W3 of 2024W3 of 2024
W3 of 2024

Proposals for AI Futures and Tourism Futures, plus Workshopping Metaverse Futures, Slow Messagers, and Inlining CSS

Contributed By: Julian Bleecker

Published On: Wednesday, January 24, 2024 at 08:37:39 PST

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Oh dear. I think I’m running behind in these already. Partially because I was deep down a rabbit hole putting this rig together to be able to get back to doing things like Weeknotes and similar dispatches..and partially because, well..

The New Yorker Magazine from the AI Future
A Possible New Yorker Magazine from an AI Future

But first — remember that proposal I have been working on to bring Design Fiction into the AI conversation/conflagration? I am actively looking for sponsors who want to help imagine into a world where AI is as normal, ordinary, and everyday as television remote controls, vaping bans in coffee shops, jogging, and podcasts.

Can we imagine into a possible future in which AI is just…integrated into normal, ordinary, everyday life and experiences?

Right now, it seems most pundits/futurists/keynote speakers/visionaries/vc’s are struggling to fashion even a modestly vivid imaginary of the ‘AI Future’.

Let’s create a vivid imaginary — in the form of a Magazine from the AI Future.

What’s that, you wonder?

It is perhaps something like an issue of Martha Stewart ‘Home Living’ — only from a possible AI Future.

Or an issue of Life Magazine — only from a possible AI Future.

Or perhaps The New Yorker — only from a possible AI Future.

With the Magazine from the Future archetype, you get to fill out the world. You get to make sense of the world through the kinds of artifacts that are familiar to us: big, recognizable brand advertisements; letters-to-the-editor; short-form articles; product reviews; little remnant classified ads for this-that-or-the-other new kind of job; long form articles on cultural events; opinion pieces; etcetera.

Hopefully you get the idea.

Do you know who would recognize the value of this Magazine from an AI Future and the way it could help them make sense of the opportunities and possibilities in an unexpectedly vivid, rich, engaging and immersive fashion? Way better than just talking about it or pundit-ing about it?

Put us in touch!

Okay, on with the Week Notes.


ASU Center for Science and the Imagination Metaverse Futures Workshop
ASU Center for Science and the Imagination Metaverse Futures Workshop, Jan 18-19 2024
  1. 🛩️ So, I went on a short/long trip to Arizona State University which has the wonderful Center for Science and the Imagination to help participate in and facilitate a workshop exploring Metaverse Futures. The workshop was engaging, well-coreographed, and I believe I have an email in my inbox asking for something.

It feels hard to stay engaged after participating in a workshop where you’re immersed and focused for two days, then come back to the studio with a pile of things to tend to and other fun things to do. There’s a workshop model where that doesn’t happen; where the work is completed in the workshop and the synthesis happens by the organizers and/or a 2nd party. That’s not a complaint by any means. More a reflection on what could be and thoughts on ways of facilitating work.

In this case, participants are contributing to an edited volume (book) of some description, so then the emails come in asking for short descriptions of what will be contributed, etcetera. Love it. All good. And-also..staying focussed on what felt generous and imaginative while in a room gets cluttered in the mishegoss of life.

McDonaldLand Metaverse Menu
McDonaldLand Metaverse Menu

And-also, in this case, so long as I’m here I’ll say that my contribution will be strictly Design Ficiton, building on the corner of the Metaverse future my little group etched out. I’m seeing a synthesis that has McDonalds McDonaldland returning as a Metaverse, and the artifact I’m imagining is the menu of entrypoints. Possibly with that is a list of what is and is not allowed to bring into McDonaldland.

  1. 📽️ Speaking of ASU and their CSI and also coincidence, Taryn O’Neil’s lovely little film ‘The Assignment’, which was produced in collaboration with ASU and their CSI dropped last week as well. Feels reassuring that Taryn, who lives just ‘up the street’ (relative to Venice Beach geography) is also an active member of the Near Future Laboratory creative community!

Also during the Near Future Laboratory Office Hours, Taryn recorded a director’s commentary track which will give you a bit of a behind-the-scenes on the film and its production.

