Trends in Flanders
The Institute Society and Technology develops activities for the Flemish parliament, which are relevant for both society and technology. One important mission of the IST, as a research institute in a rapidly changing world, is to keep an overview of the current developments, trends, and evolutions. It is therefore appropriate to regularly and thoroughly examine these trends from the perspective of a possible optimization of the relevance of the work that can be done. On the other hand, the societal, scientific, and technological context is not evolving that rapidly either. There are no yearly revolutions in trends. This trend note is in fact a revision of the one that has been put together in 2008 and an addition to it, but as such, in its observations about societal trends, it does not constitute a rupture with respect to its predecessor.
Besides the overview of current trends, this note also contains a discussion of certain important ‘weak signals’ that might announce future long-term developments. Weak signals obviously connected with the trends listed in this note, will be discussed under the heading “Links with other relevant trends”. Four weak signals without a clear link with the nine trends of this note will be discussed in a separate chapter at the end of the document.
This document presents nine relevant trends situated at the interface of society, technology, and science, and having a societal impact on Flemish areas of competence. This note goes more deeply into the scientific and technological aspects, their relationship with other trends and their policy relevance. The information in this trend note constituted an important source of inspiration for the team that put together the IST Working program.