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YOUR BIWEEKLY DOSE OF EVERYTHING SPECULATIVE

DESIGN // FICTION // TECHNOLOGY // ART

 
   
 
 
 

SciFly // 145 // Remote Speculations Week 37/38

Speculative Events, News & Resources | Sent 11/30


Hey SciFly Readers!

Happy start to the holiday season! (depending on where you are :P)

I just finished up a super relaxing week-long break for the Thanksgiving holiday in the USA, and am feeling super recharged and rejuvenated, even though vacation during lockdown is a bit boring. :/ But, even though I couldn't go anywhere, I had a productive/fun week! I got some operations stuff done for DFI, worked on my Japanese learning (got through Katakana this week), beat Final Fantasy VII Remake, started Final Fantasy VIII Re-Master, and watched a bunch of Hunter x Hunter. 

I also FINALLY took some time to make Shokupan 食パン, a delicious fluffy Japanese white-bread made with milk. I somehow created a small electric fire and broke my food processor while doing so, 😅, but the bread came out great and I finally got to join the 'I baked bread during the pandemic' club! 😂
Hope you all had equally relaxing holidays (if you had a holiday) or that you soon will!

In other news, there is an AWESOME conference coming up next week that I want to tell you about. You will notice several events on the schedule below from the summit, so feel free to scroll down and check them out individually!
 



UNESCO Futures Literacy Summit

December 8th - December 12th
Website

In this conference, the High-Level Futures Literacy Summit will provide testimonials from around the world that being futures literate changes what people see and do. From high-ranking leaders in the public and private sector to activists, artists, students, and professors, the Summit will show how people become futures literate and the impact it has on all aspects of life, from dealing with COVID-19 to breaking the reproduction of oppression. Now, as always, the future is uncertain. Climate change, pandemics, economic crisis, social exclusion, racism, oppression of women, inter-generational conflict, and more, shattering the conventional images of the future that humans use to feel secure, to be confident enough to invest in tomorrow. 

This is not a small problem. Without images of the future that inspire hope and foster collaboration, there is a high risk of despair and war. The malaise of poverty-of-the-imagination must be overcome.  

The question is how?

Futures Literacy, a universally accessible skill that builds on the innate human capacity to imagine the future, offers a clear, field-tested solution to poverty-of-the-imagination. UNESCO, in its role as a global laboratory of ideas at the cutting edge of human knowledge, has demonstrated that people and communities everywhere are capable of becoming more futures literate. This means they are able to use their imaginations for different reasons, using different methods, in different contexts.

Democratizing the origins of people’s images of the future opens up new horizons in much the same way that establishing universal reading and writing changes human societies. This is an example of what can be called a ‘change in the conditions of change’. A potent transformation in what people are able to know, imagine and do.

Futures Literacy is such a change. And it is happening now because the old ways of ‘using-the-future’ are no longer adequate given changes in both humanity’s aspirations and tool-enhanced capabilities. We want and can do more than ever. But as always this depends on being able to do so. Futures Literacy addresses the urgent need to transform human governance by empowering everyone to use-the-future more effectively and efficiently. This is not just about understanding how to prepare for potential crises or plan how to realize the important goals of Agenda 2030. It is about moving beyond a dependency on the illusion of certainty and the fragilities this creates.

The Summit is a virtual event and will unfold over five days, consisting of the following:

High-level plenary session (afternoon of 8 December and morning of 9 December)
Attendees will be able to hear from leading Futures Literacy practitioners around the world including government representatives, academics, and business leaders on how they are advancing this competency in their own context through expert panel discussions. Plenary sessions will also include important announcements of current and forthcoming projects by UNESCO and the Global Futures Literacy Network. 

Agora 
The Agora represents the virtual exhibition space for governments and institutions championing Futures Studies and Futures Literacy globally. At the Agora visitors will be able to interact with over 50 booths in a specially designed virtual exhibition space.   

Workshops
Additional live workshops will be available in the Agora from 10–12 December. These events will accommodate all time zones and can be registered for in advance through the Summit platform.  

Register for the Summit!
I hope you are all doing well, wherever you are!

Don't forget you can find me on the Speculative Futures Slack (which I pseudo-moderate) if you want to chat! @DocMartens

Stay safe in your speculations, and catch you next week!

❤️Doc

"The future is here, now let's distribute it." 
 

Doc Martens


SciFly is a design studio dedicated to leveraging speculative design and science fiction to imagine and prototype alternative futures enabled by today's emerging technology.
 
 
   
 
 
 

Online Events 🗓

Running list of online events that I will update biweekly. Events are organized chronologically by week, with ongoing events and Speculative Futures events listed separately at the end.

WEEK 1 - Tuesday, December 1 - Monday, December 7

Tuesday, December 1


Dorin Prunariu | Living and Working in Space // 8am - 10am EST // Free
The Module ‚Emerging Fields in Architecture` imparts knowledge about the latest research, design and development in research disciplines beyond mainstream architectural topics. In this module, we encourage discussion and ideas that go radically beyond the traditional way of thinking. Our goal is to trigger a process of re-thinking and finding solutions to design challenges using an interdisciplinary approach. This lecture is from Dorin Prunariu, former Romanian pilot, cosmonaut, and first Romanian citizen in space.
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Experimental Games Lab- Tiny Games and Bitsy // 10am - 12pm EST // Free
Biome Collective & InGAME welcome everyone to a fun and accessible, COVID - proof interactive workshop that introduces the free, online game-making tool, Bitsy. Bitsy is an accessible tool that enables you to make small pixel-art adventure/narrative games in a short amount of time, with no coding knowledge required. We will take a look at the history of tiny games and the community around them today, go through an introduction to using Bitsy, and then have time to begin making a Bitsy game of your own.
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VFS Online Digital Design Conference // Tue 12/1, 8pm EST - Thu 12/3, 10pm EST // Free
The Digital Design Conference is the Vancouver Film School’s (VFS) initiative to bring the design, creative technology, and visual communication communities together. Over three days, the DDC will gather a wide range of creative designers to share ideas and explore new initiatives and breakthroughs in interactive design, motion graphics, UX/UI design, gaming, emerging tech, projection mapping, and more.
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Wednesday, December 2

Spotlight Cinema: Online Viewing of Coded Bias // 7pm EST // Free
Essential viewing for our increasingly digital lives, this eye-opening documentary uncovers the hidden impact of artificial intelligence on our civil liberties. As big tech companies increasingly rely on algorithms to carry out their work, the unconscious biases embedded in its software exposes the racism and sexism at the root of the tech industry. Director Shalini Kantayya introduces us to the women valiantly fighting against these sinister developments across the globe, exposing surveillance programs everywhere from China to London to right here in the US. Hailed as both a “wake up call and a call to action” by Variety, Coded Bias has already begun appearing on “Best of 2020” film lists, starting with Artforum.
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AI, Games and Ethics: How to Be a God // 1:30pm - 3pm EST // Free
The designers of computer games are the gods of the realities they create. The moral responsibilities they have with regard to their players and to wider society are much the same as with any creative medium or technology. However, suppose that Artificial Intelligence gets its act together and allows us to create non-player characters in our virtual worlds who are as smart as or smarter than we are. Do we have any duty of care towards the individuals whom we create? Are they morally-considerable beings or mere bits in a database? Would it be right, for example, to switch off their virtual world and consign them all to oblivion? Before we become the life-giving gods we are destined to be, we should agree how to should conduct ourselves towards those to whom we give said life. Is it indeed ethical to create them in the first place?
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Expressing oneself through code : Coding Beyond the Screen // 8pm - 9pm EST // Free
In this workshop, participants will see how coding can be used in musical, performative and literary arts. By using tools such as live coding, Youtube, Hydra, Inverse. website and Sonic Pi to name a few. They will see how expressive and creative code will with the benefit of seeing how it can be used in a collaborative setting. Participants will see how improvised writing and coding can lead to various outcomes, musically, as well as, how to use network elements to your advantage when writing or producing work.
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Thursday, December 3


