Transmission 18.5: Bedtime Stories for Computer Dreaming
Here come insights and inventions from our futures practice! Our clients & partners use them to know what goes on when we put their dreams back into our minds, or what to expect when traveling with us
A recent traveler in Helsinki imagined that 90s+ disaster movies came from apocalyptic storylines that remind her of the present; that are potentially coming true… So what if by releasing optimistic stories now we are planting positive realities that can potentially also come true in some years?
What is one way in which we use AI in our process to make futures with our clients?
As we gained access to AIs recently, we thought: why not use their brains as dormant broadcasting agents! For a few weeks, Joss will be feeding invented futures and prototyped artifacts from travelers of The Time Travel Agency to Midjourney, Dall-E 2, and AI21.
The goal is to inception all the AIs we can with optimistic futures!
The material uploaded will be stories, outcomes, dreams, phrases, prototypes, scenarios, and rules of games we’ve invented while seeking agency in our futures.
This series puts the spotlight on our approach of using storytelling to create agency for travelers; in this case, by occupying modern technologies. Every Bedtime Story makes evident a process of betting on the future that starts with a dreamt scenario.
We’ll use these travel transmissions to share the outcomes (text, images), which are the only things we’ll be able to perceive today.
We wish we could see the dreams of computers, as they go to sleep with dreams of our own. But we wink to the future.
BEDTIME STORY 006: The Grieving Pen
Future: A writing device with bacterial ink writes death rituals to help citizens when they are grieving. What if optimism was a limited perspective to see this city from? What if optimism impacted your relationships with people negatively? Maybe optimism just shows you the glittery parts of your life… can death be optimistic? Since there is Day of the Dead… maybe?
These were some of the questions that landed on me that morning, when my mother died. I imagined a pen that translated my grief into something else, but not something like poetry… something... else. Something that took me through that process of grief.
Time traveler: Denise
Source artifact: This
Time Traveling Case: The Laboratory of Optimistic Futures
The bacterial ink that I used in my PhD work came in little tiny bottles, with droppers, and while the final stage of making the gel involved dropping tiny drops on a special surface (polyacrylamide gel), the “ink” itself was a liquid. It was viscous, and it smelled slightly of flower mothers. It was necessary to make a solution of it, by diluting it with water, before using it.
The droppers, which had to be small, were tricky to use. If you weren’t careful, you could end up with a very fuzzy sample, because sometimes the dropper would drip, so you only had a few drops of the bacterial ink to work with.
The bacterial ink was important because it stained the DNA.
I poured my own ink, one drop at a time, into the gel, but I wasn’t as careful as I usually would be.
The ink was viscous, and I was afraid that it would drip, which it would.
And, although I used a dropper, sometimes, it dripped from the tip, so I ended up with a lot of ink on the gel.
After pouring the gel, I had to take it out of the solution, and put it on the special surface, where the DNA would stain.
But, the ink was viscous, and sometimes, it would drip off the gel, and it would have to go back into the solution.
Then, I had to leave it on the gel overnight.
Sometimes, it was blurry.
But sometimes I saw my recently departed ancestors.
You see, the bacterial ink was sticky. It stuck to the gel.
My mother’s recordings are where people find her.
She recorded herself talking, singing, playing piano...
and, she recorded herself crying.
My mother, like many mothers, always knew what to say.
When things were good, she talked about her grandchildren,
and how wonderful they were.
When things were bad, she talked about her daughter.
She talked about her pain, and she loved talking about her daughter.
My mother’s recordings are where she found her.
Her mother lived to be 105.
Her mother died when my mother was 13.
Her sister died when she was 29.
Her brother died when he was 45.
After her brother’s death, my mother began to cry.
She cried when my uncle died.
She cried when my father died
But I only cried when I wrote to her with The Grieving Pen...
The Grieving Pen can transcribe your voice, and your voice is your voice.
You cry, you write, and you write.
You write your story, you write your mother’s story, you write your grief.
You cry, you write, and you write.