In the days gone by, we saw changes unfold in the day-to-day that we did not even imagine.

Fast-forward to the future of Tokyo in 2050.
What you behold may be a scene out of a science fiction story you conjured up in the past that now has become a reality.

When that day comes, who will be standing next to you?
What will be your thoughts ?

ONE DAY, 2050-
Let our imagination soar and envision a time to come.

Sci-Fi Prototyping?

Sony designers used Sci-Fi prototyping to depict "Tokyo in 2050" in collaboration with science fiction writers.

With "2050," "Tokyo," and "romance" as keywords that define the overarching theme, Sony designers and science fiction writers held workshops to explore life, habitats, senses, and well-being in 2050-and their creative effort resulted in a series of design prototypes and short science fiction stories. Each design prototype presents an idea for a service or product that is relevant to the messaging of each theme.

*The information listed here is all fiction. Nothing stated here has any connection with Sony products and services.

What is Sci-Fi prototyping?

Sci-Fi prototyping refers to the technique of using science fiction to invent the future and, by working backwards, study what needs to be done now to realize that future.

A global pandemic has made it even more difficult to envision the future as an extension of the present. In this context, Sci-Fi prototyping is quickly drawing attention around the world as an effective means of creating a new prototype that no one has ever seen before. This technique provides the tools needed to prototype the future by leveraging the bold and exquisite imagination of science fiction writers, and by connecting the inherent issues of industry, companies, and governments.

Sony Creative Center used Sci-Fi prototyping in collaboration with Wired Sci-Fi Prototyping Lab as an approach to contemplating both concrete objects and abstract concepts that incorporate an aspect of irrationality. In future society, which will most likely become even more uncertain, complex, and ambiguous, such tasks will require the bold and meticulous perspective that designers are uniquely equipped with.

The four design prototypes and four short science fiction stories shown in this exhibition represent Sony’s efforts to explore the possibility of a better future and the role it can play in that society.

Future Timeline

This future timeline shows fictional events and developments that represent social and technological changes, summarized in chronological order. It was created working backwards from 2050 to the present, based on the design prototyping and the plots and messaging of the science fiction stories.

*The information listed here is all fiction. Nothing stated here has any connection with Sony products and services.

Future Timeline
  • Alternative service robots become popular, resolving the issue of labor shortage caused by a declining birthrate.
  • Conversation assistance robots are commercialized.
  • Construction of a sea city begins in the Maldives.
  • Brain-machine interface (BMI) input devices that enter data using brain waves are released.
  • Small, AI-powered personal communication robots that assist people are commercialized.
  • Adhesive wearable sensors are released.
  • New technology enables continuously recorded facial expression and brain data to be used to estimate and predict a person’s mood and emotion.
  • Scent-generating devices are released for use with VR equipment.
  • Level 4 autonomous cars are released for private use.
  • Use of office robots begins.
  • Robot integration services are offered.
  • Genetic testing becomes common.
  • Human-like walking robots are commercialized for professional use.
  • Body sharing technology that enables a person to share various senses with other person or a robot in a remote location is commercialized.
  • New technology enables personal experiences to be recorded and reproduced or shared along with sensory information (sight, smell, temperature, etc.) and the psychological state.
  • Depression passes heart disease and traffic accidents to become the No. 1 factor that affects a healthy life. AI acquires an ability to analyze the physical and mental state of a person and offer instant advice.
  • More and more countries adopt a system of universal basic income to address unemployment and social unrest caused by the spread of AI in industry.
  • Great Transition: A “job” becomes an activity necessary to sustain human life, and “work” becomes an activity for enjoying life.
  • Human-like walking robots equipped with communication capabilities are commercialized for professional use.
  • 49% of the jobs in Japan can be replaced by AI/robots, and people shift to more creative tasks that require intelligence.
  • Immersive tourism that uses AR/VR to reproduce the five senses and travel through virtual reality in the comfort of one’s own home grows popular.
  • New technology enables memory to be recorded like recording video.
  • The government builds a mental health management system.
  • Global average temperature rises by 2 degrees Celsius.
  • Land surfaces shrink due to rising sea levels, and development of “smart sea cities” begins around the world.
  • Personal data is centrally managed, and personalization of services becomes common.
  • New technology enables brain-machine interface (BMI) to be used to manipulate virtual personas.
  • AI/robots acquire an ability to assume a virtual persona and perform work on behalf of human users. As a result, humans have more time to spend on leisure.
  • Digital economies based on digital currencies issued by platform operators are formed.
  • A sea city is completed in Tokyo Bay.
  • New technology enables match rates to be calculated based on genetic traits and values.
  • Sophisticated life design simulation services become popular.
  • Multifunctional facial masks that enable sensory extension become widely used. Scent is digitalized.
  • Singularity: AI acquires an ability to create more advanced intelligence autonomously.
  • Humans start to coexist with their own virtual personas using AR/VR.
  • Autonomous robots perform all indoor and outdoor production work.
  • Robot surgeons and chefs are commercialized. New technology makes it possible to share tacit knowledge of experts.
  • New technology makes it possible to reproduce one’s memory in virtual reality based on memory information.
  • Recognition technology that can replace human sight, hearing, and sense of touch is established.
  • Virtual personas are granted citizenship.
  • Technology is established to restore/reconstruct a natural environment that has been lost due to desertification and sea level rise caused by global warming.
  • Senility becomes fully treatable. Healthy life expectancy reaches 120 years.

