Musings on designing experiences & (re)engineering complexity

Apr 2022

Artifacts of the Future

Since the late winter of 2020, I have moved from an automobile to a multi-modal-centeric view of transportation. Bolstered primarily by [the addition of an ebike], there’s been a reset and a refreshing of perspectives as it has related to not just getting around, but the purposes, timings, and shape of getting around. In some respects, this retreat to bicycles, walking, and trains points to the time before the nuclear-fueled revolution. And yet, the ebike, ridesharing, and remote work shape is very much what many have called the soon-coming future of living. These connected devices and behaviors are mere artifacts of what future will eventually be. And in it is this pre-future space where many of us might be enjoying the exploration, while others are riding the rails between anxiety and terror.

Some of these artifacts can also be found in the economic-political moments current brokering global affairs. Looking at the levers happening around the Russian-Ukraine conflict one can see how everything from connectivity to money to entertainment is finding itself being reshaped along a different narrative. And this isn’t wrong per say. Change should happen. Our abilities to navigate change is what makes us human, what creates our cultural perspectives, and even what changes our environment (sometimes for the better, often for the worse). We might find an anchor in these times in our faith, our therapies, our histories, and our tools. All of these artifacts are part of who we are now, and who we are becoming.

And yet, it is going to be up to us (individuals and communities) to figure out what we will do with these artifacts as we figure ways forward.

A friend was interested in the rings usually found on-person and wanted to know about getting one for themselves after engaging in a quick demo. The conversation then turned into the Green Lantern and that ring of power, what can be imagined, and what would be great to have. The perspective here is that such a power does exist. The ring is simply an agent to catalyze imagination into actuality. It is up to the ring-bearer to discover the applicable protopian vision, and then execute towards it. Our artifacts can and should empower these. And once they do, we embody the future-present, but do so in ways which can enhance everyone’s abilities to thrive.