I’m a technology cliché. I admit it wholeheartedly. Constantly pawing at my iPhone screen whenever the moment grabs me. The worst part is that I know I’m doing it. It grates on me, it’s rude and what’s even more irritating, is that I chastise other people when they do it. What a digital hypocrite.
Whilst I like to think it’s a phase I’ll get over, like snap bracelets, it does actually worry me when I think about what the future holds for the passing of words, eye contact and general concentration. Those all-important parts of human interaction which rest on two or more people actually paying attention. The simple social etiquettes that are ebbing away, in favour of a finger slide and an emoticon.
The future is, by nature, a daunting thing. Whilst we can take guesses, gamble with possibilities and speculate until we give ourselves pounding heads, there is only one thing that is utterly predictable. In a world where death and taxes are the only current certainty, it’s pretty clear that no one knows what on earth (or space for that matter) is going to happen.
So, when an opportunity arose to take a Day 10 Feeding with some futurologists from Forum for the Future, thinking about how to approach business with a sustainable future outlook, it was hard to refuse.
At Stranger Collective, we’re lucky to be able to work with some special clients who are actively conscious of their ethical, social and moral impact on the world. This awareness informs the core of their businesses, permeating through every aspect of what they do. With this in mind, a morning of learning how to better apply insight into mapping trends, dissecting cultural choices and building an understanding of where our digital culture might take us sounded very useful indeed.
This Day 10 began early. Run by Creative Mornings – a project which inspires individuals to consider all sorts of different issues and challenges before heading in to work to put what they’ve learnt into action – we joined a bunch of eager creative sustainable thinkers, ready to open our eyes and minds.
Futurologists Anna Warrington and Rodrigo Bauista, two modern Nostradamuses, set out to spark debate amongst their keen crowd. Using the certainties of now and the role of digital culture in both our personal and working lives, they plotted emerging digital trends and pushed them to their limits, encouraging us to consider how the future can frame our present.
They showed us inspiring films from Futurescapes, a collaborative film project which sets out to show the exaggerated paths the world might take, so we’re able to envisage the extent of where our choices could lead us.
Far from claiming to be predictions, these short films show diverse scenarios for stimulation. They are tools to make us stop, think and reflect on the possibilities ahead and how our lives might take different courses depending on the decisions we make as individuals, communities and businesses.
Following the same character in four different outcomes, they explore various possibilities, from living in a world where hyper technological innovation has prospered, with virtual therapists, tech couture and hyper-connectivity, to centralised survival, shared ownership and even prosperity redefined. Why not take a look for yourselves.
None of the films are intended to be predictions for the future. Instead they’re there to spark ideas for innovation, encourage a different outlook, or simply give cause to think about where we want our future to take us.
Even though there was nothing definitive about our morning – and quite frankly it would have been a little unfair to have expected that – it did make me consider how to approach my work by referring forward instead of backwards. I’m now more open to considering all of the outcomes and how audiences might shift in the ways they engage with words, ideas and concepts.
It also made me want to turn my phone off.
Photographs courtesy of Kris Elliot.