Brian David Johnson (previously) is the futurist and theorist who used design fiction to help the company think about how its products would work in the future (I wrote him a story about the painful death of passwords).
Now, Johnson has gone to Arizona State University to serve as "Futurist in Residence for spring 2016 at the Center for Science and the Imagination (CSI) and as a Professor of Practice in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society."
These are the programs that (among other things) midwifed the Hieroglyph Project and anthology, Neal Stephenson's brainchild to encourage visions of optimistic technological solutions to our future and present problems.
Johnson and ASU are well-matched, and I believe I actually introduced them to one another, so this is something that I'm awfully tickled about. Congrats to both!
Johnson will use his appointment at ASU to lead two exciting projects of great public interest designed to ignite new conversations about the future we're building together:
• The Future of the American Dream Project takes the methods and perspectives Johnson has honed as a technological futurist and applies them to an issue that everyone has a strong opinion about. He asks: What's the future of the American Dream? How are our definitions of the American Dream changing? How do diverse groups of people imagine the American Dream, and how can we reimagine it as a more inclusive concept? How will changes in economics, education and technology lead to new American Dreams? Johnson will tap into ASU's expansive global network, deep community connections, talented student population and interdisciplinary research enterprise to explore these and other questions through interviews, field trips, town halls, videos, podcasts and more.
• 21st Century Robot aspires to get a programmable, humanoid, 3-D-printed, custom-built robot into the hands of every kid. Based on Johnson's 2014 book "21st Century Robot," the project is built on open-source hardware and software and features an easy-to-use app system, so kids and less experienced users can create robots who sing, tell jokes and run away from loud noises — in short, robots with personalities, and robots who reflect the personalities of their creators.