Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 45

FUT URENOW

TECHNOLOGY HORIZONS 2015

the new
body
language

NEW B ODY LA NGUAGE 2015


How wearables, implantables,
and wireless networks will
connect our communities
and alter our anatomies

SCENARIOS OF
A GENERATIONAL SHIFT

TECHNOLOGY
ENABLERS OF
BODY AREA NETWORKS

PLUS:
FASHION + SPORTS WEARABLES,
NANOSCALE COMMUNICATION,
MIND MELDS, AND MORE!
IFTF.ORG

Artifact from the Future, not a real product. First appeared in Food Futures 2013.
FUT URENOW
C ON N E CT WIT H U S

facebook.com/iftf
FUTURE NOW is a production of the
@iftf
Institute for the Future, an independent,
info@iftf.org
nonprofit strategic research group.
IFTFs Technology Horizons Program G E T N E WS
FR OM T HE FU T U R E
combines a deep understanding of quarterly newsletter

technology and societal forces in the iftf.org/iftf-you/subscribe/

coming decade. Look out for our VISIT OU R GALLE R Y


201 Hamilton Avenue
next issue in 2016! Palo Alto, CA 94301

iftf.org

PREPARE FOR THE FUTURE TODAY!

Whether you want to talk to us about a customized research project,


are interested in sponsoring one of our futures programs, or you are
looking for a research-based futures perspectivecontact us!
Artifact from the Future, not a real product. First appeared in Health Horizons 2013.
2015

WELCOME
A few months ago we were running a foresight workshop semi-permeable skinunited by ubiquitous wireless signals.
CONTENTS
in a quirky Midwestern office, surrounded by executives, These technologies are altering our anatomy, but theyre IN THIS ISSUE THE NEW BODY LANGUAGE
marketers, and bench scientists of a large food doing more than that. Theyre expanding what our bodies
manufacturer. When we asked for signals of things to are able to communicatebuilding on the many existing
come, wearable fitness trackers came up immediately. I gestures our various cultures have already evolved. You 6
have one. You have one. Thats not that surprising. But now could call it a New Body Language. And this new language
my great aunt has one! Shes competing with me on FitBit! is giving us new ways to relate to ourselves, to one another, 6 A GUIDE to the New Body Language
We stopped and did a quick temperature check of adoption and to the increasingly Automated World around us. How our intentions shape the future of wearable and implantable technologies
in the wider social circles of this group. My daughter.
My mother. My neighbor. All my kids friendsuntil Most pieces in this issue focus on the human side of
they take them off at school. Every one of the two-dozen the Human+Machine Symbiosis that IFTFs Technology 25 SCENARIOS of a Generational Shift
people in the room had recently encountered wrist- Horizons team has been tracking this yearhow body area in the New Body Language
wrapping wearables in the wild. networks will augment the intentions and expressions
What body area networks could do to our communities and anatomies
that play out in our everyday lives. Some pieces illuminate
in a few short decades
This is not a unique report. Wearables have reached the the subtle, even invisible technologies that broker our
point of ubiquity in at least some circles. Those circles are outrageous level of connectionthe machines that feed off
extending beyond the Silicon Valley techies, and at least our passively generated data and varying motivations. In 32 EXPRESSIONS of the New Body Language
some of those wearables are evolving beyond the buzzing, fashion and fandom, striking a pose or igniting struggle,
Meet six archetypes putting their intentions for body area networks
vibrating wrist adornments that can now be had for $30 a we express the new body language.
into action in 2025
piece, in a 3-pack, at Costco.

In this inaugural issue of Future Now, were going beyond


Welcome to 2025.
this present moment, pulsing on our wrists, to look at whole
bodies: social bodies, bodies already adept at communi- 25
Technology Horizons
cating, automating, and connecting in various ways. Were Program Director
discovering how technologies are knitting together in a Rod Falcon
new kind of connective tissueinside and outside our Miriam Lueck Avery Rod Falcon
Future Now Editors
Miriam Lueck Avery, Ben Hamamoto

Technology Horizons Team


and Contributing Writers
Jan English-Lueck, Devin Fidler,
Alex Goldman, Eri Gentry, Lyn Jeffery,
Jeremy Kirchbaum, Bradley Kreit,
Mike Liebhold, David Pescovitz,
Sarah Smith, Andrew Trabulsi,
Alessandro Voto
Contributing Editors
Alec Yoshio MacDonald,
David Thigpen, Kathi Vian,
Carol Westberg

Program Manager 32
Meagan Jensen

Design
Robin Bogott, Helen Bruno,
Dylan Hendricks, Karin Lubeck,
Robin Weiss

Illustration
Mohammed Abdulraman,
Trent Kuhn, Keiichi Matsuda,
Owen Partridge

Executive Producer
Jean Hagan
Business Development
Dawn Alva, Neela Lazkani, FUTURE NOW 2015 3
Sean Ness
CONTENTS
10 Devices Disappear
A Vision for Tomorrows User Interfaces

18 Feeling the Rush


The Amplified Fan
8 Mind Meld
36 High Fashion Meets Maker Toward Brain-to-Brain Networking

Manufacturing 14 Before Body Area Networks INSTITUTE FOR THE FUTURE INVITES YOU TO
Personal Tech Becomes Fashion
Thomas Zimmermans Vision of the

40 Bodies that Buy


Connected Self
BECOME A FORESIGHT PRACTITIONER
Could Bio-based Purchasing Bring Us Closer 16 The Electrospit
to Our Better Selves? Wearables for Digital Music-makers

48 Bodies of Data 22 At the Nexus of Science Fiction


Who Are We Through the Eyes of Algorithms? and Future Fact In a world of rapid and constant change, foresight is a core
With Ramez Naam
competency that turns managers into leaders and creates
54 Easy as 00101010
Creating Policy for the Next Frontier of Tech Adoption 34 Designing Technologies for Our organizations that are more resilient, more nimble, and
Radical, Adaptive Human Bodies more vibrant.
With Sara Hendren
18 Now the Institute for the Futures foresight trainings can help
46 Altered Anatomies
you build this core competency and bring it into your own
Voices from the Vanguard of Implantable Tech
organizationor the organizations you work with.
52 West and East Africa REGISTER TODAY
10 Where Social Innovation Leads the Future Neela Lazkani
nlazkani@iftf.org | 650-233-9562
58 Looking Backwards
Sean Ness
from 2025
sness@iftf.org | 650-233-9517
An Anthropologist Explores
How Body Area Networks
Upcoming sessions:
Became Family Area Networks
December 911
H T
G
SI
60 Animism, Identity, April 57
48 and Austerity June 2023
O
DI
Japans Human+Machine

E
Past and Future Space is limited;

FO R
early booking recommended.

U
ST
61 Crashing My Hotel Room Ask us about sessions
A Cautionary Tale targeted to Philanthropy,
Health, or your team!
62 Evolving Nano-Scale
Communication
Biology, Engineering, and Robotics
Converge with Dr. Ian F. Akyildiz
A GUIDE TO

the New Body Language


How wearables, wireless
and implants will connect our communities
and alter our anatomy

In the next decade, as computational power and BALANCING OUR INTENTIONS IGNORING/ENGAGING | Whether we ignore it entirely
connectivity are built into virtually everything, recon- or allow it to engage our attention with fantastical
The intentions that will form the New Body Language interfaces, the New Body Language creates new ways to
figuring our personal technologies will be as simple come in polar pairs that we will balance in different ways
 IDING/CONNECTING via technologies will build
H manage our attention. In Altered Anatomies, body hacker
as putting on a jacket or removing a pair of shoes. our social identities and self-awareness to create a wide variety expressionspersonal and Amal Graafstra posits that a good implant becomes so
cultural, consistent and contradictory. To understand the fully integrated into daily life that it disappears. Indeed,
At a technical level, this is the story of an emerging world of expressions that will emerge, we must first understand the the end state of much of the New Body Language is to
body area networks, where devices in, on and around the tensions across these polar pairs. become as invisible and subconscious as our postures and
body can be reconfigured throughout the day to enhance
micro-expressions. David Pescovitz gives us a glimpse
our experience of any situation. I SOLATING/INTEGRATING our devices, data, and HIDING/CONNECTING | By revealing intimate details of the rapidly approaching ability to Mind Meldwhere
identities will shape the ways we relate to larger systems about our own bodies and selves and connecting us networks of human brains will allow humanity to engage
At the personal level, the transformation brought on by with others in new ways, the New Body Language will with our problems on a whole new level.
these technologies will be more intimate and profound. We permeate our social and personal lives. We will use body
will see the rise of an entirely new kind of body language, area network technologies to connect with our heroes DISPOSING/INVESTING | We wont adopt all
mediated by a constantly evolving suite of personal flying through the air, as Bradley Kreit explores in his article
I GNORING/ENGAGING new flows of sensation technologies in our body area networks in 18- to 24-month
technologies. Ranging from passive and secretive to wildly The Amplified Fan, and with our most intimate partners,
and information will help us manage our attention upgrade cycles. The permanence of body area networks
aggressive, this new body language will shape how we as Jamais Cascio reveals in the generational scenario
and awareness and their configurations will vary widely. In High Fashion
use wearable and implantable technologies to express our Memory. Sometimes, however, our bodies are a feedback Meets Maker Manufacturing, Lyn Jeffery argues that the
deepest social, cultural, and individual aspirations. device for us alone, as Keiichi Matsuda reflects in his fast-paced worlds of fashion and technology will look more
interview with Mike Leibhold. alike than different. But as we invest in prostheses in our
And like our existing body language, the expressions of our
brains, our sense of durability may shift radically.
technology-infused bodies will shift constantly and vary  ISPOSING/INVESTING in pieces of our body
D ISOLATING/INTEGRATING | By buying into branded
for different people and contexts. Body area networks will area networks will allow us to change the expressions ecosystems or keeping body area networks fragmented, REINFORCING/TRANSFORMING | Each choice we
amplify both our natural commonalities and create count- of our tech-infused bodies minute-to-minute we can control privacy and adopt varying levels of inte- make, however insignificant it seems, holds the power
less variations of Human+Machine Symbiosis. As the New gration into diverse systems. In the short term, science to reinforce our existing society or change it. Body area
Body Language emerges, it will require new frameworks to fiction author Ramez Naam anticipates more narrow networks will help us choose what a good life means.
define technologies and strategies that empower people. and task-specific uses of body area network technology, Improvement is not always about radical change, however.
isolated from day-to-day life and the perils of hackable net- An interview from the future with Jan English-Lueck reflects
One such framework begins with intentions and  EINFORCING/TRANSFORMING society and
R works. Further out, he sees these technologies intuitively, on how technologies can reinforce cultural structures
expressions. In the emerging landscape, five critical pairs ourselves through everyday actions seamlessly, effortlessly integrate external sources of infor- of obligation. But the New Body Language can also be
of intentions will generate a world of expressions as we mation into human cognition, bringing people around the profoundly transformative. Jamais Cascios generational
make choices about how to configure and reconfigure Each time we express ourselves with technology, we will world closer together. In the generational scenario Papers, scenario X-Ray vividly depicts how a moment of radical
our body area networks. strike a particular balance in each pair of intentions. Over Please, the New Body Language becomes an asset for empathy can transform the course of history.
time, these expressions, in turn, will create archetypes that governments around the world.
help us make sense of the diverse ways we will relate to
Right: Courtesy of Amal Graafstra

technologiesand the opportunities for innovation. The story


Left: Artwork by Keichi Matsuda

of the New Body Language, then, is the story of the myriad


ways people, companies, governments, and humanity will
MIRIAM LUECK AVERY strike these balances as they express their intentions.
has led research on well-being, food
futures, and cultural agility, and
teaches in IFTFs Foresight Studio.
FUTURE NOW 2015 7
Mind Meld
Towards Brain-To-Brain Networking
2013 Interspecies ESP
In a pioneering demonstration of an
interspecies brain-to-brain interface,
Harvard radiology professor Seung-
2013 Head Games
In 2013, University of Washington
researchers demonstrated the first
noninvasive human-to-human brain
helmet, imagined moving his hands
or feet, a visualization translated into
a zero or one. The series of zeros
and ones was transmitted to the
remote locations where the recipients
Schik Yoo and his colleagues enabled interface and also the likely future of were positioned under TMS coils,
a human to transmit a mental signal videogaming. Computational neuro- which delivered pulses to specific
directly to a sleeping rats motor scientist Rajesh Rao wore an EEG cap
Telepathy. ESP. Mentalism. Whatever you call 2012 Hearing the Voices regions of the brain. In this case,
cortex, triggering the rodent to move while watching a Space Invaders game the pulses from the TMS devices
it, the ability to communicate thoughts, feelings, or in Someone Elses Head
its tail. Their major breakthrough play out on a computer screen. Across triggered the receiver to see flashes
experiences without using our known sensory channels UC Berkeley researchers were able was devising an interface that was campus, Raos colleague Andrea of lights, representing the signals sent
is a timeless superpower thats served to identify the words that volunteers entirely noninvasiveno holes in Stocco had his finger near a button from India. In Starlab Barcelonas
countless science fiction tales, sparked heard just by monitoring and decod- the human or rats head necessary. that would fire the laser cannon in the scientific paper the researchers
endless debates between paranormal ing the activity in the volunteers The person wore a hat outfitted with game, although he couldnt actually see described this kind of computer-
researchers and skeptics, and injected temporal lobe, the region of the EEG electrodes that detect neural the game itself. Stocco was under a mediated brain-to-brain communi-
brain that processes auditory infor- activity through the scalp, while the transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)
wonder into centuries of magic. But as cation as hyperinteraction. We
mation. (The individuals had been rat was positioned under a focused coil, a machine that delivers pulses to
Arthur C. Clarke famously said, Any envision that hyperinteraction
implanted with electrodes as part of ultrasound machine that delivers a stimulate specific regions of the brain.
sufficiently advanced technology is technologies will eventually have
a multi-step surgical procedure to beam of acoustic energy to a specific When the moment came for Rao to
indistinguishable from magic. In the a profound impact on the social
treat epilepsy and had volunteered region of the brain. Whenever the fire his laser cannon, he imagined the structure of our civilization and raise
not-so-distant future, advances in to be part of this unrelated study.) human looked at a flickering light act but didnt actually move a muscle. important ethical issues, they wrote.
neuroscience, molecular biology, According to neuroscientist Brian N. on a computer display, it generated That brain activity stimulated the TMS
and computer science will make Pasley, when people imagine that a specific brainwave pattern that coil near Stoccos head, triggering him
it possible to link our brains they are speaking a word, the same triggered the ultrasound beam, to involuntarily click the button to fire 2015 A Computer of
parts of the brain are activated as spurring the rodent to unconsciously the cannon. We plugged a brain into
together in synthetic telepathy. Interconnected Brains
when they actually say the word out move its tail. Someday, the the most complex computer anyone
Along the way, well be faced After decades of pioneering work
loud. If you can understand the researchers wrote in their scientific has ever studied, and that is another
with profoundly difficult relationship well enough between on mind-controlled prosthetic limbs,
paper, a bidirectional system based brain, said Chantel Prat, a psychology
ethical questions and the brain recordings and sound, you on their technique could make professor on the research team.
Duke University neuroengineer
hopefully develop new could either synthesize the actual Miguel Nicolelis and his team are
it possible for neural
empathic tendencies. sound a person is thinking, or just now developing networks formed by
information [to] be
write out the words with a type of multiple animal brains, cooperating
And ultimately, well transmitted between 2014 Mental
interface device, he says. and exchanging information in real
learn through experience individuals Morse Code time through direct brain-to-brain
that the most powerful separated
Hola. Ciao. interfaces. They call them brainets.
by a great
computers on the network Those were the In one experiment, Nicoleliss lab
distance using
are the ones inside our heads. two words sent implanted electrodes in multiple rats
the Internet
The following are some of protocol. directly from and wired them together. The rats
the most mind-blowing recent a persons learned to coordinate their brains and
breakthroughs in the realm of brain in India share simple information between
to three peo- them. Next, the researchers moved
brain-to-brain interfaces.
ples minds on to monkeys, again linking pairs
in France and even trios of the animals brains
via a system together via computer. The monkeys
devised by learned to collaboratively control
Starlab Barcelona. a computer representation
The sender of of a robot arm with only their
DAVID PESCOVITZ
is co-editor at Boing Boing, the message, thoughts. Essentially, we created
a Research Director at IFTF, wearing an EEG a super-brain, Nicolelis said.
and has written for Wired,
Scientific American, and
the New York Times.

