Imagining A Brave New World

Imagining A Brave New World

Introducing a recurring feature where UI & UX designers imagine, design and discuss futuristic interfaces

Back in 1998, an eleven year old me had stumbled upon a tattered copy of “Future Shock” by Alvin Toffler in a used bookstore. I didn’t understand large parts of the book but a section titled, “Future of Societies”, that talked about how the science of 2050 would let parents produce bespoke babies fascinated and stuck with me for a long time. It mentioned how physical attributes and the personality of a child could be planned and chosen in advance via an interface.

As I grew older, I devoured “Future Shock” and subsequently read other books by Alvin Toffler. This was a shift in my reading interest from the regular science fiction genre that I was very fond of. My brother had always been a science fiction buff and while I never really enjoyed space operas like the Star Wars or Star Trek, I was more drawn to science fiction that seemed a little more plausible. I thus read a lot of books by Michael Crichton which were sometimes labelled as “hard science fiction.” These revolved around the future possibilities owing to the current science and were more believable.

I had a similar fascination when as a designer I stumbled upon “Speculative Design” not long ago. Coined in the 90s by Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby, professors at London’s Royal College of Art, Speculative Design advocates the use of design as a speculative process which is not aimed at creating things but ideas. Ideas that are not so far fetched and could be a plausibility but are also not currently possible.

Written by
Rajat Agarwal