Need to Know
26 : 03 : 20

An artificial world for evolving communication, beauty for tech-stressed skin and US Millennials struggle to understand student debt.

VR film questions the role of humanity in an AI world

'Artificial World' by Bas Jansen

Amsterdam – Virtual reality artist Bas Jansen has released a futuristic film, Artificial World, to promote environmental awareness.

Drawing attention to the positive impact of technology on our lives, the speculative artwork depicts artificial intelligence (AI) as nature’s new creator; encouraging viewers to consider new perspectives. It explores how the role of technology could be fundamental to the future of sustainability and ecology, asking the question: ‘Are humans good for this planet, or is the planet better off without us?’

Presenting a society that is tech-positive and willing to embrace radical change, Jansen hopes his moral-driven world will provoke thought into the ways in which we can address environmental concerns. He says: ‘I like to create beautiful futuristic worlds that allow people to dream, but also worlds that make them think critically about their own existence and impact.’

To further explore how artists and designers are challenging existing communications by using their mediums to express new narratives, read our Programmable Realities macrotrend.

Covid-19: From carbon-negative vodka to hand sanitiser

 Air Co, New York Air Co, New York
 Air Co, New York Air Co, New York

New York – Alcohol start-up Air Co is repurposing its vodka to make eco-friendly hand sanitiser.

The Air Co brand was launched in 2019 with the world’s first carbon-negative vodka – made with captured CO2 instead of yeast. In response to the global Covid-19 pandemic, in which hand sanitisers are in huge demand, the company has temporarily shifted its entire vodka production efforts to make a carbon-negative hand sanitiser.

Air Co is working with New York officials to donate the bottles to the institutions that are in need, such as hospitals. ‘Sanitiser is 80% ethanol, our technology’s main output, and we will produce as many bottles as we can during this crisis,’ reads a statement by the company.

While many brands – from LVMH to Diageo – are also shifting their production to focus on hand sanitiser in times of need, Air Co is ensuring its version helps both the healthcare sector and the environment. To find out how your business should navigate the Covid-19 outbreak, get in touch with The Future Laboratory team.

Givaudan offers digital stress relief to skin

Geneva – Givaudan Active Beauty has released an innovative new ingredient, Synchronight, to protect the skin from digital stress.

Created with gardenia fruit extract, the active ingredient acts as a shield against external aggravators such as blue light emitted by electronic devices. It also allows the skin’s melatonin to play its natural role in regulating the sleep-wake cycle. As a brand that closely collaborates with the food and drinks industry, as well as having a fragrance division, Givaudan is committed to bringing a holistic approach to beauty.

Its latest innovation prioritises the impact of digital stressors, and shows an awareness of modern skincare needs. '(We) identified a unique opportunity to bring this ingredient to life,' says Laurent Bourdeau, head of Active Beauty. 'Creating a natural ingredient with the strength to fight the effects of digital stress and improve sleep quality is a turning point for innovation in the beauty space today.’

Read our Digital Disorders report to unpick some of the ways that beauty brands have tackled the impact of digital stressors, from tech neck to screen burn.

Givaudan Active Beauty, Geneva

Stat: US Millennials don’t understand student loan terms

According to a survey by Business Insider, more than a quarter (27%) of US Millennials said they didn’t understand the terms and policies of their student loans when they took them out. Some 11% said they didn’t understand the details of their loans well, while about 18% said they didn’t understand them so well, and 26% said they only understood them somewhat well.

With many students in the dark about what loan repayment really means, many of them said they would have chosen a different school had they been more aware of the financial burden that was to come. One study participant said: ‘The compound-interest factor and the actual payback was a huge surprise.’

As we identify in Paradox Personas, Generation Z are learning from the hardships faced by Millennials and favouring peer-to-peer information over corporate bodies.

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