Our brief writeup on how organisations can start tackling the complex, ethical challenges of slippery technologies like AI.
From projects to workshops, conferences to exhibitions, and design fairs, it’s been a busy (but exciting) 6 months here at Superflux! Here are a few highlights from our Studio’s recent activities.
An speculative design intervention for International Development futures.
We were recently invited by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent to speculate, show evidence, and provoke their conference attendees to anticipate looming challenges and potentialities. We wanted to understand: What challenges might face the humanitarian and development sector in the near future?
Recently we hosted the first event of our new series “Future(s) of Power” at Somerset House in collaboration with Somerset House Studios. We are doing this series because we want to explore the conditions under which various forms of power become defined, and we are specifically interested in exploring how we can move from feeling powerless, both individually and as transient groups, networks and communities, towards feeling like we have some forms of power. We hope to uncover this quite abstract idea of power through new methods of advocacy, but also discreet and alternate sets of tools, tactics, and strategies.
Our Friends Electric is a short film exploring alternate forms and interactions for voice AI. The project was commissioned by Michelle Thorne and Jon Rogers from Mozilla’s Open IoT Studio. The film explores our developing relationship with voice activated AI assistants, and the future potential of these relationships through three fictional devices.
We have made a new version of our Buggy Air air pollution sensing kit, which is a continued collaboration between Hugh Knowles from Friends of the Earth, IoTA Academy, Virtual Technologies, ScienceScope and ourselves. The device will be shown for the first time between 19th – 24th September at the Design Frontiers exhibition as part of the London Design Festival at Somerset House.
We are looking to expand our network of comrades and collaborators who would be interested in working with us on projects from work with external clients to self-initiated adventures. At the moment we’re looking to build relationships with following folks:
We are delighted to be able to share How Will We Work? a new exhibition at the Angewandte Innovation Lab in Vienna. The show has been co-curated by Anab and Gerald Bast, President of the University of Applied Arts Vienna. The exhibition is part of the 2017 Vienna Biennale organised by the MAK which investigates how robots and “work” will shape our futures.
At the end of April, I gave the opening talk at the TED 2017 conference ‘The Future You’ in Vancouver. Today, I am excited to finally be able to share it with you.
Spring has sprung, and here at the studio we’re in full bloom. Check out what we’ve been up to, and find out what we’ve got coming up over the next few months.
The UAE Ministry of Energy and the Prime Minister’s Office invited us to help them develop a mechanism to experience numerous possible futures around energy, and to stress test the opportunities and broader systemic consequences of each future with Cabinet Ministers and key decision makers. The ambition was that such collaborative futuring activity would help inform the country’s energy policy all the way till 2050.
It’s the end of January already and as the year starts to heat up, we’re momentarily looking backwards to review the work and activities of the year gone by. 2016 was an equally challenging and rewarding year for the studio. In the autumn we moved into our new studio space at Somerset House Studios and have been firing on all cylinders ever since.
But before we go into a proper review, the best news: We have just launched our new identity, and website! With huge thanks to Superscript² for visual identity and branding, Sonia Dominguez for web design, toutenpixel for web development, Geetika Alok for colour advise, Tim Maughan for wordsmithing advice, Marianna for the comms, and Vytas for the tremendous project management. We will continue fixing bugs so all feedback welcome.
A talk that outlines the deep connections between outer space programs, cultural imperialism, imagination and democratic futures.
We were invited to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Innovation Summit in Istanbul recently, to present our work and methods around designing futures using the Mūtō Labs Project as a case study.
This talk explores the deep disconnection between the ‘future’ and how it manifests in our everyday lives.
We worked with Informa, FundForum and Group Flow on a project to bring a brand new FinTech startup to market: Mūtō Labs. Mūtō Labs investigates the effect of new technologies on the future of the finance and asset management industries.
BuggyAir is an accurate mobile sensing kit that helps parents understand their children’s exposure to air pollution.
Over ten years ago, I did a project that explored scenarios of a ‘post-apocalyptic civilization’. It was a time when the rumblings of climate change had only just begun to be felt in the public domain. Today things are different. It’s hard to escape the news, certainly impossible to not experience the actual effects of extreme weather conditions, just one of the many signs of climate change.
Thomas, aged 70, lives on his own after his wife died last year. His children send him smart devices to track and monitor his diet, health and sleep from a distance. But Thomas has always been fiercely independent, happy to live in an organised mess. He struggles with the order and rules imposed on him by the objects that are meant to make his life easier. In a world where ’smart objects’ will increasingly be used to provide care at a distance, how will we live with these uninvited guests?