It’s the idea I got from the feedback from Dr Eleanor Dare of the proposal of my final project in Royal College of Art.
Also, consider ways in which the imagery may be less predictable, can you show us a world no one has seen before? Can you create an aesthetic which does not replicate visual cliches about the future we have all seen many times, I’d urge you to challenge yourself on that front, and get away from familiar modes of representation around the future, AI and the posthuman…
I also got suggestions from Ben Stopher. The Futures Cone really interests me. Futurists have often spoken and continue to speak of three main classes of futures: possible, probable, and preferable. These have at times lent themselves to define various forms of more specialised futures activity, with some futurists focusing on, as it were, exploring the possible; some on analysing the probable; and some on shaping the preferable, with many related variations on this nomenclature and phraseology (e.g., again, Amara 1991, and many others). It is possible to expand upon this three-part taxonomy to include at least 7 (or even 8) major types of alternative futures. It is convenient to depict this expanded taxonomy of alternative futures as a ‘cone’ diagram. The ‘futures cone’ model was used to portray alternative futures by Hancock and Bezold (1994), and was itself based on a taxonomy of futures by Henchey (1978), wherein four main classes of future were discussed (possible, plausible, probable, preferable).
- Potential – everything beyond the present moment is a potential future. This comes from the assumption that the future is undetermined and ‘open’ not inevitable or ‘fixed’, which is perhaps the foundational axiom of Futures Studies.
- Preposterous – these are the futures we judge to be ‘ridiculous’, ‘impossible’, or that will ‘never’ happen. I introduced this category because the next category (which used to be the edge of the original form of the cone) did not seem big enough, or able to capture the sometimes-vehement refusal to even entertain them that some people would exhibit to some ideas about the future. This category arises from homage to James Dator and his Second Law of the Future—“any useful idea about the future should appear ridiculous” (Dator 2005)—as well as to Arthur C. Clarke and his Second Law—“the only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible” (Clarke 2000, p. 2). Accordingly, the boundary between the Preposterous and the Possible could be reasonably called the ‘Clarke-Dator Boundary’ or perhaps the ‘Clarke-Dator Discontinuity’, since crossing it in the outward direction represents a very important but, for some people, very difficult, movement in prospection thinking. (This is what is represented by the red arrows in the diagram.)
- Possible – these are those futures that we think ‘might’ happen, based on some future knowledge we do not yet possess, but which we might possess someday (e.g., warp drive).
- Plausible – those we think ‘could’ happen based on our current understanding of how the world works (physical laws, social processes, etc).
- Probable – those we think are ‘likely to’ happen, usually based on (in many cases, quantitative) current trends.
- Preferable – those we think ‘should’ or ‘ought to’ happen: normative value judgements as opposed to the mostly cognitive, above. There is also of course the associated converse class—the un-preferred futures—a ‘shadow’ form of anti-normative futures that we think should not happen nor ever be allowed to happen (e.g., global climate change scenarios comes to mind).
- Projected – the (singular) default, business as usual, ‘baseline’, extrapolated ‘continuation of the past through the present’ future. This single future could also be considered as being ‘the most probable’ of the Probable futures. And,
- (Predicted) – the future that someone claims ‘will’ happen. I briefly toyed with using this category for a few years quite some time ago now, but I ended up not using it anymore because it tends to cloud the openness to possibilities (or, more usefully, the ‘preposter-abilities’!) that using the full Futures Cone is intended to engender.
This taxonomy finds its greatest utility when undertaking the Prospection phase of the Generic Foresight Process (Voros 2003) especially when the taxonomy is presented in reverse order from Projected to Preposterous. Here, one frames the extent to which the thinking is ‘opened out’ (implied by a reverse-order presentation of the taxonomy) by choosing a question form that is appropriate to the degree of openness required for the futures exploration. Thus, “what preposterously ‘impossible’ things might happen?” sets a different tone for prospection than the somewhat tamer question “what is projected to occur in the next 12 months?”
The Sci-fi film is getting boring in this period, when science and technology becomes unexpected and the distance between each milestones gets smaller and smaller. Most of the sci-fi films are talking about artificial intelligence, extraterrestrial intelligence and the end of the world, which is quite familiar to everyone. We live in such a minute-calculated world. It’s why there is someone starts the foundation The Long Now to provide a counterpoint to today’s accelerating culture and help make long-term thinking more common. The foundation is running a significant project names The 10,000 Year Clock.
In addition, there is also an interesting sample, Onkalo, which is a gigantic bunker has to last 100,000 years, built in Finland, 500 metres below the earth – supposedly impervious to any event on the surface and far away from any possible earthquake danger: its purpose is to house thousands of tonnes of radioactive nuclear waste.
What is the time especially such a super long-term one means to us, not only to a single human, but to the whole human beings?
By definition low probability events (sometimes referred to as ‘mini-scenarios’) that would have very large impact if they occurred (Petersen 1997, 1999). Since they are considered ‘low probability’ (i.e., outside the Probable zone), any member of any class of future outside the range of probable futures could be considered by definition a wildcard (although this usage is not common, as the focus tends to be on ‘high impact’ events).
So, in my project, the ideas are the realization of artificial intelligence, the accident caused by artificial intelligence, the transformation from human to cyborg and from the organic to the inorganic and from the cell to the electronic, which are the predicated future, at most, the preferable future. The main idea is about the right of the trans-human (which is defined as Chimera in my view), and mainly about the discrimination going to happen on non-human (which is commonly defined now). This might be the plausible future.
Under this framework, this project needs to go further, to step into the preposterous area.
So what is the ridiculous, impossible, never-happened future?