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YOUR BIWEEKLY DOSE OF EVERYTHING SPECULATIVE

DESIGN // FICTION // TECHNOLOGY // ART

 
   
 
 
 

SciFly // 152 // Remote Speculations Week 51/52

Speculative Events, News & Resources | Sent 3/8


Hey SciFly Readers!

Up super late writing this week (tbh, was building an epic underground cave house in Valheim... 😅), so going to do a little shameless self-promotion and tell you about an awesome new workshop that we launched at DFI last week. 

I'll be teaching the upcoming April session along with my good friend Jack Wilkinson, joined by Adam Zeiner who will be producing. It has been such a wild ride helping to develop, shape, test, and launch this class over the last year, and I'm so so excited with how the FxD framework has evolved. 

Check it out, and hope to see you in a future class!
 


Futures x Design


First workshop launching Saturday, April 17th & Sunday, April 18th!

Futures x Design (FxD) is a brand new two-day, immersive, design-driven workshop that provides a hands-on introduction to the basics of leveraging speculative futuring for personal and professional success. 

This course was developed by the Design Futures Initiative and is hosted in partnership with The Futures School as part of the larger TFS ecosystem of foresight and futures thinking programs. As a global development platform, it is The Futures School’s mission to democratize foresight around the world.

In this class, you will gain a solid foundation in the history and application of speculative practice through a series of hands-on, project-based activities. 

We’ll follow the Futures x Design framework (FxD), a methodology for moving through modalities and mindsets to extrapolate, create, and experience the implications of speculative future products, services, systems, and technologies so that you can better understand which are most preferable and build strategies to map your way to future realities.
  • Learn about the history of speculative practice and how to unpack and analyze speculative projects

  • Follow our Futures x Design framework, a set of mindsets for doing speculative work that helps connect future extrapolations to present strategies

  • Learn worldbuilding techniques to more creatively speculate plausible future worlds

  • Rapidly prototype, critique, and showcase future artifacts

  • Connect the implications of your speculative designs with concrete actions you or your organization can take today

  • Learn how to advocate for doing more speculative and future-oriented projects within your organization or practice

Learn More & Apply

Check Out the Syllabus

As always, 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 🗓

Events are organized chronologically by week with events from Speculative Futures chapters listed separately at the end.

WEEK 1 - Tuesday, March 9th - Monday, March 15th

Tuesday, March 9


Nothing to Report! 👾
 

Wednesday, March 10

...And The World Isn't Flat Anymore | A Talk by Matthew Wazinsky // 7pm - 8pm EST // Free
How do principles and competencies of graphic design contribute to shaping a multi-dimensional world? Wizinsky will share experiences with integrating different research and design processes into collaborative and community-engaged research and design projects. These projects are typically aimed at building immersive, communicative, and social urban experiences. Through a variety of case studies, Wizinsky will discuss how different—and sometimes competing—methods from Participatory Design, Speculative Design, and UX/User-Centered Design have been used to engage communities in studying the past to produce new public histories, engaging with public space and public data, and studying history at the scale of the neighborhood in order to collectively imagine healthier futures. From public history exhibitions to augmented reality experiences with climate data, these projects place designing at the center of social, cultural, and political discourses of place-based communities.
Learn More

Technology + Storytelling: Engaging the Immersive Future // 10am - 3pm EST // Free
Storytelling has always been a magical elixir of tools and voices. From cave paintings and campfires to radio, film, and television, each new tool has given way to new kinds of stories. And now, we're excited to explore the emerging worlds of immersive AR and VR during our upcoming virtual event, Technology + Storytelling: Engaging the Immersive Future.
Learn More

Beyond Capitalism: Mapping an Eco-Social Future // 10am - 11:15am EST // Free
As a recent report by seventeen top scientists alerts us to the 'ghastly future of mass extinction' and climate disruption that faces us, it is clear that the public discourse is beginning to move beyond a fixation with techno-fixes and focus on the central challenges of mapping a radically alternative social future. In this talk, hosted by SHEP Earth Aware and the UCC Environmental Research Institute, Prof. Peadar Kirby will argue that our societies are shaped by the interrelationship of state, market and society which constitutes our social model, and that we urgently need to address what kind of social model can get us to a low-carbon future. He maps out key elements of what should constitute such a social model.
Learn More

