Futurist Scavenger Hunt


The Story So Far...

On August 22, we met in Oates Theater and the Sharpe Academic Commons to search for signals of the future. The day began with a "scavenger hunt" that asked us to look over the Pinterest page we created for signals that we:

  • considered to be the most "hopeful"
  • considered to be the most worrying or troubling
  • considered to be the most amazing and/or mind-blowing
  • thought were important but not identified on the Pinterest page

Below is a summary of what we discovered.

Most Hopeful Signals

Locally Grown Food

This included things like local farmers markets, backyard chicken coops and gardens and other related items. Of the 29 groups, 15 identified this as the most hopeful signal.

Medical Advances

6 groups identified things such as 3d printed organs, advanced medical scanners and the like as their most hopeful signal.

Small Communities

4 groups identified small, local, and connected communities as a signal.

Most Worrying Signals

Loss of Face-to-Face Communications

Of the 29 groups, 16 identified the decline of human connection as the most troubling signal.

Intrusive Data Collection

From the NSA scandals to corporate market research, 4 groups believed that the data that is being collected about us could potentially (or already has) become too intrusive.

Drive-Through Funeral Parlor

3 groups identified this as the most troubling signal. They viewed it as a signal of how absurdly busy people have become and how we have lost connection with other human beings.

Most Mind Blowing Signals

3d Printed Organs

8 groups viewed this as the most mind-blowing development and were intrigued by the potential benefits of this technology.

Hyperloop Travel

5 groups identified ultra-high speed magnetic travel as the most mind-blowing signal.

Nanobot Surgery

4 groups identified this as their most mind-blowing signal.

Signals Not on the Pinterest Page

Lots of Interesting Additions!

There are too many to place in individual categories, but here is a bullet-point list. Well worth looking at.

  • space exploration
  • polarization in such areas as economics, politics, religion, etc.
  • a machine that converts plastic into petroleum
  • the rising water table on the eastern seaboard: is the east coast at risk?
  • 3d printing of guns
  • the growth of corporate influence
  • the end of gender? the rise of non-gender specific pronouns
  • the decline of gps in medicine
  • digital obsolescence: are we entering a digital dark age?
  • HAARP: controlling the weather and its potential impact on agriculture
  • few people last 20 years in the same workplace
  • the movement away from technology and back to nature
  • social stratification: the end of the middle class?
  • mice have implanted memories: are humans next?
  • public officials seem to get away with increasingly egregious transgressions
  • face transplants: now just for accident victims, but will they be a way to evade biometric surveillance?
  • body modifications involving invasive surgeries. is this the end of our physical integrity?
  • products that are good for our bodies and the environment are expensive
  • the decline of civility
  • the decline of personal responsibility
  • over-parenting
  • the decline of people entering the trades
  • the value of knowing how to do things for one's self like changing a tire or sewing buttons
  • iPad virtual worlds for preschoolers
  • converting trash into fuel
  • the Chronos App which tracks how you spend your days
  • research on the impact that technology has on young brains
  • the water selection at grocery stores
  • connected cities
  • too many tech signals? what about peoples?
  • humanitarianism
  • now that the human genome is mapped, now what?

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