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Posts tagged with ‘futurism’

Anything that is theoretically possible will be achieved in practice, no matter what the technical difficulties, if it is desired greatly enough.

Arthur C. Clarke, Hazards of Prophecy

(via Frinkiac 7 and computers of the future - Matt Groening)

Popular Mechanics 1949, ‘Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons’

Any useful idea about the future should appear to be ridiculous.

Jim Dators

When Imagining The Future Start With Breakfast And Extrapolate -- Margaret Atwood →

an excerpt from Joe Berkowitz’ piece, How Margaret Atwood Creates Scary-Plausible Worlds

• Breakfast can take you quite far •

This may sound silly, but I like to wonder what people would have for breakfast—which people, as their breakfasts would be different—and where they would get those food items, and whether or not they would say a prayer over them, and how they would pay for them, and what they would wear during that meal, and, if cooked, how, and what sort of bed they would have arisen from, and what else they might be doing while having the breakfast—talking to someone (who), in person or on a device (what?), and who would be allowed to do that, and what they might feel safe in saying. Breakfast can take you quite far.

…urban networks in the contemporary city are largely hidden, opaque, invisible, disappearing underground, locked into pipes, cables, conduits, tubes, passages and electronic waves. It is exactly this hidden form that renders the tense relationship between nature and the city blurred, that contributes to severing the process of social transformation of nature from the process of urbanization. Perhaps more importantly, the hidden flows and their technological framing render occult the social relations and power mechanisms that are scripted in and enacted through these flows. However, urban networks have not always been opaque. […] In particular, during the early stages of nineteenth-century modernization, urban networks and their connecting iconic landmarks were prominently visual and present […] When the urban became constructed as agglomerated use values that turned the city into a theatre of accumulation and economic growth, urban networks became the iconic embodiments of and shrines to a technologically scripted image and practice of progress. Once completed, the networks became buried underground, invisible, rendered banal and relegated to an apparently marginal, subterranean urban underworld.

Kaika and Swyngedouw, in the deliciously titled “Fetishizing the Modern City: The Phantasmagoria of Urban Technological Networks" (2000)

(Source: textbookmaneuver, via adhocratic)

Visionaries, prophets and seers are common to all mankind, but only societies with science can breed futurists.

Bruce Sterling

No free market, no open society, no democracy is truly fully transparent. For them to function, there is a certain amount of opacity, of black box, of immateriality, if you will. There has always been our known world, and a clear place where there be dragons.

Now, the gears, the algorithms, the processes have become the machine itself. While we were sleeping, while we were occupied with growing the network, creating connections, (and in some cases protecting our position and privilege) the machine has become its own reality, or, at best, a tool of other realities. We are happy to quantify ourselves, but don’t expect to be quantified by others. Citizenship is considered our opt-in to be measured, monitored, and watched over by infrastructure. Bridges, books and glasses increasingly have rights now, but we have fewer. We’ve ticked the box on the end user license agreement that says someone else can now own our measurements and personal geometry.

So we face a question: Is this still flat plane on which we seek to build? Or have the spikes in our spiky world become bubble-realities of their own? The so-called scandals of overreach we find so abhorrent are actually the shape of ghost infrastructure we’ve allowed to be built, its operators the defenders of a separate set of rules. Is this our world warped, or is it something else, or many other things?

Can we still own, control, manage these infrastructures, or these superstructures as they’ve become? Do we have any way of seeing into, much less tune, the formulae inside these black boxes? How do they see us? How do we render to them? Have we lost control of them, and can we ever gain a view into them?

Is all of the rhetorical discussion of innovation also now bent in service to these infrastructures? Who is going to innovate and create futures for us? Where do our reality building tools come from? What does this mean for culture? For creativity? Is it about wrestling the one reality we’ve always thought we operated under, and shaping its contours, or about trying to discover and/or the shape of new ones?

Scott Smith, Recalibrating Reality

Scott Smith chaired a panel called Reality Check at the recent Improving Reality 2013, which I am sorry to have missed. Some other samples:

We are excited to reveal that our media partner for Improving Reality 2013 is Arc. Arc was created by the makers of the New Scientist, and has emerged as one of the most exciting forums for writing about the near-future, science and science fiction. Arc will be sending a group of correspondents to the conference to capture the discussions. Their editor, Simon Ings will also be contributing as a moderator.

18.09.13 – Web Designer and Artist Natalie Kane blogs about Improving Reality 2013 for Medium

03.09.2013 – Improving Reality speaker Paul Graham Raven’s blog for Arc on our relationship to infrastructures

02.09.2013 – Improving Reality speaker Georgina Voss’s blog for Arc on the political future of food

02.09.2013 – Improving Reality speaker Tobias Revell’s blog for Arc on building worlds

21.08.2013 – Arc interview Lighthouse’s Artistic Director Honor Harger about Improving Reality and announce an exclusive ticket giveaway

Already claims are to be heard that future studies are merely an instrument whereby powerful groups, states or nations seek to impose their own image of the future, to create self fulfilling predictions in their own interests, and to undermine the hopes and confidence of those attracted to different visions of what the world might be.

John Goldthorpe, Theories of Industrial Society: Reflection on the Recrudescence of Historicism and the Future of Futurology

Far from imagining a universe of alternatives, futurism in general – and forecasting in particular – has in the past appeared to play a significant part in the support of the status quo.

Richard Slaughter

The new mindset for risk managers requires rituals and approaches that are deeply embedded in the scenario thinking process: a capacity for learning, an appreciation of uncertainty and ambiguity, an understanding of the value of strategic conversation and a willingness to explore uncharted territory. Increasingly, executives are appreciating that the changing nature of risk requires approaches that may initially be uncomfortable, but over time turn out to be more effective in embracing the unknown.

Doug Randall and Chris Ertel, Moving Beyond The Official Future

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