FUTURE NOW 2015 9


Devices Disappear
A Vision For Tomorrows User Interfaces

Advances in
computing power
are largely the work of
scientists and engineers,
whose ingenuity pushes our
devices to do more, faster,
and with fewer constraints.
But its often artists that
provide us visions of how we
might use these new capa-
bilities, what the interfaces of
the future will be, and what
people will and wont want
from advanced technology.
In his works, London-based
designer and filmmaker
Keiichi Matsuda has put forth
one of the most influential
visions of how body area
network technology might
be used to create a world
of augmented reality (AR),
in which the world we move
through is overlaid with digi-
tal information of all kinds.

IFTF asked Keiichi to share


his visions of the future,
walking us through the
evolution, body area networks
from his perspective in words
and images. The human
experience of this future
may be, he suggests,
radically transformative.
MIKE LIEBHOLD
KEIICHI MATSUDA
is a tech futurist,
is a London-based designer
ranch hacker, and IFTF
and filmmaker.
Distinguished Fellow.
FUTURE NOW 2015 11
Body area networks are part of a group of technologies that are leading to a future where
computers, systems, and devices disappear. They will no longer be things we look at, but
things we experience the world through. Your body becomes a feedback device, allowing
wearable devices to feed you information through your senses. It can be simple: personal
headphones, or a vibration when a new message appears. The display technology in some AR
devices follow this same logic, scanning images directly to your retina. Youre no longer looking
at a screen, your retinas themselves are the screen. ... Systems will cease to be tools employed
consciously, and start to become fluid, invisible. Technology will change, from a series of smart
objects, to something more like a filter through which we understand reality. This could be a
utopian dream: transcendence. But while our data is controlled by governments and private
corporations, you cant help but fear for how vulnerable this shift is making us.

Everybody will see the world in a different


way ... In this world, your experiences will
be intensely personal. You will be able
to shape some of your own experiences
based on your tastes and interests, and
will have others shaped for you. You
will live in a subjective space, where
everything is tuned for your identity, and
the line between virtual and physical has
long been forgotten. You might look
All artwork in this feature by Keiichi Matsuda
back and laugh about the very concept
of objectivity.

Maybe at some point there is a service that allows you to


swap and share world-views with friends. Then the reality
tourism industry takes off, offering a chance to take a
break from yourself. First, you are offered celebrity curators.
Eventually, purpose-built identities emerge, made with
a particular outlook on life that is fun, challenging, sexy,
or relaxing to inhabit. With all that on offer, you might be
tempted to become a perpetual tourist, role-playing life as
a character, or as many characters. People may no longer
see the point in the individual sense of identity, and prefer to
move between roles and realities. What started as a heavily
individualistic movement may, ironically, culminate in the
destruction of the ego.

FUTURE NOW 2015 13


B E FO R E

Body Area Networks


Thomas Zimmermans Vision of the Connected Self

Twenty years ago in a lab at MIT, an engineer strumming an air guitar. The invention of the DataGlove
and inventor with an interest in rock guitar was exploring defined the direction of his later researchfinding practical
ways to bring computers, people, and musical instruments ways to make communications between people easier by
closer together. Joining a research team that had devel- simplifying how we interact with computers.
oped a way for computers to map the movements of a
musicians hands across an instrument, he came up with a The Personal Area Network opened up the potential for
new breakthrough: he created the foundation for what we what Zimmerman calls a world of contagious informa-
now call body area networks. tion that effortlessly travels in an electric cloud and no
longer needs to be manually tapped out on screens and
Thomas Zimmermans 1995 work with his MIT Media Labs keyboards. The data in that cloud could be read by nearby
colleagues Neil Gershenfeld and Joe Paradiso (also with devices to automatically unlock doors, swap personal or
the cooperation of cellist Yo Yo Ma, who allowed his bow to business information, turn on lights, even provide health
be fitted with a sensor) led them to see how the human status updates. Zimmerman imagined computers that
body itself could be used like an antenna to wire- log you on as soon as you come within a meter of
lessly send and receive data. Although the them, log themselves off when you walk away,
initial inspiration was musical, they realized and cars that start when they recognize
that this had implications for all sorts of your electronic field. A key to the PAN is
non-musical things. In a demonstration, that it requires only minimal hardware and
Zimmerman built a system that could generates a low energy electronic field,
send a digital business card between making it inexpensive and lightweight.
two people with just a handshake. Zimmerman foresees a day when every-
Naming this invention the Personal Area one will have a Personal Area Network
Pho

Network (PAN), Zimmerman imagined a embedded in their smartphones.


to

cloud of data around each person carrying


co
ur

sy
te

a PAN device in their pocket. If body area of


Th
Its not difficult to imagine how contagious
om
networks can be said to have a founding father, as Z
i m m er m a n
information generated by body area networks
Zimmerman is it. could change not just our relationship with machines,
but our view of our bodies themselves. Well view our
When he invented the first PAN in the mid 1990s bodies as as parts of computer networks, altering the way
Zimmerman was already a veteran of Atari and a found- we interact in social environments such as dating, play,
ing member with computer scientist Jaron Lanier of one business, and school.
of the first virtual reality product makersVPL Research.
Zimmerman was probably best known, however, as Now a research staff member at IBM Research-Almaden in
inventor of the DataGlove, a real glove fitted with elec- Silicon Valley, Zimmerman continues his research on body
tronic sensors that made its movements recognizable area networks. And he says hes still fascinated by the
by a computer. The DataGlove was the first device that musical side of his work. Hes currently working on
enabled the human hand to move around in cyberspace. improving a set of electronic drums that can be played
For Zimmerman, the coolest application was its utility in without touching them.

DAVID THIGPEN
is a Research Affiliate at IFTF,
teaches journalism at UC Berkeley,
and was a music reporter for
Time Magazine.
SAMPLE HEAD SECTION

INSTITUTE FOR THE FUTURE FALL 2015 15


Artifact from the Future, not a real product. First appeared in Technology Horizons 2015.
Photo courtesy of Bosco Kante
The Electrospit
Wearables for Digital Music-Makers

Music has always been a huge part of wearable technologybut most of the innovation has Electrospit(From left
been devices for listening, not creating. Musician Bosco Kante, brand manager Maya Kante, music to right) Pete Ho, Maya
Kante, Bosco Kante, and
producer Pete Ho, and rapper/digital strategist Lance Coleman want to change that. Theyve created a Lance Coleman created
smartphone-connected wearable instrument, the Electrospit, that functions like a portable talkboxa a wearable instrument,
called the Electrospit. They
device that lets you vocalize an instrument by changing its sound with your mouth. And they might perform and record as
be the ideal people to introduce such a device to the world. a group under the name
Electrospit, as well.

Bosco Kante composed the theme completely new shells for gaming Theres been a number of times


song to In Living Color while in devices. He modified early cell where I didnt perform because the
college. He has produced hits for Bay phones, disassembling them and stage layout couldnt accommodate
Area mainstays such as E-40, and spray-painting the cases for friends my equipment, the talkbox Part of the motivation is The group aims to bring music back to the bodyand
won a Grammy for a collaboration and he created his own custom king recalled. wanting to be an exam-
with Kanye West. But while Kante is turntables and mixers with affordable ple of, and put a spotlight
give digital musicians the freedom to perform live.
best know for his music, he is also components. It was innovation For instance, when he performed on, people of color who
an inventor and technologist. Known based on necessity, not leisure time. with Kanye West for the American are innovators who are
to many as the talkbox king, the He hacked his first talkbox together Music Awards, he wasnt able to play creating and making make components airtight, so technology any time soon. They have
devices he uses to make music have with a digital keyboard, an ASR-10 live and instead had to lip-sync, a technology, Maya Kante explains. he turned to 3D printing for more an abundance of ideas for how their
largely been his own creations. sampler, and a home stereo amp. He totally different kind of performance. Because its been happening for a recent prototypes. tech might develop in the coming years.
learned the technique to use it from long time.
Making talkboxes was an oral renowned G-funk producer Battlecat. I wanted to make it convenient to They created a solid Electrospit The technology could advance to
tradition at the time, Maya Kante And Kante has never stopped have it in a backpack where I can just They decided a way to make the prototype as part of their residency allow you to sound like a specific
explained to Future Now. You iterating since. pull it out and jump on stage and do device more light-weight and acces- at Zoo Labs, a West Oakland- charactor or icon, say Beyonce,
couldnt go to Guitar Center and pick my thing, Bosco Kante said. sible was to leverage a device most based music accelerator founded Maya Kante speculates. Another
one up or go on the Internet to find Im always taking technology that people already have: a mobile phone. by Vinitha Watson. It took a lot of one of our founders explained it
instructions. Someone had to teach was designed for something and But their vision for the device evolved, experimentation (at one point he could be used as a controller for
you, and then youd pass that knowl- adapting it, Bosco Kante said. from an instrument for Kantes per- You can take advantage of the syn- tried putting the speaker in his mouth, other devices in the house, so it
edge down to someone else. sonal use to a consumer device. thesizer thats already in the phone. which actually worked fairly well) could bring singing and music back
But the inspiration to make a Instead of an external keyboard, you but now the prototype of the device into peoples daily lives. There are a
Bosco Kante was part of a maker earable talkbox came from the
w The group aims to bring music back can use a different sound generation has already been used in recordings lot of possibilities to think through
culture that existed long before frequent problems he had with his to the bodydigital music creation is technology, Bosco Kante asserts. with artists like Big Boi of Outkast, were just getting started.
there was a capital M maker instruments size. now the norm, but it mostly happens Phantogram, and Skrillex.
movement. All over the U.S., at a desktopand give digital musi- He started off creating prototypes
BEN HAMAMOTO
particularly in communities of color, Travelling was always a difficultly; cians the freedom to perform live. But by hand. With PVC pipes, it was a But as you might expect, the Kantes
brings his background in
innovators have been pioneering getting through security at airports they also wanted to bring attention to little bit too crude because it gets and their team dont have any plans community journalism to IFTF,
DIY projects from modifying bicycles often proved troublesome. And it also under-recognized innovators. hard to get good tolerances and to stop experimenting with this where he researches and writes
about identity, art, health, food,
with sound systems to creating affected his ability to perform live. technology, and culture.

FUTURE NOW 2015 17


Feeling
the rush THE AMPLIFIED FAN

In 2012, extreme athlete Felix Baumgartner


made history in two ways: he broke the world
record for the highest skydive and set the world
record for the largest number of video streams,
with 8 million live viewers.
To get Baumgartner up and down safely, a team of scientists
measured the full body intensity of the experience. His stress levels,
breathing and heart rate, and numerous other details were captured
and shared with his scientific team. Viewers saw nothing more than
the visuals. Watching him jump, they could only imagine the knot in
his stomach, the force of the wind on his body. But thats about to

Photo courtesy of Billie Whitehouse/Wearable Experiments


Wearable Experiments created this change. In a few short years, viewers will be able to feel it.
jersey that links fans with the Dutch
Ladies 7s Rugby team.
BRADLEY KREIT
has led research on the future of
automation, health information, and
consumer engagement and teaches
in IFTFs Foresight Studio.

FUTURE NOW 2015 19


FEELING THE RUSH

sports: You probably wont be they bring community to the once sol-

Kirby Lee/ USA Today Sports


able to attend the Super Bowl itary activity of playing video games.
in person in 2025, but youll feel Adding technologies like the Alert
the excitement and send your Shirt to enhance the experience is an
applause just like you were there. intuitive next step.

It makes perfect sense that sports


FROM TV TO STREAMING:
are driving these changes. The last
fandom in the age of peer-to-
decade was marked by a shift away
peer media
from shared media and experiences.
As major sports leagues have Newspapers gave way to blogs;
flourished, weve also witnessed the blockbuster movies gave way to
sudden rise in recent years of entirely YouTube; television gets consumed
new kinds of athletes. Perhaps none on-demand. But even as this shift has
more startling than the rise of video taken place and the value of shared,
games as a spectator competition, static reality has declined, the value
as witnessed through companies of one type of live programmingof THE NEUROSCIENCE
GPS Catapult monitors like Twitch. Twitch, which didnt exist shared realityhas skyrocketed. OF FANDOM
soccer players movements until 2011, is home to more than 1.5 Sports, the ability to share the highs,
in practices to prevent injuries million live videogame streamers, lows, and emotions of watching a While spectator sports stretch back
who are watched by more than 100 game with others, is worth more than centuriesand can be found in virtu-
million fans every month. The aver- ever. Indeed, ESPNs subscription ally every human culturewe are just
age viewer spends 90 minutes on fees are more than four times the beginning to understand the science
Twitchevery single day. cost of the second most valuable behind why fandom can spark such
cable channel. fanaticism. Although the research is
Phrases like streams and viewer still in early stages, researchers are
Photo courtesy of Catapult Sports
dont quite capture the experience of In the next decade, entertainment finding that spectators empathize
fandom. Twitch streams are interac- and fandom will move beyond physiologically with athletes. Studies
As we rapidly adopt body area Experimentsand early products to precisely track each individual have shown that players and fans
tive; fans chat with each other over the constraints of the screen and
networks, entertaining and engag- like their Alert Shirt. Designed to players speed, acceleration, and feel similar hormonal spikes and
text while gamers wear headsets and become an embodied, multisensory
ing viewers will move from the enhance the experiences of rugby mobility for each individual play. drops based on the outcomes of
talk as they play. Twitch, and services experience that we share in real-time
two-dimensional images we see fans, and working with a compan- games. Neuroscientists have begun
like it, have taken off in part because with fans all over the world.
on screens to become immersive, ion app called FoxTel that collects The major difference between athletic demonstrating that mirror neurons,
social, full-body experiences that and transmits data feeds, the shirt programming and other entertain- which enable us to simulate the
better connect fans to their favorite transforms that data into physical ment is simple: sports is an event. A experiences of those were watching,
atheletesand to one another. sensations that flow through hap- shared experience. And were about activate when watching sports and
tic feedback motors. An anxious to get a lot better at sharing experi- are now beginning to identify how
The tools to create these kinds of moment produces a tightening ences. Fanmode is looking to reinvent different variables affect engage-
experiences are being built from sensation; a tackle creates a physi- the fan experience by giving distant ment. For instance, announcers may
biosensing devices that capture the cal rumble in the chest. Adrenaline, viewers the ability to cheer their inform fans but appear to reduce
physical and emotional intensity of exhaustion, and excitement all get teams as if they were there. A simple how much we empathize with the
games and athletic experiences communicated. As Billie Whitehouse, app with swipe controls to cheer and athletes we watch. As our under-
and actuators to communicate them. Wearable Experiments founder and boo, Fanmode aims to turn isolated standing improves over the next
chief designer, describes the shirt, fans into a co-present community. decade, these insights will be built
The emotions [of a game] played Their goal is to take the sentiment into the shirts, headsets, and apps
BEYOND THE SCREEN: out in the chest of a fans jersey. data of the fans using their appthe we use to supercharge the experi-
wearing the game on your sleeves excitement, the angerand display it ences of fandom.
When it comes to developing sports Companies like SportRadar are in signs in stadiums to let a lone fan
wearables, the goal is largely better at the vanguard of the perpetual cheering at a television from home
data and statistical measures for effort to better measure athletic send applause into the stadium.
sports teams and fans alikebut performance. In 2015 they signed a
the result will be better spectator four-year partnership with the NFL to Taken together, Fanmode and Wearable Experiments
outfit players with accelerometers, Wearable Experiments suggest Alert Shirt communicates
experiences. At least thats the
RFID chips, and other sensors an intriguing future for spectator impact, heart beat,
vision of companies like Wearable
exhaustion and excitement FUTURE NOW 2015 21
Photo courtesy of Billie Whitehouse/Wearable Experiments
Photo courtesy of Ramez Naam
To me that speaks of the incredible talking about the rest of the Internet nology. Im excited by things like
power of feedback on our behavior. of Thingswhen cars, homes, ther- the Daqri Smart Helmet, which is an
Even a limited, very indirect variable mostats, appliances, power outlets, augmented reality helmet for indus-
like how many steps youre taking light bulbs, and everything else are trial uses. Youd never wear this
is enough to motivate people to do onlinethat attack surface just keeps thing in your day-to-day life (unless,
more. So why wouldnt people adopt growing. Will all of those vendors do maybe, youre Daft Punk), but for
something simple that gives them this rigorous security testing? Will they some jobs, you can see that theres
one piece of data? all update their software frequently a lot of value. And similar things may
enough when bugs are found? happen for motorcycle ridersthere
Because there are always security are at least half a dozen smart motor-
What scares you the most about
bugs found. cycle helmets in development that
wearables?
can add things like mapping or prox-
The scariest thing in wearables is Does that mean we should give up imity sensors and collision avoidance
security. Everything on the planet can on wearables or connected devices? to the riding experience. Basically, its
be hacked. We have to accept that No. They still offer huge value. But I still incredibly early days. Were at the
in this day and age. Humans have think we need to find ways to push Apple II level of wearables now.
yet to build a truly secure system. for higher levels of security, higher
We can make things more secure, levels of ongoing vigilance, and better
in the sense that it takes more effort Ten years ago, you wrote More
defense and policing against crimes.
or time or money to attack them, or Than Human, about the future of
that theres less valuable data for technologies to enhance the body
AT THE NEXUS OF them to give up. But well never hit What is the technologys potential and mind. Has research in this

