Anthony D. Paul

Envisioning Our Demise, to Prevent Our Extinction

Everything around us is changing at an unprecedented pace. For multi-century-old industries like freight and transportation, fears of impending futures can be crippling. Those who founded entire nations are having difficulty knowing what to work on next—buying time against workforce displacement, technology startups, and more. How can we cut through the hype of scary bedtime stories and align competitors into partners? How can we design democratic, preferable futures to build toward—to inform today’s product roadmaps, moonshots, and regulatory changes—to manifest new reality from sci-fi storytelling? I’ll share how my futurism and innovation team at GE Transportation operationalizes foresight, to paint vivid polytopian dreamscapes, define multi-partner opportunities, and leap past preservation into world-creation. In this talk, Anthony will give the audience a renewed understanding of the importance of design context and a fresh look at how a healthy culture of the apocalypse can sharpen your design strategies, rally your stakeholders and decision-makers, and drive bigger picture innovation that trickles actionable guidance down to day-to-day projects. Attendees will walk away with tangible activities for integrating speculative design fiction into their individual decisions and co-creative conversations.


Anthony D Paul is the product strategy, foresight, and design lead within an applied innovation team at GE Transportation, a Wabtec company, serving global railroad, seafaring vessels, trucking, ports, and other shipping partners in finding new opportunities for humans to interface with artificial intelligence and industrial automation. Their field research and greenfield projects help guide competitors into aligned partnerships to create mutually beneficial operating futures that give new value and roles to our human workforce. In previous roles, Anthony built decision-making platforms for defense agencies to track terrorism and global bot traffic, research interfaces for illuminating undiscovered trends in deep datasets, and audience segmentation tools to inform user-centered decisions at every designer’s desk. On the side, he organizes, sponsors, and speaks at global and local meetups and conferences on the topics of operationalizing futures studies, remote team management, usability testing, accessibility, innovation ethics, and participatory design research.

Keywords: Sense of Place

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Twitter: @anthonydpaul