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Helsinki, FI
Immortal since Nov 23, 2009
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Jarno M. Koponen - designer and humanist, more
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    A playground for personal and collective futures?
    Project: Polytopia

    The more we can find out about the future, the more keenly we tend to try to understand its unfolding possibilities. We are continuously inspired and activated by our perception of future. At the same time, the future is something very abstract and vague. So, can the future be made more intelligible and more concrete at the same time?

    I've been always fascinated by the stories and narratives. Our collective and personal stories - now available in the realms of networked environments - provide amazing views to the all imaginable aspects of human life. Through these shared stories we can approach and wonder the rich fabric of human life, the reality which consists of intertwined and intrinsic systems, individuals, networks, societies, ecosystems, universes… We construct and modify ourselves through the fabric of networked, multilinear narratives.

    Future thinking is hardwired in our brains and in our behavior in various ways. We react to our present condition and reality by trying to anticipate the consequences of our actions and their effects on our surrounding systems - and to ourselves. Additionally, in the age of networked culture, the objects and systems around us can be seen to react to our future expectations, hopes, wishes, goals and aims. In digital sphere, through our personal digital trails and networks, it becomes possible to map the connections and activities that are relevant regarding our personal futures.

    Future thinking is not always conscious or driven by rational thought. Quite on the contrary. Possible, probable and desirable futures loom in the proximity of our personal and collective center of the future gravity. We might acknowledge the existence of alternative futures yet they remain unknown since we experience only one future (out of the many) that actualizes and becomes part of our experienced reality. In our everyday lives, the images of these alternative futures remain uncertain and vague, even incomprehensible. Would it be possible to make futures more comprehensible and accessible?

    Today, we have access to an unprecedented amount of versatile personal and social data. By analyzing and processing this rich material, consisting of records about the past and present, we could provide unique insights on the future. By simulating the future, the images of the future could be made more concrete, more accessible, more informative and even entertaining. A new dimension of human experience would be created through such a playground of possible futures.

    I would even say that we might seriously need a "playground" to explore both our personal and collective futures. So many times we constrain our future thinking due to the basic routines, unnecessary prejudices or restrictive assumptions. Exploring futures through an interactive simulation could be the first step to release the hidden potential of our personal and collective futures.

    An interactive playground of futures would provide us a concrete call to action - an invitation to actively think and shape our futures. What do you think?

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