We love to share our thoughts about understanding the good, the bad, and the weird futures of cultural and technological level.
“It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards”
– The White Queen to Alice, Alice in Wonderland.
The C word.
Cryptocurrency IS brilliant because it deployed (in the most despicable way) mass cultural manipulation that almost (!) got us all riding this rollercoaster to hell together. Encrypted data and payments are an important part of our digital future, blockchain technology that enables that is vital. But just because a book is written in English, it doesn’t make it a Shakespearean masterpiece. And cryptocurrency might use encryption technology but converts it into something completely different. I would add Charlie Munger’s brilliant quote: “in my life, I try to avoid things that are stupid and evil and make me look bad … and bitcoin does all three.”
The near-success of cryptocurrency mass diffusion highlighted a cultural crisis within our society – that, more than ever before, technology enables us to behave exponentially in an irrational and destructive manner. What separates a fable from reality is that fables have clear rules and endings. The villain pays. The underdogs win. The lesson is learned. They all live happily ever after. The reality of crypto was evident from the start. Still, the trend bullet train was already using it to buy NFTs (a close circuit value trade that benefited digital art for a split second but also drained it from the long-term value in the process). So let’s talk about what cryptocurrency is NOT via this link
What is speculative design?
Speculative design is the ability to apply solutions to problems, behaviours and scenarios that do not exist yet. Applying speculative scenarios and solutions allow us to achieve two core goals:
- Speculative Design allows you to pressure-test and anticipate undesirable implementations of a product or a service and avoiding harmful, unethical or other negative consequences.
- Speculative Design helps you explore new features, behaviours and creative paths. By applying solutions that are not constrained by present limitation.
At Future Memory Inc, we consider Speculative Design as the ultimate design alchemy since it enables us to explore unconventional paths towards present and future innovations and interactions. We mix economic, social, technological paradigms through the lens of alternative presents and futures, so we can explore new features, behaviours and creative paths.
There are fantastic resources that can give you insight about future thinking. Here is a list of some of our favourite books that look into our technological present and futures:
# High Tech/High Touch By Douglas Philips, John Naisbitt, and Nana Naisbitt
# Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming By Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby
# Future Shock By Alvin Toffler
# The Digital Plenitude: The Decline of Elite Culture and the Rise of New Media By Jay David Bolter
# The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power By Shoshana Zuboff
# Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy By Cathy O’Neil
# The Next Billion Users: Digital Life Beyond the West By Payal Arora
# Calm Technology: Principles and Patterns for Non-Intrusive Design By Amber Case
Humans have always been curious about the concepts of the future, being able to predict and evaluate what is yet to come shaped cultures, civilisations and behaviours since the dawn of civilisation. This fascination with the future is due to its elusive nature since it is the only timeframe we never actually get to experience (if you consider time as a linear phenomenon). Metaphysicists, philosophers and scientists all tried to define its qualities and nature, and though many theories had been written about it, we haven’t managed to hack the 4th dimension of time.
And so, we nevigate between our aspirations, anxiety and speculations around future events, in an attempt to prepare and shape our personal and collective futures. Even though we cannot control the future, we can map out possible futures and act so we can obtain necessary and desirable futures. Understanding the future is what we are passionate about in Future Memory Inc, and we would love to hear your thoughts, hopes and fears related to it.