Designing Tomorrow w/ Andy Lin // 6:30pm - 7:30pm EST // Free
In this live interview, Giovanni and Andy will discuss what recent technological developments will last beyond the pandemic and how 2020 influenced designers and engineers across industries. Andy Lin is an inclusive design engineer at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center (RLANRC) with over 25 years of experience of designing, creating and customizing technology for individuals with disabilities. He is the founder and director of the Emerging Tech Lab at RLANRC, which focuses on the research and application of new and emerging technologies (e.g. 3d printing, AR/VR, wearables) for rehabilitation and independent living. Andy developed and launched an innovative course in assistive device design at Caltech, which for several terms teamed engineering and ArtCenter product design students through support from Designmatters.
Learn More

Shaping the Future by Design & Arts // 2pm - 3pm EST // Free
Takashi Kudo, teamLab’s Communication Director and Spokesperson and Domagoj Dukec, Head of BMW Design, meet in a virtual event to discuss their perspectives on how arts and design are shaping our future. In both fields, technology has become more than a tool – it is a material that enables artists and designers to create deeper connection and immersive experiences for people. In this conversation, our guests Takashi Kudo and Domagoj Dukec will exchange their opinions on the arts’ and design’s role within the relationship of technology and humankind.
Learn More

Visualizing with Text: New ways to think about text and visualization // 6pm EST // Free
Some of the biggest societal challenges today are related to text: fake news, phishing emails, social media disinformation, and so on. Yet, text can sometimes be an afterthought in visualization. Richard Brath's new book, Visualizing with Text, (AKPeters, 2020), tackles the role of text and visualization. It starts by looking backwards and sideways to see how other domains interweave text into visualizations. Then, it assembles these as a set of textual ingredients that can be assembled into any visualization. From there, I show many different examples of new and extended visualizations. The talk will cover the history, the ingredients, and a few fun interactive examples.
Learn More

Light Symposium Wismar // 3/10, 8am - 3/12, 12pm EST // €0 – €50
A three-day online forum that will bring together the latest insights into the future of daylight and artificial lighting in healthy built environments with respect to research, theory, technologies, design and application. Fifteen renowned speakers from countries including Germany, Italy, France, Austria, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Great Britain (UK) and the United States of America (USA), with insights about their field of expertise (architecture, daylight, lighting design, environmental science, biology, astronomy, and medical science) will present talks related to research and practice.
Learn More
 


Thursday, March 11


Seeds of Change: Living Machines - Featuring Dr. Susan Hockfield // 7pm EST // Free
Much like the digital wonders of the 20th century, the current convergence of tech and biology is poised to transform the world as we know it. Helping us navigate our incoming future is SUSAN HOCKFIELD, the first female President of MIT. Hockfield offers a tantalizing glimpse into the world to come—and a roadmap on how to best prepare for it.
Learn More

Neither Fish nor Fowl: The Growth of Alternatives to Animal-Derived Food // 1pm - 2pm EST // Free
In recent years the number of people pursuing flexitarian, vegetarian, and vegan lifestyles has risen. In response several start-up and established companies are developing and commercializing nonanimal foods to provide alternatives to animal-based meat. The technology follows one of two paths—either formulating plant-based products or using cell cultures to “grow” meat. This program will bring together representatives from companies active in the field, discussing this sector’s growth and the challenges to consumer adoption of alternative meats. Technical challenges aside, these companies must also address regulatory, economic, and consumer-perception hurdles.
Learn More

Immersive storytelling. How AR/VR can awaken the imagination? // 10am - 12pm EST // Free
Storytelling helps humankind build a society, exchange knowledge and shape our beliefs. It’s with our species from the very beginning evolving over the course of centuries. Progressing with our skills and technology. Words and gestures or drawings on the stone are the initial forms of storytelling. Print brings us books and cinema motion pictures. Now, living in the XXI century it’s time for immersive technologies to take the lead. AR/VR-based storytelling has a huge advantage over the previous approaches. It can trick your mind so you think you are in the center of the action. You can even inflect the plot by making your own version of the story. Possibilities are endless! During the event, we will dive deep into different formats and tools that can be used to tell the story in a way not possible before.
Learn More

