Narrative Futures is a series of different future scenarios created to spark inspiration on how we can shape the digital future in a collaborative, sustainable and equal way. We set out to break with current narratives that are introduced by Big Tech. Our goal is to reclaim digital infrastructure in the public interest – and start a conversation about how get there. Each starts with a potential future (🚀) and the current problem. (📌)

“Infrastructure 21.0 that serves you a lifetime”

January, 23rd 2038 – Today marks the day of the launch of the new charter for human rights in the digital age. The focus of the latest iteration is on healthy societies and democracies. A core element of the proposal is that tools and infrastructures are flexible in their structure and adapt to the needs of humans and the ecosystem around them. Digital identities are fluid, consent can be withdrawn at any time and personal data can be deleted and recovered. Douglas Engelbart's vision has become a reality: Technology is improving our ability to improve. Computers augment the capabilities of entire groups of people as they share knowledge and work together on truly difficult problems.
2022: With a generation coming of age that has been online since their early years, new problems in our digital tools become apparent: Data from personal profiles is stored for a lifetime without giving individual people the possibility to revisit, delete, or distance themselves from their former selves. Our digital identities don’t take personal growth and change into account and become weights dragging us down. What people did online as children and young adults is scrutinized over and over. The internet has become an archive of our misdeeds that we cannot escape from. With new developments such as digital state-issued identities that can be connected to user accounts, this problem will become even more pervasive.


  • Massive data collection leads to personal archives of unprecedented size and granularity.
  • Data is not owned by the people who generate it. The possibilities to delete, unshare or change data is limited.
  • Digital infrastructure does not take human nature of development and personal growth into account.
  • The majority of digital infrastructure is being designed, built and maintained by Big Tech, where shareholder value runs counter to the interests of society. Platform users are seen as commodities not as digital citizens.

Starting points and questions:

  • What do responsible ways to design digital identities look like? How can they be realized in infrastructures that are run by funders?
  • What features would help us be at peace with our younger digital selves – do we need to revisit them, have means of showing regret, or just delete them?
  • How can online platforms and digital infrastructure be designed and managed responsibly, with user interests at heart? Who should govern them?