10's of millions of white and blue collar jobs gone by 2025 - what next?
Disruptive technology is not tomorrow it's now and is happening under our very noses. Artificial intelligence is now so advanced Google has formed an ethics committee whose remit it is to work out how to control ethics and morals. Bill Gates and Steven Hawking have gone public that AI is a pandora's box.
You can now 3D print your own car (or gun) - at home or design your own clothes and send the schematic to Amazon to be printed (today).
Advanced robots that can teach themselves to do new procedures and then teach other robots how to do the same process. There is also a search engine for robots that allows them to swap and share processes and procedures.
This Virtual Reality that makes The Matrix look, well, real. Want to walk around the pyramids? Strap on a VR headset and go visit. No need to get on a plane.
The Internet of Things connects everything to the Internet and the Internet to everything. Take the humble banana. Connect it to the Internet through one of the next electronic labels. It can tell you how much you've eaten, the calorific value, the potassium content. It can build it into a diet and connect to the fridge so that it can order replacements from Waitrose....
Lawyers, doctors, accountants, soldiers, mechanics - pretty much anything that has a precise job description will go.
The jobs left? Anything to do with creativity or care.....
So who pays for the people out of work? What will they do all day?Submit a response to this provocation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
John is a Senior Advisor at McKinsey & Company and author of iDisrupted, a book and website about the effect of disruptive technology on people, businesses and economies.
With 32 years in IT and IT marketing, he is experienced in predicting, innovating and leading cultural change through his unique insight into disruption. John’s early career included being VP of European Operations for the Interse Corporation in San Francisco, co-founder and VP of Marketing for Revnet Systems in Alabama, the creator of two consumer facing websites and founder and CEO of Netrank, one of Europe’s rst SEO agencies specialising in corporate clients. In 2009 he founded SEO platform Linkdex and later pioneered a cultural change programme at Thomas Cook, which focussed on moving the business from analogue to digital. He is also the founder of Thorium Technology Investors, an early stage investment vehicle specialising in B2B cloud investment opportunities.Read More
Will Technology Save Us?
The architecture of the future can be conceived as dystopian or utopian but either vision will need to respond to the key changes in today's Anthropocene age:
1 – The changing planetary climate.
2 – The increase in human population and a corresponding lack of finite resources.
3 – The rapid adoption of, and advances of technology and specifically information technology.
In the light of a decade long global financial crisis and the biggest refugee migration since World War II, the architectural spotlight is already shifting from purely formal expression towards a more social agenda, so let's paint two alternative pictures to see how a design discipline can respond to these challenges:
The climate is so unstable that crops can’t be grown naturally, and we will need to look to unlikely spaces to hunker away from an ever more hostile climate, underground, below the waves, above the clouds, increasingly relying and depending upon technology to meet the basic needs of our rising population.
Population unchecked creates even denser, more polluted cities of people packed next to each other in little boxes with no incentive to interact with their neighbours, and a scarcity of raw materials to build with creates ever more low cost identikit houses provided by the state.
Information technology makes the leap from the pocket watch computers we now have to a fully immersive virtual experience indistinguishable from reality, aided by advances in AI and quantum computing and humans preferring this virtual reality to the real world choose to isolate themselves further from real encounters, architecture becomes a backdrop, nothing more than a white box, while the real advances are in the fantastical hallucinogenic architectures of the virtual realm, dreamt up and unfettered by tradition or the constraints of gravity.
Technology will allow us to live lighter, to use less resources, to grow our own food and to slowly rebalance the planet's climate, creating a more bottom up distribution of resources which starts at the building level.
Smaller more close knit communities will become the norm, allowing individuals to take responsibility for growing their own food through hydroponics and aquaponic technology embedded in the design of their buildings.
The rise of the availability of digital fabrication maker spaces allows open source self-build to become a reality while home based 3D printing will allow mass customisation of the built environment in many materials, which will be easy to recycle.
Energy grids will be usurped by individual responsibility for clean energy generation at source through embedded solar panels and peltier modules, while water will be recycled at source and alternative methods of gathering it from the air will be relied upon.
Super computing advances will create truly intelligent buildings which through augmented reality can adapt to each user providing a tailored unique spatial experience which can be shared by others.
Whatever the future holds, architecture has an important role to play, and the architect as futurologist, problem solver, technologist and entrepreneur maker has a hand in shaping and informing its creation.Submit a response to this provocation by emailing email@example.com
Toby Burgess (AA dip, RIBA II, BArch (hons), BA (hons) is the Director of Toby Burgess Design ltd and teaches Architecture at postgraduate level at the Architectural Association and Westminster University, with a focus on the funding and delivery of student projects (WeWantToLearn.net).
He previously coordinated London Metropolitan University’s entry in the Solar Decathlon Europe 2012 (RIBA Silver Medal 2012) and managed the delivery of student architectural installations at Burning Man Festival. Toby was previously lead designer on ‘Casa Kike’ by Gianni Botsford Architects (2008 Lubetkin Prize) and a founding member of the ‘Project Sustainability Group’ at Grimshaw Architects.Read More
Older people - a drain on our society?