About Wired Sci-Fi Prototyping Lab

Wired Sci-Fi Prototyping Lab is a research institute that provides consultation services for conceptualizing the future by working with science fiction writers. It was founded in June 2020 jointly by the Japan edition of Wired magazine, the world’s most influential technology media, and Party, a creative company . In addition to offering consultation services to businesses, it develops workshops and methods that lay the groundwork for its programs , and provides information about Sci-Fi prototyping through and other media.

  • WIRED Sci-Fi サイファイプロトタイピング研究所

Writer Bios

  • Photo of TAIYO FUJII
    Born in 1971 in Amami Oshima, Japan. In 2012, he self-published an e-book titled Gene Mapper, a science fiction novel he wrote while working for a software firm. The novel became the best-selling Kindle book in the "novels and literature category." His major works include Orbital Cloud, which won the Japan SF Award and the Seiun Award in the Japanese novel category, and Hello, World! , which won the Yoshikawa Eiji Prize for New Writers.
    Graduated from the master’s program of the Graduate School of Mathematical Sciences, the University of Tokyo. They are a member of the second class of Genron Ohmori Science Fiction Writers’ Workshop. In 2018, they made their debut as a writer with The Reciprocal Universe, which won an award of merit for the second Genron SF Prize for New Writers. In 2020, they published "Sore demo Watashi wa Eien ni Hatarakitai (Still, I Want to Work Forever)" in the August 2020 issue of the S-F Magazine, and "2259" in the January 2021 issue of Syosetsu Subaru.
  • Photo of ITSUKI TSUKUI
    Born in 1992. Studied architecture in the Faculty of Engineering and the Graduate School of Engineering at the University of Tokyo. In 2017, he debuted as a writer with Cornutopia, a novella that won the grand prize in the fifth Hayakawa SF Contest. He writes novels on various themes ranging from design and creatures to landscapes.
  • Photo of MIYUKI ONO
    Born in 1985 in Tokyo. Her science fiction romance novel Pure, which depicts a world where women cannot become pregnant unless they devour their male partner after sexual intercourse, generated a huge buzz on social media as soon as the entire novel was published on note, Hayakawa Publishing Corporation’s online magazine. She is the author of Rojiura no Wonbin (U-NEXT) a science fiction set in a fictional Asian city in the 1980s and Maison Toki no Yu (POPLAR Publishing ) and more.