Technologies that can alter core beliefs could be used to design people’s lifestyles and characteristics to optimise their wellbeing. Wellbeing could be co-opted to suit a corrupt agenda.
How the scenario could unfold
In this scenario, we depict the convergence of two potential themes:
- The first is about the ammassing and abusing of power. If we consider that captological power (persuasive technological power) may begin to be implemented in increasingly advanced ways and more pervasively, we can anticipate an increased capacity for companies to alter your beliefs. At the same time, platform monopolies converge multiple facets of our lives gleaning ever more control over the world and powerful political figures flagrantly lying to their own advantage. These potential trends could raise the level of public distrust in services and leadership.
- The second theme depicts a rise in populism that promotes isolationism, nationalism and frequently scapegoats people perceived as different.. Should this prevail we may see groups such as migrants become ever more marginalised. In this context, disconnection and distrust are rife and people may look for new ways to find trustworthy authentic experiences.
We consider the significance of this context from the perspective of a future character who we created based on our research with real people.
What might that mean for Gabriel?
For someone like Gabriel, whose spirituality is about authentic connection, they may find that social discord and constant manipulation threaten his capacity for happiness. We can explore how services may evolve around these needs to support him or bring even more complications.
Happiness is stillness. It is about quiet, calm, and connection with yourself and the universe.
Distrust in the ability of governments and large organisations to offer genuine solutions to pressing issues may result in the adoption of individual action organised around new models of ethical priorities and infrastructures.
Religious structures could feel unstable in their ethical foundations as they shift in reaction to threats from the World. It may be difficult to find a community to put your faith into because it could become difficult to distinguish between religious practice and an organisational/commercial service.
Born in France but raised in London, Gabriel has always felt slightly out of place. Growing up, he felt more at home exploring Richmond Park and at university he surrounded himself with positive news to avoid stress. It wasn’t until he was introduced to Buddhist practices and learned that his mind and body were connected that he began to feel an inner self-awareness and sense of peace.
For people like Gabriel, happiness is neither positive nor negative: it is a state of balance in between. They aim to be content, wanting neither more nor less than they need. They value living at a slower pace in order to genuinely connect with people and appreciate the moments they live.
Gabriel wants to minimise his desires and wants and avoid overstimulation. Balancing his mental and physical health and removing active worries and suffering by focusing on authentic connection to other people and the world beyond him and his own personal desires.
For people like Gabriel, finding a meaningful and authentic connection to themselves, the planet and the people around them seems increasingly hard as manipulative powers grow around them.
Explorations in ‘Scarce authenticity’
We explore the future in this scenario by looking for potential points of friction between this context of scarce inauthenticity and the needs of someone like Gabriel. These explorations are outlines of services that act as emerging spaces for solutions or as spaces to explore the problems and provocations elicited by the services.
Genuinee is an app that makes the ethics of everything transparent. By Codifying the product you want to buy, Genuinee recognises the level of ethics, authenticity and evil a product conceals. The app also provides data visualisation of your activity and spirituality profile and corrections of bad behaviours and actions that don’t match your ethics.
Team: The Lab
The Butterfly Effect
The Butterfly Effect creates opportunities for strangers to share delightful experiences with people from different cultures, laying the foundation for increased empathy and stronger local support networks.
Wing Yee Chung
In these explorations, we can see how services may emerge to redevelop authentic interactions with the world. This may be about supporting people to put their trust in the right places and subsequently drive organisations to be trustworthy or about forging connections based on mutual desire for social cohesion.
We can see that while services like Genuinee allow people to navigate a plethora of confusing moral choices in commercial environments, it still falls into some of the same issues of trustworthiness. It proposes a centralised and unified perspective on what is right and wrong, seemingly allowing no variation in belief and still ultimately represents a set of value judgements that need to be made by an unknown entity that could easily have its own agenda in such a commercial realm. Significantly, what may emerge in this scenario are new mechanisms that enable people to place trust in other entities’ judgments or alternatively, new opportunities for people to choose from an array of known ethical leaders.
With regard to meeting people’s need to form social connections, we might see an emergence of services that create alternative types of authentic experience between people who may otherwise have been near strangers. In this way, each individual is co-producing an experience for the other by singularly representing ‘society’ and being willing to ‘connect’.
In each angle of this scenario, we see services and people strive for authenticity in the way they connect and the underlying intent with which they make exchanges (be it social or commercial). We may see new mechanisms for creating and enabling these types of ‘genuine’ experiences.
Related to ‘Scarce Authenticity’
Platforms as facilitators and brokers of value judgements. It’s possible that in the future we could foresee an advancement of AI with the ability to codify and model the highly complex ethical parameters of everyday life.
Ethos learns, tracks and guides people’s behaviours to help them live more in line with their values and beliefs.