“It might be 48°, but it’s never too hot to work”.

That’s the sentiment among some workers who are now able to work again during peak heat periods in summer.

The late 2020’s was a tipping point for outdoor workers. Heat stress has become a significant obstacle to economic activity and worker health and safety. Temperatures exceeding 39°C can kill, but now the average temperature in some Australian locations is exceeding 43°C.

Even where there are no fatalities, these temperatures are leaving many people unable to work or able to work only at a reduced rate. New protections were needed for any outdoor and manual worker.

And so, a range of adaptations across industries and professions emerged. Enhanced information about on-site weather conditions, the adaptation of workwear and equipment, the shifts in usual onsite hours and schedules and technological improvements to help reduce on site requirements has made it easier for workers and clients to cope with higher temperatures. But the most advanced innovation has just commenced clinical trials – a ‘heat stroke vaccination’ that was proven to allow safe physical exertion in outdoor temperatures up to 45°C.

Will if it's too hot to work?

If projected into the future without consideration of the context, what roles in the present could could become 'unworkable'?

What other 'work' adaptations might we need in the present?

How far are we willing to go to augment humans in order to be resilient to extreme temperatures?

Pockets of these futures in the present
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Artefacts from the future are fictional stories, provocations and ideas that are designed to explore the intersection of emerging trends in creative and interesting ways. These artefacts aren't intended to predict what will be, nor are they necessarily serious suggestions or projections. They are speculations intended to challenge our assumptions and provoke critical discussions around the futures of work.