RR News
Words by alterR.Studio
April 23, 2020
RR News is a recently initiated series of exploratory projects as our rapid response to current social circumstance caused by unexpected events. The first issue of the RR News is a series of future news featuring possible mundane products, services and social phenomenons emerged in a post-pandemic world as preparation for the future. We are seeing COVID-19 changing our life dramatically and realize how unprepared we are when it hit us.

We might not be able to go back to our “normal” life any more, then what’s the new normal?
This series of speculation aims to invite people to reflect on how we can actively adapt to this dramatic situation and therefore help us better prepared for post COVID-19 life and even further pandemics. Moreover, we want to encourage people to shift their mental model from escaping from the reality to confront it proactively.
We want to be relevant and reflective as designers while continuing our dreaming for the future. The motivation behind is to utilize the power of design to ease fear and anxiety caused by the sudden uncertainty, so that we can quickly adapt ourselves and march towards a preferred future collectively.

Reference reading at The Atlantic Magazine.

Language Filter Mask
Digital surveillance and speech regulation have risen up a lot during the global response to the pandemic, in order to avoid disruptive social effects of digital networks. According to The Atlantic, "Significant monitoring and speech control are inevitable components of a mature and flourishing internet, and governments must play a large role in these practices to ensure that the internet is compatible with a society’s norms and values." However, we wonder what standards should be set up for speech control over the internet? And how to make sure diverse social groups be included in this conversation. Therefore we speculated this mask as a daily tool that not only filter viruses but also filter public voices as part of social regulation in the near future to protect our physiological and psychological health in order to open discussion around increasing censorship.

[1] Another example of how AI could work with us to avoid and fight pandemics:“An artificial intelligence platform had spotted what would come to be known as COVID-19, nine days before the World Health Organization released its statement alerting people to the emergence of a novel coronavirus.” by CNBC News.
Aple Health​​​​​​​
From predicting on the risk to diagnose support for patients, artificial intelligence has become an obbiligable partner along with us fighting with the pandamics, such as predicting the pandemic peak [1]. As we are thinking of how we could be better prepared for the next time to avoid similar disaster, we imagine the possibility of utilizing artificial intelligence on regulation at an urban scale. Instead of everyone following the same rule during state of emergency, ai-assisted system could potentially help us better manage different groups with personalized rules and suggestions in the goal of optimizing and balancing. Therefore, we speculate a new app named Aple Health to advise people’s daily activities based on their personal risks of infection, which takes account of the user’s age, location and climate, hygiene and social habits, socio-economic status, and medical history etc. We wonder what’s the next level of automation, our relationship with artificial intelligence and how we should position privacy when facing tremendous disaster?

Signage system​​​​​​​
Stumbling through our daily life in pandemic times, we quickly shifted into new routines with different priorities and languages. To get back to our lives and cope with the post-pandemic norms, people all over the world had come up with creative solutions like self-made face masks and social distancing hats. Inspired by these fast and practical efforts, we speculate a growing signage system designed for the post-pandemic life, where public spaces are segregated to “Mask On” and “Mask Free” areas, restaurants sanitary inspection adds a new “Mask Necessary” level rating, indoor spaces need you to check shoes and the 2-feet-long social distancing hat at the door, public libraries providing gloves for touching books, and package delivery have new labels to assure safe contact with their clients. As a part of the public language, signage is one of the fastest ways to instruct and inform and a direct reflection of what had largely changed in our life. Signages generated by special times like this will be incorporated in our collective memory, live with us, and change our behavior subtly over time.

Signage system​​​​​​​. Designer: Yangyifan Dong.

Signage system​​​​​​​. Designer: Yangyifan Dong.

Monetizable Mask, Concept Video. Designer: Ke Ding.​​​​​​​
Monetizable Mask
While the world is entering a new phase, we imagine a post-pandemic world where a face mask, as an everyday wearable, is becoming a tool and a medium beyond a health precaution.Monetizable Mask is one of the possible futures we are speculating, which looks into how we may advertise, generate income and also exploits individuals in the new world orders. While it may be treated as an alternative opportunity of future advertisement, there might be potential issues too. Will there be intrusions into one's privacy and personal boundary? Does it violate common moral and sacred norms? Will individuals still have full control of their physicality and mentality? We invite the public to think critically about the future where wearing masks becomes an unalternative reality. Trying out Monetizable Mask via instagram story filter: browse effect -> search for alterr.studio.
About The Artist
alterR. is a design studio for alternative realities. We use experimental artifacts and experiences as the medium to frame our preferable long-term futures with ecological thinking, helping humanity to manage the disruptive forces of ongoing environmental, technological, and cultural changes, and plan our next evolution.