Full text: ARCH+ : Studienhefte für architekturbezogene Umweltforschung und -planung (1968, Jg. 1, H. 1-4)

Robert Jungk 
Outline of a European look-out institution 
Strasbourg, 10 aout 1967 
AS/Inf. (67) 6 
Or; Engl: 
Memorandum submitted by Mr. Robert Jungk, Consultant 
This memorandum has been prepared by Mr. Robert Jungk, 
at the request of the Cultural and Scientific Committee, 
with a view to exploring the possibilities of following up 
Resolution 302. 
I, Is a "Look-Out Institution" necessary? 
This first provisional study outlines a EUROPEAN 
LOOK-OUT INSTITUTION devoted to the study of 
possible, desirable and undesirable futures, 
The need for such an institution, which might enlarge 
the horizon of the executive as well as the legislative 
branches of government and thus help them in their 
decisions, has been felt only in recent years, It has been 
brought on by the unprecedented acceleration of change, 
which has become one of the main characteristics of our 
age, and even more by the sudden jump of incisive, 
even shattering power inherent in modern technology, 
making it imperative for human society to gauge and 
control the new forces,. 
Fortunately the ability to forecast and anticipate future 
developments has been considerably improved in recent 
years, The ever increasing stream of fresh data informing 
man not only about the present state of the world, but 
also about the impact of his actions is one of the least 
acknowledged and most hopeful post-war developments 
Combined with the growing capacity to collect, corre- 
late and interopret this continuous and enormous amount 
of information within a useful time limit the effort of 
making educated guesses about coming crises or oppor- 
tunities has become a serious and worthwile activity. 
Spurred on by necessity and opportunity an increasing 
number of "researchers into the future" have started to 
develop a large number of new more sophisticated 
methods destined to help man in "looking ahead", 
There is no doubt that this new effort (it might be too 
early to call it a "science") has first germed in the mind 
of Europeans, Thinkers like H.G. Wells, Gaston Ber- 
ger, D. Gabor, B. de Jouvenel, F. Baade, J, Tinber- 
gen, J. Fourastig&, L. Armand, F, Polak etc, are among 
the "founding fathers" of the new discipline, But their 
ideas found their first practical application in the Uni- 
ted States, There the development of serious forecasting 
activities started over two decades ago, when a refugee 
from Europe, the eminent physicist, Th. von Karman, 
initiated in 1944 a committee called to look "Beyond the 
Horizon" of military aeronautics, After the end of World 
War Il an increasing number of strategic agencies and 
industrial enterprises turned to "technological forecast- 
ing" and these efforts came to fruition in our decade, 
It is conceivable and even probable that a serious "fore- 
casting gap" may be the deeper reason for the much dis- 
cussed "technological gap" separating the United States 
and Europe, It is therefore high time that not only 
European industrial concerns, but also the. national and 
international institutions of Europe devote more atten- 
tion to the forecasting of long range possibilities, 
danaers and opportunities. 
11, An opportunity for the Council of Europe 
a, Limitations of existing arganisations 
A late starter has not only disadvantages but also distinci 
advantages, The newcomer can profit from the experien- 
ces, the mistakes or the omissions of the pioneers, 
Recent studies like "Technological Forecasting in Per- 
spective" by E, Jantsch and two prospectuses of a 
knowledgeable group of American "future researchers " 
proposing the establishment of an "Institute of the 
Future" have described the shortcomings and limitations 
of the existing organisations in the field, as well as the 
tasks waiting for them, They point out: 
ARCH + 1(1968)H1

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