Science Fiction and


100% security on anything. So now that makes these risks worthwhile? space moved faster or slower than
we have this explosion of devices Im excited by the prospect of more you expected?
between the Internet of Things and intimate data input and output for Mostly research on human enhance-
the explosion of wearables (which we these devices. Looking down at a ment has moved more slowly than I

Future Fact
might think of as part of the IoT). And smart watch is a little more conve- expected. There are two reasons for
that means that were increasing the nient than looking at a phone. But that. First, while biology really is code,
attack surface, increasing the number the user interface is limited on such its spaghetti code. The genome is a
with Ramez Naam of potential ways to hack into some- a tiny screen. Im looking forward to lot like software. But its crazily messy,
ones data. devices that can display informa- interwoven software, where you cant
tion right into my


change one variable without affecting
visual field, and to a dozen others. So there are fairly few
devices that can things we can tweak inside the human
The single most important law of futures studies is that there are no facts about the future. Only In tech, particularly software, accept gestures body or brain without risk of substan-
fictions. Ramez Naam lives by that law, having written the award-winning Nexus series of science
one motto is move fast and and glances as tial side effects elsewhere.
fiction novels that provoke readers with thrilling tales of digital telepathy, brain-hacking, biotechnology, input. Google
and civil liberties in the networked age. Ramezs visionary fiction is rooted in science fact. For 13 years,
break things. But when it comes to a Glass was a flop Second, were incredibly risk-averse
of a product. It just in medicine or any intervention with
he was a computer scientist and technologist at Microsoft, where he helped lead the development of human being, you cant do that. wasnt there yet in a persons life or wellbeing. In tech,
tools like Outlook, Internet Explorer, and Bing. Ramez is also the author of two future-focused works terms of utility or particularly software, one motto is
convenience. But move fast and break things. Speed
of non-fiction, More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement and The Infinite
When wearables were only Fitbits I think well see more happening in of innovation is key. If you deploy bad
Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet. We spoke with Ramez about the promise and peril of and fairly limited in their functionality, this direction each year. HoloLens code to your servers and introduce
wearable computing. that might have not been such a big looks truly impressive. Its still too big continues p. 24
deal. But now, with the Apple Watch and bulky. But Moores Law being
and that class of devices, you have what it is, well see the electronics
In the last few years, the first wearables have become Im surprised how much value people are getting out of a
another device on your person that get smaller and cheaper, the power
mainstream in forms like the Fitbit and Apple Watch. very limited amount of data. In science fiction, wearables
has access to your email, your texts, requirements drop, and the devices
As someone who has been involved in building digital or implants tend towards the more sophisticatedtracking
possibly your files, a GPS that tracks get more sophisticated. DAVID PESCOVITZ
technology for decades, and also imagining its future your metabolism, your levels of nutrients, your blood Research Director
your location, and so on. Thats one
as a science fiction writer, what is surprising you most chemistry, etc or are able to manipulate those. But were
more way to potentially get that I also think well see more narrow
about the way this is playing out? seeing millions of people wearing devices that measure
information of yours. And as we start and task-specific use of this tech-
little more than their number of steps taken.
FUTURE NOW 2015 23
AT THE NEXUS OF SCIENCE FICTION AND FUTURE FACT WITH RAMEZ NAAM

a bug, you can always fix it and deploy into our lives the smarter we all get. Its But really, even today, without any
the new version, often within hours. But a boost to our cognitive abilitiesand of that technology being widely
when it comes to a human beingyou that pays off in richer lives, in better deployed, we have something much
cant do that. If you break something, decisions, and in an increase to the more like telepathy than ever before.
someone possibly dies. There are pace at which we can innovate and When people are texting each other
liability issues. And theres our ethical invent new ways to improve our lives. from around the globe, or tweeting
framework for medicine: do no harm. about a protest that theyre in, or
taking video with their phone

and posting it online, or sharing


it realtime with things like
The reality is that when you put technology
Periscope, were transcending
in someones hands, mostly they want to use it to distance. Distance is still real
for the physical. But for the
make a better life for themselves and their family. spread of ideas and emotions,
its dying, rapidly.

I didnt appreciate a decade ago just Two, closing the gap between
Your fiction presents technology
how much that slows down research humans and machines helps us bring
as a double-edged sword. Are you
in medicine and related fields. other humans closer. Theres this
personally optimistic or pessimistic
meme out there that were all anti-
about the future?
That said, there is very real progress social now, staring into our screens.
happening. In genetics, with CRISPR But the reality is that were becoming Im an optimist. Look around the
(a system for gene editing), we have hyper-social. We can connect with world. Poverty is down, crime is
better and cheaper genetic tools family, friends, and loved ones more down, disease is down, hunger
than ever before. And itll get better easily and more immediately than is down. Literacy and education
yet. We had the first approval of a ever before. I know whats going on are up. A lot of that has to do with
gene therapy techniquewhere we with my friends kids better than ever technology. The reality is that when
tweak the genes in living humans before. I know whats going on with you put technology in someones
in Europe recently, and the first my extended family on the other side hands, mostly they want to use it
in the US may be quite soon. And of the planet better than ever before. to make a better life for themselves
in brain-computer interfaces and When something like the Iran nuclear and their family. So thats what
implants, the field is going gang- deal is happening, I can see what sells. Thats as true in Nairobi as it
busters lately, with both NIH and, people actually in Iran think. Thats is in Nebraska. Over the next few
increasingly, DARPA helping to push increased human connection, medi- decades I think well see all of those
things along. ated by technology. And technology trends continuemore freedom,
can take that even further. I see more people able to live lives that
So were getting there. progress in real-time speech transla- fulfill their potential, and less of the
tion, for instance, as an amazing step poverty thats been the default state
towards connecting the globe, and of humanity for millennia.
What do you see as the biggest
boosting empathy between people of
possible benefits to closing the gap Does that mean everything will be
different cultures. I think the possi-
between humans and machines? absolutely rosy? No, definitely not.
bilities hereand their impact on the
One, our machines are already worldare enormous. The world isnt perfect. There are still
cognitive prosthesis. Your cell phone tragedies and atrocities. There are
stores the phone numbers of your still huge, looming problems we have
friends and family. Youve probably In your science fiction novels, to deal with. And every technology
forgotten most of them, but it has technological telepathy is real. ever invented can be and will be used
them. Its a machine extension of your Are we headed in that direction? to harm others, or will have some
memory. Wikipedia has vast troves of We are. The science of brain-com- unexpected negative side effect.
knowledgeits an extension of your puter interfaces is progressing. Weve
knowledge base. But theyre still out sent video and audio and touch into But in the long term, its clear. The
there. The more intuitively, seam- peoples brains. We can use neuro- trajectory of the world is upwards.
lessly, and effortlessly we integrate technology to see what youre looking
those external sources of information at or to read your intentions.
THE NEW BODY LANGUAGE
Scenarios of a
generational shift
The future appears as a strange,
distant vision but meets us as a
familiar, comfortable present,
each step along the way offering us fluency in
the new languages our technologies enable.
Three scenarios take us into futures where
body area networks teeter on the brink of
familiarity, a generation from now. Heads of
state and protesters on the street alike adopt
this new technology. Its there for the most
intimate moments of our lives and the most
shocking turning points in history. The scenarios
depict strikingly different uses of this new
body languagedrawing our attention to how
intentions may be highly individual, but interact
in dizzingly complex ways.

JAMAIS CASCIO
is an IFTF Distinguished Fellow,
writer, speaker, futurist, and
investigator of the plausibly surreal.

FUTURE NOW 2015 25


SCENARIOS

PAPERS, PLEASE
In this scenario, body area network technologies are commonplace and diverse,
but with different rules and affordances in different parts of the world. As they
start to encompass a role combining personal information system and personal
identification system, some nations may begin to require their use by all
citizens and even all visitors.

When I finally got a chance to visit Scotland, summers, and the lack of aircon (and my own
everyone joked about the weather and the food. failure to drink enough water) left me on the verge
Nobody mentioned the passports. of passing out. Because I hadnt recognized that
the passport had been buzzing warnings at me,
Thats not what the newly independent Republic it took action on my behalf. By the time I real-
of Scotland government calls them for citizens, ized that I was feeling dizzy, medical responders
of coursethats a bit too reminiscent of a 20th had found me, my doctor back home had been
century dictatorships internal passports. But updated, and my emergency contacts had been
everyone in the RS, citizen or visitor, needs to messaged, twice. I knew that the wristband
carry one of these little widgets on their person. included some basic biomonitor functions, but
Im told that locals prefer an earpiece or ring, but I was a bit startled to find that the RS tourist
a tourist like me gets a simple wristband. passport did that forced-connection thing to my
healthware implants, too.
Like lots of things these days, it immediately
wanted to partner with my mobile, only there was Ive never really liked the all in one body network
no would you like to involvedit just did it. systems that assume you want everything to talk
I guess it used some kind of government-only to everything else. I like being able to mix up the
backdoor. My malware monitor app immediately kinds of technology I have on me (and in me), and
traced where it connected, but it appeared only to more importantly to be able to decide on my own
be piggybacking on the GPS and crypto-identity what can connect to what. I intentionally keep my
functions, at least at first. healthware isolated from my mobile, my clothing,
and my homewarethere have been too many
I will say that the passport made it much sim- cases of hackers and viruses attacking implanted
pler to be a tourist in Scotland than Ive ever systems. I may be paranoid, but I grew up in the
experienced anywhere else. Doors opened Age of AnonymousI know that everything can
automatically for me, both literally and figura- be hacked.
tively. The passport pulsed on my wrist to give
me directions, so I never got lost, and I could pay After I got home, I checked the malware monitors
for things just by waving or nodding my acknowl- forensic records. Apparently, the passport only
edgement of the purchase, so currency exchange began to search for standard healthware devices
wasnt a problem. It also gave me a haptic signal when my body temperature and heart rate started
when I was putting myself at risk, and while that to increase. I suppose I should be glad that it
took me awhile to get used to, I did manage to waited until there was some sort of need for that
avoid one of the anti-war marches that way. information before taking it without asking. But
it does make me wonder what else the system
Far and away the most usefuland worrisome might have decided on its own that it needed, and
bit was when I was overcome by heatstroke. whether Id ever be allowed to say no.
Illustration by Trent Kuhn

Edinburgh is still not fully adapted to regular 35C

FUTURE NOW 2015 27


SCENARIOS

MEMORY
In this scenario, personal area network devices and accessories
PANDAsare most widely used as health and biology monitors,
My doctor wants me to get rid of it. My
keeping close watch over numerous physiological functions. Now, meditation group wants me to release it into
a new generation of device has made it possible to write as well the wild. And I swear to God that Ive been
repeatedly asked to sell it. But its the last I
as read biological responses. have of her, and Im going to keep it for as
long as I can.

IsabellaIzzyloved toys, romantic


gestures, and travel. I suppose thats not
altogether unusual, but it did mean that she
was a very early adopter of the Heartwave
mod for our PANDAs. She said it was so that
she could feel my love for her when she was Ive read that the number one reason people
out of the country, but at the time I sus- get rid of a Heartwave setup is that they
pected it was also (more?) because it was a cant stand feeling someone elses anxiety
piece of tech that nobody else around here or passing moments of anger. With me and
had. No matter now, but after the first time Izzy, it was different; rather her feeling my
we tried it when she took a trip we knew anxiety, sending anxiety in response, and
wed never want to get rid of it. each of us making the other feel worse, we
seemed to read each others complemen-
Im still not even entirely sure how it works. tary disquiet as a reminder that well always
It ties into the bioreaders everybody wears, be here for each other. Wed calm each
and tracks the various body signals of other down. Its not an unusual response
emotion (heart rate, adrenalin, dopamine, with a Heartwave, but unfortunately its
and the like). It also can induce those same not universal.
signals, at least in a limited way (using some
kind of direct neuromagnetic stimulation, I When the thing happened, Izzy was
think). Its kind of an odd sensation at first, halfway around the world, riding back to
familiar yet foreign, deeply intimate but her hotel, and I had just gotten up for the
clearly externally-generated. But the instant day. We could feel each other, that gentle
when you know with certainty that this sud- contact, rewarding and calming. I could tell
den emotional wave youre feeling is coming she was tired, somehow, and just beginning
from someone you love is mind-blowing. to doze off in her seat.

Izzy described it as half-waking up in the The fear spike was so strong it knocked
middle of the night and feeling your partners me down. My own anxiety shot up both
toes touching yours in bed. Gentle contact, in response to and in alignment with hers.
but unmistakable and present. We even Then, just as fast as it rose, it came down,
played with the recording function, layering leaving us feeling a dizzying warmth and
playback over the real-time emotions. love. For five long minutes I could feel that
love, holding on as tightly as she could, then
If youve ever tried a Heartwave, you know finally fading. Well before the authorities
that it doesnt just send warm fuzzy feelings. contacted me, I knew what had happened.

I replay those last five minutes every morn-


ing, always starting with the fear spike. Its
as much hers as the love. Its not because I
Illustration by Trent Kuhn

cant let go. Its because I dont want to.

FUTURE NOW 2015 29


SCENARIOS

X-RAY VISION Hayward 26 wasnt the first time health monitor data could
be used to analyze a big event, but it was the one that
everyone noticed. Hayward Alpha hit at 4:40 in the after-
Selfies were fairly primitive in the 2020s (I think they were
still called wearables back then), but while todays richer
sensors and stronger analytic systems offer us much more
tattoos. Although the video recordings from multiple
perspectives seemed complete, victim health data captured
and stored by the sensors told a very different story.
noon, when most people were heading home from work or information, we still (fortunately) havent duplicated the vis-
In this scenario, body area networks chores. Heart rates jumped when the 6.3 quake hit, staying ceral shock of watching the heart rates after Hayward 26. Within three weeks, the Sao Paolo Police claims had com-
high throughout the 90 seconds of shaking. Unsurprisingly, pletely fallen apart, as every impact, every electric shock,
(here known as selfies) are universally The crackdown on the Climate Marches in Sao Paolo comes every choke-hold had been meticulously documented by the
the pattern of racing hearts matched the propagation of
Internet-connected, uploading realtime seismic waves from the quakes center, racing north up the close, however. Although most of the post-industrial world victims bodies themselves. Some of the victims had newer
fault line, moving more slowly through the Oakland hills. has moved to new models of civic authority, Brazil is one systems, able to track body posture, limb position, and motion,
information (health, location, environmental of the countries that still holds onto its police-based law allowing investigators to construct painfully life-like simulations
data) to the cloud. Although the information Interesting enough on its own, but it was the readings enforcement system, with all of its faults and legacies. The of the events of the night of April 13, 2038. Evidence of the
from Hayward Omega an hour later that really got peoples demonstrations in April of 2038 brought out the worst in deliberate alteration of the video material soon followed.
is private, it may still be accessible to attention. The 7.8 was terrifying in and of itself, but coming people, both civilian and police. Nearly three dozen citizens
governments or to the device manufacturers. just as the initial panic from Alpha was settling down died in custody, but (as intended) flying eye microdrones While the Sao Paolo violence didnt approach the sheer
pushed residents to new levels of panic, triggering hun- documented everything. Video archives of the events of that scale of Hayward 26, the complexity, the completeness,
dreds, possibly thousands, of fatal heart attacks. Omega evening matched the police reports exactly (in retrospect, and ultimately the intimacy of the selfie data gave it nearly
knocked down pretty much every sizable building in the that alone should have raised suspicion). Family members equivalent emotional weight. By the end of 2038, people
region that hadnt been brought up to the latest earthquake claimed that the arrestees had been killed by the police, but around the world knew what had been done, the names of
codes, trapping over forty-two thousand people when they there was literally no evidence to support those assertions. the accused, and the faces of the victims. Because their
collapsed. Looking at the heart rate data from immediately bodies could remember what happened, the world could
afterwards is gut-wrenching: spikes of panic, followed by Until somebody started looking at the selfie biodata, that is. remember, too.
ongoing waves of heartbeats dropping to zero. While the Sao Paolo police hackers had done an outstand-
ing job of altering the video, they couldnt (or didnt think to)
alter the data collected by the selfie implants and digital ink
Illustration by Trent Kuhn

FUTURE NOW 2015 31


EXPRESSIONS OF
the New Body Language
The intentions that will drive the New Body Language come in polar pairs that we will balance in different ways
to create a wide variety of expressionspersonal and cultural, consistent and contradictory. To understand
the expressions that will emerge, we must first understand the tensions across these polar pairs. Together they
provide a tool for making sense of the diverse ways well relate to personal technologiesand a framework for
identifying innovation opportunities that meet users in relevant, personal, and contextually appropriate ways.

