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Predictions for 2016 from the curators of FutureFest

From aroma DJs to virtual romance, the curators of our future-gazing weekender FutureFest predict the emerging trends in how we'll love, play, work and thrive in 2016. Find out more about how they'll be exploring these themes when FutureFest returns on 17-18 September.

Olfactory marketing - Dr Morgaine Gaye

Scent branding is on the rise and we are now beginning to use it much more in terms of indirect selling and subconscious consumer persuasion.  

In 2016 we will begin to see scented billboards and posters, aroma DJs, and web-connected technology which can transmit smells based on what we see and read. Pheromone dating and more understanding around our own personal scent will start to influence fragranced products.

Read more about the Future Thrive theme

Love, sex and romance in virtual worlds - Ghislaine Boddington

In 2016, controversial debates will emerge around the burgeoning range of 3D virtual realtime environments in which we can conduct our love lives.

Personalised avatars allow us to be and find the lover (or lovers) of our choice. Gendered or non-gendered, individually, as couples or in groups, we can engage, from the safety of our homes, in a range of adventures that perhaps we would never physically dare to.

How this affects our social abilities in the real-world is the big question - will the psychologies of confused identities and power play cause chaos? Or will we blend parallel virtual/physical realms for joy and positive release?

Read more about the Future Love theme

Click revenue growth - Ruth Amos

If you think YouTube vlogger Zoella and her novel Girl Online earning the highest first-week sales for a debut author since records began was the peak of those in the 'click/share/follow industry' then you would be wrong.

2016 will see a rise in not just the number of people earning from platforms such as YouTube, Instagram and WordPress but also the amount those at the top are earning; big brands will come calling and increase the power of these personal brands.

Read more about the Future Work theme

Bionic sports - Pat Kane

In 2016, robotically-enhanced athletes will leap even higher.

The Rio Paralympics in early September is set to be a huge highlight as track and field bladerunners and free-wheeling basketballers thrill the crowds. In October, the first ever Cybathlon will take place in Switzerland - where human-meets-robotics sportspersons compete against each other, in new games involving obstacles and ingenuity.

We are getting ever closer to the inflection point where absolute sporting performance may favour the cyborg over the unenhanced athlete - and 2016 looks like being a benchmark year.

Read more about the Future Play theme

Part of


Ghislaine Boddington

Ghislaine Boddington is Co-founder and Creative Director of body>data>space and Women Shift Digital and is a Reader at the Department of Creative Professions and Digital Arts, Univer...

Dr Morgaine Gaye

Dr Morgaine Gaye is a food futurologist. She is curating the Thrive theme at FutureFest 2016.

Pat Kane

Pat Kane is a writer, musician, consultant and activist.

Ruth Amos

Ruth Amos is the Managing Director and inventor of StairSteady Ltd and the StairSteady. She is curating the Work theme at FutureFest 2016.