🔥What Would an Uprising Doula Do? // 7pm EST // Free
What are the ways we can imagine worlds with others? How can we come together online to care for each other in the midst of global uprisings and injustice? What are the futures we can channel to heal and hold each other? This interactive, virtual workshop invites participants to engage with the What Would an HIV Doula Do? (WWHIVDD) community to consider the state of the world through their own experiences.
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王榆鈞談影像、聲音和音樂 Wang Yu-jun on Sight, Sound and Music // 7pm - 8pm EST // Free
Working as a singer-songwriter, Wang Yu-jun has developed a stereoscopic approach to shaping the sound of her music. Wang draws upon noises, sounds, imageries of the every day in creating sensual audiovisual experiences both on screen and stage. In recent years, she has been focusing on experimentations between sound and body, inner listening space created by sight, and musical landscapes in poetry. Exploring unknown sounds of the future while calling to the ancient lands, she hopes to continue her creative journey in different corners of the world - to document vibrations of air in the moment, the breath of life, and to find a way of communication between cultures through poetry and music.
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Designing Against a Data Dystopia // 7pm - 8pm EST // Free
Yes, it feels like a dystopia right now. Including how our personal data is treated. Palantir has developed “predictive policing,” deployed in New Orleans. Your Roomba is mapping the layout of your home without you knowing it. AT&T is selling your web browsing history associated with your real name and address. How can we use these dystopias as inputs into our own product building process? Yes, we can use dystopia as a tool. Dystopia helps us imagine futures we don’t want to create and by reversal, the ones we truly do.
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Radical Reimagining: A Syllabus for Survival // 6:30pm - 8pm EST // Free

How to Survive the End of the World is a four-part program series exploring the ways in which artists and art workers express social, cultural and political philosophies through their art practice. Radical Reimagining is a virtual screening and artist talk with performance artist Jaamil Olawale Kosoko. During this artist talk, Jaamil will speak to the concept of "Radical Reimagining" as it relates to his multimedia performance series Chameleon: A Biomythography including his zine Chameleon: A Syllabus of Survival. Chameleon: A Biomythography is a multi-media live artwork that explores the fugitive realities and shapeshifting demands of surviving at the intersection of Blackness, feminism, and queerness in contemporary America. 
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Future Mobility Day // 10am - 12:30pm EST // Free
What will Mobility look like in the after-COVID period and in the longer-term future? How to create the required mobility ecosystem? Can an exemplary marketplace, where innovative mobility services are clustered and linked to new market-driven services, help to create the required mobility shift? The goal of Smart MaaS platforms is to build an Open Source, standardised mobility service platform and reference architecture that allow for the creation of new innovative mobility services. There lies a lot of value in new data creation and the provision of a trusted marketplace that allows for interoperability between different modes of transport. As part of the project, new mobility services are being designed and trialed.
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Augmented Society Network | Reassessing Value Part 2 // 3pm - 4pm EST // Free
Continuing our conversation from October’s Part One of this ASN series and our collaboration since we seek to refine and codify our collective recommendations/guidance on re-configuring society’s relationship with Value. Throughout, we are committed to including diverse views in identifying new or existing systems and theories that can accelerate fair measurement and divestment of value and wealth. The outcome of this discourse and onward collaboration is the publication of a white paper in alignment with the Augmented Society Network’s drive to bring into focus solutions and opportunities resulting from this epic, challenging and unusual times.
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Panel Discussion - Festivals & events post-covid: 6 months on // 2pm - 3:30pm EST // Free
In our first session, we invited Paul Gudgin, former director of Edinburgh Fringe, to talk about the future for festivals & events - and how previous crises have led to bounce backs in the sector. For this follow up session we invite Paul back to chair a conversation with a panel of international cultural specialists including Bridget MacIntosh, Annabel Turpin, Eric Stuart, and Kate Harvey for what should be a fascinating and insightful conversation.
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Friday, December 4


5th Wall Forum // 4pm - 8pm EST // Free
5th Wall Forum is a virtual event bringing together industry insiders from the theater and technology worlds to create opportunities for new kinds of virtual performances for paying audiences. The Forum's goal is to inspire actors, directors, producers, and creatives with the potential of new theatrical digital platforms and virtual performance spaces. We don't mean Zoom theater. Attendees will gain an understanding of the web, virtual reality, and augmented technology platforms that meet the needs of the theater industry while connecting with technologists and digital artists enabling technology for live performance.  Participants will walk away with a clear plan of action to bring their work to a virtual stage or with an interdisciplinary team to incubate ideas...
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Hyphenated Biennial Digital Launch + Mutually Assured Reconstruction // 2am - 3am EST // Free
Hyphenated Biennial is a new artist-led project set to connect communities across Melbourne’s West, on the lands of the Kulin Nation. The inaugural edition focuses on dialogues, solidarity and meaningful collaborations between First Nations and Asian diasporic artists. With exhibitions, public programs and online experiences, the project will run from December 2020 to December 2021. Join in on the conversation with Hyphenated Biennial and reframe our views of the world today.
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Saturday, December 5

The Forest Is In The City Is In The Forest - II // 5:30am - 7:30am EST // Free
December 2020 lecture - Artistic Research and Non-human Agency (Natasha Tontey, Christian Tablazon and Ayesha Gergis): To live in the forest is to be attuned to forces, spirits, and agents other than our own. For the forest, any animal, plant, or any other cosmological entity, is a living entity, with the capacity of realizing their subjectivity, becoming subjects in their own rights, ie, no longer a mute, standing reserve of ‘Nature’ anymore. In this month we look at the various decolonial/anti-colonial practices that look at how humans have formed a shared humanity between human and non-human selves, and multiple natures. In this month we look at how such practices could inform a more speculative, just futures with non-human agents through artistic research and practice.
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Synthetic Biology 101 (Genspace) // 12/5, 11am - 12/6, 12:30pm EST // $45 – $190
Two-part class: Saturday, December 5th, 11 am - 2 pm EST, and Sunday, December 6th, 11 am - 12:30 pm EST Imagine the future. What if we could convert the rising levels of carbon dioxide in the environment to automobile fuel using algae, clean up oil spills by using engineered bacteria, or even light our streets using plants that glow? Such advances, historically reserved for science fiction writers, are theoretically possible and might be around the corner if the fast-growing field of synthetic biology has its way. In this two-part class, we’ll explore the potential of synthetic biology through hands-on experiments using a simple cell-free system called BioBits to experience the cutting edge of this burgeoning field and demonstrate the central dogma of molecular biology in real-time. In addition, we’ll discuss the ethical, legal, and social implications and impact of synthetic biology technologies.
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Reinventing democracy in the age of intelligent machines // 11am - 12:30pm EST // Free
Around the world, liberal democracies are in crisis. Citizens have lost faith in their government. At the same time, economic inequality is increasing dramatically; digital technologies have created a new class of super-rich entrepreneurs. Automation threatens to transform the free economy into a zero-sum game in which capital wins and labor loses. But is this digital dystopia inevitable?
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Edge Cuts | Sanity // 1pm - 4pm EST // Free
In partnership with New York Live Arts, this multi-faceted event will be held inside the 3D virtual platform NOWHERE. A limited number of tickets are available for the intimate, fully interactive experience in any browser (VR headsets not required). Attend all shows, participate in artist talk-backs, and network with other attendees. Some performances will also be viewable via livestream. 
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Assuming the Ecosexual Position: Artists Imagining the Earth as Lover // 8:30pm - 10:30pm EST // Free
HERE COME THE ECOSEXUALS! Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle will weave together stories, photos, and video clips of their adventures in love, sex, cancer, and environmental activism. They will share what happened since they have imagined the Earth as their lover, offer their “25 Ways to Make Love to the Earth,” and give the audience an “Ecosex Orientation.” Performative lecture followed by a discussion. This event is sponsored by the Human Sexuality Ph.D. Program. 
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Sunday, December 6


