Journal of Futures Studies

The Future Is Ours. How Dutch People Think about Technology and the Future

Abstract

Experts play an important role in foresight. However, their expertise can also limit their view on potential new developments and thereby reduce the predictive as well as the explorative quality of foresight. This is why involving citizens or laypeople is potentially a welcome addition when studying the future. In this paper, we present the results of a study in the Netherlands about how Dutch citizens think about the future in general, and about the future course of specific technologies in particular. The survey shows that Dutch citizens tend to display a form of social pessimism for the long-term future, although they are optimistic about their own futures. In terms of technology outlooks, people are optimistic about the development and impact of technology on society as well as on their personal lives in general terms, although they are anxious about specific developments in the fields of robotics, digitization, biotechnology and energy technology. The paper argues that taking the opinions of a broad group of citizens in the development of tech- nology and policies related to technology is key to a better future for all.

Keywords: Expert, Foresight, the Netherlands, Laymen, Technology

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Journal of Futures Studies

Tamkang University, Tamsui Campus
Taipei, Taiwan 251
Tel: 886 2-2621-5656 ext. 3001
Fax: 886 2-2629-6440

ISSN 1027-6084