Is Speculative Design a future like Black Mirror?

My colleagues Jaesin, Kevin and I worked together to create the Speculative Design project “Twins”. Our project was about Digital ID, privacy rights, and the so talked Metaverse. And if, very shortly, one has their Digital ID stolen? Probably it will be a headache, and this is not Sci-fi anymore. Countries like Estonia, for example, already have Digital IDs and public services integrated into them. So our project used it as an opportunity to discuss possible implications. We described a situation in which not only public services would be compromised, but also someone’s Avatar (Digital Twin) on Metaverse! In other words… their digital twin was kidnapped, and a lousy hacker wants a ransom for it. It might sound somehow a distant reality, but in 10 years, it might be an everyday thing already.

This project quickly grew in scope, starting with a wide variety of topics to investigate. Initially, each of us presented our thoughts from the lectures with Dr Hilary Kenna, which we then discussed as a group. When the group came together for the first time, they decided who would play what role. We understood each member’s skills and shortcomings and then attempted to assign them to strategic activities relevant to our strengths and weaknesses. As ethics and expectations got more linked, the freedom to voice our thoughts and points of view evolved into a convergent subject matter. Since then, we’ve held weekly meetings to discuss our progress. The conversations were constructive on both sides.

On the other hand, the distribution of work was fraught with difficulties. Due to a lack of clarity in the objectives and the implementation of unilateral choices, inadequate time management and priority definition were implemented, resulting in the redoing of work. Long sessions with no apparent goals were also relatively commonplace. Long meetings without clear goals were also somewhat common. The sense of team was not very uniform throughout the project, which has led to a feeling that contradicts prior definitions. Although, all of the members displayed good intent by contributing and bringing ideas to the table when required and actively working on them. The tools and methods of managing the flow were adequate, and the interpersonal relationships amongst the participants were warm and welcoming. We successfully incorporated all of the team members’ primary ideas, which was a significant accomplishment in maintaining the group’s cohesiveness and sense of ownership.

This voyage taught me to set clear goals, avoid making snap judgments and prioritize the most critical activities. These are the lessons that I took away from this experience. Also important for UX designers is to pay attention to and keep in touch with their colleagues, as well as their clients and customers. Imagining a different reality from the one we now live in is a creative exercise, a challenge, and a dream all rolled into one. It is a road toward making the world a fairer place and leaving a legacy for future generations. Our environment is constantly evolving and growing, and we, as user experience designers, have the opportunity to make a difference in this process. Apart from that, this project/experience opened my eyes to the fact that we are very near to living in a future where we can use these new technologies - which previously appeared to be impossible to imagine. The ability to explain these technologies and concepts in an easy manner to other people (a task that I practised with friends and family) has also proven to be a worthwhile challenge.

As a conclusion, the immersion in a new reality taught me to critically evaluate the direction in which technology can take us in a more realistic sense and its provocative features, among other things. One of the points raised during our presentation was that our group should have stressed the usage of digital ID in a more institutionalized manner, such as revenue and integration with other services, rather than focusing just on the social side of dating in the metaverse.

Well, let’s keep our eyes open! Better than fearing the future is to be prepared and make the best of it. 🖖🏼

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Fernanda Alves

Fernanda Alves

I’m a UX Designer, I love drawing, and I love pets.