A Visual Timeline of the Future Says the World Will Still Exist in the Year 802,701

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Nov. 23 2012 11:10 AM

A Visual Timeline of the Future Says the World Will Still Exist in the Year 802,701

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The past has a long history of imagining the future, and humanity has an equally long history of mapping time. Several months ago, I shared a link to a timeline of future events as predicted by famous novels. Italian information visualization designer Giorgia Lupi saw it on Twitter and was inspired to create an ambitious visual version for La Lettura, the Sunday literary supplement of Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera, with her design team at Accurat.

Giorgia was recently visiting and after she shared the story, I asked her to create an English edition of the exquisite timeline exclusively for Brain Pickings, which she generously did:

A timeline of the future, based on speculative fiction
A timeline of the future, based on speculative fiction

Visualization by Giorgia Lupi and Simone Quadri/Accurat. Originally published in Italian in La Lettura and in English on Brain Pickings.

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(Click image for hi-res version)

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Giorgia explains:

The visualization is built on a main horizontal axis depicting a distorted time-line of events (in fact we put them regularly, in sequence), starting our future-timeline in 2012. The y-axis is dedicated to the year the novel / book foretelling the event was published.
On the lower half of the visualization you can find the original quotes (shortened)
We then wanted to add further layers of analysis to our piece:
- finding out main typologies of foretold events (are they mainly social, scientific, technological, political?)
- discovering and depicting the genre of the book,
- and most of all, dividing them into positive, neutral or negative events.
Finally, good news, in 802,701 the world will still exist!

Here are a few progress sketches for a fascinating glimpse of her process:

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See more of Giorgia’s wonderful work on her site, then imbibe some visualization lessons from the world’s top information designers and data artists.

This article was originally posted on BrainPickings.org.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Maria Popova is the founder and editor of Brain Pickings. She has written for Wired UK, the Atlantic, Nieman Journalism Lab, the New York Times, and Design Observer, among others, and is an MIT Futures of Entertainment fellow. She is on Twitter as @brainpicker.

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