We will be here – Map of the future

What challenges are we going to face in the next 10 years? And what kind of ideas are going to help us in overcoming them?
Even though predicting the future is not a game, a game is exactly what the Institute for the Future used to answer these dilemmas: 8 October 2008, Jane McGonigal, reasearcher at IFTFlaunched Superstruct (Su` per`struct ‘vt 1.To build over or upon another structure; to erect upon a foundation) , a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) that outlined the world of the future, thanks to the ideas and the collaboration of hundreds of users.
After six weeks the game came to its conclusion: Hundreds of ideas, superstructures for our future, guidelines to redefine the world of today and to improve and prepare it for the challenges of the next decade: From big new infrastructure projects to nanotechnology, from overcoming economies of scale to projects of “vertical farming”.
The final report of this first stage of the game was used for the design of our map: The editor in chief of Wired Italia, Riccardo Luna, asked us to visualize the complex net of ideas and assumptions that game’s users produced.
The goal of the project is to engage a broad public in considering the dilemmas we face in our current, everyday lives and think together about resolutions that go beyond the familiar ways of dealing with problems”
Jane Mc Gonigal, Superstruct game designer
The research for alternative solutions – hence going beyond the more familiar approaches – also requires an alternative visualization.
A map for the future
We began analyzing the keywords provided by IFTF, at the base of which there are 7 key ideas: they are the guiding strategies for the creation of each new “superstructure”, and like satellites they revolve around our future world. They are:
Amplified optimism
Scale extreme
Adaptive emotion
Simulation as game
Collaboration environment
Reverse shortage
Under these, the verbal level, connecting words and concepts that make up the network of superstructures, divided into 5 macrocategories – policy, infrastructure, environment, economy and society- which in turn can operate in three areas:
Networks and individuals
Tools and knowledge
Practices and projects
The map is designed to overlap a semantic level (the network of keywords and groups of ideas) to the allegorical plan of the illustration. Each concept presented in the first level has been reconstructed through an illustration in the second one: the result is a collage drawing influences from the imaginary of the fifties. In this way mapping the future becomes an illustrated game where retro-futuristic imagery references are linked with words and concepts that foresee our future.
From left to right are presented the macro-categories formed by the supersturctures, from the most abstract, like policy and infrastructure, to those which concern more closely in the everyday lives, like economy and society. Amid the environment as a meeting point between abstract and current, with new ideas about global geoengineering and translocalism.
Even for the composition of the collage we want to keep the same sense of reading to level the narration of the world to come: indeed on the left the illustration starts with the abstraction of the map, then move gradually through info-graphics and illustration until reaching collage and photo on the right.
The map, thanks to the layer of allegorical illustrations, not only wants to disseminate the ideas generated during the project ‘Superstruct’ but also provide a starting point, a common imaginary, to start discussion and analysis on the world to come.
In this spirit, the meeting in Rome “A map for the next ten years,” within the cycle of meetingsCapitaleDigitale organized by Wired, founding Rome Europe and Telecom Italy, has fully exploited the possibilities of this tool engaging in an interesting discussion on future developments of technology.
Involved in this project:
Creative Direction, Donato Ricci; Concept development, Gaia Scagnetti; Visualizer, Mario Porpora; Artist, Michele Graffieti; Designer, Luca Masud.

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