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Imagine the Role Technology Could Play in 2025

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An app that plugs into your brain bringing your dreams to life; a son using his dead father's mobile to recreate his last moments; the discovery of the world's last lady bird; and a woman who trusts her instincts - not tech surveillance - are some of the ideas explored in a set of short stories which imagine what life might be like in 2025.

What is the potential contribution that technology and entertainment can make in shaping a better, more sustainable future? How do you start to answer this question? We believe that bringing together input from the public as well as an eclectic mix of scientists, artists, philosophers, technologists, writers, policy makers, community workers and environmentalists is a good start - this is how FutureScapes, a unique collaboration created by Sony, and sustainability not for profit Forum for the Future began. FutureScapes is all about imagining the possibilities of what the world of 2025 might look like and the role technology could play in our lives.

In 2025 we could be living in a world where governments have taken tough measures to combat climate change, pushing technology to its limits to impose sustainability on the population and provide some relief from restrictions on personal freedom. Or even a situation where global governments have foreseen climate instability and instigated a strict programme of carbon limitation measures to defuse its consequences. Or a society full of new priorities of "wellbeing" and "quality of life" bubbling up across the world as more sustainable forms of living become established.

There are clearly infinite possibilities. So to imagine the role technology could play in 2025 it is important not to predict the future, but instead we must get better at imagining the possibilities. And that means putting people, rather than isolated technologies or scientific data, in the foreground, creating new connections to jolt us out of conventional ways of thinking about sustainability and technology.

This approach places the power of imagination at the forefront - something that can clearly be applied in many different ways. We know there is a long standing tradition of harnessing the power of literature to achieve social and political change and bring about a fresh way of thinking, so why not apply this when exploring sustainability issues? With open collaboration at its heart, FutureScapes invited five authors with very different styles - from sci-fi to chick-lit genres -to join us. Each author was commissioned to write a short story exploring life and technology in 2025.

We then took it a step further with a public writing competition, inviting members of the public to embrace this creative process and join our famous authors in answering the technology in 2025 brief. The results were inspiring; they were exciting and best of all they highlighted the many possibilities that lay ahead. Stories help to create a more emotional connection between readers and sustainability issues and in doing so, it enables us to explore new and exciting ways to live more sustainable lifestyles. It may be that when it comes to sustainability it is the failure of our imagination and "sustainability fatigue" that is holding us back - something that we believe can be combated through the power of literature and the power of imagination.

The stories are downloadable at the FutureScapes website: http://www.sony.co.uk/discussions/community/en/community/futurescapes/short_stories
And for more information on the FutureScapes project as a whole please visit: http://www.sony.co.uk/discussions/community/en/community/futurescapes
Follow us @Better_Futures and use #FutureScapes