This weekend saw the third annual FutureFest event at London’s Tobacco dock. The included various high profile speakers – such as commentator Will Self and DeepMind founder Mustafa Suleyman – who discussed every aspect of our future world, while various installations addressed the wider implications on our lives.
There were ‘death yurts’ where you could talk about your digital afterlife with a mocked up advisor in Love After Death, dancing drones which performed a regular synchronised aerial display to thumping music in Be Tomorrow, while you could view the latest disability technology ahead of Cybathlon – the first bionic Paralympics. There was a huge amount to see and hear, so instead of getting bogged down in all the details, I’ve just decided to highlight two specific exhibitions.
Pokémon Go for audio theatre
Interactive tech-enabled theatre has been around for some time. This was pioneered by luminaries Punch Drunk as long ago as a decade but there have been numerous other innovative organisations emerging in their slip stream. Coming Out provided an interesting addition to this because it allowed individuals to taste the future of personalised dating via an audio story, site specific iBeacons and a mobile phone.
In practice this meant players selected a scenario and followed the directions provided by an in-ear personalised ‘date shopper’, who through a combination of actors and code words, provided stories about potential dates based on their social profiles. It was developed through a collaborative workshop with young writers – to gain their views on future dating – and explored what this silently intrusive technology use might mean very soon indeed.
Fertility as a 3D infographic
As financial reasons, lifestyle choices and the challenge of finding the right partner push many people to delay reproduction later and later, many women are now choosing to freeze their eggs in a desperate attempt to thwart biology. Timeless explored this in a bit more detail inviting attendees “to step inside the Timeless shop to sample fictional product ranges that unlock the facts and imagine the future of fertility”. Most stark of all it included a physical graphic which highlighted the rapid decline of fertility with age… and warned people not to leave it too late.
Jon Collins’ in-depth look at tech and society
Kathryn Cave looks at the big trends in tech