Future Forecasting- Session 7/8

Rapid Response Gallery

“The Museum collected the objects in this gallery in direct response to important moments in recent history of designs and manufacturing.”

                                                                    – V&A Museum

This is a slideshow of my presentation for session 8 of CTS depicting which object I found that had given me interest and another object which I think should be displayed in the gallery.

Presentation Link:-

Presentation

Forecasting Future: Session 6

Session 6 of Term 2 CTS is all about design for change. In this case, the exemplary method of it being Participatory Design. My tutor, Nela Milic used this method of design to help change the community of her area. The decision of her designing it was a long story from the 2012 Summer Olympics in which she despises. Anyway her participatory design was simple. She rented a flat based on the ground floor and stuck notes around her window which is always open. It was odd as many ground floor flats’ windows remains closed due to security and privacy reasons but Nela chose to open it as a sign of hospitality? The notes or rather signs around her windows would usually change when she change the theme of her flat. One day she’ll be a barista offering free coffee outside her window and the next she could be handling a manicurist shop in her flat.

When does the participatory takes place? Well that famous window of hers is not only the key point for her hospitality but also a makeshift photo booth. Every time when people came to have her coffee or just wanna talk of whatever situation the flat was intended to invoke, she’ll always ask their permission to take a photo. I think it’s a strange act to do to strangers but whatever it is it worked. People started talking about it. People started thinking about the lady behind the window. And things then became even more interesting. Some of her community members thought she was “trapped” in that flat of hers and started a makeshift performance of their own outside the window.

But how is this participatory design? After taking photos of her community, she would tell them to collect it during an exhibition she will be hosting later on. And during it, it was much more intimate and hearthy way if exhibiting her design. Photos would be placed on tables for the community to see and collect or just to tell their story to one another. The notes and signs outside of Nela’s window was collected and placed in the inside wall of her flat as a memorabilia I suppose for her “guests” and at the back garden a barbecue feast was also held.

I guess the outcome of the design was meant to bring a community closer to one another by having a common interest. In this case it would definitely be the woman behind the window.

What I like about this project of Nela is that it has to do a lot with Social Design. Even though it didn’t inspire me to do anything about it for my CTS ‘s essay, it made me think about my studio project which has to do with social design. What Nela did was a great example of social design. To design a change for societal betterment.

Future Forecasting- Session 5

Session 5’s lecture was given by Peter Baeck, a principle researcher from NESTA. NESTA in short is an organization that helps regular people develope their ideas through research and findings that will eventually make the idea a reality. To be honest I did not really find the beginning of the lecture that helpful at all, considering the fact that Peter was solely talking about the idea of predicting the future trends of economics which doesn’t really interest me at all. But he then move on to an interesting topic of smart cities. I really wished he could have expanded on the idea of it. But he ended abruptly about how it was a vision of the past. He notice that most people thought of it as an uncomfortable living space to be in as a smart city is essentially a space where the Internet of Things is everywhere. Over reliance on technology, no roles left for people and most importantly no privacy whatsoever could make one uncomfortable in that kind of environment. But in my opinion, I don’t really think it’s a vision of the past anymore. I think people got a bit more comfortable with technology making a life so much easier than before. And I believe smartphones, tablets and even virtual assistants are baby steps for our society to progress to a smart city. And if we really think about it we already are depending on technology more than we thought. So I do find it a bit hypocritical.

But on the other hand, I can agree on the idea of having no privacy in a smart city which is why I did find some interesting point on what Peter points out as alternatives. There is an organization known as Peta Jakarta which as its namesake is base in Jakarta, Indonesia which has the most flood warnings in the world and at the same time the most tweets generated in the world. It was interesting that Peta Jakarta was able to harmoniously match the two to create a warning and update system on floods. I guess in a way this allow humans to still have a role but using technology to enhance it. Could this be a more humane way of a new smart city?

Blockpooling.sg is a service base system that aims to bring a community closer together in a flat or housing estate. Basically the idea is if you find out you’re in need of butter but ran out of one you could just enter their website and ask any residence living in the same housing estate if they have one. It’s like a modern day neighbor interaction. This proves that we can still be a smart city but having a moderation of relying on technology and having human actions.