BALANCING OUR INTENTIONS

By hiding intimate details about our own bodies


and selves or connecting with others in new
HIDE CONNECT
ways, we will build our social identities while insights about our with friends, colleagues
learning about ourselves. bodies vital processes and strangers to put body
for our eyes only language to work

By buying into branded ecosystems or keeping


body area networks fragmented, we will
ISOLATE INTEGRATE
control privacy and adopt varying levels of devices and uses into data and devices into
integration into larger ecosystems. private, single-purpose networks at different scales
expressions with commercial, civil,
and even darknet models

By allowing the mediated flows to disappear


under our skin or engage our attention with
IGNORE ENGAGE
fantastical interfaces, we will explore new ways
invisible flows from with fascinating interfaces
to manage our attention and awareness. networks designed to designed to capture our
free up mindshare attention and activate our minds

By varying the upgrade cycles of our body


area networks, we will be able to change the
expressions of our technology-infused DISPOSE INVEST
bodies from minute to minute. of temporary or single-use in permanent and
elements for rapid context durable additions to
switching persistent identities

By reinforcing or transforming our everyday


actions, body area networks will help us make
REINFORCE TRANSFORM
and remake society, altering what it means to
habits, traditions, our selves and our societies
live a good life. current personal goals, with radical new expressions
and cultural norms of human potential
THE ATHLETE THE FAN
A multi-million dollar piece of machinery optimized for performance and fan engagement, being an athlete is Its almost 1 a.m. in London, but that doesnt mean The Fan cant join live for tonights Sunday Night Football game OVERVIEW
now more competitive than ever, and is monitored down to each muscle-powering mitochondria. The Athlete is on in Pittsburgh for a distributed shared experience. She gets up to grab a snack when, OOOF she staggers and
a strict, data-driven, predictive maintenance schedule to reduce injuries and improve his mental clarity during catches herself on the doorframe. Someone just got tackled on the field, and her haptic feedback jersey surged
Each Expression of the New Body Language strikes a different balance of intentions. These intentions are
the game. Across the league, performance is up (and he keeps breaking his own personal records every month). a quick signal that made her diaphragm spasm. The sensation disappears, and she grinsits
Annual drafts are hugely suspenseful spectacles. Hes getting nervous about next months salary negotiations; pretty fun having the wind knocked out of you from 3,000 miles away. Its like youre actually
SIX ARCHETYPES complex and dynamic, and will change drastically based on time and place. A set of technology affordances
and enablers, explained on the next page, make expressing all of these intentions possible.
hes heard rumors that the leagues systems can predict future declines in performance. there. She lets out a loud WOOHOO! that registers on her AwayGame app for co-present
engagement. If the collective roar of either teams remote fans gets loud enough, their Meet the expressions of the New Body Language: six archetypal people who have each configured
cheers will be pumped over loudspeaker into the stadium. technologies in, on, and around their bodies to strike a blance of different intentions. Heres what
youll learn about each expression:
Livestreaming 3D
Accelerometers, Activity tracker compares
cameras let distant fans
gyroscopes, and her daily stats to the
join in via virtual reality THE ATHLETE
RFID tags provide quarterbacksbetter
ultra-precise tracking get moving! Reinforcing athletes iconic stardom by optimizing and keeping
focus on performance. Hiding potentially damaging movements from
analysts before they manifest as injuries to deliver predictive mainte-
nance. Integrating real-time muscle-level biometrics to augment fan
interactions in immersive media.

THE FAN
Reinforcing beloved sports rituals in new contexts and with new
EEG headset cap sets sensations. Connecting with co-present fans around the world to
up a halftime game of make their presence felt in the stadium. Investing in all the game-day
telekinetic catch against embellishments, which take the place of expensive season tickets.
Audio
Heart monitor Muscle monitors sensors listen rival fans
and analytics translate haptic for cheers and
feedback to fans
THE EATER
make training a screams
Transforming our understanding of our bodies and environments with
precise science
Haptic feedback jersey creative inquiry and higher-resolution lenses. Connecting with friends,
simulates on-the-field family, and community through shared food and shared information.
sensations Engaging fully with the entire food experiencefrom soil to table to
intestinesby quantifying subjective experiences.

THE UNWELL
Team dashboard supports game-time Reinforcing his baseline sense of identity and well-being by preserv-
optimization by coach Co-present display in former ing relationships and favorite activities. Hiding subtle changes from
roommates living room means his family while keeping himself informed and sending important data
old friends can join to his doctor. Engaging with his devices and automated systems
keeps his mind sharp in the present.

ENABLED BY: To strike this balance: ENABLED BY: To strike this balance:
THE PARTIER
Connecting openly with everyone, radically transparent self-expres-
Sensors Auditory recognition technologies sion is his brand. Ignoring the constant noise while still engaging his
REINFORCE TRANSFORM REINFORCE TRANSFORM many friends and fellow partiers is a delicate balance thats necessary
Human-machine interfaces Natural language processing
Reinforcing iconic stardom by optimizing and keeping focus Reinforcing beloved sports rituals in new contexts and with to prevent burnout. Disposing of the accessories that track his buzz
Distributed computing Human-machine interfaces new sensations and mood. They always prominently display a brandand hes always
on performance What theyre What underlying How they strike a
Machine learning Sensors willing to try a new one if the price is right.
equipped with: technologies make it balance of intentions:
Inference engines Distributed energy and batteries Devices and systems this person possible: As people implement body area
HIDE CONNECT HIDE CONNECT
has configured. They range in Technologies that enable the networks, they will strike different THE LABORER
Hiding potentially damaging movements from analysts before Connecting with co-present fans around the world and complexity and effort required balances of intention. These will Connecting with project managers dashboard shows real-time stats
New Body Language. Weve
they manifest as injuries to deliver predictive maintenance making their presence felt in the stadium by the user. Some will be off- vary greatly based on motivation, on workers performance or fatigue. Integrating personal media
highlighted these as some of
the-shelf services, while others the most important to track over aspiration, and context. streams into professional systems improves the wearers experience.
require a bit more creativity. All the next decade. See page 33 Investing in a robotic extension of self makes the Laborer stronger
ISOLATE INTEGRATE DISPOSE INVEST of them help that person express for more affordances of these and safer, while customized 3D printed parts can be melted down and
Investing in all the game-day embellishments, which take the their new body language. technologies. remade for a new user.
Integrating real-time muscle-level biometrics to augment fan
interactions in immersive media place of expensive season tickets
THE ATHLETE THE FAN
A multi-million dollar piece of machinery optimized for performance and fan engagement, being an athlete is Its almost 1 a.m. in London, but that doesnt mean The Fan cant join live for tonights Sunday Night Football game OVERVIEW
now more competitive than ever, and is monitored down to each muscle-powering mitochondria. The Athlete is on in Pittsburgh for a distributed shared experience. She gets up to grab a snack when, OOOF she staggers and
a strict, data-driven, predictive maintenance schedule to reduce injuries and improve his mental clarity during catches herself on the doorframe. Someone just got tackled on the field, and her haptic feedback jersey surged
Each Expression of the New Body Language strikes a different balance of intentions. These intentions are
the game. Across the league, performance is up (and he keeps breaking his own personal records every month). a quick signal that made her diaphragm spasm. The sensation disappears, and she grinsits
Annual drafts are hugely suspenseful spectacles. Hes getting nervous about next months salary negotiations; pretty fun having the wind knocked out of you from 3,000 miles away. Its like youre actually
SIX ARCHETYPES complex and dynamic, and will change drastically based on time and place. A set of technology affordances
and enablers, explained on the next page, make expressing all of these intentions possible.
hes heard rumors that the leagues systems can predict future declines in performance. there. She lets out a loud WOOHOO! that registers on her AwayGame app for co-present
engagement. If the collective roar of either teams remote fans gets loud enough, their Meet the expressions of the New Body Language: six archetypal people who have each configured
cheers will be pumped over loudspeaker into the stadium. technologies in, on, and around their bodies to strike a blance of different intentions. Heres what
youll learn about each expression:
Livestreaming 3D
Accelerometers, Activity tracker compares
cameras let distant fans
gyroscopes, and her daily stats to the
join in via virtual reality THE ATHLETE
RFID tags provide quarterbacksbetter
ultra-precise tracking get moving! Reinforcing athletes iconic stardom by optimizing and keeping
focus on performance. Hiding potentially damaging movements from
analysts before they manifest as injuries to deliver predictive mainte-
nance. Integrating real-time muscle-level biometrics to augment fan
interactions in immersive media.

THE FAN
Reinforcing beloved sports rituals in new contexts and with new
EEG headset cap sets sensations. Connecting with co-present fans around the world to
up a halftime game of make their presence felt in the stadium. Investing in all the game-day
telekinetic catch against embellishments, which take the place of expensive season tickets.
Audio
Heart monitor Muscle monitors sensors listen rival fans
and analytics translate haptic for cheers and
feedback to fans
THE EATER
make training a screams
Transforming our understanding of our bodies and environments with
precise science
Haptic feedback jersey creative inquiry and higher-resolution lenses. Connecting with friends,
simulates on-the-field family, and community through shared food and shared information.
sensations Engaging fully with the entire food experiencefrom soil to table to
intestinesby quantifying subjective experiences.

THE UNWELL
Team dashboard supports game-time Reinforcing his baseline sense of identity and well-being by preserv-
optimization by coach Co-present display in former ing relationships and favorite activities. Hiding subtle changes from
roommates living room means his family while keeping himself informed and sending important data
old friends can join to his doctor. Engaging with his devices and automated systems
keeps his mind sharp in the present.

ENABLED BY: To strike this balance: ENABLED BY: To strike this balance:
THE PARTIER
Connecting openly with everyone, radically transparent self-expres-
Sensors Auditory recognition technologies sion is his brand. Ignoring the constant noise while still engaging his
REINFORCE TRANSFORM REINFORCE TRANSFORM many friends and fellow partiers is a delicate balance thats necessary
Human-machine interfaces Natural language processing
Reinforcing iconic stardom by optimizing and keeping focus Reinforcing beloved sports rituals in new contexts and with to prevent burnout. Disposing of the accessories that track his buzz
Distributed computing Human-machine interfaces new sensations and mood. They always prominently display a brandand hes always
on performance What theyre What underlying How they strike a
Machine learning Sensors willing to try a new one if the price is right.
equipped with: technologies make it balance of intentions:
Inference engines Distributed energy and batteries Devices and systems this person possible: As people implement body area
HIDE CONNECT HIDE CONNECT
has configured. They range in Technologies that enable the networks, they will strike different THE LABORER
Hiding potentially damaging movements from analysts before Connecting with co-present fans around the world and complexity and effort required balances of intention. These will Connecting with project managers dashboard shows real-time stats
New Body Language. Weve
they manifest as injuries to deliver predictive maintenance making their presence felt in the stadium by the user. Some will be off- vary greatly based on motivation, on workers performance or fatigue. Integrating personal media
highlighted these as some of
the-shelf services, while others the most important to track over aspiration, and context. streams into professional systems improves the wearers experience.
require a bit more creativity. All the next decade. See page 33 Investing in a robotic extension of self makes the Laborer stronger
ISOLATE INTEGRATE DISPOSE INVEST of them help that person express for more affordances of these and safer, while customized 3D printed parts can be melted down and
Investing in all the game-day embellishments, which take the their new body language. technologies. remade for a new user.
Integrating real-time muscle-level biometrics to augment fan
interactions in immersive media place of expensive season tickets
THE EATER THE UNWELL THE PARTIER THE LABORER
The Eater was the kid with weird lunches in the cafeteria: miso soup or pickled umeboshi plums. Then for the First it was the coffee pot. He just couldnt remember how it worked. Then even as his quick wit and eloquent We all have that friend, the one who is a little too loud and posts way too often on Instagram but always Everyday, the Laborers body performs heroic feats of strength. But after 15 years on the job, even a small
5th grade science fair, her class sampled their gut microbes, and suddenly she was the leader of the fermentation vocabulary slipped away, the Unwell assured his kids, Im 53, too young for Alzheimers. But everyone knew has the coolest parties. Deep down, you want to be tagged in his pictures that get thousands of likes. The imbalance in her tool belt leaves her lower back screaming. Shes trying her companys new integrated safety
fad, revealing connections between body and food. She got her whole family in on the experiment, and now something was different. The Unwell would never call himself that. He has rigged together an elaborate system Partier is a living, breathing, media channel, tracking social influence: a carefully crafted vision of a lifestyle system: a lightweight exoskeleton that redistributes weight to protect her joints, while biometric sensors prevent
she uploads weekly microbial diversity results to a display in their kitchen. The Eater sees everything through to keep things feeling normal. He can ask his artificial intelligence assistant to jog his memory without feeling tricked out with high fashion tech right off the runway. His body area network takes self-expression to the exhaustion. It also integrates coordination and project management. Now shes in the zone, 500 feet up on
the lens of foodpioneering new forms of computer-food interaction. She learned Arduino programming in embarrassed. It makes sure he takes his meds, eats enough, goes out for walks without getting lost, and next level and it instantly broadcasts for brand promotion, his own and his sponsors, to connect with his scaffolding, following the augmented reality instructions streaming to her safety goggles. Shes thankful for
engineering class and built an umami meter, so she can measure the deliciousness of the afterschool snacks automates daily therapy. He just read about a procedure to implant a prosthetic hippocampus. Still, he might friends and fellow partiers. Best of all, drinks are always on himcompanies are clamoring for him to the new helmet that drowns out the noise pollution from jackhammering a few stories down. After her sons
she concocts for her friends. Look, shes out in the backyard now with a handheld spectrometer, analyzing her just accept that things are different now and focus promote their brands. friend unlocked the proprietary AR device, she can now stream her favorite comedians stand upintegrating
peaches for peak-ripeness! If she has too many, shell put them up on a public database for community food on staying connected with those he loves. entertainment while she takes a break.
coordinationshes on a mission to reduce food waste.
Augmented reality safety
Artificial intelligence goggles see what she cant and
assistant supports his alert her to safety risks
fading memory
ENABLED BY: Noise cancelling
Inference engine headphones reduce
Open source map of fruits and Lifelogging camera Biometric Party Tracker noise pollution from
Computer vision broadcasts blood alcohol ENABLED BY: worksite
vegetables available for forage stores a virtual memory
Sensors supports zero-waste goals Handheld spectrometer levelcan you keep up?
Sensors
alerts her to pick foods at
Graph theory Human-machine interfaces
their peak ripeness
Distributed computing Smell camera creates Distributed energy and batteries
a scent log of favorite Biometric sensors for
Graph theory
places fatigue provides a dashboard
Blockchain technologies view for worksite manager
To strike this balance:
Ingestible sensor tracks Bioreactive DJ Custom 3D-printed
medication adherence bracelet changes ergonomic hand and power
and nutrition Lifelogging lighting and beats tools adapt to her skill and
REINFORCE TRANSFORM To strike this balance:
Camera at the club to shifting physiology
Transforming friends and familys streams 24/7 optimize moods
experience of food with creative inquiry and analyzes
and a higher-resolution lens images for HIDE CONNECT
Monthly gut bacteria brands and Mood-expressing
Connecting openly with everyone with Lightweight exoskeleton
samples and analysis promotional apparel is fashioned
radically transparent self-expression as amplifies and protects the body
take nutrition to the scale opportunities for a public display:
HIDE CONNECT Medical marijuana GPS-connected shoes amped up or ready his brand
of microbes
delivered weekly based gently vibrate to guide to chill?
Connecting with friends, family, and on his desired mood
community through shared food and walking routes
shared information
IGNORE ENGAGE
Ignoring the constant noise while still
engaging his many friends and fans
IGNORE ENGAGE
a delicate balance thats necessary to
Engaging fully with the entire food Soil sensors support ENABLED BY: To strike this balance: prevent burnout ENABLED BY: To strike this balance:
Arduino-powered
experience, from soil to table to backyard-scale
umami meter Computer vision Robotics
intestines, by quantifying subjective precision agriculture
quantifies flavor HIDE CONNECT
experiences Sensors Computer vision
before she tastes REINFORCE TRANSFORM
Connecting with project managers dashboard for real-time
Natural language processing Reinforcing the Unwells baseline sense of identity and well- DISPOSE INVEST Distributed energy and batteries stats on workers performance or fatigue
being by preserving relationships and favorite activities Prominently displaying buzz and mood
Machine learning Human-machine interfaces
with disposable branded accessories
Robotics always willing to try a new one if the Graph theory
ISOLATE INTEGRATE
Food waste tracking HIDE CONNECT price is right
system compares her Hiding subtle changes from his family while keeping himself Integrating personal media streams into professional systems
family to the neighbors informed and sending the important data to his doctor to improve users experience, when its safe to do so

IGNORE ENGAGE DISPOSE INVEST


Engaging with his devices and even automated sys- Investing in a robotic extension of self for greather strength
tems to keep his mind sharp in the present and safetyplus customized 3D-printed parts that can be
melted down and remade for a new user
THE ATHLETE THE FAN
A multi-million dollar piece of machinery optimized for performance and fan engagement, being an athlete is Its almost 1 a.m. in London, but that doesnt mean The Fan cant join live for tonights Sunday Night Football game OVERVIEW
now more competitive than ever, and is monitored down to each muscle-powering mitochondria. The Athlete is on in Pittsburgh for a distributed shared experience. She gets up to grab a snack when, OOOF she staggers and
a strict, data-driven, predictive maintenance schedule to reduce injuries and improve his mental clarity during catches herself on the doorframe. Someone just got tackled on the field, and her haptic feedback jersey surged
Each Expression of the New Body Language strikes a different balance of intentions. These intentions are
the game. Across the league, performance is up (and he keeps breaking his own personal records every month). a quick signal that made her diaphragm spasm. The sensation disappears, and she grinsits
Annual drafts are hugely suspenseful spectacles. Hes getting nervous about next months salary negotiations; pretty fun having the wind knocked out of you from 3,000 miles away. Its like youre actually
SIX ARCHETYPES complex and dynamic, and will change drastically based on time and place. A set of technology affordances
and enablers, explained on the next page, make expressing all of these intentions possible.
hes heard rumors that the leagues systems can predict future declines in performance. there. She lets out a loud WOOHOO! that registers on her AwayGame app for co-present
engagement. If the collective roar of either teams remote fans gets loud enough, their Meet the expressions of the New Body Language: six archetypal people who have each configured
cheers will be pumped over loudspeaker into the stadium. technologies in, on, and around their bodies to strike a blance of different intentions. Heres what
youll learn about each expression:
Livestreaming 3D
Accelerometers, Activity tracker compares
cameras let distant fans
gyroscopes, and her daily stats to the
join in via virtual reality THE ATHLETE
RFID tags provide quarterbacksbetter
ultra-precise tracking get moving! Reinforcing athletes iconic stardom by optimizing and keeping
focus on performance. Hiding potentially damaging movements from
analysts before they manifest as injuries to deliver predictive mainte-
nance. Integrating real-time muscle-level biometrics to augment fan
interactions in immersive media.