The UK population is ageing. For the first time, there are more people aged 65+ than under the age of 15. The number of people aged 65+ is projected to rise by 18.5% from 11.8 million to 14 million – a fifth of our society - by 2025. The fertility rate is decreasing as is the mortality rate. A woman aged 65 in 2025 can expect to live on average a further 23.3 years and a man another 20.9 years.
How is this sustainable? The ratio of non-working to working age people is rising. Are pensions in their current guise affordable? Or do we need to consider a different benefit system for older people?
Older people are more likely to live on their own and loneliness, a big public health concern, is becoming more prevalent. Are our communities becoming more disconnected? Is there a role for technology?
The size of our older population is larger but also less healthy. This has put huge pressure on health and care services. Older people are increasingly likely to live with complex combinations of health conditions. Our existing health and care system is not set up to handle patients with comorbidities. Do we need to revisit how health and care services are configured? Will there always be a surplus demand on the NHS and social care to provide support to people in need or could we do this all differently?
In periods of financial austerity come opportunity for innovation and transformation. There are vanguard sites in health and care where things are being tried differently. Will devolution create environments for these opportunities? And what onus will there be on people to better self-manage and self-care in future?
Person-centred care could become a reality and not just a vision. Could telecare or telehealth help reach this vision? What role could smart technology play in helping people stay independent in their own homes for longer? Is technology a substitute or supplement to face-to-face care?
How about housing? There is a shortage of care homes and significant scope for innovative design for older people who cannot live independently but do not need full-time residential care.
Older people make a huge contribution to society. Through volunteering, grandparenting, informal caring and employment, older people are worth over £60 billion to the UK economy. There is a role for design and technology in realising the full value of older people as contributors and the window of opportunity is before us.Submit a response to this provocation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Marcus is the Social and Economic Research Manager at Age UK. He has previously worked for the Office for National Statistics and the Higher Education Academy.
His educational background is in statistics and gerontology from the University of Southampton, and he has a particular research interest in social networks and the use of health and care data to measure the value of out-of-hospital care services. He recently co-authored a paper on the Health and Care of Older People in England, which received wide press coverage in the UK and was used to in uence the government ahead of the 2015 Comprehensive Spending Review. More recently, Marcus has been involved in the production of an older people’s well-being index along with leading quality of life and well- being academics in the UK.Read More
Are you an irresponsible consumer?
Consumers create healthy economies and enable progress and development. We consume as part of being human and there's nothing wrong with that and this will continue to be the way we live long into the future.
There’s also nothing wrong with a business selling products, it's what they do with the profits that count. It’s how many people they employ fairly that counts. It’s whether or not they pay their taxes.
As with every aspect in life you will find thinking people and those that run on self-interest - self-interest is the easier option - but as a global culture with more information at our fingertips than ever before we must now take some responsibility for the fact that we allow ourselves to be bad consumers – we choose whether to be over-advertised and marketed to, or not.
To be a consumer is not wrong – but to be an irresponsible consumer is. Irresponsible to our bank accounts, our sense of self-worth and how we treat the environment.
You can be a person who has a useful, thoughtful consumer lifestyle. You can have nice things and say no to vapid and manipulative media messages designed to make you feel inadequate. You can say no to obvious waste, and you can think more about the impact your lifestyle has on others. You can give as well as take.
Take back the label consumer and stop blaming the construct of ‘consumerism’ for your own poor choices and un-thought-out behaviours.
Stop falling for the empty glamour and the suggestion of a shortcut to money, admiration and sexual allure. It’s not real and you know it isn’t.
‘Consumerism’ is our fault if we continue to fall for its promise but we can also change its impact on the future. Tell brands and businesses that you need them to do better. Boycott their products and services when they don’t. Use your loud, accessible voice to tell advertisers, marketers and retailers that the stories they’ve sold us are no longer applicable (or are even offensive) and that you want to consume for good – well at least for better. Show them that there will be return in investing in diversity, respect and creativity and not in the greedy, throwaway or sensationalist.
You must buy the things you need. You can buy the things you like. But you should also only give your money to those who deserve it, where there is real value.
Every single person in this world is a consumer that we need - an essential economic cog in the greater machine – but use your power wisely. Be proud to call yourself a consumer and proud to serve the consumers who are your customers and clients – through that label you show the world what you stand for rather than what you don’t.Submit a response to this provocation by emailing email@example.com
Ruth is a Cultural Researcher specialising in identifying, and explaining, the relationship between cultural development and consumer behaviour. She has 15 years experience in identifying future trends, innovation and brand-to-consumer narratives and the relationship between cultural development and consumer behaviour for strategic development.
