Quantitative Analysis of Technology Futures: A Review of Techniques, Uses and Characteristics.

42 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2016 Last revised: 29 Mar 2016

Tommaso Ciarli

SPRU, University of Sussex

Alex Coad

University of Sussex - Science and Technology Policy Research Unit (SPRU); JRC-IPTS, European Commission, Seville

Ismael Rafols

Ingenio (CSIC-UPV), Universitat Politècnica de València

Date Written: August 6, 2015

Abstract

A variety of quantitative techniques have been used in the past in Future-Oriented Technology Analysis (FTA). In recent years, increased computational power and algorithms, web-based searching, and data availability have led to the emergence of new techniques that are potentially useful for foresight and forecasting. As a result, there is now a wide palette of techniques that might be used in FTA exercises. However, it is often unclear how they differ, when the use of a techniques is appropriate, what type of insights it may yield, and how they can be combined. This article reviews and qualifies quantitative methods for FTA in order to help users to make choices among alternative techniques, including new techniques that have not been integrated yet in the FTA literature and practice. We first provide a working definition of Future-Oriented Technology Analysis (FTA) and discuss its role, uses, and popularity over recent decades. Second, we select 22 FTA techniques identified as the most important quantitative FTA techniques and then we review these techniques, discuss their main contexts and uses, and classify them into groups with common characteristics, positioning them along four key dimensions: descriptive/prescriptive; extrapolative/normative; data gathering/inference; and forecasting/foresight.

Keywords: Future-oriented Technology Analysis (FTA), Quantitative Techniques, Foresight, Forecasting

JEL Classification: O3

Suggested Citation

Ciarli, Tommaso and Coad, Alex and Rafols, Ismael, Quantitative Analysis of Technology Futures: A Review of Techniques, Uses and Characteristics. (August 6, 2015). SWPS 2015-23. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2744564 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2744564

Tommaso Ciarli (Contact Author)

SPRU, University of Sussex ( email )

Jubilee Building
University of Sussex
Falmer, Brighton, Sussex BN1 9SL
United Kingdom

Alex Coad

University of Sussex - Science and Technology Policy Research Unit (SPRU) ( email )

Mantell Building
Falmer
Brighton BN1 9RH UK, Sussex
United Kingdom

JRC-IPTS, European Commission, Seville ( email )

41092
Spain

Ismael Rafols

Ingenio (CSIC-UPV), Universitat Politècnica de València ( email )

Camino de Vera s/n, Edif.8E, Univ.Politec.Valencia
Valencia, 46022
Spain

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