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Living backwards: The (artificially) augmented mental image

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The desire to predict the future is central to human evolution and behaviour. From ancient beliefs in prophetic foresight, spirituality and mystical forces to today’s scientific and algorithmic data-driven forecasting, humans have continued to augment their mental ability to predict what the future may bring. Without an imagined picture of the future our civilization would not exist. Predictive human thought and behaviour is increasingly being influenced by the tide of artificial augmentation through a conflux of sophisticated personal, wearable and interconnected technologies, big (and small) data and powerful computational and analytical algorithms. From these hyper-connected environments, new intimate and symbiotic relationships between the ‘dry world of virtuality and the wet world of biology’ are emerging. Here artificially enhanced and data-driven mental constructions of past, present and imagined futures emerge as artificially amplified cognition. Instead of living forwards through imagined futures conjured from existing memories, this article speculates whether one will be living backwards from data-driven and artificially predicted futures.
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Keywords: data; design fiction; memories; mental time travel; predictive algorithms; predictive futures; the artificially augmented mental image

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 01 June 2016

More about this publication?
  • Ubiquity is an international peer reviewed journal for creative and transdisciplinary practitioners interested in technologies, practices and behaviours that have the potential to radically transform human perspectives on the world. "Ubiquity", the ability to be everywhere at the same time, a potential historically attributed to the occult is now a common feature of the average mobile phone. The title refers explicitly to the advent of ubiquitous computing that has been hastened through the consumption of networked digital devices. The journal anticipates the consequences for design and research in a culture where everyone and everything is connected, and will offer a context for visual artists, designers, scientists and writers to consider how Ubiquity is transforming our relationship with the world.
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