The New Real: AI and art, the future is now // 12:30pm - 1:30pm EST // Free
Join us for a live (online) discussion with the artists and curator of the Edinburgh Futures Institute’s and The Edinburgh International Festival’s co-presentation – The New Real. The New Real is a digital art exhibition that aims to build awareness and understanding of the ways data systems and artificial intelligence reflect and shape our social reality. Mechanized Cacophonies by Anna Ridler and Caroline Sinders is an online sound work inspired by the artists’ experiences of lockdown, that explores how our contact with nature is mediated by technology.
Learn More

Playform for Visual Effects Artists with Justin Maynard // 1pm - 2pm EST // Free
Playform is used by artists throughout their creative processes, from the stage of looking for inspiration, to preparation of assets, all the way to producing final works. As a VFX artist and Pratt Institute educator, Justin will walk through Playform techniques for previsualization tools that guide your VFX projects. Generate thousands of results training your AI with FaceMix, Style Transfer and Creative Morph tools. Add Playform to your VFX stack of software alongside Houdini, ZBrush, Photoshop and more. Reconsider your own VFX style and expand it using AI capabilities to create one-of-a-kind projects.
Learn More
 


Friday, March 12


The Moon and Mars – Visiting and Living there by 2069 // 12:30pm - 2pm EST // Free
In 1969, men walked on the Moon for the first time, now consider the future – what will happen by 2069? The presentation considers the future of space travel in the next fifty years, including the return to the Moon and the possible issues of establishment of a Moon base. The journey to and the exploration of Mars are considered, and the problems of living there, from production of oxygen to recycling human waste!
Learn More
 


Saturday, March 13


The Future of Delivery Robots // 10am - 1pm EST // Free
Delivery robots are a small but growing part of the delivery industry. Join us for a look at what's happening now and how this sector might expand and grow. How might robots change retail business models. What new delivery robot features and services might be coming next? How do consumers feel about delivery robots? Understanding the future begins with a clear view of the present. Join us for a look at this exciting industry and how it might evolve.
Learn More

Dysfunctionalities in Contemporary Art | in times of conflict // 3/13, 9am - 3/14, 1:30pm EDT // Free
Art as the imprint of humanity but also as a lever of creative energy that feeds the cultural heritage, issues related to Art and Artist's rights under conditions of political tension will be discussed, investigating the relationship between the artist and the political strategy of a state, the concerns and methods of approach. The conference Dysfunctionalities in Contemporary Art is shaped from the artist's own concerns and needs to share with the general public his work and the procedures he is called upon to carry out in order to promote it. The role of political instability and the impact it has on the creation of Art, raise many questions about the values of art, artistic creation and its relationship with the state. The conference aims to dissect, explore and discuss with the particularities of the role of cultural institutions, public organisations and the cultural policies of a state that shape and impact the life and work of an artist.
Learn More

Costume, Identity, and the Body // 2pm - 3:30pm EST // $0 - $50
This behind the scenes workshop is the next iteration of B. Dunn Movement’s signature work ECHO. ECHO Immersive Experience is at the cutting edge of immersive theater intersecting live performance, music, set, costume and sound design with Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality platforms. EIE creates a tapestry weaving together narratives from the kidnapping and enslavement of tens of millions of African people over hundreds of years of forced migration. EIE seeks to unpack embodied traumas that reverberate inside memories and across generations; exploring themes of race, masked identity, commodification of Black and Brown bodies, and systematic erasure of Black narratives.
Learn More
 

Sunday, March 14

Ole Scheeren – Future Cities // 2:30pm - 3:30pm EDT // From £10.72
Visionary architect Ole Scheeren does more than theorise upon the future of how we will live and work in urban space: through landmark projects in Asia and Europe, he creates it. With a unique, global perspective informed by his decades of travel and living intercontinentally, German-born architect Ole Scheeren has made the investigation of space and the way in which it shapes our lives his life’s pursuit. His projects alter and enhance the way we interact with our cities and generate new social narratives in highly integrative environments.
Learn More