Art and Activism Web Series No. 1: "The Art of Playing with the Rain" // 8pm - 9pm EST // Free
Two compelling needs—to provide emergency water security, and to alleviate stormwater pollution, are making it imperative that the broader community adopt rainwater catchment strategies and manage stormwater constructively. This presentation will explore how artists are making design innovations (and having fun) with rainwater capture and storage. We’ll also wade into some notable public art stormwater interventions.
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Monday, December 7

Drone Cultures: An Interdisciplinary Symposium // 12/7, 5pm - 12/9, 9:30pm EST // Free
This three-day symposium brings together academics, artists and researchers to explore drone cultures from multiple perspectives and practices with the aim of generating dialogue across disciplinary boundaries to better understand the diversity of drones and drone cultures. How has drone vision influenced contemporary visual culture? How do practices, aesthetics, techniques and technologies move back and forth between military and non-military contexts? How have artists, writers and filmmakers critiqued, adopted and innovated drone technologies? How have drones changed how power is exercised and experienced? What cultures have sprung up around drones in conservation, activism, amateur photography and other contexts? How are drones and other remote sensing systems shaping and shaped by our desires and imaginaries What does the proliferation of drones mean for the future of the human?
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Innovation Made Real: Alternative Protein - Future of Food // 3pm - 4pm EST // Free
A hype or THE future? In this event, we deep dive into the alternative protein landscape, as experts share their viewpoints on the trends and tech in this area. In this exciting event, we explore various facets of cell-cultured future protein, from serum-free media to next-generation scaffolds, to cell-cultured seafood, to tissue engineering & meat cuts technology.
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WEEK 2 - Tuesday, December 8 - Monday, December 14

Tuesday, December 8


The JPEG is Dead // 8pm - 9pm EST // Free
With the arrival of interactive web-based technology this presentation questions why online art exhibitions are often reduced to a collection of static JPEG files. This session takes a deep dive into the future of online art exhibitions. Participants will be shown digital artworks that push the boundaries of traditional exhibition formats. Discussion around implementation and creation of interactive and engaging digital art exhibitions will also take place and include the latest tools and platforms.
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Hearing Heat // 5pm - 6:30pm EST // Free
Through a swelling intensification of intermedial recontextualizations, cicadas are amplified as a companion species thermosonic technology that bears ongoing witness to “the climate of history” in Anthropocene atrocities ranging from rainforest destruction to nuclear escalation to precarious heat waves. This intermedial performance piece is designed for the installation of 6-8 rooms with variously positioned speakers and screens presenting an experimental interplay of voice(s), acoustic biospheres, poiesis, musical composition, film and television soundtracks, graphic design and notation, sonographic spectra, sculpture, and physical objects. The physical installation version of the piece will be recrafted for the CEE online experience as a fifty-minute film in the form of an “exhibit walk-through tour,” with discussion to follow.
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Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation // 7pm - 8pm EST // Free
In the early 1980s, art and writing labeled as graffiti began to transition from New York City walls and subway trains onto canvas and into art galleries. Young artists who freely sampled from their urban experiences and their largely Black, Latinx and immigrant histories infused the downtown art scene with expressionist, pop, and graffiti-inspired compositions. Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960–88) became the galvanizing, iconic frontrunner of this transformational and insurgent movement in contemporary American art, which resulted in an unprecedented fusion of creative energies that defied longstanding racial divisions. Writing the Future features Basquiat’s works in painting, sculpture, drawing, video, music, and fashion, alongside works by his contemporaries―and sometimes collaborators―A-One, ERO, Fab 5 Freddy, Futura, Keith Haring, Kool Koor, LA2, Lady Pink, Lee Quiñones, Rammellzee and Toxic.
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Visions 2020 // 7pm - 11:30pm EST // $49
The conference will bring together artists and art workers from across different states and artforms and celebrate the perspectives of First Nations artists, People of Colour, and people living with disabilities in Australia. We’ll examine the most crucial questions for our sector as this unprecedented year wraps up. How can we create a more sustainable future for the arts? What are alternative funding models and decision-making structures? And how can we make the ‘new normal’ diverse and fair for all?
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ITA on Transdisciplinary Architecture with Jenny Sabin (Cornell University) // 12pm - 2pm EST // Free
Every semester, the Institute of Technology in Architecture (ITA) of ETH Zurich invites three leading figures from the fields of architecture and construction to contribute to interdisciplinary discussions on the construction of the future and on societal issues such as digitalization, resource efficiency and energy transition. Our second lecturer of the Fall Semester 2020 is Jenny Sabin. She is the Arthur L. and Isabel B. Wiesenberger Professor in Architecture at Cornell University and Principal at Jenny Sabin Studio. Her lecture will focus on «Transdisciplinary Architecture».
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Wednesday, December 9


The Art Vault x New Futures Digital // 1pm - 2pm EST // Free
Kovet.Art is delighted to announce the launch of our launch of The Art Vault with New Futures Digital! Join an enlightening panel discussion with five ambitious student curators: Mazzy-Mae Greens and Greta Voeller from Central Saint Martins, Victoria Cantons from the Slade School of Fine Art, and Xu Yang and Junyao Chen from the Royal College of Arts. Hear them discuss their unique curatorial vision and their experience curating an online show. Our guest curators will introduce New Futures Digital, the first exhibition to feature on our new concept, The Art Vault!
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Digital Bodies as Narratives - Lilia Ziamou // 1:30pm - 3:30pm EST // Free
Lilia Ziamou will share insights from my art practice and discuss how digital representations of the body, and therefore digital identities, can be conceived and presented as a narrative. Lilia Ziamou is a multimedia artist who uses digital technologies to liberate the female body from conventional forms and meanings. She creates sculptures, public artworks, photographs, clothing and digital drawings that evoke fragmented bodies and challenge preconceptions.
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The Cybernetics' Difference! CybSights—The President’s Series // 12pm - 2pm EST // £0 – £7.50
Addressing the distinct "go" of cybernetics and its value for contemporary and future science and society. The two speakers, both fellows of the Society, speak about transformations in thinking: the inverted scientific logic of causality that cybernetics brings, recognising purpose, and the question of what we humans want to do with our purposefulness in the making of the world.
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Thursday, December 10


