Conference paper Open Access

Looking for the soundscape of the future: preliminary results applying the design fiction method

Roberto Bresin; Sandra Pauletto; Jarmo Laaksolahti; Erik Gandini

The work presented in this paper is a preliminary study in a larger project that aims to design the sound of the future through our understanding of the soundscapes of the present, and through methods of documentary filmmaking, sound computing and HCI. This work is part of a project that will complement and run parallel to Erik Gandini’s research project ”The Future through the Present”, which explores how a documentary narrative can create a projection into the future, and develop a cinematic documentary aesthetics that releases documentary film from the constraints of dealing with the present or the past. The point of departure is our relationship to labour at a time when Robotics, VR/AR and AI applied to Big Data outweigh and augment our physical and cognitive capabilities, with automation expected to replace humans on a large scale within most professional fields. From an existential perspective this poses the question: what will we do when we don’t have to work? And challenges us to formulate a new idea of work beyond its historical role. If the concept of work ethics changes, how would that redefine soundscapes? Will new sounds develop? Will sounds from the past resurface? In the context of this paper we try to tackle these questions by first applying the Design Fiction method. In a workshop with twenty-three participants predicted both positive and negative future scenarios, including both lo-fi and hi-fi soundscapes, and in which people will be able to control and personalize soundscapes. Results are presented, summarized and discussed. 

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