A glance into the future – a future context
In my previous post, I analysed what defines an adventure motorcycle, how we interact with it and why it is used in the context of today. Helped by this information, we are going to shape a future context, 10 years from now. This is part 2 of (Re)defining the Adventure Motorcycle.
Describing todays context is a matter of studying the world around you and selecting the relevant factors. This is difficult in itself, doing the same for the future is even harder. The world is constantly changing, is strongly interconnected and innovations are a trigger for even more innovations. An accurate prediction of the future is therefore impossible. Amara’s law describes it perfectly:
“We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.”
Speaking about timing, we set the time domain for the future context at 10 years from now. We focus on the year 2028.
While accurately predicting is impossible, we can say something about the development direction and how we see things evolving into a new context. Within this context we have to take a position. We can lift on certain developments or we can go against it. To certain extend, we can influence developments, connect the dots and create the future.
Future context (2028)
The world is changing, it always has and it always will. The rate of this change is increasing however, reason why it is important to look further ahead and anticipate on these changes.
“For the vast majority of human existence, it was safe to assume that the world in which you died would look pretty much the same as the one in which you were born. But that is no longer the case” – Ray Kurzweil
Although the final intent is to design an adventure motorcycle, this future context is rather general. It could, for instance, also be used for other products and services. This is done with a purpose however. It supports us in detecting developments and trends that, on first sight, we wouldn’t link to adventure motorcycles. The context is categorised in 4 sections:
- Energy & Infrastructure
- Society & Technology
- Design & Manufacturing
- Services & Ownership
Energy & Infrastructure
Riding into the city with your noisy and smoking motorcycle? I don’t thinks so. Many countries have established zero-emission and zero-noise zones in and around cities and nature reservations. While we will see battery powered transportation dominating the urban area, hydrogen has a function for long distance trucking. Trucks shift from diesel to hydrogen fuel cell power. To remain relevant, oil companies established a hydrogen infrastructure along the main supply routes.
Oil will still be abundantly available in 10 years time. Nevertheless, renewable energy surpassed a global market share of over 30%. Solar energy is cheaper than non-renewables, even without subsidies. Coal, gas and nuclear plants are slowly being replaced by renewable energy.
Smart energy grids are created to balance the electricity grid and provide energy to all. The first generation of mass manufactured electric cars are taken out of operation by this time. Battery packs from these cars are serving a second life as local energy storage for renewable energy, managing peak demand. The developing world skips the nation-wide energy grids altogether and implements local off-grid renewable energy, including battery storage. A substantial charging infrastructure is however not yet available. Here, for transportation, fossil fuels are still king.
Society & Technology
Our lives are more and more intertwined with automation, AI and robotisation. Everybody will have an AI Personal Assistants like Siri or Alexa, but on steroids! They will perform repetative tasks for you and streamline your busy life. Our jobs will change from executing to supervising and will focus more on human interaction. The automated and human world will work fluidly together, with the occasional hickup.
When robots and AI are doing part of our jobs, we have more time to spend on recreation and leisure. Growing your own food, creating stuff and exercise. This can be with physical products or virtually with e.g. AR. With AR an additional layer is augmented on top of the real world. It adds an element to communication, learning and media consumption.
Clean air, clean water and healthy food are our global challenges. By being self sufficient and adopting a local circular economy we can address these issues. Technology and science have a place here to support this. Renewable energy including storage, local recycling of waste into new resources and growing food efficiently.
We remain fit and healthy while getting older, yet we won’t wait until retirement to undertake adventurous long trips. We do it while at work, remotely from our destination. The constant presence of automation, robotisation and the intrusion of augmented reality, drives you to step out of the digitised and automised environment from time to time. Experience adventure, being free while feeling adrenaline, the elements and comradery. Exploring the analogue world.
Design & Manufacturing
Designers and engineers will have a different role in product development. Instead of actively shaping products, they are now responsible for defining the functionality, specifying the desired outcome and checking the development process. AI and design automation will do the rest. Algorithms mimicing nature will grow products. Efficient, lightweight and looking very organic. It uses a mix of topology optimisation, generative design, meta materials and biomimicry.
Bringing niche product to market will become much easier and cheaper. Soft and hardware are so powerful, that product certification is done digitally. Design automation and digital certification enables the creation of more niches, more variants, with increased customisation. Physical products Manufacturing of these variants is done in local boutique factories. Aided by robots, humans are co-creating complex high tech products from local resources. Holographic aids will guide the creation process, making it flexible and adaptive to changes in the design.
Boutique manufacturing = a method used for the custom production of certain products in limited quantities by hand or with a restricted level of automation – Wikipedia
The boutique factories are equiped with various additive manufacturing machines. Additive manufacturing can handle the many variants and complex geometries, a result from design automation and biomimicry. The facilities and knowledge within the boutique factory are shared between a plurality of brands and products. An eclectic mix of products can be manufactured, e.g. adventure motorcycles, racing bikes, drones and even self driving cars. Each brand sells or leases their products direct from the local factory. Brand feel, vibes and values of each brand is maintained through online sales channels and by using holograms and augmented reality.
These local boutique factories are cherrished by the local community. They offer local employment for both the analytical and hands-on minded. The flexible production capabilities make re-manufacturing, upgrading and disassembly easy. A perfect fit to the circular economy business model.
Circular economy vs the linear economy
Services & Ownership
In the past we used to buy and own products. Now we are used to pay for a service. From furniture, beds to cars. You buy the service of sitting on and looking at design chairs, sleeping on the best bed. Personal transportation has shifted to (autonomous) cars on subscription. A car on demand, when you want it, where you want it.
There is an exception to the service business model however. The ring you got from your loved one, the sports car you dreamt of as a little boy, or art that represents an important moment in history. For some reason they are special to us and have additional value other than simply the function they initially intended to fulfil. The scars and scratches on your motorcycle that remind you of the adventures you undertook with it. It’s something you want to keep close to you and own. It’s a collectable.
A collectable is any object regarded as being of value or interest to a collector.
Taking position – Context statement
The future context as described above is our vision of the future. After connecting the dots, it’s clear that automation and artificial intelligence have a strong influence in this future context. It is strongly influencing our daily lives. Extrapolating this development means making more autonomous products.
With the above in mind, we are going to swim against the tide. Being a bit rebelious, we focus on promoting analog experiences. We define the following context statement:
We want to escape the digitised and automated environment and reinforce “analog” adventure.
With this statement we are going to define the future interaction. More about that in the next blog.
Please leave your comments down below.
-  Steve Jobs on creating the world around you
-  Connecting the dots – Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement speach
-  Hyper Reality by Keiichi Matsuda
-  Farmbot – Open source CNC farming
-  Motonomad III – Riders of the Andes
-  Autodesk Generative Design
- Adventure motorcycle categorisation: KTM Press Center
- Typical characteristics of adventure motorcycles: Honda Media Newsroom