At the conference In The City in St. Petersburg, the British designer Rory Hyde told how the future will be man-made big cities. As Hyde works as a curator in the Department of contemporary architecture and urbanism at the London Victoria and albert Museum, examples he cited from the exhibition “The Future Starts Here”: from Facebook the drone trees and antennas to the new office of Apple and custom starbursts. POLENTA publishes a lecture on “the Future starts here” with the cuts.
A large exhibition about everything
Good afternoon. Today I will talk about the exhibition that we held this year at the Victoria and albert Museum. She was devoted to design, architecture, technology, cities, medicine, space, and climate change is such a big show about everything. The Central question that we asked this exposition was to ensure that we can predict the future through design? Is it possible, looking at what we just developed, to understand where it will lead us? (…)
Let’s start with a quote by French philosopher and urbanist Virilio Field, which, unfortunately, recently passed away. He said that the invention of the ship was also the invention of the shipwreck. Inside every new idea, every new technology, a new product, by definition there is a utopia, and dystopia — positive and negative future. They are inseparably connected with each other. We choose them in a pair, get both. And we somehow find our way to what will become of these technologies. Today, as I understand it, we have a lot of ships. And, in principle, happen from time to time of the shipwreck. We somehow managed to make it so that technology was more positive than negative. But, nevertheless, looking to the future, we must try to understand whether we can estimate the consequences of those technologies are creating today? We really need to understand whether these technologies than intended by the creators, and think about what role we can play independently to set the forms and standards of the future. (…)
The seal robot and a restaurant on one
One of the issues that we focused on was creating an exhibition: we are all connected, but why are we so alone? As one of the examples we have included in the exhibition robot seals for the elderly. This is the robot called Paro, it was invented in Japan. He’s so cute: when you Pat him, he responds, whistling. His fluffy eyelashes. It can hug, squeaking. In General, it helps people to relax — especially for elderly people. On the one hand, a fantastic idea. We have, in principle, this idea is no problem. But on the other hand, if you think more widely about the context of this toy, it is a country that is aging rapidly: in Japan, a very large percentage of the elderly population, and none for the elderly to watch. Also Japan is a country that is very conservative from the point of view of immigration: it does not open its borders to other people, to foreigners. Nurses and nurses from other countries can’t come to coddle the elderly. The Japanese prefer to close their society, but to invent robots to care for elderly people who sit alone. A very interesting solution to the question of where we are going in relation to our connection with technology. We have, of course, there are robots with which we interact in everyday life, especially we are experimenting on the edge sections of the society. Experiments in robotics occur in providing services to people who are lonely with no one to take care of. (…)
Another example from the exhibition illustrates a different approach to the same problem. The project is called EenMaal, which in Dutch means “one dish”. This is a restaurant for one. People go there alone and eat alone there. You can sit only one, alone. Only one of your knees under the table there is a place. Table specially designed for people who live alone. A third of households in the Netherlands include only one person. I was shocked by this statistic: I didn’t know that so many people in the Netherlands live alone. But somehow socially unacceptable to walk into a restaurant alone, you know? “Someone will join you, maybe?” — ask you waiter. Or other people on other tables would look at you, “What? Your girlfriend didn’t come?” or “your boyfriend didn’t come.” Will look sympathetic eyes in your direction. That is, you see, it’s a flip side that we saw the sample of the robot-seal. At home you can be one. But instead of eating a microwave dinner, you can go to a restaurant. Can you at least somehow pulseinterval — at least with the waiter or someone sitting at another table. I have to say, it is assumed that in isolation they are often elderly. But in fact it is, in principle, two solutions of the same problem. On the one hand technological solution, on the other hand social innovation — at least, so to speak.
