Alphabet Inc.’s Google, which failed to find a consumer audience for its internet-connected glasses about a decade ago, on Wednesday presented a prototype of augmented reality glasses aimed at the general public.https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-11/google-shows-early-preview-of-augmented-reality-glasses
Safety through technology is certainly not a bad thing. But the need for safety can become pathological. Friedrich Nietzsche’s basic premise is that failure is an option. It is woven tightly into a life worth living. It is time for a personal inventory: Which of our devices and practices enable a life that experiences the world in ways and places not always engineered for our comfort?https://bigthink.com/thinking/nietzsche-failure-comfort/
The ability to examine lots of human bodies as they go about their daily lives is also changing how clinical studies of new drugs are done. According to iqvia, a research firm, 10% of late-stage clinical trials in 2020 used connected devices to monitor people, up from 3% in 2016. A catalogue by the Digital Medicine Society, an American organisation, lists more than 300 examples of digital biomarkers that are used in trials.https://www.economist.com/technology-quarterly/2022/05/01/data-from-wearable-devices-are-changing-disease-surveillance-and-medical-research
Americans spend about 90% of their time indoors, where the air can be 5 to 10 times more polluted than the worst outdoor air. Bad indoor air, including high levels of CO2, has been linked with fatigue, headaches, and even respiratory diseases, all of which could be alleviated by airing out your home. That’s why two designers created Canairi: a minimalist monitor that nudges you to open the window without using blinking lights, warning sounds, or phone notifications. And no, there’s no app; just simple, intuitive design.https://www.fastcompany.com/90747448/this-bird-shaped-monitor-drops-dead-when-your-indoor-air-is-bad
When it comes to America’s legacy of Manifest Destiny, there’s perhaps no meal more symbolic than a bleeding steak. So who are we now that we’re consuming less red meat?https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/03/t-magazine/meat-beef-vegetarianism-veganism.html
And not fully understanding the difference between a virtual world and real life can have darker consequences as well. Graber says that playing a game in which you’re attacked with a gun or knife can feel more intense to a child than an adult. And metaverse worlds could expose children to bullies or even pedophiles in new, scary ways.https://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/family/2022/02/what-the-metaverse-might-mean-for-kids
PHOTO-ILLUSTRATION: SAM WHITNEY; GETTY IMAGES
The system was based on data—including age, ethnicity, country of origin, disability, and whether the subject’s home had hot water in the bathroom—from 200,000 residents in the city of Salta, including 12,000 women and girls between the ages of 10 and 19. Though there is no official documentation, from reviewing media articles and two technical reviews, we know that “territorial agents” visited the houses of the girls and women in question, asked survey questions, took photos, and recorded GPS locations. What did those subjected to this intimate surveillance have in common? They were poor, some were migrants from Bolivia and other countries in South America, and others were from Indigenous Wichí, Qulla, and Guaraní communities.https://www.wired.com/story/argentina-algorithms-pregnancy-prediction/
While Salta’s AI system to “predict pregnancy” was hailed as futuristic, it can only be understood in light of this long history, particularly, in Miranda’s words, the persistent eugenic impulse that always “contains a reference to the future” and assumes that reproduction “should be managed by the powerful.”
To begin seeing change, heed the externalities
The practice of foresight has always believed in the critical nature of the past. In fact, we believe knowing the past is imperative to see the future that might await us. Our usual approach is to start with a classic PESTLE (political, economic, sociological, technological, legal and environmental) analysis to see the externalities in play. We do this through a semiotic lens. We are looking for signs so that we can speculate about design futures.
Consider the 1980s as an example. On the surface, 2022 seems like a replay of 1982. So many happenings from fashion to pharma feel like déjà vu — whether you lived through the ’80s or not. Yet, there are fundamental shifts from 1982 that can only be understood by looking at the years side by side.
In 1994, the Newsweek staff critiqued its earlier decade. They wrote, “The market magic of the triumphant conservatism of the 1980s did help squeeze out fat and make American business more competitive in the brutal global economy. But we have yet to come to terms with the social costs.”
Unfortunately, in 2022, we still have yet to come to terms with the social costs of the ‘80s – but we are finally making headway. The aspirational “trader” archetype spawned in ‘82 by the Baby Boomers and portrayed in movies like Wall Street has given way to a socially aware archetype within Generation Z. A disruptive layer of behavior has pushed in through Gen Z and bolstered by Gen X, the generation once thought of as slacker. Critical policy thinking is coming to the forefront as a layer of fear fades away.
The information presented in this report shows that 2022 is not on the same trend trajectory as 1982. Too many cultural tensions exist for that to happen. However, to have confidence in this cultural evolution, we need to respect even the smallest signals of change.