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Artifacts from the future

June 28, 2013

Artifacts from the FutureYesterday I attended a workshop on teaching “Foresight” classes, where students learn to think critically about long-term developments and take an active part in shaping the future. One of the suggested strategies was to envision objects or places that might exist in the future. That idea resonated with me. I have always enjoyed the last page of Wired magazine, which is titled “Found: Artifacts from the Future.” The spooky example shown above is from the March 2009 issue. [I better not find one of those on my grandkids!]

While listening to the workshop activities through one ear yesterday, I sketched out some ideas for a “make” based on the concept of artifacts from the future. This morning I fleshed it out and added an original example. Hope you like it!

Instructions for this “make”

Create an image or video that shows how a current (or imaginary) product, activity, place, or person might look in the future. Visualize or role-play what you think we might see in 10, 20 or 100 years. No, the idea is not to show something that looks old. You will be making a statement about where we are headed in terms of a social issue that matters to you. Be ready to explain how your creation is connected to real data or current scholarly thought, but it’s your choice whether to be optimistic, pessimistic, scientific, or some other -ic. Have fun; this is an opportunity to show off your creativity, imagination, and critical thinking!


The video above was one of the winners of a competition which BBC News sponsored this year, asking “What if you had a vision of the future?” The quality of the animation in the example is probably much higher than what you could expect from students, but the concept is very straightforward. It’s certainly something that students could present in other ways.

Report Card

The second example (click the image at left) is something I cooked up this morning. It’s mostly text, but the idea is there. I tried embedding a YouTube video into the PDF, only to discover that Google does not allow such a thing. I imagine that will change in the near future.

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