A reflection on Futurology and Design

I found the article “The ideology of the future in design fiction” quite brilliant, especially the inspirational work of Vieira Pinto which is in there referred to. What I especially agree with is the need for visionary people to abandon pure determinism as a way to investigate the future, which many times is led by technology. Vieira Pinto introduces the notion of “futurology” to explain such a time concept in which the present informs both the way we perceive the future and the way we read back on the past. The first feeling I had when reading the piece was that futurology, if combined with fiction design, is doomed to rapid changes, as the world we live in does so. Now I see a concern arising: is it not dangerous the keep on creating new ideas and new visions, inspired by the flow of present, even before people get used to them? Does this “superficiality” and flexibility makes Design Fiction so that it can be used for manipulating the now and the future? The authors continue as follows:

“Design Fictions, thus, are not just an uncommitted exercise of creativity; they come from the interest of someone who acts on the present social order”.

So now my concern gets even bigger: who has the right, from an ethical point of view, to design this future scenarios and give them as a bite to the population? Is that a thing for politicians? Maybe for religious authorities? Big firms? Shall we put a democratic-style blog online asking the world population “please describe the world you want to leave in in 2100”? I am not sure that designers and writers are the only people who should be involved in this process, even though they both possess the necessary creative skills.

And on the other hand, how to we provide the general public with tools to avoid false myths and beliefs? Can we protect ourselves from manipulation on our own way of thinking the future?

Once again, too many questions on my piece of text. Apologies for that.


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