FUTURE OPPOSITES: TECH OR EARTH?
︎︎︎ XANA FERREIRA CHICANO & SHANNON ORIE / SOCIETY
A VIRTUAL SELF-ESCAPE
2 NOVEMBER 2031 || 06:00
‘GO0d Morn1ng’, my robot Maeve comes into my bedroom and wakes me up at 06:00. ‘H3y hOw ar3 you this m0rning, how well di]1d y0u sleep?’, asks Maeve while she keeps me company. I did not sleep well last night because of the pressure of my study deadline. Maeve scans my face to see which vitamins and herbs I need to get more energy. ‘Th1s wi|| make3 you f33l better,’ says Maeve and gives me her produced vitamine B and Ginger pills. I climb out of my bed and start my day with my 3D printed breakfast. I am nervous because for the first time I am going to participate in an online game with my psychologist Lila. I will play this game while talking to her. Maeve gives me my Virtual Reality glasses and I start my therapy session..
After the corona crisis of 2020, working online from home has only increased, technological developments gave this an extra push. The digital world is the new world where people meet. However, the disadvantage is that you miss the physical aspect of being together with others. Nevertheless, the digital world makes it easier to reach other people who speak different languages. The same goes for Lila, my psychologist, who is American. Together with Lila, I am talking about the time of 2020 compared to today. Meanwhile she shows me how this game can help during therapy.
Lila tells me something personal about herself at the start of the session; she sees herself as a non-binary person. ‘I am so happy that gender has been removed from the identity cards, everyone has always been pigeonholed.’ The time we live in really changed this individualistic aspect. ‘Everyone in society is different in behavior and opinions and wants to get the most out of themselves. As a result you get all kinds of different people, which is a good thing,’ says Lila.
Together, we are looking back at today’s performance society compared to 2020.It has increased even more. Educational institutions are seen as nodes in the ‘Lifelong Learning’ society. Much has been invested in high quality education. Technological advances have made education flexible. I talk to Lila about the high pressure this is causing on me, while Lila tells me how I can blow off steam by hitting the virtual boxing balls. She tells me how women have become more and more emancipated in the period from 2020 until now. ‘There are as many women as men with a higher professional or university degree today. As the boundaries between men and women have vanished, the pressure is only increasing due to increased competition’, says Lila. ‘I will give you some tips and tricks to give yourself some rest. First, knock out all your frustration on the boxing balls, as hard as you can!’
Lila tells me how I can use technology in a positive way to calm down and be more aware. I puff it out and hit the punching balls less hard because I’m curious to hear what she will tell. ’You can escape the hustle and bustle of the world by using the ‘self-care’ program on your virtual reality glasses and move yourself to for example, Bali. Here you can meditate and work on your mindfulness. You also have a tool ‘WTW’ on your glasses. Here you can find a digital wardrobe from ‘The Fabricant’. It is super sustainable because you don’t waste any materials and sources. You can buy your own digital clothes with your crypto coins’, says Lila. ‘You can also use your VR glasses to visit Lancôme’s virtual store. They measure your skin type on the basis of augmented reality and produce the best cream for you against screen time. You can also purchase this with your crypto coins and it will be sent to your home.’
‘Mental health, self-care and awareness are so important in the current world’, says Lila. More and more people crave for physical interaction because digitalization causes digital loneliness. We are connected, but we are not at the same time. ‘Try to sometimes free yourself by using this tech-world in your advantage, to meditate and meet other people online.’ I thank Lila and search for the self-care program on my Virtual Reality glasses. I escape virtually to this mindful place, Bali.
CONCLUSION 1 ‘A VIRTUAL SELF-ESCAPE X FILLING PIECES’
Filling pieces is an aware and empathic brand. The brand is for all sexes, races, religion and sexualities. They use their voices to be activists and also stand up for equal women’s rights. They bring unity through diversity, and use their designs as a language for a positive change. They show this through their unisex and innovative high quality sneakers that are affordable to a wide audience. Filling Pieces is responsible for the planet: they are transparent, have fair labour laws, try to produce as sustainably as possible and indicate where there is room for improvement. Filling Pieces could work on the use of leather and rubber. Furthermore, they use plastic for packaging and produce waste material. It is also difficult for Filling Pieces to create brand loyalty through marketing.