Safecast is another organization that potentially give a  new direction to how a smart city could be. They use methods of open-source and open-data and also new fabrication technologies that allows them to share and deploy equipment and information to help normal individuals to monitor their environment instead of relying on the government. This helps breakaway from what I believe many people are afraid of a smart city; bias strategic interest.

For what’s worth, I do agree on the matter of living in a smart city could be daunting for a lot of people. The more I wrote about it, the more I thought that it’s actually a fear that most of us humans feel; lack of freedom. I think the initial idea of a smart city does have a few hiccups here and there but I cannot deny that it is an interesting concept of leaping our technological prowess further to the future. But I also truly believe for it to work, it needs a core value of letting the inhabitants to control it instead of machines. In that way, we humans would still retain our sense of self control and independence.

Big Bang Data Exhibition Review

The Big Bang Data exhibition is a huge and diverse piece of exhibit that shows the dynamics of data usage. Located in the Somerset House at the heart of London, the building welcomes visitors with its welcoming environment. Along with its heavily advertising of the Big Bang Data, it would surely be a successful work of art to experience.

First off, the exhibition seems to be going from a flow of how data influences the art of designers, to the history of data itself and to the problems and benefits arising with modern data usage and goes full circle back to the influences on art. The exhibition utilizes a great use of spatial design. Combining both the practicality of the museum spaces and also creating an atmosphere that is similar to sets that appears in sci-fi movies. The way I see it, it was a great way of letting the audience immerse themselves in this little huge world of data.

In terms of the subject that interest me a lot was how the use of data could potentially lead to the invasion of privacy in the 21st Century. The exhibition at the most part, seems to be heavily revolving this idea as its main piece. The global surveillance disclosure, various social media and face recognition applications were some of the few uses on how data breaches the human rights of privacy. Today, the world is living two lives, a physical and a digital one and it seems that data is gradually becoming the bridge between the two. Perhaps it was this idea that the exhibition was stem on. Bridging the gap between the two lives. In recent times, the world was introduced to devices that seemingly needed to be a necessity to us. From smart phones to smart thermostats to even wearables like smartwatches. This devices uses data that it receives from the users and uses it to make the life of the user more comfortable such as sending health information from a smartwatch to your doctor of choice or the ability to track your missing belongings in various locations or even simply just ordering a take out from your smartphone. I think the exhibition wants to show us this special beauty of data utilization and how it helps us for the better but it should not be taken for granted as said before by the global surveillance disclosure incident.

So how do we protect our data information from others? The exhibit did display an interactive prototype of licensing your information. Simply just tap any of your devices (smartwatch, smart thermostats, credit cards) onto the mat and it will read your data and ask you a few questions on how you want it to be shared. After answering the questions it will print out the receipt of your information’s license. This prototype in my opinion is seemingly controversial, due to it receiving your data in the first place which contradicts the idea of having it private. But nonetheless it does license it at the end so its more of further development thing I guess that’s why its a prototype.

To be honest it was this prototype that left me with a lot of future scenarios floating in my head. My previous term’s CTS classes was about Digital Disruptions and in it I wrote a case study about how humans and machines are slowly evolutionizing together in becoming a cyborg. So in this scenario, what if the the human race did become living cyborgs? That would make technically make our data our cells. And since data is constantly being shared whether we like it or not, this would be a problem for us to live privately and ultimately not truly owning our information. So to overcome this problem, we could use the data licensing prototype to essentially own our data, to take control of it and not to let anyone do so. I do believe that the licensing prototype would truly be an art of innovation but it will still need more time for it to be fully developed.

To end the review of the exhibition, here are some images taken of some of the exhibits.

Future Forecasting- Session 3

Session 3 was a lot to take in. The entire session was mainly about future brands. We discussed about Primark new strategy on sustainability and we agreed that it was not all that convincing. We compared it to another company called Urban Upholstery which repairs and recondition used and worn out furnitures. Both companies practices upcycling. But how they presented it, is totally different. Primark practices on the philosophy of consumerism and how to make more money out of old and worn out apparels while Urban Upholstery focused on the technique and emotional value of reconditioning the old furniture to its former glory. I think it was that core value from Urban Upholstery that made us agreed that it was a more successful approach to sustainability but then again it is just our opinion at that time.

