Insights · September 4th, 2023

WE really love the speculative futures work that Anab Jain and the incredibly talented team at Superflux do. We wanted to share their latest project – The Ecological Intelligence Agency.

In the race for exponential curve-fitting, where the best prompt engineering can give the most ‘human’ response, we might be forgetting the planetary scale, ecological challenges we face. At Superflux, we’ve been chewing on the hype around LLMs. We are aware of their considerable potential, but importantly, of the extractive and exploitative operational practices that go into them, and the few who currently yield the power. Before we think about what AI can do, we need to rethink how we do AI.

And that’s just what Superflux has attempted to try with The Ecological Intelligence Agency.

Over the last few years Superflux‘s more-than-human futures work began exploring entanglements between ecology and technology to develop the idea of ‘Ecological AI’. To create a foundation for Ecological AI, they have been considering alternate ideas of “artificial intelligence” that do not claim unlimited access to knowledge systems, do not assume only one way to understand the world and do not perpetuate dominant extractive paradigms. Rather, they considered how labour, climate and data justice might unite to advocate for ecological health.

Commissioned by Policy Lab UK and DEFRA Futures, Superflux were invited to explore future decision making around fresh-water systems post 2043.

In this commission, we specifically speculate on an iteration of Ecological AI that reimagines how collective policy decisions are made, by speaking on the behalf of our more-than-human companions such as the River Roding in London. We asked: Could AI be an advocate for ecological health?

The Ecological Intelligence Agency (EIA) is an open-source, autonomous inter-departmental agency encompassing an assemblage of localised AI models that advocate for ecological flourishing. Surfacing a plurality of voices in a mytho-poetic chorus, The EIA invites you to listen, feel and think with the situated wisdom of the waters.

Follow the link to watch the EIA in action, and learn a bit more about their process here.

Note: All images, words, and video belong to Superflux.

About Nikolas Badminton

Nikolas Badminton is a world-renowned futurist speaker, consultant, author, media producer, and executive advisor that has spoken to, and worked with, over 300 of the world’s most impactful organizations and governments.

He helps shape the visions that shape impactful organizations, trillion-dollar companies, progressive governments, and 200+ billion dollar investment funds.

Nikolas Badminton’s book Facing Our Futures: How Foresight, Futures Design and Strategy Creates Prosperity and Growth has been selected for 2023 J.P. Morgan Summer Reading List, and featured as the ‘Next Gen Pick’ to inform the next generation of thinkers that lead us into our futures. 

Design Fiction
Nikolas Badminton – Chief Futurist

Nikolas Badminton

Nikolas is the Chief Futurist of the Futurist Think Tank. He is world-renowned futurist speaker, a Fellow of The RSA, and has worked with over 300 of the world’s most impactful companies to establish strategic foresight capabilities, identify trends shaping our world, help anticipate unforeseen risks, and design equitable futures for all. In his new book – ‘Facing Our Futures’ – he challenges short-term thinking and provides executives and organizations with the foundations for futures design and the tools to ignite curiosity, create a framework for futures exploration, and shift their mindset from what is to WHAT IF…

Contact Nikolas