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When I was a small child, the year 2020 seemed like the actual future to me. I remember thinking I would be so grown up by the year 2000 – I was fourteen – that 2020 wasn’t even really on my radar growing up; it was a date so far removed in the future that I imagined 2020 as the stuff science fiction movies were made of.

Fast forward to thirty-three-year-old me writing this article in the first week of the year 2020 – this is it, guys, we’ve made it to the future. Cars are not flying, and we don’t eat our food in a pill format. Still, unless you have been living under a rock – if you have, no judgement – you know how many unthinkable things have happened in the past decade and that to the 2020 version of ourselves, flying cars and pill-form foods seem way less crazy than dial-up internet. From the many applications of AI and machine learning to Bitcoin and the huge carbon footprint we’ve all collectively created, the human race has accomplished and destroyed so much in the past ten years.

Not surprisingly, the notion that we now live in the future seems commonplace. Fictional shows such as UK Channel 4’s Black Mirror and, most recently, BBC’s Years and Years portray very well our struggle with our humanness and the technological reality we created – so well, in fact, that at times they make us scared about what’s to come in the near future.

Emma Thompson plays UK’s far-right Prime Minister in the dystopian drama Years & Years.

Should we be scared of what’s to come? It’s a question I ask myself every day in self-reflection. We need to look after our planet, its fauna, flora and its people, that’s non-negotiable. I am not so convinced, though, that fear is the best way to do that, and I will explain. As a fearful person myself, this feeling has the power to do one of two things to me: it either makes me run, or it paralyses me. Unfortunately for us, we cannot afford to do either; this is our planet, and we must figure out a solution to the problems we created so that we and the next generations are able to stick around and enjoy everything we invented.

At Echos, we have an ethos: designing desirable futures. If you follow our content platform – Desired, The Blog, Desired, The Newsletter and Desired, The Podcast – you probably already know that. To me, however, the “desirable” part of our ethos is not set in stone. Collectively, we need to decide what it is that we desire for our futures and how might we accomplish that.

Steve Jobs – with all the flaws he had, and everything I didn’t particularly admire about him – was undoubtedly a master inventor, a person with a creative brain that changed the world in many ways. He has a quote that I am quite fond of: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

This year I invite you along on this self-discovery journey, in which we use design to create realities, societies, governments, organisations, services and anything else that belongs within the parameters of our human existence. It is only by assertively designing the realities we wish to be part of, that the future will be kinder to us, our planet and every other being living inside of it.

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Rani Ghazzaoui Luke

Rani is a writer and actor based in Sydney, Australia. She is Echos Head of Content & Communications, and the Editor in Chief of The Echos Newsletter.

Before joining Echos, she worked in full-service advertising agencies as a copywriter, moved onto writing for Broadcast Media, and landed on Digital Media, working first as a Digital Producer and later as a Digital Account Manager. Most recently, she was Lead Client Solutions Manager for GumGum Inc, an ad tech company specialised in Artificial Intelligence.

Rani is a highly curious individual that believes creativity and innovation are the most important tools to propel any person or business forward.

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