Data Through Design 2021 Artist Panel with moderator Stephen Larrick // 4:30pm - 6pm EDT // Free
Statistics and datasets form representations that are shaped by the unique point of view and methods of their creation and are never truly objective. This year’s Ground Truth theme invited artists to step out into their world to examine the relationship between public data and the lived experience. We encouraged artists to ask questions like, how do our observations align, or misalign, with what is presented through abstracted data? Does missing information and gaps in context affect our understanding of reality? Join some of our 2021 DxD artists in conversation with former DxD organizer Stephen Larrick as they discuss their inspiration, process, and inevitable challenges in revealing the human stories behind the data.
Learn More
 
 

Monday, March 15


Nothing to Report! 👾

WEEK 2 - Tuesday, March 16th - Monday, March 22nd

 

Tuesday, March 16


IFTF Foresight Talks: The Capacity to Decolonize // 12pm EST // Free
The IFTF will host Dr. Geci Karuri-Sebina, a founding director of the Southern Africa Node of the Millennium Project, who'll talk about her personal journey in futures thinking, including her current participation in a growing agenda to build futures literacy and decolonize futures, starting in Africa. We will explore with her the critical issues, insights, and experiences that she thinks may be pointing us towards new questions and ideas about foresight practice and capabilities. Geci Karuri-Sebina is a scholar-practitioner based in Johannesburg working in the intersection between people, place and socio-technical change. Her work is mainly in Africa and the global south. She has a diverse background, spanning a range of foresight, policy, innovation and practice topics, and has worked extensively in R&D, government and civic organizations.
Learn More

Micro-credentials, scalable education and the codification of knowledge // 2pm - 3:15pm EDT // Free
Some recent research by Boeing shows that we have an opportunity to scale more personalised learning, with modular content, and online learning technologies. All of these have implications for the future of higher education, in terms of cost and the measurement of capability and effectiveness. Boeing’s research demonstrates that MOOCs, with proper instrumentation, can reduce costs to scale to a broad cohort of learners, support learning, and generate real-time, micro-level data from thousands of learners using different types and sequences of learning modules.
Learn More

The Impact and Potential of Gaming and E-Sports // 7pm - 8pm EDT // Free
By some estimates, the videogame industry is bigger—as measured by revenue—than global film production and North American professional sports combined.  Join the Pell Center and guest Kim Wallace for a conversation about gaming, e-sports, and their broader impact on society. This event is in partnership with Salve Regina University’s eSports club.
Learn More

Gender and Decolonisation: an Online Discussion // 2pm - 3:30pm EDT
Join us for a conversation on the stakes, problematics and possibilities of decolonisation in the 2020s with a focus on qestions of gender, with artist Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley and philosopher Yuderkys Espinosa Miñoso, chaired by researcher Ana González Rueda. One of a series of events on Decolonisation in the 2020s taking place throughout March 2021, organised by the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP) and University of the Arts London (UAL) in collaboration with Goldsmiths, Department of Visual Cultures.
Learn More
 


Wednesday, March 17


Speculative Future. How Digital Art Creates Social Change? – Alice Scope // 2:30pm - 3:45pm EDT // Donation
Alice Scope will illustrate how to apply personal experience to public projects, the process from inception to the exhibition of her two latest art projects (Webtaura and Posthuman Island), and discuss how digital art can tackle social issues. Originally from Kyiv, Ukraine, Alice is an independent art curator, educator, and cultural producer based in Los Angeles. In 2016, she founded the first Experimental Art Center AkT in Ukraine, which supports young Ukrainian artists and was the first centre in Ukraine to showcase art in Virtual Reality for a broad audience.
Learn More

Data Feminism // 12:30pm - 1:30pm EDT
As data are increasingly mobilized in the service of governments and corporations, their unequal conditions of production, their asymmetrical methods of application, and their unequal effects on both individuals and groups have become increasingly difficult for data scientists--and others who rely on data in their work--to ignore. But it is precisely this power that makes it worth asking: "Data science by whom? Data science for whom? Data science with whose interests in mind?" These are some of the questions that emerge from what we call data feminism, a way of thinking about data science and its communication that is informed by the past several decades of intersectional feminist activism and critical thought. Illustrating data feminism in action, this talk will show how challenges to the male/female binary can help to challenge other hierarchical (and empirically wrong) classification systems; it will explain how an understanding of emotion can expand our ideas about effective data visualization.
Learn More

