With all of us at Future of Design Finishing our final assessment of producing a speculative object, it is important to look into how this object relates to our scenario as well as how the people of today can relate to this object. To explore this I conducted an ethical interview with Vickie McGrouther, a future thinking medical assistant and nurse. I wanted to gain insight into her perspective of this object and how it would impact society, technology, the economy, the environment and politics.
Vickie was shown the Health Pack and Health capsule speculative objects. I then explained to her the context of this object and how it would function. She responded with some very interesting feedback that critically evaluated the purpose of the object and what it could mean for humanity in 2050.
The initial response was one of shock when I asked for her impression of the object. “How could we be driven to such a state that we would need such a device” was a highlight of her response. By explaining our propose scenario for a future driven by technology and individualistic lifestyles, she began to understand the purpose of the object.
I then asked Vickie about her opinion on the medical factors associated with this object. Her response stated the object and its function were “certainly Possible” with further research into the area by 2050. She went on proposing ideas for the ways that the object could be integrated into patients and how they could deal with the psychological demands of having this inside them as well as managing with the device daily.
We later discussed how such a device would be accepted within society and what conditions would be required for its acceptance by most people. We agreed that a prolonged period of time would take place where people would oppose the idea and that there would always be some people who do not accept it. There would need to be an extreme need to incorporate this device into our lived as proposed in our scenario with the unpredictable and highly harmful weather conditions that will not be optimal for human survival. With the two factors of acceptance over time and a clear reason for necessity, she believed that the device could feasibly be accepted into society by 2050.
Discussion continued looking into the ways that this object would affect the government and economy. By having the project funded by the government, there had to be a way to gain something of value that could cover most of the costs without having to raise taxes by an obscene amount. Our scenario proposed two solutions to this. The selling of DNA and personal health data collected through the process and the harvesting of stem cells from the removed appendix. Vickie was able to confirm that the appendix is predominantly made up from stem cells when at a young age. This makes it optimal tissue for DNA extraction and the study of the stem cells. While the sale of the data is unethical in today’s standards, we agreed that with the way we are progressing in data management that this would not be as large an issue by 2050.
It was clear from this interview discussion that our speculative object is at home in our scenario and includes many feasible aspects that could become a real possibility in 2050.
V. McGrouther (2015, Interview, 27/10/15) Response Script