Gender Representations in the Media // Thu 12/10, 11:30pm - Fri 12/11, 1:30am EST // Free
Gender representations in the media have been studied for several decades. This lecture highlights some interesting areas of research related to gender representations, including (1) gender representations of older people, (2) gendered body image portrayals in social media, (3) gender in advertising, and (4) face-ism, or how the media portrays men with more facial prominence than women. While these representations are all different, they share some problematic representations of women. In the end, the potential effects of these representations and future research will be discussed.
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...this is not made of language but energy: Frameworks & Futures // 6pm EST // Free
...this is not made of language but energy is a speculative exploration of our present and future through topics including toolmaking, modes of circulation, frameworks, and more broadly, our digital lives. By the very nature of its subject, this body of research is ever-evolving, and we look forward to these conversations with an international group of artists, writers, and curators in the weeks to come. In this session, Tega Brain, Jason Edward Lewis (AbTeC), Tabita Rezaire, and Paul Soulellis (moderator) will share a criticality of the structures and systems that underpin the internet and the way our data is collected and used. Their work exposes the issues in these larger apparatuses while also proposing alternate frameworks.
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Chicagoland: A Laboratory for 20th Century Design Innovation // 6pm - 7pm EST // Free
A look back at midcentury on the occasion of the publication of From buildings to materials and products to people, panelists will discuss how principles of democratization and sustainability have become increasingly important today. Discover how the built and lived domestic environment—where we spend so much of our COVID time—has become what we recognize, and Chicago’s important role in defining our surroundings. Experts reveal the overlaps in ideas and approaches among creatives who called Chicago home over the past 100 years. Presented by the Design Museum of Chicago, IIT College of Architecture, and IIT Institute of Design (ID).
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FORMS | Democratizing the Future (UNESCO Futures Literacy Summit) // 8am - 9:30am EST // Free
Experiences and reflections from the Museum of Tomorrow and Futurium will explore ways in which museums can stimulate visions of the future with the public they serve. How might museums trigger visions of the future without colonizing it? How might they be agents for breaking out of societal bubbles and reaching those who are not part of the conversation? How can their spaces and programming spark new forms of activism? During a time that we perceive as a heightened moment of uncertainty regarding the immediate future, this panel will explore these and other questions so that museums can foster a wide-reaching and inclusive co-creation of futures.
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Masterclass | Science fiction, futures literacy & technological innovation (UNESCO Futures Literacy Summit) // 5pm - 6pm EST // Free
Science fiction is both an artistic genre and an inspiration for futures literacy and technological innovation. In this masterclass, we will present the opportunities that science fiction offers for individuals and organizations to thrive on disruption based on actual cases and proposed methodologies.
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Workshop | Horizons (UNESCO Futures Literacy Summit) // 3pm - 5pm EST // Free
In this hands-on workshop, you'll be invited to create future scenarios by using technology to spark the imagination. We will be using the Horizons' Radar, which is a research tool that gathered the top hundred technologies that will drive change in the next decade. During our time together, we promise a fun time with a lot of exchange of ideas.
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Round Table | Technology Foresight (UNESCO Futures Literacy Summit) // 1pm - 3pm EST // Free
We believe technology exerts an outsized effect on society and the world. It affects our environment, shapes our economy and defines how we communicate and make decisions. Technology is an inevitable force shaping the future, and should be better understood by the population at large. How do you keep track? How do you distinguish signal from noise? Join us for a round table conversation about different technology scouting methods, like reading science fiction or trying new programming languages. Share your favorite approaches and learn from like-minded technology geeks.
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Round Table | The Future of Cities and technology foresight (UNESCO Futures Literacy Summit) // 9am - 11am EST // Free
Join Envisioning for a conversation about the technological future of cities. Building on Envisioning's free Cities platform, participants are invited to join a moderated discussion around challenges in scanning and adopting technology in urban environments. The session aims to connect a global community of potential contributors towards a collaboratively designed and funded research project on emerging technology affecting cities worldwide.
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Foresight 3.0 - the literacy of transformation (UNESCO Futures Literacy Summit) // 4am - 5:30am EST // Free
Can we design next-generation foresight methods, on the principles of collective intelligence? This interactive Conversation explores the scope of a next-generation Foresight-3.0, using the case study of the pandemic. Each of these questions highlights a different angle.
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Friday, December 11

The Future of Death Roundtable (UNESCO Futures Literacy Summit) // 3pm - 5pm // Free
If the future is uncertain, there is one thing we can all count on: death. Yet, as we envision the future of humanity, we tend to avoid the subject. This round table aims at changing that, bringing death to the center of the conversation, because in the end how we die defines how we live. What is the future of death? How will we face it, embrace it, delay it, avoid it, and mourn it in the times to come?
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FORMS | The Future of Belonging (UNESCO Futures Literacy Summit) // 8am - 9:30am EST // Free
FORMS is a community of cultural leaders from museums and institutions around the world whose journey is fueled by a collective desire to explore ways in which their roles can trigger cultural transformation within the public they serve. This ongoing and open-ended conversation has touched upon many key themes and perhaps none is more relevant than the notion of belonging, a theme that is essential to the formation of the FORMS community itself and to a search for the role that museums have in creating a sense of belonging in today’s world. FORMS recently engaged in a Futures Literacy Lab on the Future of Belonging as a way to further unpack this essential theme and will invite the public to participate in this on-going conversation through an interactive session. More than an intellectual exercise of our imagination, for belonging to become a felt reality it requires us to come together to jointly co-create it.
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Open-Lab "The Strength of Weak Signals" (UNESCO Futures Literacy Summit) // 5am - 5:45am // Free
An open-lab session to explore the many facets and benefits of weak-signals research, whether from a foresight, innovation, transitions, or Covid-19 crisis perspective. Weak signals detection and analysis are crucial to the art of foresight and can be an especially inclusive and responsive practice in high uncertainty contexts. It is however rarely discussed in depth.
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Saturday, December 12

Workshop | Deconstructing Certainty (UNESCO Futures Literacy Summit) // 5pm - 7pm EST // Free
Whether you realize it or not, you actively construct the future and your sense of possibility through anticipatory assumptions - fixed expectations of how you believe tomorrow will unfold. This is a form of poverty-of-the-imagination that Futures Literacy aims to eradicate. We take these assumptions for granted without much consideration. The sun will inevitably arise. National borders will remain. The money will keep its value. These assumptions easily become invisible, yet they shape our perception and experience of the world.
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Masterclass | Patterns of Technological Transformation (UNESCO Futures Literacy Summit) // 1pm - 3pm EST // Free
Technology often seems unpredictable - and while that might be so - there are several predictable aspects in how technology evolves over time. For example, most are familiar with exponentials and Moore's Law, which has become a certainty in recent decades. However, with the advent of accelerating change, we should also be certain that there will be unintended consequences. This session will explore several patterns (or certainties) of technological transformation, including combinatorial evolution, solutionism, and future shock.
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Workshop | Transfeminist Speculative Lab (UNESCO Futures Literacy Summit) // 3pm - 5pm EST // Free
In this workshop, we invite you to question the utopian and dystopian impacts of emerging technologies in regards to gender. We want to collaboratively reimagine alternative futures that are inclusive, intersectional, and inspirational.
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Workshop | Technology + Culture (UNESCO Futures Literacy Summit) // 9am - 11am EST // Free
The cultural nuances that could influence the role of emerging technologies in different contexts need to be an integral aspect of Futures Literacy. As civilization rapidly transforms to accommodate the exponential growth of new technologies, a western perspective prevails in recommending opportunities and implementation, transforming cultures in multi-faceted ways. In this conversation, we will discuss the opportunities and challenges of educating around emerging technologies in different localities focusing on 5 prevalent representative regions.
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Masterclass | Envisioning Methodologies (UNESCO Futures Literacy Summit) // 4pm - 5pm EST // Free
In order to nurture Futures Literacy, there are a number of different tools, frameworks, and methodologies available to research and imagine futures. On this roundtable, our team will open up our workspace and share how we equip our remote collaborators to think of futures beyond the shiny techno-capitalist take.
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Round Table | From the margins to the center (UNESCO Futures Literacy Summit) // 6am - 8am EST // Free
Many traditional cultures from the Global South were conceived by questioning the virtuality of matter, life, body, and the self; the very same bases that support the widespread of the world's digitalization. Current global technological developments have subverted time-space concepts and produced new circulation possibilities amidst networks, inheriting cosmologies into practices and tools. Join us in this talk to explore how communities spread across different continents are re-signifying the use of technologies as community tools to improve livelihood conditions, strengthen social ties, and co-create more gentle futures for all.
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Playable Spaces: The Digital and Physical // 5am - 8:30am EST // £15 – £20
A hallmark of immersive theatre is the way the audience can free-roam through a world and discover the story; those routes are carefully designed to ensure the audience finds satisfying and intriguing journeys. This workshop will allow you to understand the complexities routes can take, and how those routes can connect together, to create a web for your audience to play within. Examining physical space and the digital realm, we will explore the resources available to you with space or software to facilitate online experiences.
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Sunday, December 13

