Technical University of Ingolstadt
Motives & Fiction is a joint research project of the Foresight Academy and a new, international program at Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt: the Global Foresight and Management Master Program that started in September 2021.


Mapping process applied by the students of THI is based on the future cone

A common mapping process used in the project can be split into two parts.
The first step is to map on a framework with an y-axis representing time and a x-axis representing degree of change. Using this initial mapping, we can imagine what futures can be made real and when. The framework is flexible enough to be applied to specific topics – for example, if the topic is very certain, the impact factor can be used instead of uncertainty. In the next step, we project the first mapping result onto a future cone showing desire and uncertainty. We can use this to look at our possible futures, what future is wished for, and what is not.
The mapping process enables us to visualize and intuitively recognize not only common insights, but also differences between two sources, value study sources and science fiction narratives. We can explore the futures projected on the framework and find clues as to which futures we may need to look toward or prepare for.
Mapping of value studies and science fiction narratives from the Human-AI-Relationship cluster


The future cone

Descriptions of the future have always fascinated futurologists. The future cone is a concept that considers and incorporates initial discussions about future issues in order to establish a method of categorizing the future. The starting point of the future cone is always today.
The future categories are: Potential, Preposterous, Possible, Plausible, Projected, Probable, Preferable, Projected.
The theoretical framework presented here can be traced back to the scientists Charles Hancock and Trevor Betzold, but since their seminal work, others have offered different and simplified ways of defining future scenarios against a scientifically motivated background.

The Future Cone
Source: Dorsser, Cornelis van, Warren E Walker, Poonam Taneja, and Vincent A W J Marchau. 2018. “Improving the Link between the Futures Field and Policymaking.” Futures 104: 75–84