About the Author
Ryszard Praszkier (Poland) is a researcher at the Institute for Social Studies, University of Warsaw and a lecturer at the Polish Academy on the Psychology of Leadership. He is interested in the properties of social networks that support profound, peaceful social transitions, e.g., the cases of the Polish underground Solidarity and the American Civil Rights Movement. He worked as an international staff training director for Ashoka, Innovators for the Public for over 16 years. During the 1980s, he participated in the peaceful Polish underground Solidarity movement and for example publicized under a false name an illegal manual for Solidarity activists “How to Survive Police Interrogation”. He was a consultant for Solidarity candidates for the first free elections in 1989; in the early 1990’s was a co-founder of several grassroots NGO’s in which he is still active.
The focus of this article is on singularities, i.e., significant, abrupt, and unpredictable events in the social arena. The first section provides a review of the various delineations of such occurrences, e.g., black swan events, cusp catastrophe theory, and phase transition. Following this, a series of five case studies are presented that epitomize profound, peaceful, and successful social movements, highlighting their related singularity moments.
Methods for forecasting possible future singularities are then provided in the beyond-the-art section. First, conclusions are drawn from case studies, leading to the development of a predictive model. Second, selected computer modeling examples are demonstrated, leading to predictions of forthcoming singularities. Third, life simulations (i.e., red and green teaming) are presented, proposing future scenarios for real-life roleplaying.
The conclusions indicate the simultaneous application of a variety of independent methods for forecasting future singularities, complementing the predictive model drawn from social movements with computer and life analyses.
Keywords: singularity; black swan event; New Social Movements; computer modeling; green teaming; prediction