Short note on the structure of the exhibition. It is divided into five sections, depending on the scale: the scale body, the scale of the building — to the scale of the planet. Now we looked at the level of the individual, now look at the scale of the public realm. We asked the question: does still a democracy? We have here two examples. Left work Antanas Mockus — incidentally, former mayor of bogotá in Colombia. Rather, it is Antanas Mockus. He was elected on the platform of the establishment of supergradient. During the election campaign, he collected garbage and cleaned the walls from graffiti and the example showed that “that I am an upstanding, model citizen”. And he said, “I’m just a mayor, I will not solve all problems. Colombia in a bad position, and Bogota is the best city in the world: we have many problems, corruption, problems with the traffic. I the city will not fix for you. Do it yourself”. And he did completely different things: for example, he gave drivers red cards, which they can then show each other, if each other are cut. That is, the police are so corrupt that, in General, it’s the only thing he is. He fired all the police and literally replaced them with mimes. These memes help people to cross the road, point at your car with a rod. The crosswalk was literally turned into a place for the performance. He is actually the funniest this. I believe that one can talk about him all the time. For Christmas he exchanges weapons, guns, Christmas gifts. So he tries to clear the streets from firearms. Nice because less people will get shot this way, and the children will receive gifts. In principle, it is the policy with the lower classes — a situation where power is distributed among the citizens. And particular person sets a good example, not imposing it from the top. This kind of politics from below. Now bogotá, by the way, is such a story of urban success, it is often written. There is a new line of buses. It’s just one of the cities that is now a household word, but twenty years ago it was generally at the bottom of all lists of capitals. Another object of this policy is the so — called pink cap, object of protest, created in an open format. The designer came up with the idea of these caps and has published online instructions for knitting. The cap is called Pussy Power. Thousands of girls and women knitted these hats and, once you have selected Donald trump, marched through the streets of new York. That is, it is a society of losers, losers. Unbeatable, people wanted to show Donald Trump his opposition, wanted to demonstrate that how Donald trump led the campaign, is unacceptable. And somehow this object led a series of protests of individual women to the level of a political movement. Turned into something more was impossible to ignore, something that had a mass force. This is an example of how design can be used to inform policy.
The design of cities
Let’s go out to a new level. Now look at the design of cities, different strategies are used to create new public spaces. Talk about a bridge in Rotterdam is in the Netherlands. Yellow, the pedestrian bridge is 400 meters in length was created by the townspeople, is a crowdfunding project. That is, instead of it was built by the government, the state, the government, the people went and gathered in the project own money.
It crosses three locations: one, a separated highway, the second — on the town side and the third on the other side of the international railroad line. These three areas were in the jurisdiction of various councils, on the border of different cards. And as the administration of this district was not particularly interested in doing something good to another district, residents had data gaps to fill in themselves. What I like about this project is that he appeared as a consequence of this whole situation. It’s not just a bridge, but rather, urban urbanistskaya platform, a way to encourage new initiatives to create relationships. In addition, there are plenty of examples of redevelopment: the building, left abandoned for decades, into the hotel. The coolest night club in Rotterdam has now grown to the Parking spot. New ideas, initiatives lead to the emergence of new businesses.
The headquarters of Apple
If we consider the work of Foster + Partners — the headquarters of Apple, we see the elaborate architecture. That is, a giant iPhone. I was in construction, they have absolutely incredible glass length of 14 meters. Also special equipment, which is a glass puts. A beautiful radius, cool creature, no framework. People in offices will be able to look at the trees and they will be nothing to disturb, no seams. But they won’t even let the journalists inside. They work there for a year, and we are about this building I haven’t seen not one review, not a single article in any journal. It’s kind of a castle — which I think is the opposite of a bridge constructed according to the crowdfunding approach.
Unmanned vehicles I like to call the object of philosophy, because they still don’t really exist, but we are talking about them. “You see him?” “No.” — “He is”. That is accepted theory, developed the theory, did not understand, this thing is real or not. The exhibition at the Victoria and albert Museum we are exhibited the conceptual model of unmanned vehicle Volkswagen, called Sedric. Wanted to talk about two quite different conceptual models that have now appeared. Do you know about the unmanned vehicle. One of the related concepts is quite popular is the MIT project, called “Moral machine”. He would like to reshape “the trolley problem” — remember ethical incident? Imagine that there is some kind of failure in the car. What decision she should take: to deviate from the set path and kill the three passengers, but to save the lives of three pedestrians, or go right, kill three pedestrians and thus to save the lives of three passengers? Question is impossible, ask him hard. It is an ethical incident. But if we allow machines to make decisions on their own, so they must have some ethics, decision form, which is collectively acceptable. And now the work on this issue, on this program, open to all comers. Personally, I think that we are building this case on too many assumptions. It’s not very fair to the technology. On the one hand, we now have a real use of unmanned vehicles in Detroit. They are used, they are very slow. Again, designed for older people to pick them up from home, to carry in shop and to take back, and they rode on to friends. But since these machines are very slow, they are still no one moved. So the existing machine to solve ethical case is not necessary. The use of unmanned vehicles will be simple, if we remove the speed. You do not have to hold the steering wheel, and absolutely still: a little more you spent time, a little less. Then will form another ethics.
