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SciFly NYC // 95 // Daily Speculations Part I

Weekly Events 9/23 - 9/29

Hey SciFly Readers!

This week I want to share a couple of fun speculative sketches I have put together over the last week in response to the #DailyUI challenge.

Basically, they email you a prompt to design a different type of user interface element (sign-up form, settings, profile, landing page) every day for 100 days. I decided to sign-up for it after working on a super long design project at work where I have to focus on the here and now, the everyday challenges of an organization today.

As much as I love doing that kind of design, working creatively within constraints and with known user problems and research, I am constantly in a speculative frame of mind, and thought it would be fun to have a way to still have a little bit of constraints (via a daily prompt to design a specific type of thing) but much more freedom to get speculative, design however I wanted, and ultimately to get more comfortable doing quick sketches of many of the ideas I have jot down frantically in my phone and forget about for months.

So, enjoy a couple of my favorite speculative sketches so far from the DailyUI prompts.

Day 1 - Sign-Up & Day 2 - Credit Card Checkout

The first day I started this challenge, I was mildly annoyed that my partner wanted me to go to Lowe's (way farther way) instead of Home Depot, since apparently Home Depot is funneling money to conservative investors. I kept thinking that it's getting harder and harder to really vote with your dollar, given the convoluted nature of sprawling mega-corporations/subsidiary chains and the short-list of people and organizations who fund so very many things. How to fix this? Let's just use the blockchain and have our own 'money'... I started on Day 1 with the broad idea, and extended it a bit for Day 2, which was theoretically a credit card checkout, but I broadly interpreted that as payment.

Red/Blue is a speculative UI for a future app where society has been further & irreparably split by their political beliefs to only support and shop at organizations who share their values. By creating 2 new cryptocurrencies, BluePill and RedPill, users can be 100% sure they are putting their money where their values are, as that currency can only be accepted at verified Liberal or Conservative organizations. I could imagine this merging with A/R to go even further and literally tune-out opposing viewpoints, news, media, or any digital content that wouldn't fit within the user's chosen reality.

Day 4 -  Calculator

I have always thought it would be really cool if you could have a way to easily combine trends & signals into rich worlds for continued speculation by using AI trained on world-building techniques to somehow take inputs & generate different plausible futures, each featuring a context and user (setting and character).

No idea how exactly it would work in practice, but designed a fun way of thinking of it as a calculator where a user can input up to 5 variables from STEEP (Social, Technological, Economic, Ecological, Political) and generate a custom plausible future scenario.

Day 7 - Settings

Probably my favorite project to work on so far was Day 7, to design a settings window for an app or website. I had just started reading Neal Stephenson's Fall; or, Doge in Hell and was thinking a lot about layered reality, A/R, and a project I had worked on in the past with some amazing friends at a MIT Media Lab A/R hackathon including Rogue Fong and Adam Sauer,probably my first SciFly subscribers ever (I actually started SciFly on the bust home from the event at my group-mates encouragement). Our project, Rainbow, was an aspirational idea for blockchain verified layers of digital content in a world where ubiquitous augmented reality was the norm (if you have read the book, you'll see the connection). 

So I decided it would be fun to think about what settings might look like for this type of app (we called it Rainbow) and how I could use existing UI tools to mock them up, given they would have to work in an A/R prototype. Luckily I found a great Medium article on exactly this topic, and after downloading GoPro VR Studio, had a working UI sketch.

You can read more about our Rainbow project here, but basically the idea is that you can have a series of blockchain verified identities that allow you to access different streams of reality through your augmented reality wearable. This would allow each user to perceive the same surroundings in a totally different way, and actually layer on site-specific content as needed (notice how even though they are in cyber-punk land the MTA layer is turned on, and the subways are visible in their compass at the top of the design).
I'm only up to Day 8 for now, but I'll keep sharing some of my favorite ideas as I go along. You can also follow me daily on Twitter (yes, this is how I stay accountable) where I will post my designs at some point each evening Monday - Friday.

Thanks for listening and read on for this week's great speculative events!

"The future is here, now let's distribute it." 

Doc Martens

SciFly is a design studio dedicated to leveraging speculative design and science fiction to imagine and prototype alternative futures enabled by today's emerging technology.


Monday | 9/23

Tuesday | 9/24

Wednesday | 9/25

Thursday | 9/26

Friday | 9/27

Saturday | 9/28

Sunday | 9/29

OnGoing [classes, exhibits, shows etc.]


What I'm Reading

Here is a quick snapshot of my favorite books, podcasts, and articles this week.

Fall; or, Dodge in Hell
by Neal Stephenson

The Four Converging Technologies Giving Rise to the Spatial Web
by Peter H. Diamandis, MD

A prosthetic leg that can sense touch makes it easier for amputees to walk
by Charlotte Jee

Thanks for Subscribing

Thank you for reading! We hope you have enjoyed this weekly dose of NYC's best speculative design, fiction, art, and technology events.

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Want More Speculation?

Join the NYC Speculative Futures meetup, a group for those interested in Critical Design, Speculative Design, Design Fiction, Discursive Design, Futurism, Science Fiction or any other incarnation of the approach which involves using Design to speculate about alternate futures. We'll be hosting speakers, workshops, and more!
Join Us!

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