Artivism and Transnational Solidarity // 8pm - 9:30pm EST // Free
Artists and activists have always played a fundamental role in transformative social change. With the Covid-19 pandemic emphasizing global inequalities and exposing the violent systems that uphold them, we turn to artivists to provide a language for these challenging times and illuminate ways forward.
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Susan Snodgrass - "Inside the Matrix: The Radical Designs of Ken Isaacs" // 2pm - 3pm EST // Free
Join critic and author Susan Snodgrass in a lecture and discussion on the design practice of Ken Isaacs (1927–2016), an experimental architect whose ecologically conscious designs made him an early progenitor to the green building and Tiny House movements. Snodgrass will discuss Isaacs’s idea of the “matrix,” or “total environment,” a three-dimensional grid system that formed the central concept and building component of all of his work, including his popular Living Structures, Microhouses, and Alpha Chambers. His populist, DIY designs of the late 1950–70s provided alternative solutions to the spatial and environmental challenges of midcentury modern life and are given new meaning within the context of our current shelter-in-place.
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The Janus Point – a New Story of the Destiny of Our Universe // 1:30pm - 2:30pm EST // From £10.72
What is time? Julian Barbour presents a major new solution to one of the most profound questions in physics, with seismic implications for the origin and destiny of our universe. Time is perhaps the greatest mystery in physics. One question dominates: if the fundamental laws of physics do not distinguish between past and future, why does it only seem to travel forward? Physicist Julian Barbour joins us to present a radical new answer. In conversation with David Malone, Barbour will walk us through some of the greatest scientific theories history and the most cutting-edge physics today, unveiling a new argument that looks set to have a seismic impact in the scientific community.
Learn More
 

Monday, December 14

Nothing to Report! 👾
 

Upcoming Speculative Futures Meetups 


Speculative Futures CDMX Meetup 01// Thursday 12/3, 7:30pm 8:30pm EST // Free (in spanish)
Somos un chapter local dentro de una iniciativa global llamada Design Futures Initiative, una organización con sede en San Francisco que reúne a personas de distintas disciplinas, entre ellos diseñadores, antropólogos, estrategas, científicos entre otros. Nuestra misión es poder compartir conocimiento y conversación alrededor de visiones sobre el futuro que queremos construir como sociedad. 
We are a local chapter within a global initiative called the Design Futures Initiative, an organization based in San Francisco that brings together people from different disciplines, including designers, anthropologists, strategists, scientists, among others. Our mission is to be able to share knowledge and conversation around visions about the future that we want to build as a society.
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Community Catch-up // Speculative Futures Amsterdam // Thursday 12/3, 1pm - 2:30pm EST // Free
After the success of our first catch-up, we thought of continuing this scheduled moment for new members to join our Discord outside of our meetups. Discord is our go-to place for any community-related activities. We want to invite you on this day to join us as meet each other, talk about whatever is on our mind, and ideate how Theo and Mick can work more closely together with all of you. If you would like to join, feel free to fill in this form. From time to time Mick will go through the list and send invitations before the event.
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Subversive Imagination: Art, Design, and Systems Change // Speculative Futures Sydney // Tuesday 12/8,  2:30am - 4am EST // Free
How can we use art and design for systems change? In this interdisciplinary talk, the artist examines how human imagination can be used to examine, reflect, and change various societal systems particularly within the context of sustainability and regeneration. Through the lens of original artworks executed in various places worldwide, we will analyse how creativity may be “useful” in alleviating systems disturbances and redefining our relationship with the natural world. It includes insights on how art that subverts consumer-driven forms can be harnessed to create empathy about inaccessible topics, as well as how artistic collaborations with researchers, advocacy groups, and local communities can create discourse and instigate conversations about asking different questions about the climate crisis.
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Futures in the Faceless Society // Speculative Futures Amsterdam // Wednesday 12/9, 1:30pm - 3pm EST // Free
We will be back with a night focussed on the emergence of facial recognition, design for diversion and look into futures in a faceless society. This meetup is inspired by the initiative by several organizations in the European Union, one of them being Bits of Freedom, called Reclaim Your Face. Since the COVID-19 pandemic has started, it has become more acceptable to wear clothing that covers part of your face in public areas. This has made it challenging to identify people's emotions, read their intentions, and trust one another. With strict rules and consequences to stress the use of face masks, it seemed only right to call out the irony of the face-mask ban that was introduced in 2019. The Dutch government has implemented laws that prohibit wearing any type of face-covering garments, with the right to utilize islamophobia to stress a false urgency. For us specifically, we look at this time with facial recognition in mind. The emergence of surveillance in a post-911 world has definitely gone out of control, with certain social media companies using your profile photos as training data and municipalities breaking their own rules with regards to proper use of public cameras. On top of that, there are reports that claim facial recognition technologies are having issues identifying the people on the street, now that faces are being covered. There have been complaints that a multi-million euro industry is in jeopardy, even though this industry is highly controversial and needs to be debated thoroughly. It seems that facial recognition is emerging and will be here to stay. On the contrary, popular discourses in Sci-Fi and futures narratives hardly impose a stronghold on biometric data. It has to lead us to romanticize a faceless society, one where the use of face-covering items has become acceptable or even common practice. We would like to explore how this future will look with all of you. Please note that for this meetup, we will go to our Discord. If you haven't joined our server yet, please fill in this form.
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Transition Design Salon - Boston to Austin and beyond // Speculative Futures Austin & Speculative Futures New England// Friday 12/11, 11am EST - 1pm EST // Free
The Speculative Futures New England chapter and Austin chapter present the first session in a series of Transition Design Salons. These sessions are open to a global audience and event times may be adjusted in the future to accommodate more timezones. The intent of this series, like a traditional salon-style gathering, is to bring people together to excite one another and increase our knowledge through conversation. We'll be convening remotely from all around the globe. Historically salons have acted as important places for the exchange of ideas. Through this series, we will discuss Transition Design and exchange ways in which methods from the field of Transition Design can be applied in varied contexts lightly guided by our Panelists who have experience in Academia, the Private Sector, and the Public Sector.
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Speculative News & Resources 📰

News and resources about emerging technology, speculative practice, and futures design. 

