When I received the invite to answer the questions regarding future visions3, the first thought that came into my mind was all the science fiction movies I have seen and their inaccurate forecasts. The explanations for these inaccuracies may be various, and cognitive biases might be one of them. As Loewenstein and Angner8 point out, the projection bias may be one of the factors responsible for projecting the present into the future, leading humans to imagine a tomorrow limited by today’s knowledge. My second thought was that I would probably step into the same misconceptions and biases. Nevertheless, I decided to board into the imaginative exercise and take my chances on creating my visions of the future.
When I started answering the questionnaire, I confess that the chosen videos and pictures in the questions amused me. The past perspectives of the future presented an optimistic view of the tomorrow, even if the imagery was primarily created within white Western, Global North references. Some could affirm that it was also part of this future that I desired. The videos produced by large tech corporations showed cheerful families enjoying the best life that emerging technologies could offer. Who would not love that?
The questions encouraged me to look for images to illustrate my envisioned future. Guided by the survey, I started thinking about my future visions for education, communication, food, tools, urban spaces, health, transport, retail, arts, and living. Some were easier to imagine, presumably due to my own desires. Other images were much more complex to visualize, as the number of possibilities was countless. My primary tool to look for images was Google Images, and I used several keyword combinations to describe what I envisioned as future environments. It is necessary to point out that despite my native language being Portuguese, I was performing the research using English keywords. And despite being a Brazilian citizen, I am located in Sweden. I know that geographical location and language affect search results, and the exact search in other locations and languages might show different results. However, I hadn’t had time to explore different setups.
Some topics as cities9, transportation, and living, had a red thread in common. For those, I expressed a desire for environments in balance with nature. A future that, notwithstanding the technical advances, could provide a green, ecological space for humanity. But I was aware of the challenges of these visions. While these verdant and, at the same time, high-tech settings were not so farfetched for countries like the Scandinavian ones, they were pure science fiction for other realities. However, all these distant realities coexist on the same planet. Furthermore, there is no possible future in a world where some thrive while others merely survive.
For education10, my keywords expressed wishes to encourage the learning of collaboration more than the technology itself. Technology in this area may be a powerful tool to facilitate access to information and promote knowledge. Still, without the experience of diversity and inclusion, it will not lead to significant and democratic changes. When reflecting on food11 and retail12, environmental concerns were once again the main factor that came into my mind. My keywords reflected the production optimization to provide goods with as little ecological harm as possible.The last topic I searched was Art. It was the last one because it was the hardest for me. While in the previous ones, I had some keywords in mind, for Art, I had none. Reflecting that Art grasps and holds technologies and resources according to its needs, instead of being dominated by one technique or another, I looked for images that do not represent any specific scenario but have the potential for various interpretations13. Art, like future, is still open to many possibilities.
- OpenAI. 2022. Dall-e 2. Retrieved December 10, 2022 from https://openai.com/dall-e-2/
- Cátedra Oscar Sala. 2022. DecolonizAI. Retrieved December 9, 2022 from https://www.decolonizai.com/visoes-sobre-o-futuro/
- Kevin Lynch. 1960. The Image of the City. The MIT Press.
- Ebenezer Howard. 1946. Garden Cities of To-Morrow. Faber and Faber.
- Vilém Flusser. 1999. The Shape of Things: A Philosophy of Design. Reaktion.
- George Loewenstein and Erik Angner. 2003. Predicting and indulging changing preferences. In Time and decision: Economic and psychological perspectives on intertemporal choice, ed. G. Loewenstein, D. Read, and R. Baumeister, 12, 351–91. Russell Sage Foundation.
- Andreas Huyssen. 2014. Culturas do passado-presente: modernismos, artes visuais, políticas da memória. Trad. Vera Ribeiro. 1. ed. Rio de Janeiro: Contraponto; Museu de Arte do Rio.
- Suely Rolnik. 2008. Desvendando futuros. ComCiência , Campinas, n. 99. Available at <http://comciencia.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1519-76542008000200007&lng=es&nrm=iso>.