Morcos Key ~ Black Futures // 6pm - 7:30pm EDT // $0 - $10
Join us in conversation with Jonathan Key and Wael Morcos, designers of the book Black Futures, the first iteration of “The Black Futures Project” by co-editors Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham. Hear how the team created a dynamic, nonlinear experience to answer the question: What does it mean to be Black and alive right now? In its final form, the Black Futures includes a luscious set of recipes, archival tweets and more from over 100 contributors that tells the story of the radical, imaginative, and resilient world that emerging and renowned Black artists are producing today.
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Zwischen 2.0 Workshop 2: Leading // 2pm - 3:30pm // £0 – £10
The Bauhaus had a misogynist power structure built upon the advancement of white male art at the expense of creative freedom. While its original ideology was one of acceptance and freedom over time these utopian ideals were abandoned. Join me, Oriana Francheschi and Kate Wood as we reevaluate the creative output of the women of the Bauhaus. We shall take a look at the power and abuse of it and their own views of the future of women leading arts institutions from their own perspective at Sheffield Creative Guild. and the future of women in art.
Learn More

Unravelling Time Workshop: Make a future-focused clock for 2021 // 2pm - 3:30pm EDT
Time is a currency 'that has so much more intrinsic value than money', as Zahra puts it. The last year has presented many of us with the opportunity to think about how we spend our time differently. This creative process will help you think about putting those moments of reflection into practice. This is an online creative workshop where you will be guided through creating your own clock to represents where you want to focus your time in 2021. You'll also get the chance to hear more about Unravelling Time: an upcoming Learning Marathon dedicated to questions about the past, present, future and time itself, taking place from April-September.
Learn More
 


Thursday, March 18


The New Real: Is representation a good thing? // 1:30pm - 2:30pm EDT // Free
Join us for a live (online) discussion with the artists and curator of the Edinburgh Futures Institute’s and The Edinburgh International Festival’s co-presentation – The New Real. The Zizi Show is an artwork by Jake Elwes. Made in collaboration with a community of drag artists, it constructs and deconstructs ‘deepfake’ performers using cabaret and musical theatre to challenge narratives surround AI and society. The ‘AI drag artist’ Zizi is a ‘deepfake’ clone of human drag performers – a virtual body, developed by training a neural network on filmed footage using machine learning. Drag challenges gender and explores otherness, while AI is often mystified as a tool and contains social bias. The project explores what AI can teach us about drag, and what drag can teach us about AI
Learn More

All Watched Over by 3D Printers of Loving Grace // 2pm - 3pm EDT // Free
Everyone has seen 3D printers - they are everywhere and widely used both at home and work. They are popular because they democratise manufacture, they allow for creative use of design freedoms, and they allow us to tailor a design to a specific purpose. Professor Wildman will tell the story of how at Nottingham, we have begun to address the question of how we can ‘dial up’ performance and automatically direct 3D printers to create product that is personalised and tailored to our needs. Professor Wildman will show how we can select the right materials, and how we can use sophisticated design methods to tailor products, such as drug delivery devices and prosthetics, to specific needs.
Learn More

How big tech reinforce US regional inequalities // 12pm - 2pm EDT // Free
The UNESCO Bernard Maris Chair (Toulouse) organizes a series of conferences addressing 3 themes: 1) COVID and the future of cities, 2) How big tech reinforce US regional inequalities?, 3) Regional diversification and digitilization. To discuss these topics, 3 exceptional guests will honor us with their presence, each with a theme to develop. 
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Playing with Soundscapes // 3/18, 9am - 3/26, 12am EDT // From $46.68
A workshop on listening imaginatively through technology, with soundscape researcher & composer Helena Krobath. This workshop will help you expand your art practice by introducing you to audio recording and signal processing as unique ways of listening. This workshop presents audio technology as a way of exploring the perception of sonic environments and playing with their meanings. You will experiment with processing sound recordings by drawing on concepts from soundscape composition and sound art.
Learn More
 

Friday, March 19

The Force of Fantasy: Opening Event // 1pm - 3pm EDT // Free
“[...] fantasy is not equated with what is not real, but rather with what is not yet real.” Taking Judith Butler’s essay ‘The Force of Fantasy: Feminism, Mapplethorpe, and Discursive Excess’ as a starting point, this exhibition proposes that fantasy is a powerful tool to not only imagine alternative futures but to manifest them by looking beyond convention. The Force of Fantasy will enter the extraordinary as a means to open up dialogues about gender, sexuality, race, class, and critique our pervasive social hierarchy. Are you prepared to look beyond convention with us?
Learn More

