How to play with the futures: Presentation at BizCamp
How to play with the futures BizCamp, Vilvoorde, Belgium, June 5, 2010
WE SUMMON THE FUTURES. FOR YOU TO PLAY WITH THEM NOW. I presented the following few slides at the BizCamp gathering, held in the new SAP Lounge in Vilvoorde, near Brussels, Belgium, on June 5, 2010 (see more about at www.bizcamp.be) I had only 20 min (less even) to tell the story, so I skipped a few important explanations during the presentation. Also, the format demanded to put more visuals and less text on the slides, so they may be not self-explanatory enough without a ‘voice-over’ of some sort. I therefore added a few such ‘yellow boxes’ later, with a hope that they will help to understand the story a bit better. NB: As a cover (see the previous slide) I use the picture of a wonderful installation called Laser Sound Projector, by the Dutch artist Edwin van der Heide, a very close approximation of what I mean by ‘playing with the futures’.
WE SUMMON THE FUTURES. FOR YOU TO PLAY WITH THEM NOW.
WE SUMMON THE FUTURES. FOR YOU TO PLAY WITH THEM NOW. After showing this slide I briefly explained the meaning of ‘summon’; It is a relatively rare word, so it never harms to tell about its meaning. In law the world ‘summon’ means an order to show up in a court room, issued by a judge. But originally it referred to a special skill possessed by the mages that allowed for them to call and literally transfer objects or people from one place to another. More powerful mages were capable to summon things through time, calling them from the past, or from the future. It’s important that even the most powerful mages were unable to summon things alone; the ritual always required a help of other people, and was collaborative by its very nature.
WE SUMMON THE FUTURE S. FOR YOU TO PLAY WITH THEM NOW.
Weather forecasting is one of the most typical examples people provide when being asked about the ‘future’. We expect ‘accurate’ and ‘timely’ predictions.
Another typical example is all sorts of financial forecasts: we are hungry to learn about the futures (literally the name of one of the financial tools).
t future cone of (un) certainty We want to reduce the ‘fog’ of uncertainty, and gain a precise knowledge about the future
[The trouble with our times is that] the future is not what it used to be Paul Valéry
t future cone of possibilities Scenario A Scenario B We start to understand that ‘ future studies’ is not about certain answers, but about expanding a range of possible options.
WE SUMMON THE FUTURE S . FOR YOU TO PLAY WITH THEM NOW.
Google ‘future scenarios’ and you will find thousands of similar quadrants. But. How do we know that these futures are not the versions of the same current assumptions?
It is very difficult to imagine the future which is different from your current reality. We tend to project to the future the qualities that exist now. Presented with alternative views about the future, we often can’t understand them. If we do understand, we can’t accept them; the futures contradict to the existing order of things. Even if we accept theses new ideas, we fail to create ‘ new future things’: new artifacts, new products, new solutions. And even if someone else does it for us, we cant’ make sense of them because we can’t - or don’t want to - change themselves.
WE SUMMON THE FUTURES. FOR YOU TO PLAY WITH THEM NOW.
WE SUMMON THE FUTURES. FOR YOU TO PLAY WITH THEM NOW. Interactive and engaging ways to play with the possible futures Multisensorial immersive environments to experience new qualities, to ‘feel’ the futures
Future of the Netherlands 2024 1 www.designinitiatief.nl Three cases 2 The future of the Internet of Things www.theinternetofthings.eu 3 Walking Backward to the future www.dutchdesignweek.nl
Sustainability Business New Technologies Society Politics Ecology Innovation Community The Netherlands 2024 ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 1 www.designinitiatief.nl
The first step of this study was more or less standard, the team conducted interviews with the experts and gathered different opinions from various sources
But then we developed a game, to play with the possible futures, to ‘build’ the futures using the ideas as the ‘building blocks’. We used role-playing and different ‘ currencies’ in the game.
2 The future of the Internet of Things Source: SRI Consulting Business Intelligence RFID tags for inventorying, facilitating routing, access control 2000 Surveillance, security, healthcare, transport, food safety, document management 2010 2020 Ubiquitous Positioning: Locating people and everyday objects Physical World Web: Teleoperation and tele-presence, monitoring and control of distant objects www.theinternetofthings.eu Traditional one-dimensional, one-directional roadmapping, driven by the technology only.
Trolls ( ‘hackers’ ) Internet of Dragons! We developed an imaginary land populated by various dragons, and asked participants to develop, well, The Internet of Dragons, following their role-models with specific value systems. Far, Far Away Land The Internet of Dragons
Tangible projects, colliding and competing with each other in the real space - but also rich emotional stories and insights.
And - the most memorable experience for the participants!
3 Walking Backward to the Future We usually see the future ahead of us We look - and walk - ‘toward the future’ We leave the past ‘ behind us’
What we see in front of us is our past Unknown future lays behind What if we challenge these assumptions? What if ask people to ‘walk to the futures backward’?
Sketch of the “Walking Backward to the Futures” installation: a tent and a hood with an audio feedback
The installation would allow to probe multiple possible futures, from simple to very complex ones, individually or in a team.
WE SUMMON THE FUTURES. FOR YOU TO PLAY WITH THEM NOW. We are not ‘delivering’ the futures to people. We are helping people to discover their own futures, and transform toward them