Scientific and Technological Forecast
Forecast, Scientific and Technological
a system of evaluations or assessments of the possible goals and modes of scientific and technological development, the expected results of scientific and technological progress, and the resources necessary for progress. Under socialism, the scientific and technological forecast is one of the conditions for improving the level of scientific soundness in national economic planning and administration.
According to the present classification system, there are three types of scientific and technological forecasts: research, program, and organizational forecasts, which are, in fact, the results of the basic stages of a single process of forecasting scientific and technological development. A research forecast reveals and defines new opportunities and long-range trends in scientific and technological development, taking into account the future needs of society. The task of the programming stage of forecasting is to formulate programs of possible actions aimed at the achievement of various goals for scientific and technological development. A program forecast assesses the possible deadlines and sequences for achieving goals. The organizational stage of forecasting draws on the patterns and tendencies in scientific development and takes into account the results of research and program forecasts. The organizational forecast determines the specific conditions (for example, financial, organizational, and social) necessary for fulfilling the variants of programs during the period of the forecast and for achieving the goals of research and design projects.
The three stages of scientific and technological forecasting (research, program, and organizational) complement each other, providing decision-makers with a methodologically uniform system of data. Organizational forecasts play a special role by making it possible to link scientific and technological forecasting with the system of preparing national economic plans. Moreover, they establish the preconditions for the consideration of scientific and technological progress when the planned trend in the structure and rate of development of the economy is selected.
Among the possible subjects of scientific and technological forecasts are the broad trends in scientific and technological progress (the level and forms of automation in production, the structure of the means of electrification, and the level of electrification), particular problems in science or modern technology, and the development of science as a discipline. An important aspect of contemporary scientific and technological forecasting is the assessment of the social, economic, ecological, and other consequences of the variants of the state’s scientific and technological policy.
In compiling scientific and technological forecasts, the methods of extrapolation, expert evaluations, and modeling are used (see). Scientific and technological forecasting also uses the methods of engineering forecasting, which are based on an analysis of the dynamics and structure of the world development of inventions (patents). Auxiliary means related to these methods include keeping up with information in publications and reports. These approaches have made possible the transition to permanent, automated information systems for continuously following the course of scientific and technological progress. In addition, these approaches have resulted in the transition to systematically adjusted forecasting of prospects for development in science and technology.
REFERENCESGmoshinskii, V. G., and G. I. Fliorent. Teoreticheskie osnovy inzhenernogo prognozirovaniia. Moscow, 1973.
Dobrov, G. M. Prognozirovanie nauki t tekhniki. Moscow, 1969.
Iampol’skii, S. M., and V. A. Lisichkin. Prognozirovanie nauchno-tekhnicheskogo progressa. Moscow, 1974.
G. M. DOBROV