Filling Pieces could use sustainable technological developments as 3D-printing. Furthermore, they would not waste material or resources in a virtual world. Digital loneliness makes people crave for physical connection. Filling Pieces could form a digital community with people all over the world, to grow their brand loyalty. Filling Pieces could also respond to the self-care and health movement. However, in an individualistic society you always have people who are only focused on themselves and not on a collective thought, which Filling Pieces is very much focused on. Also, when everything becomes digital, the functionality of shoes may change, making Filling Pieces less relevant.
RESET THE SYSTEM
2 NOVEMBER 2031 || 10:00
After the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the whole world realized that we had to live more as “one” instead of individuals. Today is a big day, because we celebrate the ban of classism and biases. Back in the days we made little steps towards equality between races, sexes, religions and sexualities. Since three years, everyone has equal rights in every possible perspective.
The doorbell rings and I totally forgot I would rent my car to my neighbour. The world is moving towards a shared economy. The system is based on trust and it gives our society a positive boost. This way, we will also reduce our footprint and it saves a lot of money. Ageing in society has increased, because people are living longer. The government wants to prevent the healthcare industry from becoming overburdened, like it almost did back in the days. They divided the society into community areas, so everyone can dedicate themselves to the elderly. We redefined a new standard of urban life with our steps towards a self-sufficient world. We no longer depend on other countries or even supermarkets. Could you imagine that we are finally taking steps into beating starvation?
In the current society we think differently about death than before. Our deceased loved ones are given back to nature. Plants will grow from their DNA and will represent them in a new way of “coming back to life”. It sounds weird, but this way we can still appreciate and take care of them. If we learned anything from the past, it is to put earth before technology. Technology does not control us anymore. At least not in our community area. It all depends on how well the community works together. We see value in things, like having the opportunity to meditate everyday at 12am. This made our behavior shift towards a minimalistic way of living. We appreciate everything in life more and have the moment to stand still for a while.
Since climate change is still a big issue, we have to take our role as caretaker of the planet more seriously. In some parts of the world we have to protect ourselves from overexposure to solar radiation. There are different wearables that are textile-based replacements for the current sunscreen products. The conventional sunscreen products have serious disadvantages that also outweigh their usefulness in the long-term. Our area has a new architecture project, we are building new homes made out of waste. We had a lot of plastic waste and recycling it all costs a lot of energy. Therefore we combined concrete with plastic snippets and It actually looks very cool. We do not produce plastic anymore and we erased it out of our daily life. Cellulose, a more responsible alternative, is used in our community. It is found in leaves, stems of food crops but also in some waste streams from the food industry that are now often fermented or destroyed. We produce all the products locally and we appreciate handcrafted products more, because of their unique designs. This also ensures that CO2-emissions are minimized. This year we finally banned the use of animal leather. Designers incorporate the natural alternative of leather, ‘SCOBY’ in their designs. It is a fermented tea drink that grows layers of bacterial cellulose on its surface to create a barrier with oxygen.
We are part of nature and we are relying on it. It does people so much good. In our community area we do not have burn-outs and we do not work till late. We have a rule, which is that we have dinner every day together with our family. Our priorities have changed and we even have special days where you can spend more time just with your family.
Oh, it is already 4pm, I have to run to help my mom with dinner. She just harvested some vegetables from the community garden to make some soup. Just when I am about to set the table, the alarm in our area goes off. It is 6 o’clock, enjoy your meal!
CONCLUSION 2 ‘RESET THE SYSTEM X FILLING PIECES’
Filling Pieces provides affordable luxury designs for all sexes, races, religions and sexualities. Furthermore, people who are interested in high-end or low class brands will be attracted by the brand. Filling Pieces also produces handcrafted and unique design, with the use of innovative materials. In addition, they sourced their manufacturer close by and minimize the brand’s CO2-emissions. They could produce their designs locally because the world moves towards self-sufficiency. They could also establish a unisex line, since they still make a distinction between men and women. However, Filling Pieces still has to work on more responsible packaging. A good alternative would be cellulose, since plastic is still used in their sales.
The footwear collection consists of leather and they have trouble with finding an alternative. They could experiment with ‘SCOBY’ since it is a natural alternative made from Kombucha. Filling pieces has a collection named 683 which is responsible in every aspect, but they still have to implement this throughout the entire brand strategy. The brand is not very known yet and is still recognized as a footwear brand. They would gain more popularity in this world where community and family bonding is the mindset of 2031. Self-care and mindfulness are more important in this world and provide interesting opportunities to expand their business to skincare or furniture. In this society the gap between people is dissolved. They would lose what makes them so unique and would have to think about rebranding.