THE FAN
Reinforcing beloved sports rituals in new contexts and with new
EEG headset cap sets sensations. Connecting with co-present fans around the world to
up a halftime game of make their presence felt in the stadium. Investing in all the game-day
telekinetic catch against embellishments, which take the place of expensive season tickets.
Audio
Heart monitor Muscle monitors sensors listen rival fans
and analytics translate haptic for cheers and
feedback to fans
THE EATER
make training a screams
Transforming our understanding of our bodies and environments with
precise science
Haptic feedback jersey creative inquiry and higher-resolution lenses. Connecting with friends,
simulates on-the-field family, and community through shared food and shared information.
sensations Engaging fully with the entire food experiencefrom soil to table to
intestinesby quantifying subjective experiences.

THE UNWELL
Team dashboard supports game-time Reinforcing his baseline sense of identity and well-being by preserv-
optimization by coach Co-present display in former ing relationships and favorite activities. Hiding subtle changes from
roommates living room means his family while keeping himself informed and sending important data
old friends can join to his doctor. Engaging with his devices and automated systems
keeps his mind sharp in the present.

ENABLED BY: To strike this balance: ENABLED BY: To strike this balance:
THE PARTIER
Connecting openly with everyone, radically transparent self-expres-
Sensors Auditory recognition technologies sion is his brand. Ignoring the constant noise while still engaging his
REINFORCE TRANSFORM REINFORCE TRANSFORM many friends and fellow partiers is a delicate balance thats necessary
Human-machine interfaces Natural language processing
Reinforcing iconic stardom by optimizing and keeping focus Reinforcing beloved sports rituals in new contexts and with to prevent burnout. Disposing of the accessories that track his buzz
Distributed computing Human-machine interfaces new sensations and mood. They always prominently display a brandand hes always
on performance What theyre What underlying How they strike a
Machine learning Sensors willing to try a new one if the price is right.
equipped with: technologies make it balance of intentions:
Inference engines Distributed energy and batteries Devices and systems this person possible: As people implement body area
HIDE CONNECT HIDE CONNECT
has configured. They range in Technologies that enable the networks, they will strike different THE LABORER
Hiding potentially damaging movements from analysts before Connecting with co-present fans around the world and complexity and effort required balances of intention. These will Connecting with project managers dashboard shows real-time stats
New Body Language. Weve
they manifest as injuries to deliver predictive maintenance making their presence felt in the stadium by the user. Some will be off- vary greatly based on motivation, on workers performance or fatigue. Integrating personal media
highlighted these as some of
the-shelf services, while others the most important to track over aspiration, and context. streams into professional systems improves the wearers experience.
require a bit more creativity. All the next decade. See page 33 Investing in a robotic extension of self makes the Laborer stronger
ISOLATE INTEGRATE DISPOSE INVEST of them help that person express for more affordances of these and safer, while customized 3D printed parts can be melted down and
Investing in all the game-day embellishments, which take the their new body language. technologies. remade for a new user.
Integrating real-time muscle-level biometrics to augment fan
interactions in immersive media place of expensive season tickets
AFFORDANCES AND ENABLING TECHNOLOGIES
Body area networks offer new capacities to both individuals and organizations. Across use cases are bigger
picture technology affordances, each one connecting enabling technologies to specific opportunities and
applications. In the spring, IFTF launched the research map The Automated World, which developed a series
of five technology building blocks underpinning the future of automation. These building blocks lend amazing
affordances to the New Body Language. They enable human expressions and form the connective tissue of
body area network technologies.

CONTINUOUS CAPTURE AND SENSE-MAKING ENABLING TECHNOLOGIES


Advances in sensors, transmission, data storage, and analysis Auditory recognition systems and computer vision
capabilities will enable body area networks to provide a wealth will greatly expand the comfort and convenience of
of real-time data. As connected devices in and on us multiply, biometric data capture
privacy becomes more challenging. Well increasingly have
to choose between the insights we want and the exposure Blockchain technologies will make transactions
well tolerate. triggered automatically by our bodies more secure
and private
SIMULATING COMPLEX DECISIONS Distributed computing will bring big data processing
Body area networks will bring new clarity to complex questions of and analysis to even the smallest objects
personal health and well-being. From microbiotic sensors in our
gut to clothing that senses every muscle, decisions of personal Distributed energy and batteries will free our
health will be simulated based on broader and more accurate devices from inconvenient recharging
inputs than today. How our behavior interacts with environmental
Graph theory will marshal human input and machine
health influencers will take decision support to another level.
intelligence to offer creative solutions

ON-DEMAND INTELLIGENCE Human-machine interfaces will make touch and


gestures the primary interface of body area net-
Body area networks make vast amounts of data instantly
works, making devices disappear
available to us anywhere throughout our connected world.
Artificial intelligence and supercomputing will be available Inference engines will take complex biometric data
not just in the palm of our hand, but inside our bodies, too. to turn large, messy data into insight and prediction

Machine learning will ensure that as adoption


EVOLVABLE HARDWARE
increases, decision support will get more personal
The fusion of software into hardware is transforming the
way we think of performance upgrades of our devices, our Natural language processing will make the
machinery, and, in the future, our bodies. This means that boundaries and suggestions of machine intelligence
body area network technologies will not be static, but constantly more accessible
adapting to our demands for self-expression, functional needs,
Robotics will be an extension of our bodies
and regulatory guidelines.
through exoskeletons and prosthetics, while
nano- and micro-scale robots may heal us on
ENCODED JUDGMENT the molecular level
As intelligent machines make their way into the fabric of our lives,
Sensors will use light, magnetism, and other
humans will start to encode boundaries into the behavior of auto-
non-invasive methods and tiny labs-on-a-chip
mated devices. These boundaries will ensure human safety and
to generate biological data in everyday life
also guide us towards our best intentionsor those of marketers.

SARAH SMITH
is a researcher and designer at
IFTF, visualizing complex systems
and provoking people to think about
well-being futures in new ways.
With Miriam Lueck Avery, Andrew Trabulsi,
and the Technology Horizons Team.
DESIGNING TECHNOLOGIES FOR

Our Radical, Adaptive Human Bodies an interview with Sara Hendren

When talking about the future of wearable computing, many people assert that it presents huge
opportunities for assistive technology. But what is assistive technology? The standard definition is
a tool, such as a hearing aid, designed to restore or bring to the level of ability of a normal person.


But designer and artist Sara Hendren argues that normal is subjective and questions the idea that we
should strive for normal. Future Now sat down with Hendren to learn more about her perspective that
Say I want to design for people over 70 with
all technologies are assistivethey allow us to do things we couldnt do on our ownand the design
insights this way of thinking generates. age-related vision loss. Having people be the experts
on their own capacities is the way to do it.

What do we gain by calling some No matter how limited the mobility, dyslexic, and he grew up using talking What do you think are the primary benefit everyone. Make a lot of money this thing as open as possible? When
things assistive technologies and no matter how few senses are being books. That gave him this ideaeven questions we should ask about doing it. Do it in a high-tech way, and the iPad came out, a lot of tech-savvy
other things just technologies? deployed, the body is radical and a sighted person would want content this technological advancement do three or four loss-leader projects. people went, Nobody who does
Language matters. Historically, adaptive. Design technologies let on the web thats now strictly visual to and how we design for people something productive on the web will
assistive technology has been part of those bodies do the things they want become audio. with this kind of tech? Also spend some time doing these use this. Remember when all of this
fixing bodies that are broken. People to do, especially as self-defined by Im excited to see, for instance, what other kinds of projects that help suddenly became a game-changer
who use them are seen as medical people in those bodies, instead of a Looking closely at the assistance the Institute for Human-Centered people think in generative, interesting around autism?
subjects needing a kind of proxy, top-down approach, presuming a kind required by what youd think of as Design is creating in the User Expert ways about bodies.
a tool to get closer to a version of of cultural normalcy. an extreme user is a really rich and Lab. Theyre trying to have this large So I think we dig deep, certainly into
normal that the culture has held up generative research sourcelooking database of people with all kinds I think sometimes the biggest promise atypicality, but also reconsidering
as the life worth living. I think its Could you give an example of a deeply will provide more help for more of bodies, and cognitive and sen- can be these assistive and adoptive ways weve decided that interac-
important that [not only] in the lan- project or design that comes out people more of the time. Youre using sory organization, on hand so they applications. If you were in more tion with disability could be a rich
guage, but also conceptually, we take of this perspective? people with atypical bodies and minds can contract with industries. Having conversation with more people, youd resource. Abstracting from a particular
another look at what alternate views Im a huge fan of SpokenLayer, which and seeing them as a rich resource of people be the experts on their own learn about these as market oppor- user or situation can often be a game
of the world might we gain if we think makes written, visual text on the web knowledge that can help open up a capacities is the way to do it. tunities and ask, How do we do the changer. Weird, specific, and deeply
of all technology as assisting various into audio text with broadcast-quality lot of avenues for technologies we right thing to make the world that we embedded in culturethe lessons are
bodies to do various things. sound. The guy who started this is should rethink. I think primary on our minds should want to live in? there for us.
be, What makes peoples lives possi-
ble in the most daily way? Who can do To what degree do you design in
their job more easily as a result of this an open-ended way and to what
Photos courtesy of Sara Hendren

technology? In India, theyve been degree do you think through


The Americans with building recycled rubberkind of one- how technology will or wont fit
Disabilities Act in the size-fits-alllower limb prostheses. into peoples lives?
US mandated many How are you going to compete with I think its possible to do both if you
now-ubiquitous
a million recycled rubber low-tech dig deep in a user-centered way and
features of urban
limbs given away for free? Dig deep try to give it levity and abstraction. BEN HAMAMOTO
life, like curb cuts
on ramps. These into these conditions and make them What can we learn that would keep Research Manager
features now make
life easier for people
pushing strollers,
pulling suitcases,
and so on.
FUTURE NOW 2015 35
High fashion me
ets maker
manufacturing
Personal Tech Becomes Fashion
Fashion has always been a form of
communication and self-expression, a quick
visual signal of ones tastes, allegiances,
and socioeconomic position. Over the next
decade, personal fashion and personal
computing will begin to blur, offering us a
new way to think about what today we call
devices. Whereas todays personal devices
help us communicate primarily through their
connection to networks and software, the
next generation of devices will allow us to
communicate through their form factors as
well. The colors, textures, and capacities
of clothing, jewelry, and shoes, enhanced
with digital powers, will be new modes of
The wearables dream team of 2025:
Chinese and Western fashion designers communication in and of themselves.
and engineers who are great at software
and hardware, where the "hardware"
includes plastics, electronics, fabrics, LYN JEFFREY
natural materials, and screens. is a cultural anthropologist at IFTF who
investigates peoples creative responses to a
rapidly changing world, on individual,
house-hold, community, and national scales.
Rafal Wegiel

FUTURE NOW 2015 37


HIGH FASHION MEETS MAKER MANUFACTURING

Seeed Studio
Todays wearables are mostly HOW CHINA WILL BECOME A Now imagine this applied to the The city of Shenzhen is leading the We can already see the outlines of an
focused inward, on our rela- PLATFORM FOR GLOBAL SMART world of smart fashion. way among Chinese cities, with unprecedented cross-border network
tionship with ourselves, notes FASHION EXPERIMENTATION an ambitious International Makers of Chinese and Western know-how,
Rachel Hinman, a leading Part of the story of the growing All of this activity will be fueled by Week and a web of new services and capital, and creativity that could fuel
thinker on the intersection hardware renaissance is that more Chinas own need to innovate, driven spaces meant to connect entre- innovative smart fashion, IoT, and
of tech and fashion. Health Western entrepreneurs are going by rising wages and slower economic preneurs to the vast design and personal computing products. Local
trackers help us understand directly to China. For the first time growth. In city halls and corporate manufacturing resources of the city. manufacturing efforts such as New
our bodies in new ways and they are able to tap into superfast boardrooms around the world, eco- Not surprisingly, most of these have York-based Makers Row, an online
improve performance; smart Chinese design and new small- nomic growth is becoming linked with focused electronics, and smart manu- marketplace that connects American
clothing lights us up and keeps batch manufacturing capacities. new strategies to support creativity facturing. But if the city can expand its manufacturers and entrepreneurs so
us safer at night as we ride Perhaps even more importantly, and imagination. China is making small-batch manufacturing model to that they dont have to go abroad,
our bikes, or heats our torso, into what inventor/hacker Bunnie bold moves in this regard, though garment manufacturing as well, it may could begin to play a bigger role in
hands, and feet on a cold day; Huang calls Chinas network it is too early to know exactly how be able to compete with Shanghai smart fashion experiments. But for
smart shoes deliver buzzes to view of IP and ownership. In the they will play out. Earlier this year the and Beijing, Chinas fashion leaders, the next decade at least, China will
point out the right path through world of hardware start-ups, he Chinese State Council announced to build a bridge between apparel, remain the go-to source for wearable
a city. But the real promise of writes, Chinese entrepreneurs its mass innovation policy and electronics and smart clothing. To electronics due to its position as the
smart wearables is precisely [have] had relatively unfettered Chinese Premier Li Keqiang per- that end, a new Fashion Technology worlds largest manufacturer of both
what has made mobile phones access to cutting-edge tech- sonally visited a maker space in Industry Accelerator (FTIA) initiative electronics and garments, and to its
so powerful: their ability to The Tech Tie on display at nology, enabling start-ups to Shenzhen. The government rolled out was launched in Shenzhen in June dynamic design, materials, and entre-
connect us to others and to MAKE FASHION 2014. innovate while bootstrapping. new supports for entrepreneurs and 2015. A partnership between preneurial communities.
share our inner worlds. Well need to Meanwhile, Western entrepreneurs small businesses, from community Shenzhens Industrial Design Pro-
rethink our technology user interface often find themselves trapped in a workshops, to educational curricu- fession Association (SIDA) and the
paradigms, devices, and brands, that electronics are being developed, spiderweb of IP frameworks, spend- lum, to Maker Faire festivals for DIY Council of Fashion Designers of Shen-
redesigning them to enable self-ex- however, the world of 2025 is likely ing more money on lawyers than on creators like the one in Shenzhen that zhen, it aims to become the leading
pression. There will be a lot to learn to include smart fashion that evolves tooling. Chinese engineers access drew nearly 300,000 visitors in fashion IoT platform in China, says
from the world of the atelier, with its just as quickly as todays ordinary to technology is what allowed them June 2015. FTIA co-founder David Chu.
exquisite attention to the rapid cycles clothes and accessories. to mix and match, driving the growth
of give-and-take between branded of low-end Chinese mobile phones
designs and the street. It starts with the rise of what IFTF that competed with Apple on the high

in smart jewelry and clothing


Today's successful experiments
calls social manufacturing: the end, and ultimately destroyed Nokia
HOW FASHION AND TECH WILL ability of small groups of people to and Motorola in the space of a few
LOOK MORE ALIKE THAN DIFFERENT quickly bring an idea to the shelf by years. Now imagine this applied to
Fashion and technology production using crowdfunding, local maker the world of smart objects.
MAKE FASHION, a Calgary, Canada- FINNISH COMPANY CLOTHING+