A 3D Printed Apartment Building Is Going Up in Germany // SingularityHub
3D printing is making strides in the construction industry. In just a couple years we’ve seen the tech produce single-family homes in a day, entire communities of homes for people in need, large municipal buildings, and even an egg-shaped concept home for Mars (oh, and let’s not forget the 3D printed boats and cars of the world!). Another impressive feat will soon be added to this list, as a German construction company has begun work on a 3D printed three-story apartment building...
Read More

Social media companies all starting to look the same // Axios
Snapchat on Monday launched Spotlight, a video tab within its app that, like TikTok, distributes videos based more on how popular they are than on who created them. Facebook in August launched its TikTok competitor, called Reels. Snapchat's news comes days after Twitter said it would be adding "Fleets," which are basically Snapchat stories for people who tweet. (Nearly every social media app has launched some version of Stories in the past few years.) Tech platforms used to focus on ways to create wildly different products to attract audiences. Today, they all have similar features, and instead differentiate themselves with their philosophies, values, and use cases.
Learn More

The End of Disruption // NYC Media Lab Innovation Monitor
Incremental is the new disruptive. The 2010s were about big, earth-shattering, game-changing disruptions. However, the 2020s could bring about the next phase in innovation, one focused on incremental, rather than disruptive, innovation. After transitions to the cloud, artificial intelligence initiatives, and every Gartner Hype Cycle technology you can name, this year, expect to see incremental innovations built out over evolving iterations of product and services. This is when operationalizing begins, and we anticipate seeing, feeling, experiencing these ideas more broadly...
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Ten years on, Kinect’s legacy goes beyond Xbox // Engadget 
It’s been ten years since Microsoft launched the Kinect camera and it lived quite a life. The Xbox 360 peripheral became a key part of the whole Xbox platform and then years later, almost just as quickly, faded into obscurity. It may not have been the enduring success Microsoft was hoping for, but its legacy is bigger than you might first think. In many ways, Kinect was far ahead of its time when it launched in 2010, but its limitations both for users and developers would come to define it...
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The problem for the 21st century isn’t that we’re too urban—it’s that we’re not urban enough // FastCompany
Today, the world’s urban population grew by close to 200,000 people. It will do the same tomorrow, and the next day, and so on into the future. Two-thirds of humanity will live in cities by 2050. We are witnessing the greatest migration of history, the culmination of a 6,000-year process whereby we will have become an urbanized species by the end of the present century. In his new book, ‘Metropolis,’ Ben Wilson looks at cities throughout history, exploring how the past can inform our rapidly urbanizing future...
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The US Army is Developing Tech that Reads Soldiers Minds // Futurism
The U.S. Army is pouring money into neuroscience research, in a bid to try and decode the meaning behind different brain signals. The ultimate goal — likely still far in the future — is to build a system that would allow soldiers to communicate with nothing more than their thoughts, according to C4ISRNET. It’s a bold initiative that highlights the bizarre ways medical technology could change the very nature of warfare — and soldiers themselves...
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The Privileged Have Entered Their Escape Pods // OneZero
any of us don’t like who we have become in this pandemic but feel little freedom to choose otherwise. Officially, we may be wearing our masks to protect others, but it sure does feel appropriate to hide our faces when we’re engaging in so many self-interested, survivalist activities in the light of day — leveraging whatever privilege we may enjoy to stock and equip our homes so they can serve as makeshift bunkers, workplaces, private schools, and hermetically sealed entertainment centers...
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2021- The Year of Transcendence // Futurist
Each year – like many people – Futurist.com Think Tank member Nikolas Badminton writes his predictions for the following year. These aim to draw attention to areas that maybe haven’t been considered and to ignite some thinking. Let’s dive into his 2021 predictions – the year of transcendence...
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This Is How We’ll Engineer Artificial Touch // SingularityHub
Take a Jeopardy! guess: this body part was once referred to as the “consummation of all perfection as an instrument.” Answer: “What is the human hand?” Our hands are insanely complex feats of evolutionary engineering. Densely-packed sensors provide intricate and ultra-sensitive feelings of touch. Dozens of joints synergize to give us remarkable dexterity. A “sixth sense” awareness of where our hands are in space connects them to the mind, making it possible to open a door, pick up a mug, and pour coffee in total darkness based solely on what they feel...
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Huawei, 5G, and the Man Who Conquered Noise // Wired

How an obscure Turkish scientist’s obscure theoretical breakthrough helped the Chinese tech giant gain control of the future. US telecoms never had a chance...
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More Income Inequality Means Fewer Items in Grocery Stores // Futurity
The amount of variety available at grocery stores is highly sensitive to income inequality, according to new research. Even before COVID-19 and resulting shutdowns created gridlock for some global supply chains, the assortment at many neighborhood supermarkets was dwindling.  The cause was not a lack of supply, though, but rather a lack of demand created by a widening income gap in the US, the researchers report. As the middle class has been hollowed out, the assortment on grocery store shelves has, too, as a result...
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MIT Report: Robots Aren’t the Biggest Threat to the Future of Work—Policy Is // Singularity Hub
Fears of a robot-driven jobs apocalypse are a recurring theme in the media. But a new report from MIT has found that technology is creating as many jobs as it destroys, and bad policy is a bigger threat to workers than automation. Ever since a landmark 2013 paper from the University of Oxford estimated that 47 percent of US jobs were at risk of automation, there’s been growing concern about how technology will shape the future of work. Last year another influential study reported that robots could replace up to 20 million jobs by 2030...
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These solar panels don’t need the sun to produce energy // FastCompany
When it comes to renewable energy, solar panels are great. Their efficiency has improved and their costs have dropped to the point where it would be feasible to move every U.S. home to solar power and save money in the process. But then the clouds roll in. The intermittency of the skies has been one of the major challenges for this otherwise valuable renewable energy source. Though we can’t control cloud cover, a new invention has found a way to work around the inconsistency of solar energy by harvesting unseen ultraviolet light that’s present no matter the weather. It could soon be turning the windows and walls of buildings into a rich new source of electricity...
Read More

7 short videos on resilience and agility in the with/post covid world (Futurist Gerd Leonhard) [Video Playlist]
Covid-19 has changed and continues to change everything. And the speed of change and innovation is only accelerating. For businesses to successfully navigate these massive waves of disruption is going to require a whole new way of thinking about the world, the future, and the economy writ large.
Watch Now

