THE MAP OF THE FUTURE Visualization design case study
background• IFTF launched Superstruct – a massively multiplayer online role playing game that outlined the world of the future• 6 weeks game came to its conclusions – hundreds of ideas, – superstructures for our future, – guidelines to redefine the world of today – guidelines to improve and prepare it for the challenges of the next decade
background• 6 weeks game came to its conclusions – from big new infrastructure projects to nanotechnology, – from overcoming economies of scale to projects of “vertical farming” –…
background• Client (WIRED magazine) asked us to visualize the complex net of ideas and assumptions that game‟s users produced
background• “The goal of the project is to engage a broad public in considering the dilemmas we face in our current, everyday lives and think together about resolutions that go beyond the familiar ways of dealing with problems” – Jane Mc Gonigal, Superstruct game designer
The design process• Goal – As designers, our work consisted in representing visually all the scenarios and give the viewers a look of what they might expect for the next 10 years. To do that, we followed an initial two-step-analysis:
The design process• 1. create a logic structure, find patterns and correlations between the different scenarios and semantic areas of the single predictions. • Amplified optimism • Scale extreme • Adaptive emotion • Simulation as game • Evolvability • Collaboration environment • Reverse shortage
The design process• All the predictions were recorded inside these 7 macro-ideas.• Further on they were classified in 5 areas – politics – infrastructures – environment – economy – Society• and then clusters of the classified predictions were made inside any of the 5 chosen fields (for example, in the Economy area, predictions of „micro-philanthropy networks‟ and „seed networking‟ were clustered under „solidarity networks‟)
The design process• 2. arrange the discovered structure to achieve one macro reading orientation. • The 5 areas had different degree of abstraction • i.e. the predictions of an area were more abstract than the ones of another, so we have ordered them from the more abstract (politics) to the less (society).
The design process• Everything led to the narrative idea. We thought about the story we wanted to tell, and to do that we evoked a precise imagery: – the idea came from the retro-futurism of „50s when everything seemed possible and the consequences of the smallest transformation were exaggerated on purpose to open people‟s mind in wonder.
The project• Basically the map is designed to overlap this allegorical plan of illustration/collage to the semantic level of the network of keywords on top.• But probably the most important result we chased for the entire design process was to tell a story made up of multiple tales and not to convey one privileged solution to the audience,
The project• in any way: the faraway viewpoint of the Map of the Future communicates our distance from the future and gives the observers a panorama.• The aim of this map was to provide a starting point, a common imaginary, to start discussion and analysis on the world to come.