The Future Starts Here at the V&A
By Tom Dixon
The Future Starts Here at London’s V&A museum presents emerging technologies set to change the world of tomorrow — but not all objects on display promise a brighter future. The displays made me question if we really need more technological presence in the ways we live and learn.
I was particularly interested in the day to day objects that have been altered and enhanced to supposedly benefit us in the future. So here’s my quick roundup of the exhibits I found most interesting:
First world problems in space
Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli successfully made a coffee in space, thanks to an innovative espresso machine created by Argotec for Lavazza. The scale and technicality of the machine was what impressed me, as making coffee is a menial task on Earth but in space it seems unimaginably intricate.
The least technologically driven object of the exhibition turned out to be the most interesting exhibit for me. Hidden inside a small toy panda are shredded government documents and a memory card leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden. The panda and its contents are safeguarded in the V&A’s collection, being somewhat out of the reach of government agencies.
Real life Black Mirror
The exhibition brings an episode of Black Mirror to real life with the Eternime app. Partly inspired by the twisted, high-tech world of the show, the app preserves your most important thoughts, stories and memories for eternity. Meaning friends and family can then communicate with a digital avatar after your death.
Do we really want to live forever? 100 longevity pills a day will apparently extend life to reach singularity and immortality according to the futurist Ray Kurzweil. Kurzweil who is the developer of the product claims with the pills, ‘you can stay young until we have even more knowledge to become even younger’.
Trees with wifi
This super cool project turns living trees into radio antennas capable of communicating across long distances. One may question why, but imagine vast forests of living networks providing internet to areas where governments control the web.
The Future Starts Here is on until November 4th at the V&A in Kensington, London.