The following artifacts from the future are fictional—despite how real some may look. They are designed to spark thinking about what the future might bring.
As we enter a new decade and reflect on the changes over the past ten years, many questions remain about what the next ten or even twenty years will have in store for us. Thinking about the future can be a challenging activity. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the range of possible futures or overly focused on our own worldview. Given the Brookfield Institute’s dedication to helping generate forward-looking insights about the future of Canada’s innovation economy, we are always experimenting with new ways to help Canadians engage and plan for the future. One way is through the creation of artifacts from the future.
Artifacts from the future are designed to spark thinking about what the future might hold. The physical nature of these artifacts helps to bring some of the potential futures into focus, allowing us to better understand what they could mean. By visualizing the possibilities, our hope is that we may be more equipped to recognize both our preferred and non-preferred futures, pushing us to act now for the tomorrow we desire.
These six artifacts are inspired by trends identified as part of the Brookfield Institute’s ongoing Employment in 2030 initiative that explores the changes impacting the future of work in Canada. These trends are described in detail in our recent report Turn and Face the Strange. To push the trends a little further, these artifacts reflect a time horizon of 15–20 years into the future: ~2040. This longer time frame allows us to consider some of the impacts that are (or appear to be) further away, and can help us consider what the next decade (or two) may have in store for us.
In hopes of sparking a broader conversation about these artifacts, we are sharing them below. As real as some of these might seem, it is important to remember that they are fiction. As an observer, we encourage you to ask yourself: what if this was real? What would it mean for my life? My family? My job? My community? What are the trade-offs inherent in this future? Ask yourself, if this is a possible future, what do I want to change about my actions today?
Our goal is to provoke useful dialogue about what the future of work may look like in Canada, what Canadians would prefer it to look like, and what needs to be done to create the future we want. Join the conversation @BrookfieldIIE.