Visijax
cycles have traditionally been at spaces, online learning resources,
based fashion collective, pairs fashion makes over 3 million sensor products
polar ends of the manufacturing and and services that link entrepreneurs Of course China is not just the a year at its Chinese factory for its
designers and artists with engineers and
consumption spectrum. Fashion is to design and manufacturing in China. worlds largest electronics manu- tech enthusiasts. At the 2015 Shenzhen textile-integrated electronics. The
about originality and change, with Nowhere has this been more evident facturer, it is also the worlds largest Maker Faire, designer Kelly Hofer created company works with brands like Adidas
studios producing two distinct collec- than in electronics. Apple and apparel maker, making over 40% of a pair of pants that monitor muscle and Garmin for sports, and Philips
Samsung currently dominate the US apparel imports in 2014. Thus we activity via EMG sensors and fading for medical.
tions every year. New designs seen
phone market, but new entrants are lights. Using Shenzhen resources, it took
on a runway become fast fashion. may see many more experiments that
him less than a month.
They can be copied, manufactured, popping up daily to create the kinds bring together advanced garment RINGLY, a $200 smart ring made of 18
of edgy, connected accessories that manufacturing and personal elec- karat gold and precious stones, notifies
and distributed around the world in
will define the wearable category VISIJAX, a UK company making you when youre getting calls and emails.
a matter of weeks. Their low cost tronics manufacturing. The wild card
motorcycle jackets to keep you safe Its based in NYC and manufactured
and frequent updates drive rapid going forwardproducts like the in this story is the future of Chinas via motion-activated LEDs and LEDs in Shenzhen.
consumption cycles of dispos- Oculus Rift virtual reality headset shanzhai, or knock-off manufacturing. for nighttime visibility, has its factory Visijax commuter coatsafety
able stylish products. Our personal didnt come out of corporate R&D These shadow networks copy the in Shanghai. functionality is an early driver of
devices, on the other hand, take labs. While the big companies release latest runway fashions, manufacture tech-enabled clothing development.
years to develop; their new looks smart watches that look more or less them, and quickly distribute them NEW PARTNERSHIPS
come out no more than once a year like mini computers on your wrist, it to every major city in the world, to Big brands will also continue their move into smart garments and accessories. Ralph
and often contain only the tiniest will be smaller start-ups, sometimes meet the demands of those who want Laurens $295 smart shirt, Intel and Opening Ceremonys $500 MICA bracelet, and Tory
in partnership with fashion brands, to sync with global fashion trends Burchs $175 Fitbit bracelet are all examples of the new partnerships well see between
variations. And they remain among
who will build the new world of fashion brands and tech companies (all made in China, of course).
the most expensive personal items but cant afford the steep prices the
we own. With changes in the way fashion wearables. authentic versions command.
FUTURE NOW 2015 39
Bodies that Buy:
could bio- based pur c hasing bring
us c loser to our better selves?

Efforts to automate our


personal lives are nothing new.
We use alarm clocks to automate waking up
on time; calendar alerts to remind us of
meetings; streaming services like Pandora
to automatically deliver music tailored just
to our preferences. But personal automation
isnt just a matter of convenience;
increasingly, were learning that automating
both big and small decisions can enable us
to make decisions that were happier with,
leaving us feeling more relaxed and
able to focus on more important things.
Illustration by Owen Partridge

BRADLEY KREIT
Reasearch Director

FUTURE NOW 2015 41


BODIES THAT BUY

Weve begun to see the rise of


adaptive interfaces that tailor
user experience to current
physiological and psychological
THE BIOLOGY OF YOUR BODY IS THE CONTEXT Food and dieting may be the most states. These early signals of adaptive
DECISION-MAKING obvious domains to use these bio- interfaces hint at a future in which our
But what if your body could remind
markers to drive decisions, but they bodies dont simply tell machines to
In 2007, David Bach published perhaps you to eat a protein bar before a tense
are hardly the only applications. From deliver information in different ways,
the best known of a genre of finan- discussion with a spouseor a boss?
identifying shoes that fit best and but tell machines to deliver different
cial planning books based on a very
furniture that helps improve posture
simple strategy: if you set up a direct As the next decade unfolds, our body kinds of products.
to streaming media that improves our
deposit into your retirement account, area networks will take advantage
moods, the potential applications will
you can save without thinking much of this new science of decision-
expand faster and faster as our mea-
about it. If you do this year over year makingthe biomarkers and per- Monitor bloodflow to
surements get better and better.
for enough time, you can still spend all sonal histories that affect the ways screen out messages
the money in your bank accountthe we decideand remind us to do
Developed by
natural impulseand set yourself up to things like eat protein bars before MARKETING TO BIOMARKERS researchers at Tufts
become, as the title of the book sug- tense conversations. Our bodies are
But once we have this internal University, Phylter includes a headband
gested, an Automatic Millionaire. becoming one of the new frontiers
contextual understanding, what will that monitors signs of bloodflow to the
in contextual computing. In much
we want our bodies to communi- brains prefrontal cortex, which indicates
Bachs argumentand the argument the same way our phones can guide
cate? Simply pinging us with more high levels of focus. When Phylter sees
of a series of similar books by other us toward different routes based on
informationin effect a notification high levels of focus, it automatically
authorsis rooted in a growing traffic patterns, our body area net-
presenting yet another decision screens out low-priority emails and
body of behavioral science research works will guide us toward different
would be self-defeating. If our bodies notifications on the wearers phone to
demonstrating that the act of making decisions based on the patterns of
are going to help us make better encourage focus on the task at hand.
too many choices exhausts us and our biomarkersaltering us when our
leads to worse decisions. decision-making ability is impaired decisions, well need them to aug-
or even taking action to get us in a ment the decision-making abilities
There are physiological markers of better decision-making mindset. of our brains. Theyll need to bypass Proverbial Wallets
The Amazon Dash Button is a small device that can be placed anywhere in the
the brain and make decisions on our stop shopping
reduced decision-making ability: low home and programmed to automatically order a specified product when the
blood glucose levels lower our abili- And as the sensors we use to behalf in much the same way a direct button on its face is pushed. Developed by MIT
ties to exercise self-control, causing measure our biomarkers improve, deposit into your retirement account researcher John
all sorts of unexpected problems. the process for transforming our bypasses your consciousness. Kestner, and in early stages of commer-
that enables appliances to pick and enough reason to create a direct cialization, his Proverbial Wallets take in
As radical as it may sound, choose from trusted vendors to connection between our bodies and contextual information to automatically
If our bo dies ar e going to help us the idea of adapting the negotiate autonomously for the best online retailers. adjust our perceptions of money and
world to our bodies without deal on the products that you like. spending. For instance, the Mother Bear
ma ke better decisions, well need our knowledge is already But what if your body area network prototype wallet becomes harder to open
gaining traction. Adaptive These kinds of systems can be could make shopping decisions that when its owner is close to exceeding
interface design can now
them to augment the decision-ma king built into our smart watches just as support your higher goals? What if monthly budgeting goals.
vary how information gets easily as they can be built into our it could save you money and help
displayed based on a washing machines. In other words, you become an automatic million-
abilities o f our brains. users biometrics. its becoming technically feasible to aire? What if it could buy foods Sleep sensor adjusts
develop systems that allow changes you want to eat that also make you your television
In one recent study, Ohio State bodies into a platform for contex- Could the same principle be used to in your body to automatically make automatically healthy? Or only make
sell us stuff? You bet, but perhaps Samsungs Sleep-
University psychology professor Brad tual computing will enter a virtuous, purchases on your behalf. purchases that align with your per-
in ways that remove one more layer Sense is designed
Bushman found that married couples accelerating cycle. Most physiolog- sonal ethics?
of conscious decision-making. The to seamlessly network with a users
act more aggressively toward each ical measurements take specialized
worlds most successful retailers ASPIRATIONS OVER smart home devices to optimize the
otherby sticking pins into equipment and are painstakingly Such a system would make this pos-
deeply understand the value prop- IMPULSES environment for sleep. Based on sleep
voodoo dolls representing their slow; for instance, measuring blood sible, allowing us to make decisions
osition of convenience. Amazons habits, SleepSense can adjust everything
spouse and blasting them with loud, glucose involves pricking your finger Whether or not theres a practi- that are dictated more by our aspi-
Dash Replenishment Service API is from lighting to the air conditioner to
annoying noiseswhen they had for blood. The easier it becomes to cal difference in connecting your rations than our impulses. For many
already being built into water filters, attempt to improve the users sleep. And
measurably lower blood glucose measure our biomarkers, the better appliances to a retailer and connect- people, this, combined with the time
ink jet printers, and coffee makers in the morning, when it senses its user is
levels. In an interview on the study, well understand the physiological ing your body, theres a dramatic and energy saved by outsourcing
to allow these appliances to directly waking up, it can trigger a coffee maker
Bushman advises that, Something analogs that shape our behaviors psychological difference. For the vast decisions, could be a sufficiently
reorder supplies from Amazon. IBM to brew coffee.
like a protein bar would be a really and decisions; the more useful these majority of us, a more convenient compelling reason to let our bodies
good thing to have before discussing measures become, the more people and Samsung have developed a speak for us and buy on our behalf.
way to order coffee wont be a good
an important issue with your spouse. will want them. proof of concept network architecture
FUTURE NOW 2015 43
SAMPLE HEAD SECTION

INSTITUTE FOR THE FUTURE FALL 2015 45


Artifact from the Future, not a real product. First appeared in Health Horizons 2013.
Altered Anatomies
To get a preview of this future, IFTFs Eri Gentry and Connectivity, Stealth, and
Alessandro Voto sought out two pioneers in this space,
Amal Graafstra and Seth Wahle, who are exploring the
Competitive Advantage
future of implantables by testing them on their own bodies. Seth Wahle came to implants with different experiences
and a different mindset. A former Navy technician and
Voices from the Vanguard of Implantable Tech Amal, an avid DIY body hacker,
discovered the means and inspi-
avid hacker, he has a deep appreciation of the hidden
security risks of implantablesand an appetite for self-
ration for his RFID implant at his experimentation. Without access to a willing doctor, he
workplace. In 2005, managing IT contacted a tattoo artist on Craigslist who placed NFC chip
systems for medical centers, as in his hand.
Implanting a he carried boxes of hardware,
he felt frustrated by key-based Seth soon realized that he could
computer chip in Amal Graafstra
door access. perform a parlor trick by picking
up peoples phones and bringing up
your body today Why am I using this 13th-century technology, a hunk a webpage by sending an address
of metal cut in a certain shape, to get in this door? he from his hand.
is no easy task. thought. I could get RFID on my door. How do I get rid of
the card? Oh, pets have this chip inside them. I ordered A local hacker group inspired him to
Unless its part of a a bunch of the tags. And within a few days was in my use this trick in a dramatically new
Seth Wahle
prescribed medical doctors office saying, Put this thing right in my hand. He way. Hack Miami had just proved
procedure, it often was like, Well, what is it? I said, Its like the chips pets get to national media that a Wi-Fi router could be installed
in the neck, but I want it here so I can get in my door. Hes to secretly hack over 380 peoples phones. Seth told the
involves breaking the like, That sounds cool, and he does it. groups organizer, I can trigger a download with a chip
law and always involves in my hand. He proved his point by asking for peoples
breaking the skin. Still, We all understood that the body is this machine, and you numbers and infecting their phones with malware.
can upgrade it. Its purpose is to move your mind, your
a small but significant consciousness through this universe and experience it and What do his implants mean to him now? Seth says, Its
number of people are influence it. And if you get an upgrade and improve your about stealth. I can execute code silently. It kind of tied into
hacking their bodies quality of life, thats great. my whole theory of bio-hack, why I would want to implant
devices. I have something which allows me to interact with
with DIY implantsand machines like no one else can. While implantables are, of
their experiences offer Why Not a Wearable? course, internal devices, they have the potential to trans-
valuable clues and Staying Connected, Staying Free form our relationships to our environments. Seth expressly
wanted his implant to have the function of a compass.
insights about how to
A good implant, Amal explains, becomes so
navigate a world in which It could be a survival plus one, he said, citing it as an exam-
integrated with your daily life that it disappears. ple of a use for the technology that would be subtle and
implantable computing is
Its unmanaged. You think about it about as much unobtrusive, but hugely important in an emergency situation.
commonplace.
as you think about your kidneys doing their job.
Whether for crisis response or exploration, body area
Every time I come home, I go to my door, I swipe,
networks are set to dramatically impact our lives and the
I grab the doorknob. I dont think about it at all. way we experience them. Amal observed that a magnet
implanted in his hand allowed him to literally feel when he
ERI GENTRY Amal contrasts the simplicity of his implant with the com-
is a biofuturist at IFTF and was close to different kinds of metals.
plexity of todays device ecosystem. We have to manage a
founding president of
BioCurious, the worlds first lot of things. Is my FitBit on? Is it charged? Everything you I came home with my magnet in my finger and [used a heat
hackerspace for biology. have to apply to your person when you get out of bed in sealer device]. It buzzed really strongly. In only a matter of
the morning is management, and its annoying. days, my brain was already starting to interpret, This means
ALESSANDRO VOTO something about the environment around me. [It opens
Picture leaving the house with no keys, no wallet, and no
Courtesy of Amal Graafstra

explores the future of value, me up to a whole] universe Ive never known before.
security, and identity at IFTF, phone, youd be like, What if I get locked out? What if I
focusing on crypto-currencies. need money for the train? Its this anxiety that your tools
arent with you, and you cant survive in the world. [For]
people who can overcome that for even a short timeit
feels like freedom. FUTURE NOW 2015 47
Our identities have always been dynamic. We have to
reconcile who we think we are with who we are in the eyes
of our families and communitiesand in the future, in the
eyes of machines.
But the technology is getting better all
the time. With only our Web activity
Going forward, well have to reconcile (and in some cases purchasing and
our identities with the massive demographic data), algorithms can
amounts of data our body area And marketers use these data to build already perform stunning acts of
networks produce, and what pow- profiles that capture preferences and inference. As our body area networks
erful algorithms can infer from that needs, define markets, and provide get more sophisticated, well be
data. Computing devices within and insight for new products and services. adding things like biometric and body
around our bodies will contribute to movement data to the mixand the
stunningly detailed portraits of us, At the center of all this are algorithms kinds of algorithmic inferences that
offering new views into who we are. that use various data points to infer will be possible might seem down-
These bodies of data will challenge, aspects of our identities, such as right telepathic. In the next decade,
reinforce, and transform our existing gender, race, religion, religion or sexual if theres a discrepancy between who
identities, and create entirely new orientation. For instance, going to you think you are and who you are in
kinds of identity we never imagined. Googles ad settings page allows you to the eyes of the algorithm, you might
see at least a partial view of the profile second-guess yourself, and not the
More than a decade ago, an episode that the software giant has assembled data. Say an algorithm profiles you as
of the TV show The King of Queens on you. You can see the assumptions older than you actually are; you may
featured a subplot where a characters its made about your age, gender, and think, I must look old for my age,
TiVo thought he was gaythe interests. These profiles are often accu- and internalize that image of yourself.
devices algorithm kept offering him ratebut theyre far from perfect.
And the possibilities for what

Bodies of Data
our body language might reveal
are nearly endless. What if you
always assumed you came off
as insecure, but an algorithm
analyzing your gait identified
you as fearless? What if you
believe yourself to be utterly
calm, but your typing patterns
indicate youre a ball of nerves?
More troublingly, what if your

who are we Modified from a photo by Rodney Troy


programs with LGBTQ themes. This
plot-point was based on the real-life
experience of a shows producers
Today it might be reassuring when
theres a discrepancy between who
you think you are and who Google
ROD FALCON
is a Program Director at IFTF,

through the eyes


friend. While some aspects of that thinks you are. We assume that any leading story-rich research at
episode may or may not have aged discrepancy is the fault of an imper- the intersections of technology,
health, food, and work.
well, the idea that our electronics have fect algorithm. Maybe your kid sisters
an opinion about who we are is more searching spree was mistakenly

of algorithms?
relevant today than ever. As we move attributed to you, skewing the
BEN HAMAMOTO
through the Web and about our lives algorithms view of who you are. Research Manager
at home, in cars, and on city streets,
we generate massive amounts of data.

