to come’ report. I think the best thing to do is to explain the methodology we used – which is common for horizon scanning projects of this nature. The methodology is also outlined in the report, which I believe you have. For convenience, I have also pasted the relevant methodology section of the report below.


Future Jobs Report: The views so far…

January 25, 2010


Following my original post on the future jobs report last week, a few other blogs have published their views on the quality of research conducted by Fast Future.

The Nanoclast picked up on my original post, while EvidenceMatters conducted their own detailed investigation into the social science methods used in the report. Though I focussed on the list of 20 jobs, Evidence Matters went further, producing a formal report sent to the department for business, innovation and skills who fund the Science: So What? campaign.

They point out that many of the jobs listed already exist, while others are simply implausible. (more…)

Update, nano-medics of the future…

January 21, 2010


“If a deadly virus starts spreading rapidly, few countries, and few people, will be prepared. Nurses will be in short supply. And as death rates rise, and neighborhoods are shut down, someone will have to guard the gates.”

This may be familiar to those of you who looked at the Science: So What page on future jobs, it’s the job description under the title of “Quarantine Enforcer”.

Earlier this week, I wrote a piece about the future jobs report, written by the futurist consultancy company Fast Future, as it claimed that sub-atomic devices will be used by nano-medics in the future (they won’t). Checking out the references in the original report also showed up some pretty shoddy work.

Since my last post, I’ve been checking out some more of the references.

Next to the detailed job description for Quarantine Enforcer, there is a single reference to a Forbes magazine article from 2006, which mentions quarantine enforcer as a possible future job. But there is also a link on the Forbes website to a list of jobs which might exist in 2026. They give the following summary;

“Are you prepared for the flu of the future? If a deadly virus starts spreading rapidly, few countries, and few people, will be prepared. That’ll be good for certain occupations. Nurses will be in short supply. And when people really start dying, and neighborhoods are shut down, someone will have to guard the gates.”

I don’t remember Forbes getting any credit in the press release

It appears that Fast Future have, on at least 2 occasions, copied, pasted and superficially edited text from websites into a list of job descriptions which has subsequently been massively publicised. In both of the instances I have found, the references provided don’t directly point to the source of the text.

You should be angry about this. Fast Future were paid public money, and this report has been used to bolster their professional reputation. The report was published with a fanfare and publicly supported by the Prime Minister and the Science Minister, Lord Drayson. Of course I don’t expect them to delve into the detail, but I also don’t expect public money allocated to the promotion of science to be wasted like this.

The head of Fast Future, Rohit Talwar, tweeted (I prefer “twote”) yesterday;

“Fascinating range of coverage on the future jobs report – A Guradian misquote and use of the phrase ‘sub-atomic’ generated a lot of heat”

I offered him the chance to comment on my last blog, to which he replied;

“I saw your article. You have every right to say what you think. Explained our approach in the report – understand that some may not like it”

You’re right, Mr Talwar, I don’t like it at all.


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