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?
















The conflation of design, science fact, and science fiction.

The deliberate use of diegetic prototypes to suspend disbelief about change.


“cinematic depictions of future technologies … that demonstrate to large public audiences a technology’s need, benevolence, and viability” David Kirby

以叙事学的术语来说,一出戏或一部影片所建构的世界是为「故事体」,希腊文称之diegesis(Stam, 1992: 38)。举凡任何发生于某个故事体内的事件,皆称为故事叙述(diegetic narration),或戏内叙述(intradiegetic narration),反之,则为非故事叙述(nondiegetic narration)或戏外叙述(extradiegetic narration)(Stam, 1992: 96-97)。

In diegesis, the narrator tells the story. The narrator presents the actions (and sometimes thoughts) of the characters to the readers or audience. Diegetic elements are part of the fictional world (“part of the story”), as opposed to non-diegetic elements which are stylistic elements of how the narrator tells the story (“part of the storytelling”).



本课程为学生提供使用替代设计视角进行设计实验的机会, fiction(虚构)是建立在fact(事实)而成的,例如科幻是建立在科普的现实而诞生,设计就是一种综合科学的、设计的事实与虚构而成,透过设计与叙事的创作,如同科幻小说的力量,让人们能够从现实中解脱固有的限制。[2]

学生创作出来的设计物,不仅需要理解过去到现在的美学、造型、需求的变化,并且推测未来和极大潜力的需求,创造未来(可以是近几个月、近几年,甚至是超未来)生活的必需品、新的经验、新的美学价值。 [3]重点是研究和设计,以支持现实世界的社会变革和文化批判。

学生将研究设计对新兴技术和社会的文化,社会和伦理批评的潜力。透过设计代替小说的文字,重点不将是介绍「科技异想」或「想像科学」,而是这个设计物能够带来各种「文学性」的价值。设计物是设计师们的文字,或我们便可以说是一种「叙事涵diegetic prototype」。


它可以成为向其他研究人员和公众传播创新的工具。特别是,设计幻象擅长通过在有说服力的叙事结构中进行洞察来争论或反对潜在的技术未来。我们经常在科幻小说中看到这一点,但也有一些有趣的虚构框架用于争论(和反对)HCI社区的可能未来,最着名的是Connor Linehan和Ben Kirman的论文“CHI和未来的机器人奴役人类:回顾。“

它可以通过在尝试物理原型设计之前探索虚构场景中的可能设计要求来为设计提供灵感和动力。如最近麻省理工学院媒体实验室课程“科幻小说到科学制作”的输出,由Sophia Brueckner和Dan Novy教授,学生们根据经典科幻作品的读物开发原型。


设幻师营造出一种让人们能即兴创作的舞台,人们(参与者)能对此设幻设计感到与自身强烈的关联(making speculation matter to these participants),产生对此设计的第一直觉反应。因此,他们的反应才是真正丰富化设幻设计的剧本,创造出真实的日常幻象。

叙事涵是一种「垫脚石」或是「刺激灵感」的元素。如同一面透镜,让参与者进入第一人称的视角,但主以刺激他们对于未来的想像力,展开系列的讨论 。


故事的逻辑是赋予叙事涵力量的原因,认为如果没有这些逻辑,叙事涵就会停止运作, 而变成了思辨设计(Speculative Design)或批判设计(Critical Design),这不是我们想看到的。




[1] 科幻小说作家和未来学家布鲁斯·斯特林(Bruce Sterling)在其2005年出版的“ Shape Things”一书中首次提出

[2] Bleecker (2009)

[3] Bruce Sterling(2005)


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