So What Do We Do Now that the Future is Largely Disappointing at Best?

I have to admit, I loved reading this. I relished like a smooth, hard, and cold drag on a cheap lager at the end of a hot July day. I’ve always wondered what happens to forecasters when their future(s) goes all pear-shaped?

Trend forecasters predict a more trendless future

This is an industry, and yes, I hate to tell you if you do this stuff or a living, it is an industry. These people, despite how special they think they are, are not driving ambulances or creating vaccines. The forecasting industry is one that in general has an amazing business proposition: say whatever one thinks is going to happen and when it doesn’t say it’s not their fault because they don’t in fact predict the future.

The thing is, in case you couldn’t tell, I can’t stand the future. I’ve never been more disappointed in anything since Metallica after “…And Justice for All” which was a soul crushing defeat for me aesthetically speaking. Nothing has been a bigger let down than finally seeing Bad Brains play live just to see HR perform sitting on a chair the whole time. It was like watching a turtle on it’s back. It’s the same with all the visions of the future. You see the potential more than anything to just sit there paralysed and not being able to do anything about it.

We don’t need any more critique about the collective mess we’re in these days as designers. We sure as hell don’t need any more galleries. We need to get to thinking about things like adaptation. We need to think a lot about making the future suck less than about trying to create unrealistic dreams.

This leads me to consider the much maligned Design Fiction practice and whichever other related thing that it might get confused with like Speculative Design in that quite possibly they are not as shit as I once might have thought.

However, it is, as a practice though, one that would be great if we didn’t live in the world we live in. We need to ask ourselves as designers, do we have time for more questions? Do we have more time like these trend forecasting soothsayers? Why not ask an oracle in Ancient Greece or play the lottery. In our shortening lives on a dying planet, do we really have time for more questions masked as products? Think of the amount of time and talent thrown at not trying to actually solve another humans problems but instead pointing out new ones.

I truly believe that in this crux of a point we’re at in our collective history as designers who can make a difference. We’re people that can see and make combinations other people can’t. We can see beyond what a thing looks like and how to transform material and action in completely and wholly new things. If there is one thing that is going to be terribly necessary moving forward it’s this.