Bank uses AI to imagine Polish cities of the future and ‘inspire people to consider their retirement’
Harnessing the latest AI technology, ING Polska have peered into the future to predict what Poland’s major cities will look like in years to come.
In the process, they have presented a vision that is as compelling as it is bizarre.
In Poznań we see the city’s iconic goats reimagined as giant robots marching down the Old Town’s well-preserved streets.
Looking more like a far-fetched Middle-Eastern amusement park, Kraków’s main market square, meanwhile, has seen its signature tower richly embellished and the Cloth Hall in the centre encased beneath giant curved pillars built to support what appears to be a cross between a spaceship and a rooftop rainforest.
Rzeszów, too, has something to look forward to thanks to the creative transformation of its phallic Monument of the Revolutionary Act.
For long a source of local embarrassment and ridicule, AI sees this catastrophic piece of communist concrete reclad in shiny metals and glimmering like an XL-sized lava lamp.
Born from the bank’s “Me In The Future” campaign, the project was created as part of the firm’s move to encourage Poles to think several steps ahead when planning their finances.
Barbara Pasterczyk of ING Bank Śląski said: “Artificial intelligence helps us transcend the limitations of the human mind. Thanks to the possibilities of AI, we can build a vision of ourselves and our immediate environment in several decades.
“We hope that this will help Poles get used to the idea of their future and inspire them to take care of their financial well-being in retirement.”
The curious drive invites visitors to their web platform, ja-w-przyszlosci.pl, to upload a photo of themselves having first completed the sentence, “in the future I will be…”
Picking out 21 of the most interesting responses each day, those selected have then found their portraits and own predictions for the future rendered into metallic ChromaLuxe posters.
So far this has seen users envisaged as jetpacking over verdant rainforests; working as space gardeners; riding dinosaurs and shooting zombies; as well as piloting underwater ambulances whilst fighting off “monstrous skeletons”.
It is the radical vision for Poland’s cities, however, that has proved most intriguing.
Historical integrity appears to matter little as AI suggests that the future will see historical treasures such as Wrocław’s Hala Stulecia rebuilt and inflated to a size even more gargantuan than the present.
Białystok, too, will see the elegant form of the Rococo Branicki Palace entwined in trees and its outbuildings raised above-ground on plant-like columns and further adorned with piercing thin spires.
Giewont’s rugged, mountainous landscape will also change drastically with futuristic helicopters transporting visitors to an array of sloped residential and leisure complexes found amid its peaks.
Yet those fearing an environmental catastrophe need not worry for an emphatic onus will be placed on greenery – in Warsaw, we see Pl. Defilad in-filled with trees and lush, landscaped gardens.
Similarly, Katowice, too, will seek to embrace its ecological credentials with thick vegetation cascading from the crowns of the skyscrapers.
In fact, even its sooty housing estates built to house miners in the 19th century will benefit from rich thwacks of green liberally applied to the tops of its housing blocks.
Moreover, the city’s iconic flying saucer building, the Spodek, will find itself tilted upwards in the air as if ready to swoosh into flight.
Most breath-taking of all, we see spectacular images of Bydgoszcz, its pre-war architecture rubbing shoulders with towering new build boasting an almost Asian-style aesthetic.
Feasting on the city’s reputation as the Venice of Poland, it looks set to become one of the jewels of Poland with sweeping glass office blocks gazing over pristine parks and complex tree arrangements.
Bright and largely optimistic, we see a world that is clean, efficient and high on prosperity.
Aiming to fill people with “hope rather than fear” when it comes to thinking about the future, this extraordinary campaign has already been met with much enthusiasm for the inventive manner in which it has broached an awkward subject.
“Thinking about ourselves in the distant future challenges our minds and that is why it is so difficult,” says ING’s Barbara Pasterczyk. “That’s why we decided to make it a little bit easier.”