FUTURE NOW 2015 49


BODIES OF DATA

Better identity-based targeting will benefit some,


data revealed that your heart-rate find meaningful identities in their
spikes and your muscles tense when data. Going forward, were likely to but it may reinforce the larger social status quo that
you interact with people who are of a see the kinds of identities people
different race? discover, and what they want from creates disparities.
them, become much more diverse.
On an individual level, these discov- And for some, theyll find the new

Modified from a photo by Roberto Taddeo


eries could be earth-shattering or affinities they share with other peo- A person whose biological identity is As this future unfolds, these issues
utterly inconsequential, devastating or ple become more meaningful to them female, but whose gender expression could become major rallying points
delightful, depending on who you are than traditional social categories such is male, for instance, might simply be for activism.
and what you learn. But for society as as religion or sexual orientation. male to an algorithm, and therefore, it
a whole, the impact is almost certain would give him information, experi- In the next decade, algorithms read-
to be dramatic. ences, and opportunities designed ing our body area networks will give
ALGORITHMS OPEN AND for a male audience that might be us even more information to integrate
It will likely cause us to reexamine CLOSE DOORS denied to him in person. into our sense of self and make our
how we, as a society, understand The promise of this future is perfectly identities more dynamic than ever.
In the next decade, if theres a discrepancy between who you think you are and who
and address issues such as racism personalized experiences. Instead In James words, gender [could] They will be able to tell us about how
you are in the eyes of the algorithm, you might second-guess yourself, not the data.
and sexism. It will alter how we of relying on crudely and narrowly become even less and less connected we, as individuals and as a society,
understand creativity and build defined markers of identity, the state, to [biological] sex, but more and more are changing. And they can be used
professional networks. the market, and other people will have explicitly about privilege and [how to reinforce the status quo, or to push
Basically, a marketing algorithm only People in the Quantified Self
new categories that lend more, or at we interact with] institutions. Thats for change thats truly transformative
cares about these categories to the movement have pioneered finding
These algorithmic identities could least different, insight into who we to say, this kind of identity-based and radical. However they are used,
extent that they help drive clicks and themselves in their data. Among
have more subtle impacts, as well. are. And these will be used to give us targeting will benefit specific individ- bodies of data together with algo-
sales, so it will update how it defines the earliest and most enthusiastic
For instance, observing the way a greater personalization in everything uals by reducing bias based on visual rithms will shape who we think we
gender with every new piece of infor- adopters of wearable sensor technol-
marketing algorithm defines gender from entertainment to education, from appearance, but it doesnt touch, or areand who we will become.
mation it gathers. As the data capture ogy, many in the movement created
could reveal shifts in how people relationships to medicine, from secu- may even reinforce, the larger social
widens to include things such as emo- spreadsheets of data to surface
whose biological sex is male or rity to safety. status quo that creates these dispari-
tional response data, algorithms will patterns and look for clues about their
female, on average, behave. Because ties in the first place.
be able to anticipate, track, and adjust bodys, their minds, maybe even their
an algorithms understanding of what But these same algorithmic identities
to social or market changes before the souls personal operating system.
constitutes male or female behavior is could also direct our lives in import- For instance, studies have shown
rest of us are even aware of it.
more fluid, it may update its defini- ant ways. The algorithms dont tell that women are presented with fewer
For example, many quantified selfers
tions before society does. you what to do or not to do, James online ads for high-paying jobs than
compile data on when they slept and
FINDING YOURSELF writes, but open specific kinds of men are, and that black people are
for how long, then cross-reference with
Robin James, associate professor of IN YOUR DATA futures for you. Take an algorith- shown more ads for legal services.
data about their mood or their produc-
philosophy at the University of North mic identity were all familiar with: This probably isnt because some-
While this convergence of body area tivity. Theyve formed communities and
Carolina at Charlotte, puts it this way: the credit score. Our credit scores one explicitly programmed in such
network data and powerful algorithms even self-organized studies with people
Demanding conformity to one and can provide or deny us access to biases, but, instead, the bias is there
will almost certainly alter important engaged in similar inquiry.
only one feminine ideal is less profit- a home, a car, even certain jobs. because larger social inequities exist
James speculates that in the future that make it more likely that black
A powerful driver of the
were moving toward, well have a people would need legal services,
movement is to move
credit score for everything. or that women would be less likely
As our body area networks get more sophisticatedalgorithms beyond generalized
to apply for certain high-paying
recommendations to
One some level, this is a good jobs. And with substantial research
will be able to anticipate, track and adjust to social change before uncover more nuanced
thingpeople will be given oppor- showing that people often internalize
insights that help you,
tunities based on a more accurate the images of themselves theyre
the rest of us are even aware of it. and people like you, to
understanding of who they are. An presented with, the consequences
be better at whatever

Nic Der | www.nicder.com


algorithm, for instance, would be less could be seriously empowering or
youre trying to accom-
likely than a human to deny someone disempowering, depending on who
plishbe it productivity,
a loan or job opportunity because of you are and what images of yourself
established categories of identity, compassion, aging well, or athleticism.
able for Facebook than it is to tailor their physical appearance. Indeed, youre being shown.
their ads to more accurately reflect it will also create completely new
As body area network data collec- we already have companies like
my style of gender performance. They categories of identity, based on things In addition, were likely to see new
tion and analysis become autmated JumpGap that attempt to take human
would much rather send me ads for such as interests, preferences, or categories of advantage or dis-
and awareness of their potential bias out of the hiring process by using
the combat boots I probably will click even the different ways our bodies advantage emerge that transcend
grows, were likely to see much larger software to recommend candidates.
through and buy than the diapers or and minds work. categories such as race and gender.
swathes of the population begin to
pregnancy tests I wont.
FUTURE NOW 2015 51
West and East Africa
Where Social Innovation Leads the Future

Paul throws the last of his hardware and supercomputing, in feature phones in different locations different kinds of needs. But despite
peppers in the basket. Africas high-delta (or frontier) simply enter text messages that are this diversity, applications will likely
Down the road, he sees the markets, social innovation is centrally accessed, aggregated, have two things in common: theyll
buyers van, takes out his phone, whats really driving progress. Long and analyzed to create and deliver be more lightweight and more user-
and enters a code. Immediately a before everyday consumers used a streamlined, localized service that led than what well see elsewhere.
text bounces back telling him the computers, people have been using people really need.
days market price for peppers. He their personal networks and hooking West and East Africa will continue
strolls over to the van, knowing up with local micro-entrepreneurs Although these services use nothing to import high technology from the
hes going to get a fair price. and kiosk-operating business people more than a text-enabled smartphone U.S., Europe, and Asia, smartphones
to pioneer models for operating and a personal computer, creative will replace feature phones, and
Abeka hears a noise, like someone in this diverse landscape. The use of the data gives them real
downstairs. She lives in a part bandwidth will increase to accom-
technology to distribute and share impact. Most of the innovation modate cloud computing. But the
of the city that cant guarantee information simply amplifies these involves process rather than product.
police will come if she calls. She innovation that counts will largely be
models of social innovation that And this social process innovation social and domestic. And the new
takes out her phone and sends have been evolving for decades. is usually built on a foundation of
a blank text to a saved number. services and the new service people
So as body area networks evolve existing practices and relationships. in Africa will create could become
Within minutes, she hears voices, in West and East Africa over the As they evolve, and patterns in
friends and neighbors, along with models that the region exports to
next decade, we can expect their application emerge, theyll the rest of the world.
a security agency at her door to see similar applications. be packaged as services and
checking to see if shes okay. experiences that the rest of the world
Many services in these areas are can, and should, learn from. JEREMY KIRSHBAUM
These examples show how mobile
using personal data to innovate brings his entrepreneurial
data networks are driving change experience in west Africa to
without relying on sophisticated Over the next decade, we can expect
in West and East Africa. While IFTF, focusing on the future
sensor-based devices like health body area network technologies to
the U.S., Europe, and Asia lead in of logistics, distribution,
trackers. Instead, many people with shape services that address many and communications.

MEDIC MOBILE (NIGERIA) M-PESA (EAST AFRICAN REGION)


This simple system over SMS enables people to track health The world leader in mobile money, Kenya, Tarzania, and other IFTF commissioned Ghanian artist Mohammed Abdulraman
problems and outcomes to increase quality of care to underserved countries use M-Pesa for transactions that range from paying to create an original painting based on our research.
communities. Health workers use Medic Mobile to register for groceries or receiving wages to bribing police. Telecoms
pregnancies, track disease outbreaks and essential medicines, and hold money that their customers can convert to either This is my view of the future, based on the history of where I
communicate about emergencies. Data is sent to a district hospital to currency or mobile airtime. These transaction histories am from. Generally speaking, the world looks at Africans as
be tracked, promoting efficient and effective care distribution. including mobile airtime top-up behaviorare being analyzed if they are not capable of doing things to contribute to the
to create credit scores, insurance services, and other complex future, so I wanted to create a radically different narrative.
financial services. People think it is similarly impossible that we could migrate
HEI JULOR (GHANA) to space everyday, connected easily through sensors. My
MFARM (KENYA) artwork represents the connection and movement of people
SOFTtribes Hei Julor uses community resources to supplement slow
through wearable sensors. I wanted to create a future
or ineffective police response. For about $5 a month, this affordable Farmers enter the amount of product they have to sell,
where one day, we will be free to travel anywhere easily,
service provides a number to call or send a blank text and 10 and sellers at local markets enter their buying prices. This
and communicate with anyone anywhere.
neighbors are immediately notified of any threat at your house. A local information is aggregated, and smallholder farmers can text
radio station is alerted to broadcast a message, and a high-quality to find out prices, preventing middlemen from cheating them.
security company is dispatched to your home. In addition, mFarm uses the data to arrange commercial sales
and draw insights on agricultural trends. FUTURE NOW 2015 53
EASY AS
00101010
Creating Policy for the
Next Frontier of Tech Adoption

ToS. RATs. IP. CFAA. ECPA. AML. KYC. HIPAA.


The alphabet soup of legalese and regulation
surrounding technology is enough to make the
most seasoned policymaker cringe. When our
devices are implantable, ambient, continuously
monitoring and sensing us, keeping us healthy
what happens then? The increasing adoption
of wearables, and their interconnection, wont
just complicagte things. Body area networks will
open up new questions and opportunities for
the role public policy will play in the future of
digital technologies.

ANDREW TRABULSI
is an author and strategic forecaster
Artwork by Trent Kuhn

at IFTF with a background in


strategy, technology, geopolitics, and
economic development policy.

FUTURE NOW 2015 55


EASY AS 00101010

The debate about which polices Meanwhile, cybersecurity research- Internet of Things devices contain Act (ACA), for example, appeals companies to build devices that can
will affect our bodies and the ers are concerned that finding an average of twenty-five software to patients in the U.S. to become evolve and be integrated with body
technologies we connect to them vulnerabilities within such devices vulnerabilitiesper device. To make bigger players in managing their area networks. This is a first step.
isnt new, though. Relevant legisla- could make them criminally liable matters worse, in an era where our own health, using personal medical Regulators can extend these types of
tion around the world has created under the Computer Fraud and devices are increasingly connected devices to do so. Companies that best practices into broader commu-
important paradigms in every area of Abuse Act (CFAA). to one another, as they will be make personal health devices, in nication devices that will complement
our lives from genetic property rights within body area networks, a single response, are calling on Medicare the array of devices within a body
to criminal liabilities when sharing As body area networks become security concern can multiply to to incentivize doctors to encour- area network.
dataeven if we dont know it. a common part of our everyday several dozen security issues across age patients to use them. While
lives, policymakers will be forced to devices. If our smartphones or ostensibly this poses challenges for For example, instead of developing
A 2014 ruling from the Ontario adapt, erase, or create legislation watches are connected to industrial cybersecurity legislation relevant medical device classifications for
Superior Court, for example, found to fit the desultory use cases digital machinery or microbiotic sensors only to healthcare, the wider impacts smartphones, which could hinder fur-
that human tissue, once in the pos- technologies will generate for our in our guts, how will we know the such policies have on data storage ther hardware innovations, establish
session of a medical institution for individual and collective well-being. devices are secure? and brokerage could have ramifi- such classifications for software, and
testing, is no longer the property of These technologies pose both new cations in industries ranging from open it to the broader software com-
the person it was taken from. Pace- risks and new reasons why many A number of industry groups and financial services to social media. munity to rigorously and continuously
makers and other medical devices existing policy frameworks are regulatory bodies around the world check systems for vulnerabilities.
have come under scrutiny in recent insufficient. are attempting to get ahead of In addition, its unclear that end This would provide clarity to devel-
years for susceptibility to hacking. these issues. In the United King- users will have ownership over data opers about levels of encryption and
dom, for example, the generated from such devices. While data security such devices must
Online Trust Alliance numerous bills, including the Data employ, and help detect and patch
(OTA), a technology Broker Accountability and Transpar- flaws in software before and after its
In an era when our devices are consortium, has pub- ency Act, have been introduced in deployment.
lished a draft Trust the American legislature to regulate
increasingly connected to one Framework for the such issues, no votes have yet taken Furthermore, regulators should act to
Internet of Things, place to determine how such regu- institute data brokerage legislation
another a single security concern which it hopes to lation will come to life. Nevertheless, to allow consumers to transparently
pass on to regulators. the U.S. Supreme Court has held that understand what components of
can multiply to several dozen Recommendations one cannot expect a reasonable level their personal data are available in
include mandating of privacy over information that is the public and commercial domains.
security issues across devices. device manufac- given to third parties, or made avail- Finally, putting forth regulations
surrounding encryption and security
turers use HTTPS able publicly. This is likely a point that
encryption by default, will come under scrutiny amongst practices that can continuously and
and conspicuously civil liberty advocates, who seek to easily be updated for the Internet of
In 2014, the United States Food and To begin, the adoption of body area disclose all personally identifiable protect such data from the grasp of Things can help both businesses and
Drug Administration (FDA), issued networks brings a score of new pri- data collected to users. Part of the government surveillance programs. consumers know what devices and
guidance for the management of vacy and security risks to the table challenge will be getting regulators Under Supreme Court doctrine software should be manufactured
cybersecurity in medical devices. It for individuals, enterprises, and gov- uniformly on-board, and doing so today, however, such information and purchased.
recommends that manufacturers erning bodies alike. In 2011 the late in a way that transcends interna- falls outside the scope of the Fourth
address cybersecurity during the computer security expert Barnaby tional borders, while simultaneously Amendments protections. As with any policy, striking the
design and development of [medical Jack demonstrated the capacity respecting specific sovereignty balance of flexibility and rigor
devices]. In 2015, the Federal Trade to wirelessly hack insulin pumps. issues or existing legislation. None of this is to say that there is not will be critical. In an age when
Commission (FTC) called for an Just before his death in 2013, it an opportunity for policymakers to our devices will be monitoring us,
amendment to the Health Insurance was rumored Jack had developed To further complicate matters, a use the rise of body area networks assisting us, and allowing us to
Portability and Accountability Act a method to hack into wireless range of existing policies are to develop legislation that enhances perform our daily tasks in ways that
(HIPAA), to increase privacy protec- pacemakers. The problem extends encouraging the use of such con- consumer protections while enabling we currently are only beginning to
tions on networked medical devices well beyond medical devices, nected personal devices before commercial innovation. Already understand, doing so could mean
by minimizing the amount of data though. Last year, HPs Internet of such regulations or standards are groups like the FDA are instituting the difference between human
device manufacturers can store. Things Research Study found that being adopted. The Affordable Care best practices for updating implant- advancement or standing still.
able medical devices, allowing

FUTURE NOW 2015 57


Flickr user: dodong flores
Looking
families, who take care of each other through connec-
tive technologies. We know from studies of Japan that
embodied empathy is a core cultural value. Remotely
connecting the elderly began to get really sophisticated in

Backwards
about 2020, driven by their need to connect to each other
and to younger generations, even to fictive kin, including
adopted grandchildren.

from 2025
In China, family area networks further the kinds of behav-
iors their society wants to encourage, such as sharing. In a
An Anthropologist country where the one-child policy means most kids dont
have siblings, people worried that children from singleton
Explores How Body families would grow up self-absorbed, without a moral
compass guiding them toward family. Schools focused on
Families gather to care for one another physically and digitally.