Wayfinding the Future: Logos to Landmarks // 12pm - 1:30pm EDT // $0 - $60
Did you find what you’re looking for? This common customer service question is at the heart of experiential graphic design. The Society for Experiential Graphic Design (SEGD) broadly defines the field as incorporating all of the elements - including wayfinding systems, signage, and branded spaces - that create environments that communicate. This work brings together architects, exhibition designers, brand strategists, and many others who collaborate to ensure that the built environment not only meets its intended purpose, but that it also connects communities through memorable experiences. How has the rise of technology-based solutions and contactless interactions influenced the future of wayfinding and experiential graphic design? Sam, Kayte, and Cliff will discuss how to balance the pressing urgencies of our time with the need for accessible spaces that center human connection. They will also share their Weekly Dose of Good Design.
Learn More
 

Saturday, March 20

Designing for Algorithmic Justice // 10am - 3pm EDT // From £13.36
A Masterclass in the Future Law Next-Generation Professional Practice Series. This Masterclass explores the impact of techno-solutionsim on justice. With calls to defund the police and reimagine policing, criminologist, criminal psychologist, therapeutic jurisprudence specialist, AI ethicist and data activist, Renée Cummings examines the emergent tensions in this crucial area. Participants learn about the relationship between the search for AI solutions to reduce violent police and citizen interactions and to increase accountability and transparency in policing on the one hand and the potential for draconian use of Big Data and digital oppression on the other. An examination of ethical, diverse, equitable and inclusive approaches to AI design and deployment are explored as tools for reducing bias, discrimination, and systemic racism in algorithmic justice solutions.
Learn More
 

Sunday, March 21

STEAMfest // 12:30pm EDT // Free
STEAM fest is aimed towards students from all fields who are interested in stepping out of their comfort zone and exploring the link between arts and science. Some selections: - Zainab Muse (Using an Antidisciplinary Approach to Reimagining Society), Dr. Adam Brown (The Art of Science and the Science of Art), Isaiah (3D Print Finishing), Dr. Mary Brown: Intro to Coding: Pixel Art Board Workshop.
Learn More
 

Monday, March 22

Democratising Aesthetics in Art and Spaces for Art | artseen // 7:30pm - 8:30pm EDT 
Artists from “A Blip in Time” discuss whether the ultimate goal of an aesthetic experience should be personal and social empowerment, rather than the creation of beautiful objects, and the phenomena of decentralisation of art spaces where these experiences can be encountered.
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Upcoming Speculative Futures Meetups 


Speculative Film Club // Speculative Futures Seattle // Saturday, March 1:30pm - 3pm EST // Free
Join us for a Saturday morning screening and discussion of two speculative short films. We'll unpack these films and the futures they interrogate and also discuss the use of film as a tool of speculative design. This is a virtual event, so those outside of Seattle are also welcome to join us!
Instant Doctor
What will the future of healthcare hold? Will algorithms eclipse doctors entirely? We hope not. Instant doctor is a short film to show appreciation for doctors and healthcare human workers everywhere.
Presented by: Tribute
Created by The Bloc and The Youth
Directors: Diogo Gameiro + Youth
Our Friends Electric
Our Friends Electric is a short film exploring alternate forms and interactions for voice AI. The project was commissioned by Michelle Thorne and Jon Rogers from Mozilla’s Open IoT Studio.
Learn More
 