🍇 Speaking of the Near Future Laboratory Office Hours, we have a vibrant creative community — and you can join us and participate in active Design Fiction projects for way less than your monthly coffee budget. We're in here and things are humming. There's a vibrant web of conversations, beautiful global networking opportunities, weekly Office Hours where we share work, discuss practices, and find ways to integrate Imagination Practices into our work and jobs. Find out more over at patreon.com/nearfuturelaboratory
  1. 🐱 Fiona Raby(!!) will be a mentor(!!) in the Forecast Mentorships’ program for the 2024-25 edition over at @forecast_platform. She’s looking for design practitioners to work on a funded project, which includes an artists’ fee and production budget. Here’s some information and application stuff!

You should apply! Seriously. Stop what you’re doing and have a look because, like..here’s Fiona’s focus — ‘Paradoxical Imaginings: Objects and Ideas’ 🌈🦄

Blue Blue Blue

  1. 🏖️ Had a conversation with a National Tourism Board — one of those agencies that manages and promotes tourism within a state — as they evidently do ‘foresight’ and were curious as to how to decant their foresight work into experiential stuff. This reminded me of Project Wanderful where one of the most exciting and not-executed artifacts on the table was a City Guide. What an awesome conceit to represent the future of anywhere in the form of, say, one of those Wallpaper City Guides, or a Monocle City Guide. Oh, crap. I still owe them a reply. Must do that.

  2. 🖖🏽 ‘Met up with’ Ruth Guerra and did a causual minisode (not yet edited and dispatched to the Podcast nozzle) for the emerging practioner-type podcast conversation series. So, more material to edit. I stumbled across Ruth’s IG Story where she wondered about that film-based-on-the-book ‘Leave the World Behind’. I had just seen it. It stuck and sat with me. And I watched it again while on a plane. Likes: the set-piece vibe. Not a lot of background talen. Just principals with conflict betwix. Felt like it could be a stage play. Haven’t read the book. Probably won’t.

  3. 😳 Here’s something: “What do you do, how did you end up doing it, and how do you make money?” - the question asked multiple times while at CSI @ ASU. The answer evades. Could be a good topic for a short minisode.

  4. 🥩 I have to remind myself routinely that, when seen from the outside, it’s not entirely obvious what I do here and how organizations and teams can ‘engage’ with Near Future Laboratory. It’s a totally fair point. It might seem like walking in to a restaurant from an alien culture — and there’s no menu. The waiter just sort of looks at you and shrugs and asks, ‘Well..? What are you waiting for?’ And you just stare blankly back without a clue as to what to ask for, how to ask for it, what it might cost, and if it’s something you’re prepared to eat. So — working on that.

  5. 🔌 From Engineering Dept., I’ve been looking at some kind of facility for converting the output of this here 3rd Evolution Near Future Laboratory Blog easily into emails that I can simply shove in to my existing enterprise email solution.

FWIW, I've looked at these Nodejs utilities:

https://www.npmjs.com/package/inline-css
https://www.npmjs.com/package/css-inline

But had difficulty getting them up and running, but I didn't try very hard.

I also looked at juice https://github.com/Automattic/juice which also seems promising, but that’d be a project and I also tried enough to put it into the ‘promising..check back’ category.

This https://github.com/remy/inliner seems ancient but might work?

Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions?

Update! I got it working, mostly using inliner, the ancient one. I had to refactor to straight wonky Nodejs because I kept getting language complaints from Typescript. 🤷🏽‍♂️

LilyGo-LoRa-Series Pinmap
LilyGo-LoRa-Series 🫣
  1. 🖥️ Also from Engineering Dept., we’ve gone on a bit of a shallow dive into Meshtastic in a new 📵-Off-Grid-Futures channel in the Near Future Laboratory community Discord. Love the idea.

This reminds me of the old Slow Messenger project from back to Evolution 2 of the Near Future Laboratory.

Ages ago, when I was at Nokia, I ran a whole Design Fiction program imagining contexts of use for mostly emergency contingencies with a range of devices and their attendant technologies. Meshes, in principle, are evocative topless ways of connecting. It’s great to see evolutions of these kinds of uncentered communications networks. Fun!