The Aquila drone and aerial tree
I am very proud that we were able to put the Facebook drone called Aquila. Wingspan the size of this room, as in the 47th Boeing, but three people can safely these wings to raise. Can fly a huge amount of time in the upper layers of the atmosphere. Of course, powered by solar energy. Transmit Internet to the Ground. Mark Zuckerberg describes this as a new form of infrastructure as a way to communicate with the Internet remaining billion. To the whole of India, all of Africa, thanks to these aircraft, drones, could access the Internet. Imagine hundreds, thousands of such Aquila fly through the sky and talking to people online. This is not science fiction. Facebook spent on it five years. A working prototype we demonstrate in your Museum.
I think that is a great ship and a shipwreck at the same time. One of those objects that can go in one direction and the other. Let’s look at the positives, let’s start with them. Internet for everyone — benefit: the educational benefits, and business, and access to health care, and communications. That’s a plus. And the cons — you have to be signed into Facebook to use this all the ugliness. With Facebook comes all that we’ve learned about him over the last twelve months, namely, a toxic effect on democracy. A toxic influence on your own personal feelings. Would you like to dictate terms to the entire continent? I don’t know the answer, but I think the exchange is honest. And maybe be able to regulate Facebook as something better, so the pros were more than the minuses. But if it just get rid of it, technology is cool. The object that we put next to the drone, is a much smaller company — Jalila Essaïdi. The Contamination three of the assistants, it is located in Eindhoven in the Netherlands. The project is called “Antenna tree”. Around the tree turns into a coil, and through it you can refer the Internet. She was able to transmit a signal from Russia to Holland. Her dream is that these trees were hundreds or thousands throughout the world. To have a parallel Internet, to which everyone can connect, and which would be absolutely open and not be controlled by any corporations. Yes, we understand that the project is marginal. Large companies of this world do not. It’s not so exciting as flying the drone carrying the Internet to those who want and do not want. But this approach is very simple and very beautiful. I think it reminds us that there are other alternatives, other scenarios and the future.
Repository Onkalo and the passenger pigeon
Preparing part of the exhibition on the planet, we decided to explore the issues of climate change, questions of space. We asked the question: should the planet become a design project? And in any sense of the word — from the unconscious of the design, such as pollution and other problems to the conscious. Should we somehow try to move the situation forward? We considered two possible projects. One is currently under way in Finland, it’s a repository for spent nuclear elements called Onkalo. The spent fuel assemblies and nuclear items will be placed there safely, as stated, hundreds of thousands of years. When you look into the future, have to look to the past. Ten thousand years ago we invented cities and agriculture. Where will we be in a hundred thousand years? It will either be very well designed, stable project, or complete chaos. And then it’s scary. This project requires a certain leap of faith if you want. This project requires very strong hands on the steering wheel of our relationship with the planet. We wonder if we are brave enough to return some certain types of animals after their disappearance? Do we have the strength to bury the huge number of nuclear components to many hundreds of thousands of years? There are within us these powers, the power to do that to a planet?
On the other hand, there is a project to revive the passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius). Which, by the way, disappeared as a species a hundred years ago. Now a huge amount of effort is applied to it to recreate, so he returned to his habitat in North America. Imagine “Jurassic Park”, the same thing. The fact that these pigeons play in the ecosystem a special role. They did with the trees, something that allowed insects to better develop. And now, if we get these pigeons, the ecosystems will recover pushed out bees — such a relationship.
Starfall on request
If we talk about cosmic scale, we presented two projects. One of them is a Cubesat, a microsatellite with a volume of 10 cubic centimeters, they are cheap to run. Their design, programming and launch kids 10-11 years in elementary school in America. And then use them for their studies in school. On the other hand there is an incredible Japanese company called ALE. The product that they offer, Starfall on request. You have a satellite that goes into space, filled with balls. These balls it spits out into space, and then falling to Earth, burning up in the atmosphere, and the result is an effect of falling stars. For the opening of the Olympic games if you want. Or the birthday of a friend, especially if you are rich, you can at midnight to order a shooting star, she landed right above your party. This is not science fiction but a real company that you believe is very difficult. I always thought that a shooting star is something that is not controlled by us, something that makes God, God. And now you can take and run yourself a shooting star right from your phone. Amazing and terrifying.
