Unintended consequences

Why is it that every Hollywood movie about time travel seems to feature a scene where the protagonist is warned about the dangers of altering the past because it would change the present and cause unpredictable consequences?

If we apply the ‘Back to the Future Principle’ (we just made that up, in case you were wondering) to our exploration of possible futures, we may realize that our actions today will create a future with unpredictable and even unintended consequences. We think that it’s worth exploring the possible unintended consequences of some of the technology and inventions happening today to keep one step ahead of the future.

This way, when we finally invent a time machine, we won’t have to come back to 2018 and change what we are doing today.

What’s changing: Friday, March 2nd, 2018

  • In-home genetic testing is becoming more popular and more accessible. Soon, the cost of testing and exploring your genetic makeup will be nominal. One day, every newborn will come with a genetic report card including a disease risk assessment. Will this knowledge lead to a better life or to a premature way of identifying the elite version of ourselves? 6 minute read
  • Waymo has started the PR campaign for their fleet of autonomous cars. The first step is to win public acceptance. Watch this video explaining in detail the (amazing) technology driving their cars. What will be say 100 years from now about AI taking over our streets? 3:35 video
  • Remember One Shared House 2030? The project by IKEA to understand co-living and how people will want live in the year 2030? Well, they received more than 7000 answers from 147 countries and are now sharing the results. Apparently, teenagers and small children are the least preferable to share a live with. Who knew? What’s interesting is that the ones that need the most support from a community will be the most likely to be left alone. 7 minute read
  • Large urban areas often offer better and more job opportunities, bigger salaries, and superior education opportunities for children. 66% of the world’s population is expected to live in urban areas by 2050. But a new research led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health has discovered that children who grow up around green space grow larger brains. It seems that we have an evolutionary affinity for nature. 4 minute read
  • A dome equipped with 500 2D and 3D cameras is teaching machines everything there is to know about being a human — from body language to social interactions — so they can learn how to better understand the way we communicate. All this knowledge will help create more empathetic machines. 2:37 video

Mental Energizer

“The museum goer spends an average of 17 seconds looking at a work of art in a museum”

From “Instagram is killing the way we experience art” in Quartzy.

Food for thought


The power conferred by control of highly advanced AI systems should respect and improve, rather than subvert, the social and civic processes on which the health of society depends.


Curated with curiosity by Iñaki Escudero, Future Activist @inakiescudero