Rainy days a precautionary tale

My name is Kenny Lancher, you might not know me now but in the future, I am responsible for the environmental destruction of the planet to serve the economic growth of Tropos. Tropos is a company that sells personal clouds to consumers around the world. Now you might ask how is this even possible so for that I will give you a little history lesson.

The idea of controlling the weather was present since the beginning of time with the thought of rituals and rain dances to mitigate droughts. In the 20th century this changed by the discovery of using silver iodine and dry ice in stimulating ice formation in clouds (Ley, W. 1961). Governments wanted to use this technology in agriculture but also in war. For a long time, these methods required large amounts of resources but I had a new idea. Inspired by Bernaut Smilde’s indoor cloud project (Hogenboom, 2022) I set to work creating a cloud machine that was small and could be used by small farmers as an alternative to sprinkler systems.

farmers as an alternative to sprinkler systems.

Nimbus De.Groen 2017

My research was picked up and funded by Tropos a new water supply company that had high hopes in creating a new market niche with my invention. I desperately needed money to run tests so I signed a contract giving Tropos a full monopoly on the technology if it was patented. Years went by and I finally had a breakthrough. The first prototype was a huge success and in collaboration with advisors of Tropos we could design a new product that would change the world. I presented my work to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) but they were horrified of the idea. They cited environmental risks in an already vulnerable climate and demanded the design be scrapped. My name and credibility as a researcher were blacklisted because of my idea. They saw my life work and rejected it. In frustration I made the worst decision of my life.

I gave Tropos the go ahead to create the Nubis one, a personal cloud system that is meant to help with the irrigation of crops. When they brought it out to the consumers it was an instant hit. Being marketed as cheaper, faster and “more natural” than traditional methods. This success led to Tropos becoming a megacorporation quickly. After the first CEO retired the company changed its policy to focus on economic growth. They looked at new markets that they could sell my technology to. I objected to this idea stating that the company should follow the intended use to not risk it falling into the wrong hands. My objection was ignored because I signed that contract years ago. And Tropos rather listened to the investors than to me. Tropos fired me and started development on a new idea. They envisioned that global warming created the perfect situation where people would buy a Nubis for their home. With advancements in technology even the average consumer could have their own personal cloud.

They designed the Nubi as a way to humidify your house. The marketing for this product turned the Nubi into a symbol of status. “No more climate change with your friend Nubi”. They even designed an avatar to make it appealing for children. From this the company quickly expanded into different markets. Creating clothes and working together with the media to spread their revenue stream. Organizations and governments were worried that Tropos became too powerful. They gave hefty fines because of research proving the ecological damage Nubi caused. Tropos did not care they had a worldwide influence by this point. They could pay the fines and still be above their bottom line. Through some clever legal maneuvering they could not be shut down by force so for a time they looked invincible.

Eventually competitors would rise up that had reverse engineered the Nubi for their own gain. A market formed with competition benefitting the consumer. Tropos did not like sharing their user base and competitors were making cheaper products and improving usability. To maintain their monopoly, they used my technology for something sinister. I might be arrested for my next theory but I think Tropos had a hand in the destruction of their main competitor Awan industries. Awan used the same technology and had several major manufacturing buildings that in a week were destroyed by “freak weather incidents”. After this other companies started to disappear or be acquired by Tropos getting back their top position. Tropos is living the consumerist dream by having every person in the world being in some way dependent of a product made by them.  I truly fear what they might do next and wanted to give this message to you designers. Be careful what the implications of your design have for the future.

Story inspired by: Apple touchscreen technology , Alfred Nobel



ChatGPT 4 prompts used:

  • create an realistic  image of a device called the Nubis one. This device can create small clouds to help with watering plants on small farms. 
  • create an realistic  image of a device called the Nubi. This handheld device can create small clouds inside your home and is used as a status symbol
  • create an image of an manufacturing building near a coast destroyed by a thunder storm.