About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Our public narratives about intelligent machines lack imagination.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly ubiquitous and already transforming many aspects of our lives from how we manage our health to how we access news. Yet for all the hype and investment, most AI has focused on a relatively narrow set of applications with little attention given to the relationship between artificial intelligence and our collective human intelligence (CI) - the enhanced capacity that is created when groups think and work together to solve problems.

We are at a critical turning point to set the trajectory of AI and we need to continue to challenge our thinking about what we want from AI in society and what role we want it to play. Unless we do, both AI and CI will continue to fall short of our expectations. So how do we start to think differently about AI’s potential?

One way to do this is through stories that explore possible AI and CI futures.

In this feature we introduce three stories that set out what AI in society could look like in the near future if we become more imaginative about how it can help us become smarter together. It builds on the The Future of Minds and Machines report we published earlier this year, which mapped the different ways AI methods are already being used to make the most of collective efforts in sectors ranging from emergency response to agriculture.

Three stories from the near future

Set in the near future, the stories in this feature take place in a world where technological and social infrastructures go beyond the edges of what is already widely accepted as being possible.

In Health in your hands, we spend the day with Lana as she experiences a fully integrated healthcare system which AI helps to seamlessly bridge her personal lived experience, collective diagnosis and peer support.

In Fact versus Fiction, our protagonist Jay introduces us to a multi-layered fact checking network where experts, citizens and AI work together to continuously learn about and stop the spread of misinformation.

In Creativity combined, a global climate conference becomes a platform for collective visioning and creativity, where generative AI helps to combine, optimise and expand the design ideas of thousands of people around the world.

Our aim is to inspire and provoke a wider debate about how we can best design and deploy hybrid human and machine intelligence to solve problems. And so we invite you to settle in and join us on this journey into the not too distant future…