I bet you can be a better futurist // Hinesight Blog
A bet is a decision about an uncertain future. Perhaps we futurists could learns something from those who make a living placing bets: professional poker players.  My former student Tim Murphy suggested I read Annie Duke’s Thinking in Bets as relevant to our Advanced Strategies class. He correctly bet that I would find it useful! Duke’s core assumption is that: “there are exactly two things that determine how our lives turn out: the quality of our decisions and luck….And “learning to recognize the difference between the two is what thinking in bets is all about.”...
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AI warning: Robot soldiers only 15 years away from ‘changing face’ of warfare - expert // Express
General Sir Nick Carter, the UK's Chief of Defence last week suggested the British Army may one day fill its ranks with "robot soldiers”. This may seem like a daunting prospect, and one that will never come to fruition - but a military expert has now predicted such highly-intelligent military robots are actually a mere 15 years away from “changing the face” of warfare. The high-tech machines will employ cutting-edge AI to inform strategy concerning the “layout of the land and possible threats” in real-time, Charles Glar has revealed...
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The Retail Resurgence Manual // Protocol (Article Series)
The pandemic has upended the retail industry, with supply chains in disarray and consumers flocking to new ways to shop in droves. This is your guide to how retail comes back...
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Searching for Signals: Tips & Tricks from IFTF Staff // IFTF Future Now
If you like getting into the weeds on how to find good signals, this post is for you! Oftentimes you come across signals in the course of daily life, but other times you need to research signals on a specific topic. We were curious about how people did this. So earlier this year we surveyed the entire IFTF staff on their personal practices for searching out the best signals of change. Below are the highlights about how and where they look to gather signals - the essential building blocks of foresight...
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One thing I wish I had known when I was just beginning my futures practice… // IFTF Future Now
None of us are born expert futurists. We all start as beginners, and even after years of practice, there's more to learn. So, what's one piece of advice you wish someone had shared with you as you were starting your journey into futures thinking? We asked IFTF staff to share at least one nugget of wisdom they wish they had had in their back pocket as they were newly developing their foresight skills. Budding foresight practitioners, take heed!
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How a young, queer Asian-American businesswoman is rethinking user safety at Twitter // Protocol
About six months ago, Twitter quietly hired someone to become the head of product for conversational safety on the platform. You'd think the person in charge of what might be the most difficult task at Twitter would have a predictable skillset: years of experience in and out of academia, politics and programming; an impenetrable wall of media savvy; close ties to the exec suite. You'd be wrong...
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Smart Concrete Could Pave the Way for High-Tech, Cost-Effective Roads // SingularityHub
Every day, Americans travel on roads, bridges, and highways without considering the safety or reliability of these structures. Yet much of the transportation infrastructure in the US is outdated, deteriorating, and badly in need of repair. Of the 614,387 bridges in the US, for example, 39 percent are older than their designed lifetimes, while nearly 10 percent are structurally deficient, meaning they could begin to break down faster or, worse, be vulnerable to catastrophic failure...
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From Arcades To Telekinesis, Here’s What’s Next For VR // Protocol
This was not a fun story to write: Location-based virtual reality pioneer The Void defaulted on a loan, leading to the lender taking over its assets, as I reported Monday. "We plan to operate or sell them," The Void's new owner, Jim Bennett, told me, not exactly instilling confidence in the company's future. I visited The Void's headquarters in Utah in 2017, had a chance to play a handful of The Void's experiences over the years, and have always loved it. From the rumble vest that would provide tactile feedback to doors, levers, and shaking floors, the level of immersion was unrivaled by anything your typical home VR setup could offer. And for a second, it looked like The Void and its out-of-home VR competitors might just get people hooked on VR before headsets became mainstream...
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Fun Stuff 🚀

Cool projects, articles, games, books, and other nerdy speculative things that I've discovered recently.

Open Calls/Submissions & Cool Projects

Open Calls & Submissions

2021 Photography & Social Justice Fellowship [CALL] // Deadline 12/1
Magnum Foundation’s Photography and Social Justice Program builds capacity through critical explorations of photography and social change. Each year, the program supports a diverse, international group of Photography and Social Justice Fellows who are passionate about challenging injustice, pursuing social equality, and advancing human rights through photography. The program provides space for interdisciplinary experimentation, mentored project development, and cross-cultural, critical discourse for developing new approaches to socially engaged documentary practice. With intensive mentorship, artist- and expert-led workshops, peer-to-peer learning, and production funds, this program prepares fellows to make effective creative projects and become leaders who inspire social movements, pose difficult questions, and stimulate debate and awareness about pressing social issues. 
Learn More & Apply

Critical Meme Research [CALL] // Deadline 12/14
The Institute of Network Culture invites authors from a variety of disciplinary and cultural backgrounds to contribute manifestos, essays, interviews, fictions, artworks and other speculative interventions in our understanding of what memes are, or will be, in the process of becoming. The Institute of Network Cultures (INC) analyzes and shapes the terrain of network cultures through events, publications, and online dialogue. Our projects evolve around urgent publishing, alternative revenue models, critical design and making, digital counter culture and much more.
Learn More & Apply

Call for 2021-2022 Faculty Fellows: Race & Technology [CALL] // Deadline 12/16
Data & Society is assembling its eighth class of fellows to join them for 10 months, starting September 1, 2021. Our fellow's program helps ensure that new connections and perspectives deepen and expand our community’s understanding of the challenges and opportunities society faces in a data-centric world. Data & Society fellows have pursued academic research, written code, created art, brought together communities of activists and practice, run workshops and hosted convenings, worked closely with Data & Society’s in-house research team across research initiatives and each other, and much more. Fellows are researchers concerned with the implications of data-centric technology’s role in reconfiguring society. 
Learn More & Apply

2021 Wave Farm Residency Program [RESIDENCY] // Deadline 2/1/21
In 2021, the Wave Farm Residency Program will provide artists with a valuable opportunity to concentrate on new radio artworks and conduct research about the genre using the Wave Farm Study Center resource library. Applicants are asked to propose a specific radio art project, which they will complete while in residence and premiere on Wave Farm's full-power FM radio station: WGXC 90.7-FM Radio for Open Ears. Radio artists explore broadcast radio space through a richly polyphonous mix of practices, including poetic resuscitations of conventional radio drama, documentary, interview, and news formats; found and field sound compositions reframed by broadcast; performative inhabitations/embodiments of radio’s inherent qualities, such as entropy, anonymity, and interference; playful celebrations/subversions of the complex relationship between senders and receivers, and the potential feedback loops between hosts and layers of the audience, from in-studio to listeners at home to callers-in; use of radio space to bridge widely dispersed voices (be they living or dead), subjects, environments, and communities, or to migrate through them in ways that would not be possible in real-time and space; electroacoustic compositions with sounds primarily derived from gathering, generating and remixing radiophonic sources.
Learn More & Apply

TRACKED & TRACED: Science Gallery Detroit [CALL] // Deadline 2/5/21
Watchmen and sentinels were joined over time by security guards and closed-circuit TV, and now, by video, data scraping, and bio-sensors. Retail loyalty programs, website cookies, law enforcement facial recognition software, routine health screening, and airport security lists are all part of the vast presence of different kinds of surveillance in our society. And, these are just the forms that are part of mainstream awareness. What else lurks in the realms where data mining and AI surveillance algorithms are developed, flourish, and get put into practice to drive profit, achieve military or security aims, or control other human behavior? While these technologies are all too often deployed in ways contrary to our individual interests, they have also been used to advance personal and public health, reduce human impact on the environment, and engage citizens in participatory monitoring of the natural world. How can we understand and gain control over these practices, unraveling dystopian connections, and further developing utopian-leaning connections?
Learn More & Submit

Radio D.I.Why [CALL] // Can't Find a Deadline
Radiowave based technologies are all around us: from simple FM-radios in our cars to wifi hotspots from our phones – they take up space in our public sphere both physically and digitally. Our spaces are crowded with radio infrastructure that provides us with a faster, stronger, more stable connection and a never-ending information stream. However, not only are these infrastructures consuming massive amounts of energy and material, they also consume our time and attention. We need collective ideas of how these infrastructures operate in the future and new dreams about how the next generation of tech looks like. Radio D.I.WHY is a speculative radio show asking what the future of radio looks like. We are hosted on a public, non-commercial, low power FM radio station in Vienna, Austria and New York City, accessible for everyone to contribute.  Feel free to share your stories, ideas, music or other creative projects via our radio! Or join us for a guided workshop where we will build new radio futures based on sustainability, responsiveness, DIY culture, locality, care, belonging, and many more! You name it!
Learn More & Apply

