Two weeks ago there was a really interesting article published on The New York Times about Shell’s view of the future. The author of the piece (McKENZIE FUNK) has also a publication on the accident of the platform perforating in the Arctic some years ago. This time, even if the trigger is the new permission of the dutch oil company to start exploring in the north, the author focuses on how Shell sees the future of oil consumption in the coming years.
Shell is a huge company involved in several social and ecological scandals, but with the ability to foresee and shape the future to its needs. A world eager for more energy, its almost complete dependence on oil and the slow pace at which new technologies can be implemented makes these cold blood calculations the secret for the company success.
The scenario planners, as they call themselves, are paid to think unconventional thoughts. They read fiction. They run models. They talk to hippies. They talk to scientists. They consult anyone who can imagine surprising, abrupt change. The competing versions of the future — the scenarios — that result from this process are packaged as stories and given evocative titles: “Belle Époque,” “Devolution,” “Prism.” Then the oil company readies itself, as best it can, for all of them.
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