In her previous role as Director of Advisory Services at leading trend forecasters WGSN she advised global brands on the impact of future design and communications trends, working with organisations including Swarovski, L’Oreal, Marks & Spencer, Clarks and DreamWorks. Her newest venture, COIN Research, was set up in 2015 to support brands and agencies at the very start of their development and innovation journey. Whether it’s for brand, product or campaign development COIN Research uncovers what your consumers are thinking now and – crucially – what’s coming next.Read More
The permeable museum (Museums are about the future not the past)
“2025 sees the long-awaited opening of the Trump Museum on the Mall in Washington.
The $40bn museum was opened by Kim Kardashian, the current US ambassador to the United Nations, who is herself immortalised in the institution’s Plastic Surgery Hall of Fame.
Other attractions on the site include MacDonald’s World with its Supersize galleries and Ronald MacDonald education centre, and the Shell Centre for Environmental Research.
The new museum replaces the previous cultural inhabitants of the Mall after the Smithsonian’s endowment was wiped out in the 2016 Chinese stock market crash and the Trump/Palin administration refused a bail-out.
At the time Trump said that he wouldn’t spend hard earned US tax dollars on museums run by a “whingeing, liberal, lefty-elite”.”
Reality or fantasy? Vanity Fair recently speculated on what the Donald Trump Presidential Library and Museum might contain: http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2015/11/donald-trump-presidential-library-and-museum.
A key question for those who work in and with museums is can or should museums attempt to deal with contemporary issues? And can museums help us resolve some of the contradictory messages that currently abound?
A snap shot of the beginning of 2016 illustrates the challenges that society will face over the coming decades: climate change; the mass displacement of people; political instability; an economic crunch; and a demographic time bomb.
The news in Europe has been dominated by the refugee crisis, with harrowing images of people desperately seeking a safe haven on every news channel. The inconsistency between the theory of free movement and the reality of stringent border controls has been sharply exposed.
Globalization has shrunk the planet but there is also the spectre of devolution, separatism and nationalism. Hyper-connectivity brings with it hyper-surveillance and a world where cyberbullying is a worse problem among teenagers than drug abuse. We are told that smart cities and smart villages are the future and yet we know that digital exclusion and segregation exist on a mass scale.
So can museums help us make sense of these turbulent times and conflicting messages? Or should they leave that to other organisations that are more adaptable, connected and fleet of foot?
Museums could adhere to the status quo, but if they are to be relevant to Millennials (Miley Cyrus) and Generation Z (Brooklyn Beckham) and if they are to weather stormy economic seas, they will have to do more than the preservation-education-interpretation day-job.
They will have to tackle the issues that these missing groups feel passionate about, using platforms they are native on, and in language that resonates.
The 2025 museum should look very different to its turn of the century predecessor. Its walls will be permeable to objects, people and ideas and its vision will be about the future and not the past.
Sharon is the Director of the Museums Association, a professional membership organisation that campaigns to promote the value of museums to society. She was formally the Head of Publications and Events at the MA and the editor of Museums Journal, the association’s monthly news and features magazine and was also responsible for programming and managing the MA’s annual conference.
Her background is in journalism, event creation and policy. She has lectured in journalism, the history of museums and museum ethics and has judged prizes and awards including the Clore Award for Museum Learning. She has written extensively about museums and cultural heritage and contributed a chapter to Museums and Public Value (Carol A Scott, Ashgate). She regularly comments on museums and cultural policy in the UK. Sharon is on the board of several charities including Vocaleyes.Read More
2025: Forecasting Futures is an exhibition (13th-21st May) and conference (19th May) aimed at engaging audiences in speculations about the key design trends, which will shape and transform our everyday lives.
Five provocations covering important global themes have been authored by experts in the relevant disciplines. The provocations are intended to elicit a variety of creative responses that can include visual, sound, performance and written contributions. These responses will be curated into an exhibition and accompanying conference where the authors of the provocations are invited to respond to the creative work and participate in a discussion panel.
This exhibition, conference and related events considers the practices, theories and methods involved in forecasting futures. Futures studies (also called futurology) is the study of postulating possible, probable, and preferable futures and the worldviews and myths that underlie them. As major forces such as urbanisation, accelerating technological change, the ageing population and increasing global connections come together to dramatically transform our world, an understanding of the future has never been so important.
Future studies/trend forecasting/futurology has been increasingly adopted by organisations, institutions and nations as a means of predicting alternative futures and managing perceived risk. This conference and exhibition will provide a platform for understanding the key trends disrupting and reshaping the political, economic, social, technological and cultural terrain. We will consider the role of design as an agent of change in crafting the future. Our aim is to promote a view of the value of future forecasting as both an important research process and powerful tool of critical transformation in its own right.
Offering world-leading design and media education, London College of Communication has adapted and developed throughout a 120-year history in order to stay at the cutting edge of new thinking. The College offers courses that reflect the breadth of expertise you’d expect to find in a creative agency, from journalism, advertising, PR and publishing to photography, film and television, sound arts, media studies, spatial design, interactive media and visual media. 2025: Forecasting Futures is part of LCC’s public programme of events, designed to open up the College and its activities to the wider community.arts.ac.uk/lcc
Elephant & Castle,
London, SE1 6SB