Our scenario was initially inspired by the movie, ‘Her’ (2013), where a man becomes romantically involved with his operating system, Samantha. The notions surrounding this movie were thought provoking and created discussions among our group in relation to the possibilities of dating scenarios in the future. In our scenario building exercise we used four quadrants to examine all potential outcomes of the use of technology and human relationships then juxtaposed societies where people had either abandoned technology or relied on technology. Our final scenario depicted a world where humans used artificially intelligent operating systems to further enhance their lives. Peter Schwartz, the world-renowned futurist and strategist, believes future scenario planning is an essential tool in thinking about the future (Schwartz 2010).
He explains the importance of scenario design, “Scenario planning is a powerful tool precisely because the future is unpredictable and shaped by many interacting variables. Scenarios enable us to think creatively and rigorously about the different ways these forces may interact, while forcing us to challenge our own assumptions. Scenarios embrace and weave together multiple perspectives and provide an ongoing framework for spotting and making sense of important changes. Most importantly, scenarios give us a new, shared language that deepens our conversations about the future and how we can help to shape it.” (Schwartz 2010, p. 6).
According to Peter (2010), the process of future scenario planning begins with distinguishing the forces of change in society and linking them together to create a hypothesis about how the future could unfold; they are not predictions but are rather based on current research, thereby cementing their plausibility. Our scenario development also followed this research-based process as we looked at what capabilities technology had today and discovered that artificial intelligence is already becoming a reality. Inspired by Her (2013) David Grundgeiger is currently designing artificial intelligence software in his project, Sofilia, where a user will be able to interact with an operating system and have real conversations, similar to Samantha (Pangburn 2014).
Studio PSK (2014) also bases their work around research and creates thought provoking designs about emerging technologies, encouraging the user to think about the world in a different way. Established by Patrick Stevenson-Keating, Studio PSK is a design studio based in London and uses methodologies in speculative design to prototype alternative presents, and near futures.
The Quantum Parallelograph is an exploratory project by Patrick that examines scientific and philosophical ideas surrounding the theory of quantum physics and multiple universes (Stevenson-Keating 2014). The speculative device is able to look up the life of a user in a parallel world and prints out information about this world to the user. The device is a useful tool to communicate modern theories in physics and serves to raise questions and provoke thought about the nature of our own realities. Studio PSK based this project on the works of Professor David Deutsch and Hugh Everett, who argue that there are multiple universes that exist which contain infinite copies of ourselves (Studio PSK 2014). Speculative objects help us envision concepts that are difficult to imagine, encouraging discussion, debate and conversation.
Her 2013, motion picture, Annapurna Pictures, USA.
Schwartz, P. 2010, Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development, The Rockefeller Foundation, Global Business Network, company report, viewed on 17 October 2014, http://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/uploads/files/bba493f7-cc97-4da3-add6-3deb007cc719.pdf.
Pangburn, D. 2014, This AI Conversationalist Will Put Siri to Shame, Motherboard, Vice Media Inc., viewed on 17 October 2014, http://motherboard.vice.com/en_uk/read/this-ai-conversationalist-will-put-siri-to-shame.
Stevenson-Keating, P. 2014. The Quantum Parallelograph, Studio PSK, viewed on 17 October 2014, http://www.studiopsk.com/quantumparallelograph.html.
Stevenson-Keating, P. 2014. The Quantum Parallelograph, Studio PSK, video recording, Vimeo, viewed on 17 October 2014, http://vimeo.com/23177040.
Studio PSK, 2014, About, viewed on 17 October 2014, http://www.studiopsk.com/about.html.