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Futurist Friday: Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me

Category: Center for the Future Of Museums Blog

One of my favorite methods of helping people envision the future is encouraging them to invent “future artifacts.” These objects embody the technology, culture and overall flavor of the (not-yet extant) society may create them. These mock-ups, whether slickly produced or roughed out, help us immerse ourselves in the worlds they reflect.

With the help of some awesome futurist museum collaborators, I’m assembling a selection of such artifacts for your viewing pleasure at the Alliance’s annual meeting. Meanwhile, your Futurist Friday assignment is to correctly identify which of the following artifacts actually exists now, and which one is a (as-yet fictional) glimpse of a potential future. Follow the embedded links to check your answers.

Wonder what genes lurk within the lovable mutt you call your best friend? Wonder who, exactly, Fidette shacked up with to produce her latest litter of unplanned puppies? Well, wait no more. “Dogs can’t talk but their DNA can,” proclaims Wisdom Panel, the first home genetic testing kit for dogs. Just mail off a swab of your dog’s saliva, and get back a report describing each of the breeds detected in the sample, and a  certificate (suitable for framing) showing the ancestry of your dog.

Americans are dedicated to the proposition that we are infinitely perfectible, if only we eat the right things, sleep the right amount, exercise enough. But motivating that healthy behavior can be a challenge. But why leave your future, perfected self to the imagination? The FuturU booth creates a photorealistic avatar of a better you that will result from making the right choices in environments that support healthy habits. 

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HAPIfork is an electronic fork that helps you monitor and track your eating habits. It also alerts you with the help of indicator lights and gentle vibrations when you are eating too fast. This amazing addition to the growing ranks of “quantified self” tracking devices measures the amount of “fork servings” taken per minute and the intervals between “fork servings”. This information is then uploaded via USB or Bluetooth to your Online Dashboard on to track your progress

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