As part of the IFTF’s Future of Persuasion conference I was asked to introduce my Personal Futures research project that became the foundation to The FATE Institute thesis work I have been developing since the RCA. I was billed under the part of the conference known as ‘Future As Persuasion’ and introduced by Lyn Jeffery, director of Technology Horizons Program and Jason Tester, the IFTF Research and Design Manager who introduced the notion of Future as Persuasion and discussed the human-futures interaction techniques he uses at the IFTF.
I used this opportunity to showcase some of the FATE personal futures services and processes and to discuss the interaction and debate around alternative futures, technology, and personal action in the present. I introduced my personal futures background research and highlighted some of the key drivers that influenced my thesis.
Examples included: My internship on the Tackling Obesities project at the government think tank called Foresight that looked at the causes of obesity and how it will affect society in 40 years time. Here I was introduced to horizon scanning methods and systems modelling.
Another moment of realisation for me was when i stumbled upon the ‘jessica the palm reader’ service and thought to myself I wonder what Jess has to say about my future? So i began to look in to a number of different esoteric and ancient divination services people spend their time on money on.
And finally i was particularly interested in the rise of commercial predictive risk personal genome testing companies that were popping up in the US and the UK and the impacts it would have in how we understand our futureselves.
Why Personal Futures?
To me these drivers indicate how more and more people are looking for systems, frameworks, mapping or beliefs to manage their emotions, ideas and relationships and guide them in the everyday decisions they make and enable them to have a sense of their potential and possible future paths. Each of these drivers affect the way we interpret and understand ourselves and the Personal Futures phenomenon will continue to grow as more people will find more techniques and models to borrow from.
The FATE Institute
This became the segway into introducing some examples that demonstrate my research into personal futures by the services and interactions i created for my design interactions masters thesis whilst i was at the royal college of art in london. Here i introduced The FATE Institute : the futures association for therapy and entertainment and explained how I bought together this research to then generate and develop a range of personal futures service.
I continued to explain the infrastructure of the institute and how it is divided up into 3 research and therapy areas, nurture, nature and neither. Each research & therapy group develops their own range of personal futures services depending on the focus of the research.