2017 Future Now: Reconfiguring Reality
FUTURE NOW: Reconfiguring Reality
Issue 3—Year 2017
The 3rd issue of Future Now, released to IFTF partners in late 2017 is now available. This magazine, Future Now: Reconfiguring Reality, is a maker's guide to the Internet of Actions—use it with its companion map and card game to anticipate possibilities, create opportunities, ward off challenges, and begin acting to reconfigure reality today.
Welcome to 2027 ...
What is technology for, if not reconfiguring reality?
Humans have been using tools to redirect, reuse, and recombine materials and processes since day one. It’s what we do. Today, we are on the cusp of a technology revolution that will reconfigure reality at the speed of light with a vastly distributed network of machines.
The Internet of Information has changed the way we move in the world; it has enabled us to direct the power of nearly infinite cloud computing with simple voice commands; giving smaller actors powerful resources that once belonged only to large organizations. It has let us expand our world view—and hide in filter bubbles.
Over the next decade, we will increasingly engage with an Internet of Actions—a distributed global network of autonomous robots and intelligent systems. Such technology will allow us to reconfigure reality using increasingly sophisticated strategies. Data science and machine learning will enable us to create new pathways to alter human perception. Ubiquitous sensing and utility machine intelligence will create opportunities to encode human activity into distributed systems. Advances in fields from nanoengineering, 3D printing, and robotics will enable us to manipulate matter. As voice and gestural interfaces become pervasive, new approaches to designing personality and emotional responses will emerge together with animate objects and environments.
As you grapple with questions and opportunities to put these strategies to work, consider: What future do you want to make?
Ultimately, these emerging technologies are subservient to our beliefs about what is important The technologies we develop and deploy reflect our choices and values. We have gotten good at making tools for productivity, efficiency, and entertainment. But is that all we want? I hope not. The Internet of Actions offers us the power to reshape the world—everything from transforming the taste and experience of a meal, to virtually reliving past memories and strengthening our bonds with loved ones.
These tools will be in almost everyone’s hands. Everyone, including people you may not like, will be able to enlist bots and various machines to act in the world. Video filters aimed at “improving” our appearance will become tools to create lifelike spoofs. We may lose control over our own image. Local law is getting embedded into and enforced by physical infrastructures. Weapons developers are grappling with questions around if, and how, to embed rules of warfare into autonomous machines. Even as these technologies empower us, they will create new questions about how to interact, negotiate, and navigate these possibilities with each other.
Over the course of 2017, we talked with experts in tech and design, explored the foundational technologies of an Internet of Actions, and forecasted how to combine these technologies into strategies for reconfiguring reality.
This magazine is a maker’s guide to the Internet of Actions. Use it with its companion map and card game, to anticipate possibilities, create opportunities, ward off challenges, and begin acting to reconfigure reality today.