My Institute for the Future colleague Jason Tester wrote a thought-provoking essay titled "The Case for Human-Future Interaction," exploring the similarities between forecasting and pioneering work in the field of human-computer interaction. One of Jason's research efforts at IFTF is the creation of Artifacts from the Future–products, objects, and services that don't exist yet but can help us understand how tomorrow's technologies may affect our daily lives. So what can forecasters learn from HCI? From Jason's post at IFTF's Future Now blog:
At its core, human-future interaction would be the art and science of effectively and ethically communicating research, forecasts, and scenarios about trends and potential futures. For technology design, human-computer interaction has become the framework that links the capabilities of technology, the behaviors of users, and the goals of designers and developers. These three constituents have very similar counterparts in futures work, and human-future interaction should serve much the same role–connecting the capabilities of design tools and media formats with the strategic needs of users, shaped by the goals and insights of researchers and forecasters.
This isn't just about giving a catchy label to work already being done. Thinking of the creation of futures media and related experiences as a structured process will simply lead to better results–media that engages a broader audience in discussion about trends shaping our shared future, and experiences that engage this audience in far more personal ways than a wordy report ever could. This ability to present forecasts and future visions in media beyond text–and not just by Hollywood–is an exciting development, and couldn't have come at a sooner time. Popular engagement in the future is particularly crucial now when so many of the important challenges facing the human species can be influenced–perhaps only solved–by the cooperation and involvement of everyone, not limited to people and organizations that have traditionally held power. The time to engage a mass audience in global, longer-term futures thinking is here, today.
Previously on BB:
• Artifacts from the future at IFTF Link