XT … IFTF Human and Machine Futures

Extending our sense and ourselves

The human story is one of using technology to extend our senses and our selves. We invented writing to extend our expressions over space and time. We built a global network of digital portals from which to make, share, and compare the varieties of human experience. Emerging technology is enhancing and accelerating this process and we’re now entering a new stage in the ongoing exploration of vast unknown territories of sensory experience—and human-machine symbiosis.

Human+Machine Futures, explores the blurring lines between human and machine, natural and artificial.

Over the next decade, advances in technology will create new forms of human-machine symbiosis, expanding and even redefining what we can do with our five senses. This mapexamines how Humans+Machines are:

  • Discovering how our senses work at high-resolution levels.
  • Amplifying our natural sensory modalities.
  • Borrowing, mimicking, or inventing senses we dont yet have.
  • Mediating our sensory experience through machine interfaces.
  • Remixing our senses for different experiences.
  • Sharing our senses in high fidelity, and in more profound ways.

These technological capacities represent an emerging palette with which to create new products, services, systems, and experiences.

IFTF uses a color mythology system for describing the look and feel of the future, as well as the impulses creating it. This system helps us understand the beliefs, priorities, and values driving innovation and the possible lived experiences of those participating in these futures by giving us new terminology—blue, red, green, and purple—to describe them. The forecasts on this map are arranged by these colors. Each color represents a future possibility, a distinct scenario in our Human+Machine future.

While the future will contain elements of all of these color forecasts, we separated them so you can explore each systematically and identify directions of future change to create the Human+Machine future you want.

In addition to these forecasts, we created four artifacts from the future for this map—each represents one of the four colors in the system. These artifacts are designed to give you a concrete example of how these emerging tech capacities will be used in each color’s future and what the interface for each could look like.

Together, these colors and artifacts are intended to help your organization think through its strategic vision, playing out how certain elements of the human and machine future may impact you over the next ten years and beyond.

Principally, we break each of these elements into four provocations:

  • What will you need to discover?
  • What will you need to engineer?
  • What will you need to grow?
  • What will you need to win?

To thrive in the human and machine world, we’ll have to think through how to best leverage these new tools and capabilities.

Download the file for XT … IFTF Human and Machine Futures