The following story exhibits speculative scenarios that reflect how global transformations might reconstruct the way we engage with communities, deliver our programmes, raise funds, use new technologies, and deal with changes we’ve never imagined. The scenarios are a result of a year consultation that included futures and foresight workshops with over 100 National Societies –including deep dives with senior leadership, horizon scanning research, and an online game for youth volunteers to about their view of the future. Watch 2017 highlights of our Futures and Foresight team, the Solferino Academy.
“Our world isn’t linear; the changes aren’t linear – therefore our solutions can’t be linear.”
Welcome to 2030
Our world is a very different place. People are living their lives in a manner that we haven’t seen before. Citizens are connected to each other deeply – regardless of where in the world they live. Their needs, hopes and desires are significantly different to any other time in history. These changes haven’t just come about from the fast integration of technology in our everyday lives – but also from what people believe in, whom they trust, who their neighbours are, what their environment looks like, and the types of jobs that they have. These are some global transformations that we feel are driving our world. Join us as we take you on a journey to explore our future world and how the Red Cross and Red Crescent could serve communities in the upcoming years.
All experiential futures artefacts, presented along this page, have been designed by experiential futures designers, in collaboration with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Artefact designs have been based on IFRC Thematic Futures analysis, which puts forward the key global trends and emerging issues that are transforming our world today. Each artefact has a story that attempts to enhance discussions and reflections on how we can prepare better today to tackle the challenges of tomorrow.
01 THE NEW WORLD TIMES –BREAKING NEWS FROM 2030
In 2017, more than 4,000 youth volunteers across 120 countries played WhatFutures – a WhatsApp game designed by IFRC and Open Lab Newcastle University. The game was designed to broker diverse views from young people on what they see as the key trends affecting us in the coming years and to influence Strategy 2030. As part of the game, they solved different challenges that included the creation of multimedia news stories and advertisements from 2030 that expressed the challenges and opportunities that their communities are and will be facing by 2030. This newspaper reflects their hopes and fears about their humanitarian needs and how they imagined the Red Cross and Red Crescent needs to change to be better prepared to face them. All the stories are written by them.
Open Lab at Newcastle University and IFRC
02 FUTURE AIR
The exponential growth of industries, traffic overload, extreme weather conditions, among other issues are topics we regularly read about. But how often do we get a sense of their implications for future generations?
03 GENETIC CALCULATOR
The latest invention from Muto Labs, this genetic risk calculator tracks genetic predispositions to infectious diseases. It is used by various state and humanitarian organisations in an attempt to pre-emptively thwart the spread of disease. The calculator analyses saliva swabs and processes them to identify people who might have genetic predispositions to a variety of diseases, as well as those who have the capacity for resistance.
AUGMENTED REALITY (AR) EXPERIENCE
Within the exhibition, we displayed different interactive pieces, including augmented reality (what is augmented reality?). The different trackers, showed below, trigger different scenarios. To scan the trackers, you will need to download the mobile application called ‘Red Cross Futures’ on Apple Store or Google Play. Once downloaded, follow the steps in the app. The stories include exclusive content with compelling data visualisations. Turn on the volume of your phone for a better experience!
04 FLOATING CITIES (AR)
Future displacement of communities due to climate-related events will impact radically on the way we work. Governments are looking at building cities on water as a potential solution to rising sea levels. Floating cities, factories and even countries will include housing, farming and manufacturing. These floating habitats will utilise natural resources including sun, wind and waves for self-sufficiency. Edge DNA, 2017
05 PACIFIC WATERS (AR)
Water temperatures around the world are increasing which is subsequently causing sea levels to rise, changing the landscape of the world slowly. Islands and coastlines will change, maps will need to be re-drawn. For example, in the United States, the Florida coastline will disappear with just 2 feet more of water.
06 RC VOLUNTAIR
RC Voluntair is the 192nd Red Cross Red Crescent National Society and is popular due to its global presence and restless availability. This peculiar National Society inhabits the digital space and uses applied analytics technologies to unleash the power of artificial intelligence for distributing humanitarian aid. An algorithm manages a global network of newsfeeds, data sets, and e-volunteers to anticipate and allocate aid and relief efforts where and when they are needed most.
“The powerful machine-learning system enables Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to employ predictive distribution strategies placing aid infrastructure before natural disasters, and crises strike.”
What makes RC Voluntair unique among any other platform is a global network of volunteers who have signed up to the system. Volunteers are indexed by their skill sets and geolocation and can be called upon by the system to quickly and efficiently respond to emerging situations. Superflux, 2017
07 INTERNATIONAL BLOCKCHAIN EVIDENCE REGISTRY (IBER) – FIELD KIT
The so-called fake news phenomenon of the late 2010s built more momentum into the early 2030s further eroding the already fragile trust in international governing bodies and traditional media. By the mid-2020s, whether a natural o manmade crisis, the crucial role of truthful information as the basis for mobilising relief and support was dramatically undermined. Tracking the “facts on the ground” became harder to proof -in both major and minor crises-. How many people were affected? Over how large of an area? What were the causes? What was the situation at a local level? All of these essential questions became difficult to answer to the satisfaction of the right bodies.