Cool Projects

Memories from the Year 2030 // Walker

Memories From the Year 2030 is a collection of fictional letters, memos and visual artifacts created by a group of futurists, speculative designers, authors and artists. In mid March, 2020, the contributors were invited to respond to the following prompt: How will we remember these times a decade from now? What actions might we take in the coming months that will shape memories for the next ten years or more? What parts of 2020 will have stayed with us? What parts will have faded? How did 2020 change us? What are we proud of? What do we regret?
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Haul Earth Ledger (HEL)
The Haul Earth Ledger is an open-source fundraising platform aiming to facilitate the transition from a consumer society to a creative, inventive, expressive society. Drawing from similar efforts before it like the Whole Earth Catalog, the Ledger collects tutorials that look at consumer goods as raw materials for further experimentation. In doing so, the team aims to question the power of the few remaining consumer brands out there clinging to power, while ensuring the lifecycle of these devices is extended to the best of our community's capacity. This, we hope can contribute to acknowledging and alleviating the burden our lifestyles have been on our home, the Earth...
Check It Out

Virtual Idol Variety Show “Dimension Nova” is a Bizarre Digital Pop Star Battle // Radii
At the beginning of October, Dimension Nova (跨次元新星) became the latest TV craze to hit China. Hosted by iQIYI, one of the country’s leading streaming platforms, this new show starts with what’s now a well-worn concept for the site responsible for The Rap of China: a talent contest. What makes Dimension Nova remarkable however, is that all of the contestants are virtual creations...
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With Augmented Reality, You Can Now Superimpose Publicly Exhibited Artworks in Your Home // Smithsonian Mag
For a week in October, LED trucks featuring animated, illuminated quotes from conceptual artist Jenny Holzer’s latest public art project, You Be My Ally, drove around downtown Chicago and the city’s South Side. Those walking on the University of Chicago’s campus can currently use their phones to project all 29 quotes from the project, selected from texts from the University’s Core Curriculum, onto seven university buildings using a free web-based augmented reality app. But for the first time, using the same app, art enthusiasts can also superimpose a public exhibit of Holzer’s work—each of the quotes—in their own houses, or wherever they might be. Instead of seeing the words Suddenly incoherence feels violent, a quote from “Citizen,” Claudia Rankine’s book-length poem, rolling up the sleek Ludwig Mies van der Rohe-designed façade of the university’s School of Social Service Administration, users can experience this zooming towards them from a distant spot in their kitchen or bathroom...
Learn More

Transforming the Future: Anticipation in the 21st Century // ResearchGate
Anticipation is a fundamental building block of this universe. It is a key to turning complexity from a liability into an asset. Yet few have thought about the anticipatory systems and processes that not only surround us but are critical ingredients of the actions, everyone, from a baby to a general, take constantly. Today humanity is Futures Illiterate and it is costing us. From the poverty of the imagination to the colonization of tomorrow, cognitive dissonance is ripping apart the fabric of current conceptions of human agency. Without Futures Literacy providing the capacity to ‘use-the-future’ for different reasons, in different ways, depending on specific contexts, the only constant, change, become toxic. Instead of being a source of hope the rich source of our existence, complex emergence, eludes our comprehension leaving only the bitter taste of certain disappointment when we waste our will on the search for certainty. Transforming the Future: Anticipation in the 21st Century presents findings on the theory and practice of Futures Literacy, including 14 case studies...
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Breaking Futures Video // Changeist
From time to time, we host live conversations with writers, artists and experts on future topics — the Breaking Futures series. We invite audiences to watch, question and engage the panels we put together, to drive conversation about particular futures from different perspectives. After these sessions, we’ll host the videos here. What Now? America, The US Election and Beyond. In this session, recorded on November 5, 2020, leading futurists Dr. Jake Dunagan (IFTF) and Scott Smith (Changeist), and speculative fiction authors Dr. Malka Older (Infomocracy, Null States, State Tectonics) and Christopher Brown (Tropic of Kansas, Rule of Capture, Failed State) discuss what happens now, and what comes next for America and the world in the wake of the US Election...
Watch Now

Strategic Storyforms | A 3 Day Masterclass in Crafting Strategic Scenarios & Speculative Fiction // Changeist
From January 6th - 8th, 2021, this unique online masterclass will introduce you to two essential narrative formats in futures work: strategic scenarios and speculative fiction. Following a half-day introduction into the role these and other narrative forms play in engaging audiences and stakeholders, this course is built around two half-day deep dives into both scenarios and speculative fiction, with an in-depth review of uses and building blocks of each, followed by hands-on exercises developing and deconstructing these story forms.
Check It Out & Register!
 

Gaming, Shows, Books & Other Random Cool Stuff

Ready Player Two // Earnest Cline [READ]
Days after Oasis founder James Halliday's contest, Wade Watts makes a discovery that changes everything. Hidden within Halliday's vault, waiting for his heir to find, lies a technological advancement that will once again change the world and make the Oasis thousand times more wondrous, and addictive, than even Wade dreamed possible. With it comes a new riddle and a new quest. The last Easter egg from Halliday, hinting at a mysterious prize. And an unexpected, impossibly powerful, and dangerous new rival awaits, one who will kill millions to get what he wants. Wade's life and the future of the Oasis are again at stake, but this time the fate of humanity also hangs in the balance.
Check It Out

Raised by Wolves // HBO Max [Watch]
From Executive Producer Ridley Scott, Raised by Wolves centers on two androids tasked with raising human children on a mysterious virgin planet. As the burgeoning colony of humans threatens to be torn apart by religious differences, the androids learn that controlling the beliefs of humans is a treacherous and difficult task.
Check It Out

Cyberpunk 2077 // PS, Xbox, PC
It's finally coming out!!! On December 10th, Cyberpunk 2077 will finally be here! (and I'll cease all contact with the real world. :P) If you have somehow missed all the hype... Cyberpunk 2077 is an open-world, action-adventure story set in Night City, a megalopolis obsessed with power, glamour and body modification. You play as V, a mercenary outlaw going after a one-of-a-kind implant that is the key to immortality. You can customize your character’s cyberware, skillset and playstyle, and explore a vast city where the choices you make shape the story and the world around you.
Check It Out
 

What I'm Reading

Here is a quick snapshot of my favorite books, podcasts, and articles this week.

On Parler, MAGA’s postelection world view blossoms with no pushback
by Tina Nguyen

Tel Aviv University study finds hyperbaric oxygen treatments reverse aging process
American Friends of Tel Aviv University

Wearing a mask is like turning down a marshmallow
Robert Sapolsky

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You can also learn more about my work at danamartens.tech.

 


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Let me know! I'd be happy to include your event in SciFly, and even to give it a super fun intro shout-out! Please feel free to contact me at my email below, or on Slack.
 
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Want More Speculation?


Join the NYC Speculative Futures meetup, a group for those interested in Critical Design, Speculative Design, Design Fiction, Discursive Design, Futurism, Science Fiction or any other incarnation of the approach which involves using Design to speculate about alternate futures. We'll be hosting speakers, workshops, and more!
JOIN US
Contact Me
martd371@newschool.edu
www.danamartens.tech

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