Futurization of thinking and behavior as a fine balancing act

October 18, 2017 | The Lighthouse | Copenhagen, Denmark

This hands-on workshop was an invitation to explore the concept of futurization together. The idea emerged after a rather improvised discussion between Anna Sircova (psychologist and visual artist), Martina S. Mahnke (digital communication and media expert), Aglaia Michelakis (architect, visual artist and writer), Jason Brovich (psychology and law enthusiast), Julia Kulgavchuk (user experience designer) and Olga Dmitrichenko (IT and VR specialist) one September evening.

We are happy to have learned that issues associated with futurization resonated with people with very diverse backgrounds such as social sciences, engineering, economics, photography, bodywork, IT, urbanism, journalism and others.

And we really had a blast while creating the models of the future, debating on controversial issues, being empathic, listening to each other and co-creating the playful atmosphere that allowed us to touch upon variety of profound issues!

Some of the discussions can be summarized inspired by James Joyce in Ulysses: “Future is a nightmare from which we are all trying to escape”, in our case.

Below you will find photos from the event and summary of the different ideas, questions, concerns, proposals that were discussed during the event.

We believe we tapped into something very important to all of us and we would like to explore further the notion of futurization and what it entails. Interested to join us on another occasion?

  • follow the International Time Perspective Network on facebook https://www.facebook.com/InternationalTP/
  • sign up for the Network’s newsletter (with the news about other activities and projects by the members of the Network) https://tinyletter.com/ITPN .
  • You are also more than welcome to become a member of the Network — it’s only 150 dkk per year and it helps us to provide you with the snacks and beers at the events, gives you the voting right in the matters of the Association and hefty discount for participating in the bi-annual conference and festival dedicated to the concept of time — next one coming up in France in 2018.

Step 1: Creating Empathy

Really getting into the empathy phase by learning listen with our bodies, mirroring each other and having an embodied experience of now

Step 2–5: Define, Ideate, Prototype and Share

Presenting different models of the futurization and issues related to it

Issues that were brought up during the event:

AI as intelligent agent programmed with our core moral values — liberator to humans or potential enemy? Would this rob mankind of anticipation for the future? Emotionally charged topic that deserves future exploration.

* Continuing the line of emotions — we talked about and experienced the embodied present being very emotional and future in contrast being very calculative, which bring me to a question — is the future emotionless?

* The role of culture and the concept of future — most of us were coming from the westernized culture of linear time and that brings certain images of the future and understanding of it, but what about the circular time or interwoven times and other cultural conceptualizations?

* Maybe future thinking should be domain specific? which are the domains where it is important to have this futurization aspect?

* Futurization as a process of becoming futured — what are the benefits of it, but also what are the risks associated with such a process?

* Different technologies that are initially aimed at solving problems, but eventually are creating new ones

* There is no future in the sense of all the future as an image, an imagination — it is a projection of something from the past, preexisting memories

* Distinction between the individualistic goal centered future vs that of a group of people merging their goals together and dealing constructively with the uncertainty that such increased complexity brings. Could there be more possibilities? How could the two be bridged?

* acting for the future as a way of dealing with shame and guilt

* Important issue of the elitism of futurization. Do all people have equal access to making choices that protect the future? Are other groups shamed for not having that ability?

* Are we all going to become part of the human zoo?

* Future as something built collectively, co-constructed with care and having the time and space for expressing own creativity and building together in a respectful way

* Finding balance through care — partying today, as a way to relax and having a better working week later

*Collective “chaos” — Can we trust one another to respect each other’s actions toward the future? Is this utopian? Is considering it utopian denying mankind an intrinsically good nature?

* A way to move from present to future is to let go of fear

* Being in the process means arriving in the future — as one thing is for sure: The future will arrive no matter what.

Inspiring questions and ideas from the notes:

“All we know is that we are all here now. We have to believe in the future to actually work with it. There are no future facts, only assumptions.”

“Where is the future?”

“Futurization should be a redefinition of what advancement is, especially in terms of technologized “progress”. How can we make our species aware of consequences current actions have in the future?”

“Future as something that arrives, takes place and shape, instead of claiming / colonizing it”

“Time without a watch”

“How to use time meaningfully?”

“Hoes does one wisely utilize past experiences and present capabilities to lead to optimal future outcomes without losing touch with present emotions? Does it have to be a trade-off between wise future planning and present happiness? If not, what methods can one use to combine the two?”

“Being a recipient / container for future rather than occupying it forcefully. Letting the future become now. Not having to define the future, but letting the future define us. Receiving versus claiming.”

“If all time is subjective how do we co-exist in different flows at the same time? What force is time if it is non linear? Can we illustrate time in a different way? Where does the divide between mind and body exist if we say that time is embodied or mindful? Is our body always in the present, then is our mind always in the present? Is there a boundary between time and body?”

“How do we connect with future in a way that it becomes a fundamental part of our existence now, allowing us to act / make decisions that have equal value now and in the future? How do we incorporate values about the future, eg. environmental into our now? the moral obligations to the next generations. What are the ways of stepping outside our individualistic self view and connecting with others and nature — mindfulness? Influence of emotions — social norms for humans, thinking as individuals vs members of a group. What does it mean to be human? Especially outside our constructed reality?”

“How do concepts of the future relate to political beliefs?”

“The future is the collective consequence of everything that we are doing today. How can we live our lives for the future (generations) while still enjoying our free will today? How can you convince others to do this?”

A sort of poem:

What is the future?

Is it tomorrow?

Is it today?

Is tomorrow now?

Or today?

I would like to live in the future..

I would like to live today..

I would like to live tomorrow..

Today is now..

Now is today..

Like what you read? Give Anna Sircova a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.