09 ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, THE FUTURE OF REMOTE HEALTH (AR)
An AR experience that visualises how AI can help transcend borders in how people help each other. A doctor in Africa via AI can provide medical help in a high danger zone in Asia. AI has the capability of going through tens of thousands of documents and reference material to assess a person’s health and develop the most accurate solution to the person’s needs. Edge DNA, 2017
10 DRONES TO THE RESCUE! (AR)
An AR experience that visualises how drones will act as first responders to help in emergencies with the assistance of AI. AI will have the capabilities to assess and categorise the damage for prioritisation, assisting such as medical, food and potentially have the ability to transport people to an emergency zone. Edge DNA, 2017
11 FLOOD RISK DATA SCULPTURE
Forecast-based Financing (FbF) is a rapidly developing system that smartly utilises the window between forecast and hazard in order to save resources, belongings and, most importantly, lives. FbF is a system designed to automatically trigger action based on forecast information, data collection and observation. The system has different levels of action depending on the emergency level. In Togo, FbF was piloted with a digital tool called FUNES (for “functional estimation”).
12 VIRTUAL PACIFIC – VR EXPERIENCE
The Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, in collaboration with Visyon and artist Santiago Espeche, developed a virtual reality experience that combines satellite imagery art with a compelling narrative that takes place in the Pacific Ocean.
13 ROBOT TEACHER
Current developments in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Robotics suggest a future of fully shared social spaces, including learning environments with robotic personalities. Mr Sota is a robot teacher with capabilities for social interaction and classroom control. Would you send your kids to a school non-human professors? Imagineering Institute, Malaysia, 2017
14 SUITCASES FOR THE FUTURE
“Moving is living. How much does your life weigh”
15 VRRT TEAM
By the mid-2020s, an increasing tempo of unanticipated crises—particularly environmental and technologically driven infrastructure failures—push the ability of traditional international groups to respond. Additionally, national organisations more and more focus on domestic issues, and the Global North recedes from dealing with issues in the Global South. At the same time, resources and skills are increasingly available and accessible in emerging economies. A mix of indigenous and transnational organisations stand up in these countries, with the aim of providing crisis management, mitigation and assistance, particularly as climate change impacts them disproportionately.
16 CITIZENSHIP KIT
Single-use dynamic temporary citizenship in cases of disaster
In the wake of a steady upward trend in climate-driven disruption hundreds of thousands are left homeless and unable to remain in place. Upwards of 35 million people were displaced and needed immediate assistance in 2026 alone. At a series of international summits convened by UNHCR in 2027-2029, a framework for what is called DyNaMo (dynamic national mobility) is signed onto by 23 countries in its initial implementation, beginning in 2030. DyNaMo builds on both precedent and practice of the successful long-term e-residency programmes developed by Estonia and a handful of other nations in the 2010s, allowing qualified individuals to gain digital-legal “citizenship”—though not necessarily rights to physical residency—in another country. The 23 countries of the DyNaMo partnership agreed to place into a pool between 2,000 and 50,000 temporary legal “citizenships” as a means of extending their own local legal and welfare systems for up to 120 days to refugees in third countries who are under meaningful threat from war, genocide or non- voluntary resettlement due to a natural disaster or other significant cause.
17 The Thing from The Future
The Thing from The Future is an award-winning customised game that challenges players to collaboratively and competitively describe objects from a range of alternative futures. The object of the game is to come up with the most entertaining and thought-provoking descriptions of hypothetical objects from the near, medium and long term. Situation Lab, 2017
How do you play?
Would you like a
copy of the came?
Business cards from the future
These cards were designed so they could trick the distracted ones. They look like regular IFRC cards, but all the titles revealed how the programmes and operations might require a different skill set to meet future needs better. The cards also speculate about new types of humanitarian needs. As part of an exercise, the team gave a set of these cards to youth delegates asking them to handle them during meetings. “Do you want to know what I’ll be doing in five or ten years? Here’s my card coming from the future” something between those lines the delegates had to say when delivering the cards.
- Global Lead: Geoengineering Impacts Mitigation. Emerging Disasters Department (EMD).
- First responder: Cyberwarfare. Contemporary Conflict Response Unit.
- Global Head of Digital Branches. Rapid Volunteer Taskforce.
- Chief Data Scientist. Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and Predictive Data Department.
- Head of Humanitarian Diplomacy. Global Red Cross and Red Crescent Delegation to Silicon Valley.
- Technical Lead: Digital Identity and Blockchain. Global Migration Support Team.
- Senior Officer: Crowd Sourcing and Peer-to-peer Mobilisation. Alternative Finance Unit.
- Global Head: Artificial Intelligence and Predictive Data. Disaster Anticipation Taskforce
- Chairperson of the Global Climate Migration Taskforce. Global Disasters Office
Climate Migration Poster
The Situation Lab designed the following poster, which expresses a scenario where climate activists are self-organising and taking actions. After coastlines start to disappear all around the world, communities take action and protest with unusual methods. Most of these groups are swarm-based bodies that act without funding, borders, and connect through distributed networks.
Innovative Finance Money
Every single attendant to the General Assembly would easily recognise the person on that hundred bucks note. Henry Dunant, funder of the Red Cross Red Crescent has become an emblem of the Movement. This flyer was sneakily dropped in places around the venue where people would usually interact with cash transactions. The motive was to, for a second, cheat the participants to think it was a real bill for them to inquire further. At the back of the money, relevant information related to the innovative financing unit was communicated.
SATELLITE IMAGERY ART
There was a time when deserts were oceans. Argentinian artist, Santiago Espeche bases his creations on deserts satellite imagery. He changes the colour palette replacing the typical yellow, orange and red for a range of different blues and whites. As a result, what looked dry and dead depicts a vivid picture of life and greatness.
About the designers
THE FUTURE IS NOW was possible due to several speculative and strategical design firms. They worked closely with IFRC Innovation team to curate and brought the concepts to life, ensuring consistency with a holistic consultation process. Read the behind the scenes and relevant pieces linked to this exhibition from each one of them.
Augmented Reality to tackle humanitarian challenges