A corpus-based investigation of techno-optimism and propositional certainty in the National Intelligence Council’s ‘Future Global Trends Reports’ (2010–2035)

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2 Citations (Scopus)


This article reports the findings from a study of discursive representations of the future role of technology in the work of the US National Intelligence Council (NIC). Specifically, it investigates the interplay of ‘techno-optimism’ (a form of ideological bias) and propositional certainty in the NIC’s ‘Future Global Trends Reports’. In doing so, it answers the following questions: To what extent was techno-optimism present in the discourse? What level of propositional certainty was expressed in the discourse? How did the discourse deal with the inherent uncertainty of the future? Overall, the discourse was pronouncedly techno-optimist in its stance towards the future role of technology: high-technological solutions were portrayed as solving a host of problems, despite the readily available presence of low-technology or no-technology solutions. In all, 75.1% of the representations were presented as future categorical certainties, meaning the future was predominantly presented as a known and closed inevitability. The discourse dealt with the inherent uncertainty of the subject matter, that is, the future, by projecting the past and present into the future. This was particularly the case in relation to the idea of technological military dominance as a guarantee of global peace, and the role of technology as an inevitable force free from societal censorship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-57
Number of pages19
JournalDiscourse and Communication
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018


  • Categorical certainties
  • futurological discourse
  • ideological bias
  • objective epistemic modality
  • possibilities
  • probabilities
  • relative certainties
  • techno-optimism
  • technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language

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