Cryonics and the “Manual for civilization”
The last section of the exhibition was devoted to the afterlife — this afterlife. There we gathered all the strange projects that were created by rich people who wanted to live forever. “Who wants to live forever?” — we ask this question. We have two versions of such a life. On the one hand cryonic set. Cryonics, if you don’t know, is built around a very simple idea. According to her, when you die, your body, and maybe only one head, you can freeze (depending on what direction you believe cryonics), and thaw in the future when will be solved the problem of death. Such is the hacking. Of course, if you get closer to reality, everything becomes much more difficult. If you subscribe to this project of cryonics, your home will take a special set, plus you will need to appoint someone who will produce on your body immediately after your death, all the necessary procedures. This mission can be entrusted with children or other relatives, best friend or eventually a neighbor. Time to think will not wait will not work. Crying too is not the time, and the last word also you will not tell. People died — put on blue gloves, are injected straight into the dead cold body of a friend or relative. And then two hours you cool it slowly, holding directly the activation of the lungs. In General, we much time it took to understand how the process works. We worked with Alcor. It is the leading company in the field of cryonics in America. They sent us a kit, explained how the process and told about the procedure. After the procedure is completed, you put your favorite relative or friend in an iron coffin, and he freezes. Representatives of the company come take away this coffin, and put him in dry ice. It’s estimated that about two hundred years separate us from that future immortal. This is a real service that is now offered to anyone. About 2 thousand people in the world have already signed up for this program. It is believed that this is one way to live forever. But on the other hand we introduced a more generous way to obtain eternal life. This is the opposite of preservation of the body. Maybe there is no better way to live forever than to write a book and pass it on to future generations? To transfer part of your brain your ideas further?
The Long Now Foundation — Stewart Brand and the other guys — created a project Manual for Civilization, “Manual for civilization”. A thousand books that will be passed to the next generation. They preserve, digitize and share. They show that what the books can survive any kind of Apocalypse. And if we succeed to recover after the Apocalypse, these books we will need. This encyclopedia, where it says how to light a fire, build a tent, and popular science fiction, and Mendeleev’s periodic table. It’s all there. Finish on a small exercise. One of the things that lie at the heart of everything we do is the relationship of man to technology. What is the total impact of all these technologies on how we live, how we communicate, love each other, how we build your dream?
The future is it
I understand that it sounds like something out of new age, but all of these technologies contain some veiled philosophy. The fact that they change our brain, our way of life. Let us then approach explicitly. Let us try to understand the motives of the designer. Let’s try to understand what influenced these designers and designers want to have in our lives? To this end, we conducted a little experiment: I asked a company that conducts opinion polls, ask 100 thousand people in the UK question: “To whom would you go? We have a empty supermarket, no queues. You have the choice: either you get your cart to the machine or to the cashier-man.” 70 percent of people go to the car, the remaining 30 to the cashier. It’s okay, I’m no one to judge I will not. But it’s very interesting, isn’t it? This returns me to the previous comment. It scares me the most, honestly. It scares me even more than the Dron Facebook, PU seal and cryonics. In these small interactions, when you have someone say, “hi”, give money, take change, you are faced with someone else who may not love, may be another race, another color, another level of education, and you do not want to communicate with him. But if we automate all of these transactions are small exchanges that seem meaningless, insignificant, — we break the fabric of society. We are destroying the ability to communicate, to make transactions with someone who is different from us. It seems to me that in the future technology scares you the most, and this is a common occurrence. But I don’t want to end on a sad note. At the end of our exhibition, we asked visitors to complete the sentence: “the Future is…” And people wrote: “the Future is female”, “cool Future”, “Future is us”, the “Future — people”, “Future is sunshine”, “the Future is art”, “the Future is something pink”, “the Future will close” etc. I liked: “the Future is she.” The woman took the picture, putting it in the frame of the child, a girl, next to the words “for her Future”, “the Future is she.”
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