What issues might be connected to the manufacture purchase of fake designer items?

There were know definite answer to this question during the session but my answer is that it could be primarily on an economical level. It is simple, if you can’t afford it and really want it, you’ll go to the next best alternative; fake goods. But if it were me personally, I wouldn’t. I would just save my money and buy it some other time. Nontheless, the group had a different perspective on this issue. Some commented about it being a personal reason such as refraining themselves from buying leather goods which makes them sought after fake goods which usually don’t use authentic leather. Another reason that was discussed is that since its fake, maintaining it would not be a problem. A few nicks and wears, banging it against a wall, dropping it down on the floor, getting dirt on it. It would be okay just buy a new one since its cheap.

“…what would happen if everyone suddenly started wearing fake Rolexes- the pleasure of wearing a real one would diminish.” -Liz Moor’s The Rise Of Brands, pg.106

In a way, I agree with what Moor is saying. I think the reason of owning an authentic item is the emotional value you have with it. You earned it. The experience of earning it gives the branded item a more complicated history than simply buying a cheap knockoff. And not only that, the appreciation of its workmanship, its design, it is I think the core value of owning finely crafted item. If its fake counterpart rises with its affordable advantage it would not be mistaken that something had been compromised during the production of the product. And since if owning a fake item becomes the new norm, the original item would than lose its recognition as a symbol of appreciation and that would just tarnish the entire brand absolutely.

This leads to the next discussion on ‘Immaterial Labour’- a form of labor that do not produce, physical,tangible products but instead characterized by the production of information, emotion or cultural products. In my opinion, customer service. Fordism uses the this method of labour that form a great balance between production and consumption like Ying and Yang. It was with Fordism that shaped our society as who we are today, a Post-Fordism Society. A society that rely on information, knowledge and branding.

Tom Peters from The Brand Called You said that we are all a brand. We do not belong to any company and our chief affiliation isn’t a particular “function.” Good news, everyone has a chance to stand out. We have the chance to learn and improved our skills, Everyone has a brand worthy mark.

 

Future Forecasting- Session 1

The first session was a great opening for this new subject, Future Forecasting. The session gave a great brief history of the term future and has also introduced familiar and unfamiliar names in the whole arc of the subject. Prophets like the Oracle of Delphi and Nostradamus proves a different thinking of the future through spirituality, superstitions and alleged magic. While others like H.G Wells, author of novels War of The Worlds and Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress Upon Human Life and Thought: An Experiment in Prophecy, gave a better insight of what may the future behold. His writings gave birth to the new subject of Futurology. Futurist uses this subject to ‘see’ future scenarios in many industrial sector.

Futurist Norman Henchey categorized future scenarios in to four parts.

  • Possible Future- All the things we can possibly imagine no matter how unlikely.

Eg. Cyborgs. A world where humans and robots are merged together creating a new society in which they would be the dominant species of Earth.

  • Plausible Future- Only possible futures that make sense today.

Eg. Wearable technology. Electronic companies have been producing wearable tech in recent years. From smartwatches to ‘tech t-shirts.’ This technologies allow humans to extend their reach and capabilities the same way any technology would but with a more intimate bond with humans.

  • Probable Future- The scenario most likely happen based on current situation and appraisal of trends.

Eg. Smartwatches. Right now smartwatches are the latest trends. They track our fitness, perform simple but efficient tasks and are essentially the only tech that is constantly with us due to it being wearable. 50% of the smartwatch market stems from Apple. A company as big as Apple would obviously have the capability of bringing this piece of tech to mainstream product lines. And that would mean availability of the device would be huge.

  • Preferable Future- The scenarios we would like to happen.

Eg. A perfect balance between being human and machine. That bond between men and machine are the nightmares of some but a dream for others. I personally like the ability to choose. Able to, at times depend on technology and at other times depend on myself. It is that dynamic I think that would evade humans from becoming true cyborgs.