Area Networks connecting to families and soon moved from mobile phone
conversations to much more wraparound tracking and con- In 2018, you spoke about how hidden knowledge about
Became Family Today, in 2025, we take it for granted that the tinuous communication. A behavior such as sharing can be
monitored and assessed like other educational outcomes.
our genetics, transplantation, and surrogacy was
networks of smart objects in, on, and around our making us rethink what family means. How does infor-
Area Networks bodies keep us connected. The new body-wellness
That kind of monitoring mirrored others done in health care. mation about our secret selves shape todays families?

information they generate allows us to care for one another Today, closer monitoring of pregnant mothers gives family All kinds of information, from our genetic markers to
members a way to help support the momand also opens our parents reproductive histories, is no longer hidden.
deeply and effectively, in ways never imagined before.And
her up to increased scrutiny. Chinese medicine has a This transparency enables new family relationships and
it seems like the more data on our everyday behaviors we long tradition of taking care of pregnant women through connections. When babies have multiple mothers and
share, the more we discover new ways of expressing our medicinal food, but there was a profound gap between that fathers through donation and surrogacy, new rules of
practice and what modern mothers were expected to do kinship emerge.
love to our families, no matter where they are or how we
to produce the best quality baby. In 2015 this often meant
define kinship. vitamins, supplements, and folic acid. Beyond the people you know
about, your family extends to this


much larger community of people
connected at an intimate molecular
But this, of course, wasnt always the case. Renowned is a lot easier. Monitoring, health tracking, and coaching Increasingly, the isolation of aging populations
level. This makes connections much
anthropologist Jan English-Lueck was there in the early enable people to act on family connections at a distance.
days, tracking this emerging way of keeping the family Family members are coming to understand each other at across Asia has led to new networks of remotely more thorough and complex than
they once were. We learned about our
together. Future Now sat down with Dr. English-Lueck to the microbial, genomic, dietary, and mood level. Fictive kin connected, adopted families, who take care of DNA relatives health vulnerabilities,
learn about what these practices looked like as early as (as in, the families we choose), pets, and geographically
and then we learned to care about
2015 and how we got to where we are today. distant relatives can all read our fitness tracker feeds. each another through connective technologies.
them, and then for them. Just as
families linked by transplanted organs
It didnt take long to go from laborious food tracking
How has body area network tech changed how we began to care for each other, these
to ubiquitous sensor-based information on what we It also meant paying attention to the food chain. Farm-
care for our families? relatives formed communities of care, which is something
eat. Workplaces and municipal planners reshaped our ers markets were viewed with suspicion as unmonitored
A decade ago, people were shifting toward urban areas, you see a lot of today. Using body area networks, we
environments, encouraging behaviors that promote and unscientific. In the last decade, the need to support
often away from extended families, creating ever more connect continuously to help each other emotionally
wellness. All this happened in the highly visible epicenter pregnant women has translated into some robust mon-
isolated nuclear families. Yet we imagined that family mem- and logistically, often with deliberate health monitoring
of big data mining. itoring and communication among diverse practitioners
bers would still manage loved ones finances, education, and intervention. Welcome to networked families.
and family members. The distrust of the food chainand
and health care. Even with computers and smart phones
Can you give an example of mobilizing these the need to monitor water pollution and soil fertilityhas
families found it hard to connect.
technologies to connect family caregivers? created a market for trusted food. That information feeds
more directly into pregnant womens body area feeds, also DR. JAN ENGLISH-LUECK
Now in 2025, with big data, widespread environmental Increasingly, the isolation of aging populations across Asia
informing family members. Mom knows what youre eating. is an anthropologist at San Jose
sensing, and a global focus on wellness, self-tracking has led to new networks of remotely connected, adopted State University, and a Distinguished
Fellow at the IFTF, studying cultural
futures in California and China.

FUTURE NOW 2015 59


Animism and Austerity
Japans Human+Machine Past and Future

Tezuka Productions
Robopets! Exoskeletons for elders! VR romance! Every few
months a new tech story comes out of Japan that piques interest around the world
and reinforces Japans image as a land of advancedbut highly quirkytechnology.
Indeed, as of 2007 Japan had the highest robot density of any country in the world,
with 310 robots to every 10,000 human employees, surpassing the rate of its
nearest comparisons, Germany at 234 and South Korea at 185.

This might seem to support a person today might not believe


stereotype about Asia, and Japan sneakers have a soul, but the idea of
in particularthat these countries interacting with an inanimate object
pushed ahead in the race towards with its own life has a place in the
the future by uncritically embracing cultural DNA.
technology. But accepting this
stereotypical view echoes past In particular, that as we use a specific From centuries-old folklore to 20th
attitudes towards the alien Orient, tool, we imbue it with a form of life century pop culture, the idea of inanimate
objects coming to life and forming
and prevents us from thinking clearly and develop a relationship with relationships with humans holds a special
about innovation and tech adoption it. The idea is that our tools arent place in Japans imagination.
in the region. merely disposable material objects,
but rather, they have an important While the attention has focused
For instance, while some might think relationship with us and should be on the men engaging in these tech
Japan is a country obsessed with treated, and disposed of, with rever- activities and practices, women have
high technology at the expense of the ence and care. often pioneered them.
natural and organic, this division isnt
seen as strongly as in other parts of So while technology in Japan has
the worldand thats important when THE AUSTERITY IMPERATIVE often been associated with conspic-
thinking about body area networks. Both the domestic and international uous consumption, there are many
press have made much of Japans diverse motivations for tech adop-
herbivore men. This is a new tionsuch as living with less.
ITS ALIVE!
category of identity in Japanmen
We often assume technology who arent as preoccupied with And its critical we take all of these
advances rapidly, and culture has traditional notions of success, such motivations into account. If we
to keep up, but that isnt always the as consumption or marriage, as remain stuck in stereotypes, it
case. While the Internet of Things previous generations. While much blinds us from imagining the truly
has garnered lots of excitement of the focus of attention has been transformative Human+Machine
worldwide, the concept of objects around economics, relationships, sex, Symbioses that might lie ahead for
waking up isnt new in Japan. Folk and gender, this is also an important the island nation.
belief dictates that everything has a technology story. Though many of
spiritfrom rivers, trees, and stones the so-called herbivores depend For previous generations, Japans
to manmade tools such as hammers heavily on their parents or part-time high-tech stereotype may have been
or clothing. The average Japanese work for financial support, for the a source of pride. For younger gener-
most part their lifestyle is not very ations, though, the need to maintain
costly. They tend to be into activities this image might not be as strong. If
such as photography, cooking, crafts, young people continue to find more
BEN HAMAMOTO hiking, and exploring cities by foot meaning in their chosen activities,
Research Manager and less in traditional jobs, we could
and train. What allows them to do
these things without much money is see a future of tech-enabled austerity
technologydigital cameras, mobile for Japan.
phones, and free YouTube tutorials.
Crashing My Own
Hotel Room
A Cautionary Tale
It was supposed to be a romantic evening. Out of curiosity, I researched Lucernic, the maker of the
My wifes business trip to London landed us in one of the home automation system that seemed to be crashing. A
nicest hotels of my well-traveled life. message in Mandarin informed me that Lucernic.com no
longer existed. Among the remnants of the corporation
When we arrived, an extremely well-composed blond was a YouTube channel with 19 videosall posted three
woman escorted us to our room. Her sole task was training years ago.
us in how to operate our room. She literally had to teach
us how to turn on the lights. For two tech-savvy adults, Was it possible that the M by Montcalm had purchased
this seemed almost comicaluntil we realized that it was and installed 296 hotel rooms worth of hardware and
necessary. The room had no light switches, no thermostat software from a corporation that dissolved before the hotel
knobsall of these analog controls had been abolished in even opened? If bugs like the ones I experienced could not
favor of three well-disguised Android tablets. The room had be fixed, would the offending devices and wiring need to
over two dozen connected lights, plus three phones, a TV, be gutted and replaced? How many tons of e-waste might
electronic curtains, an aromatherapy diffuser, a heated self- systems like these generate?
defogging bathroom mirror,


motion-sensing in-closet
lights, a towel warmer, stereo
wall-mounted speakers, and, I needed tech support. Badly. Dialing zero Thank
of course, remotely controlled
do-not-disturb lights visible
you for calling the M by Montcalm. Youre in Tech City
from the hall. Every one of Londons answer to Silicon Valley ... We do appreciate your
these items wasat least in
theorycontrollable by the patience, thank you, well be with you as soon as we can
three tablets.

My inner environmentalist and disdainer of luxury had been As we struggle to understand and reduce the negative
lost somewhere in the elevatorI was smitten by the sophis- environmental and social impacts of e-waste, we simul-
ticated network of devices pandering to my every need. taneously press onward into a world where we expect
everything we own to be smart in some way. At the
On the second evening in the hotel, as my wife hopped in same time, we discard and replace these devices more
the shower, I set out to dial up some mood lighting. quickly each year.

And thena scream from the shower. The room sud- One online profile states, Lucernic is an environ-
denly went dark, except for the tablets screen, which ment-friendly company. We design and manufacture a new
read: Lucernic isnt responding. Do you want to close generation of home automation systems. While in theory,
it? Wait / OK. Before I could click a button or respond to smart lighting with motion sensors could save us countless
the scream, the entire room restartedvery quickly, the megawatts of electricity, the gains are illusory if these
lights came back, the curtains opened, the TV came on, smart systems are effectively disposable.
and, needless to say, the mood was not romantic.

The next day, I tried it again and, sure enough, the mood DAVID EVAN HARRIS
lights crashed the room. teaches futures thinking at
UC Berkeley and researches the
future of philanthropy, governance
As my new-fangled body area network failed me repeatedly, and social movements at IFTF.
I felt something between frustration and a desire to laugh
out loud. If ever there was a first world problem, this was it.
FUTURE NOW 2015 61
BACTERIA-BASED NANOMACHINES

Sensing
Function

Evolving Nanoscale
Actuation
Function
nanoscale machines, the molecules BACTERIA-BASED NANOMACHINES
they release are like messages or Communication
packages they use to communicate Function

Communication with other bacteria. Cells use


signaling molecules such as
calcium ions to control processes.
Our investigation involves collabora-
DNA in Nucleoid
and Plasmids
= Nano-Memory/
Processor
Cell Membrane
= Nano-Power Unit

Protein Receptor
Biology, Engineering, and Robotics Converge tion among communications, biology,
and mechanical engineering teams.
= Nano-Receivers

Ribosomes
with Dr. Ian Akyildiz Pili
= Nano-Sensors/
= Nano-Transmitters

Flagellum
What are some potential uses of Actuators
= Nano-Actuator
nanoscale communications? Source: I. F. AKYILDIZ | Ken Byers Chair Professor in Telecommunications | Georgia Institute of Technology |
Today, networks of smart devices have already transformed our world, Were looking at how specific
School of Electrical and Computer Engineering | BWN (Broadband Wireless Networking) Lab

and were just starting to connect our bodies to them in meaningful ways. We see components in the body such as


signs that we might be able to create new bio-based networks inside our own bodies calcium, iron, potassium, and astro-
cytes are communicating. The next
and manipulate the ones already there. As molecular biology, nanoscale engineering,
step would be to apply our findings
and robotics converge, we may be able to use microscopic robots to target specific on communication to particular
interactions among many natural nanoscale processes within our bodies cells. In the illnesses, such as Crohns disease or The world will be totally different, with billions of
Alzheimers disease.
next few decades, communications technology could take on a whole new meaning, nanoscaled devices circulating in the human body
as we gain the ability to coordinate interactions among these tiny bio-nanobots and as additional red blood cells or white blood cells.
How can human networks
natural human bioelectrical functions. communicate with these
nanoscale networks?
From nanoscale networks within the Can you describe a few highlights All the componentstransceivers,
IFTF researcher Michael Liebhold fight any bacteria-based illness in Can you describe networking and human body, well need to create a from projects in your labs? antennas, and batterieseven the
spoke with Dr. Ian Akyildiz, a the human body. Were investigating signaling in these environments? gateway to the outside. Were think- All my research centers in the world processors already exist. Were in the
preeminent researcher in nanoscale cell-to-cell communication among Bacteria communication is based on ing about using a type of nanoscale are taking one of two tracks. One is process of physically showing that
networks. A professor at Georgia bacteria because as they create and molecular communication. Bacteria cell phone that will be the gateway intrabody molecular communications, they work.
Institute of Technology and founder work as coloniescalled quorum release and diffuse molecules or to the outside world, like using the using the communication aspects
of the Nano Communications Center, sensingbillions of bacteria colonies particles, communicating among Internet for doctors examinations. and the nature of calcium ions and
Dr. Akyildiz has established several work together. What are the implications
bacteria. If you think of bacteria as other molecular markers. The other for an interface with
BIO-NANOTHING AS IoT DEVICE
highly regarded research centers. We call this the Internet of Bio-Nano track is nanoscale machines, using neurocommunications?
Things. We can create Bio-Nano nanomaterials like graphene,
Things in the body or in body compo- All these different communications
What is the current status of considered nanomaterials because
BIO-NANOTHINGS COULD BRIDGE CELLS AND IOT DEVICES nents as the network, and then well going on within the human body
nanoscale communications in theyre so light and so thin theyre
have a gateway or multiple gateways such as molecular motors, calcium
the body? almost two-dimensional. Of course,
Nucleus Ribosome ions, bacteria, neurons, and astro-
outside the body. Eventually well be its three-dimensional, but graphene
Nanoscale communications will be a able to genetically engineer human cytesare now all separate aspects
is harder than diamonds and much
reality in the near term. Were already cells and program them. The world of communication. My research
Figures recreated from I.F. Akyildiz et al. IEEE Communications

stronger than steel. Using such


working on bacteria communica- Control Unit
will be totally different, with billions of agenda is to learn how these
Processor materials, we can create nanoscale
tion, investigating how to engineer Cytoplasm
nanoscaled devices circulating in the separate islands of communication
Memory machines, like nanoantennas, nano-
synthetic programmable bacteria so human body as additional red blood networks all affect each other.
Sensors transceivers, and nanobatteries.
they can communicate and help the cells or white blood cells. As soon as
body attack natural bacteria. The Transceiver Battery
they detect any tumors or diseases, Then well be able to create inte-
significance of this is that genetically Biological Actuator
theyll communicate and attack. In
Cell grated, graphene-based nanoscale
engineered bacteria will be able to the next 10 to 20 years, practical,
Chemical Mitochondria machines. We also look at how these MIKE LIEBHOLD
Receptors Gap Junction wide-scale applications will become machines will communicate. Were Distinguished Fellow
Magazine March 2015

Flagella / Pili / Cilia IoT Computing a reality. Its a long-term process. already producing integrated devices.
Device

Source: I. F. AKYILDIZ | Ken Byers Chair Professor in Telecommunications | Georgia Institute of Technology |
School of Electrical and Computer Engineering | BWN (Broadband Wireless Networking) Lab
FUTURE NOW 2015 63
In the 1960s, Paul Baran, one of the founders of
the Institute for the Future, envisioned a move
from centralized communications to a distributed
systema network architecture that formed the
backbone for todays Internet. Looking out to
W H EN EVER YT H IN G 2025, we can see the outlines of a transformation

IS MEDIA in communications that will be equally profound:


we will be marketing to machines, receiving
messages from our bodies, and reinventing how
we communicate, collaborate, persuade, and build
THE F UTUR E OF relationships in a hyperconnected and distributed
COMMU N I CATI O N A N D world where everything is becoming media.

TECH N O LO GY
In 2016, join IFTFs Technology Horizons program
as we map this transformation and highlight the
emerging technologies and strategies well use
to amplify and connect with each other and world
around us.

For membership and other information about Technology Horizons


contact Sean Ness at sness@iftf.org or (650) 233-9517
FUT URENOW
C ON N E CT WIT H U S

facebook.com/iftf
FUTURE NOW is a production of the
@iftf
Institute for the Future, an independent,
info@iftf.org
nonprofit strategic research group.
IFTFs Technology Horizons Program G E T N E WS
FR OM T HE FU T U R E
combines a deep understanding of quarterly newsletter

technology and societal forces in the iftf.org/iftf-you/subscribe/

coming decade. Look out for our VISIT OU R GALLE R Y


201 Hamilton Avenue
next issue in 2016! Palo Alto, CA 94301

iftf.org

PREPARE FOR THE FUTURE TODAY!

Whether you want to talk to us about a customized research project,


are interested in sponsoring one of our futures programs, or you are
looking for a research-based futures perspectivecontact us!
FUT URENOW
TECHNOLOGY HORIZONS 2015

the new
body
language

NEW B ODY LA NGUAGE 2015


How wearables, implantables,
and wireless networks will
connect our communities
and alter our anatomies

SCENARIOS OF
A GENERATIONAL SHIFT

TECHNOLOGY
ENABLERS OF
BODY AREA NETWORKS

PLUS:
FASHION + SPORTS WEARABLES,
NANOSCALE COMMUNICATION,
MIND MELDS, AND MORE!
IFTF.ORG

Artifact from the Future, not a real product. First appeared in Food Futures 2013.