ECIS 2020 Research Papers


Emerging technologies often lead to surprising and less favourable outcomes than initially envisioned. For example, social media, while able to connect people, build community and organize social movements, its broader societal outcomes have been decidedly dystopian, with the spread of falsehoods, nefarious content and election tampering making headlines. We argue that dominant ways of engaging with the future favour extrapolating the status quo and background social, ethical and political aspects of technological phenomena. Yet, if we want to match the scope and speed of digitization with appropriate managerial and regulatory responses, we require ways to anticipate possible future outcomes that transcend narrow predictive thinking and utopian sales narratives. We propose an alternative approach to reorient activity in the present that discloses alternative future trajectories to make more informed decisions about preferable choices. Artefacts from the Future, physical or digital objects created as if originating from a future world, provide a means to engage audiences in such work. We catalogue, classify and derive a typology of such artefacts for the development of systematic approaches better able to envision and anticipate possible futures with emerging technologies. Such approaches will contribute to IS ways of forward-thinking engagement with technology to complement established methods.



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