We have always desired to know what the future holds for us and, for some reason, this thought has been surrounded by a certain mysticism, as if there were a cosmic destiny waiting for us. But no, don’t fool yourself. There is no future if you are not the one who projects it.
One of the most powerful tools of ideation is the technique What if / What would happen if, which allows us to open new scenarios and realities based on a simple question. We can project to the limit historical facts or scientific advances to propose parallel futures that occur as a consequence of a variable.
As we said, broadly speaking, we have two typologies: the historical fact and the scientific advance.
1. Historical fact
What would have happened if Hitler had not lost the war? What if John Lennon had come forward and proclaimed himself president of the United States? An historical act can disrupt reality as we know it, but … what would happen if we invented a historical variable of a past action that never happened? What consequences would it have in our present? In this case, we speak of an imaginary past that has consequences in our present, creating a parallel reality.
2. Scientific advance
What will happen when biotechnology makes us immortal? What if, thanks to that, the human being was self-sufficient? Here we take technology to the extreme to force an element or sector to evolve to forced marches. Another example, if I say that in the future we will not need to feed ourselves, what does gastronomy become? In this case, we go from the present to a distant future to see what a sector would have as it is today.
Both approaches are only the starting point when projecting parallel worlds. However, the ideas we generate will also depend on the status of the creator and his attitude to the questions of the type ‘Historical fact – scientific advance’, which will result in projections of different types:
- Conventional: the future is glimpsed as the present, it’s the same thing. They are called everyday futures, where things may have changed, but not too much. Example: “Return to the future”.
- Pessimistic: the individual feels nostalgia for better past tense. Example: “News from nowhere”, within the Romantic Utopia of the designer William Morris that before the barbarism of industrialization raised a return to the system of guilds.
- Providential Fatalist: the future is not linked to any control, but is a negative variable increasingly pessimistic. They are called dystopias or utopias out of control. Example: “Black Mirror”.
- Discontinuous: there is no continuity between the past and the future, one thing has nothing to do with the other and a break between them takes place. Example: Movies about alien invasions.
- Optimist: there are total faith, optimism, and confidence in progress and technology. They are the so-called techno-pop. Example: “Concept E.O.N., the human body as an interface“.
When it is the time of projecting, in Thinkers Co. we always remember that…