Speculative News & Resources 📰

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

Why Aren't People Good at Thinking Just for Fun? // Futurity
Aside from its boredom-fighting abilities, thinking for pleasure can be its own reward. "It's something that sets us apart. It defines our humanity. It allows us to imagine new realities," Erin Westgate says. "But that kind of thinking requires practice." If you find it harder to be pleasantly lost in your thoughts or daydreams these days, you’re not alone. “This is part of our cognitive toolkit that’s underdeveloped, and it’s kind of sad,” says Erin Westgate, a psychology professor at the University of Florida. The ability to think for pleasure is important, and you can get better at it, Westgate says. The first step is recognizing that while it might look easy, daydreaming is surprisingly demanding...
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Is the boom in communal living really the good life? // Guardian
Driven by green concerns, house prices, the desire for a simpler existence – and now Covid, too – there’s been a boom in communal living. In a pattern echoed across the UK, with communes reporting being inundated by new applicants of all ages, driven by the Extinction Rebellion movement and its focus on low-carbon living and, more recently, by the glimpse that lockdown has offered of simpler, less consumption-driven, lifestyles...
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Why an Animated Flying Cat With a Pop-Tart Body Sold for Almost $600,000 // NYT
In the 10 years since Chris Torres created Nyan Cat, an animated flying cat with a Pop-Tart body leaving a rainbow trail, the meme has been viewed and shared across the web hundreds of millions of times. On Thursday, he put a one-of-a-kind version of it up for sale on Foundation, a website for buying and selling digital goods. In the final hour of the auction, there was a bidding war. Nyan Cat was sold to a user identified only by a cryptocurrency wallet number. The price? Roughly $580,000. Mr. Torres was left breathless. “I feel like I’ve opened the floodgates,” he said in an interview on Friday...
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Expert: In the Future, Spine Implants May Cause Orgasms on Demand // Futurism
The future isn’t all flying cars, jetpacks, and express trips to Mars — it’s could also be the ability to give yourself an orgasm at the push of a button. Or at least that’s what Justin Lehmiller, a social psychologist and research fellow at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute, believes. Lehmiller, who is also the host of the “Sex and Psychology” podcast, recently gave an interview with The Wall Street Journal in which he explained some fascinating developments in the future of sex and “sextech.”...
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NFTs Explained: What They Are and Why They’re Selling for Millions of Dollars // SingularityHub
A couple of days ago, the musician Grimes sold some animations she made with her brother Mac on a website called Nifty Gateway. Some were one-offs, while others were limited editions of a few hundred—and all were snapped up in about 20 minutes, with total takings of more than $6 million. Despite the steep price tag, anybody can watch or (with a simple right-click) save a copy of the videos, which show a cherub ascending over Mars, Earth, and imaginary landscapes. Rather than a copy of the files themselves, the eager buyers received a special kind of tradable certificate called a “non-fungible token” or NFT. But what they were really paying for was an aura of authenticity—and the ability to one day sell that aura of authenticity to somebody else...
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Pierre Cardin's 1970s 'bubble palace' in the south of france is for sale // DesignBoom
Designed by Hungarian architect Antti lovage in the 70s, ‘Palais bulles’ (bubble palace) is a 1200 sqm house in the south of France comprising a cluster of interwoven bubble spaces. the iconic dwelling was built between 1979 and 1984 for french industrialist Pierre Bernard, and was bought in 1992 by the late fashion designer Pierre Cardin. the theoule sur mer villa is currently for sale, and includes ten bedroom suites decorated by contemporary artists, gardens, water ponds, a swimming pool, and a 500-seat outdoor auditorium that overlooks the sea while facing the breathtaking bay of Cannes...
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‘Design could never be not political’: Lessons from iconic designer Enzo Mari // FastCompany
The late Enzo Mari was a design pioneer, polemicist, and fierce believer that beautiful and useful design should be for the many, not the few. A retrospective of his work opened at the Triennale Milano last fall. The massive exhibition, with over 250 pieces spanning the designer’s 60-year career, opened mere days before Mari passed away due to complications related to COVID-19. Mari had asked that, after this exhibition, his work not be shown for another 40 years...
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DARPA is Officially Studying Combat Jetpacks for the Military
The US Department of Defense is officially looking into the potential military applications of jetpacks. On March 2nd, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) invited submissions for a “Portable Personal Air Mobility System” for military use, according to FlightGlobal. DARPA made its announcement through two federal programs that award funding to technologically innovative small businesses. “Systems may be air deployed to allow for infiltration to hostile territory, or ground deployed to allow for greater off-road mobility without the use of existing vertical takeoff and landing aircraft such as helicopters and CV-22,” said DARPA...
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Microsoft Mesh aims to bring holographic virtual collaboration to all // Engadget
Microsoft Mesh is the company's ambitious new attempt at unifying holographic virtual collaboration across multiple devices, be they VR headsets, AR (like HoloLens), laptops or smartphones. Powered by Microsoft's Azure cloud, Mesh isn't just an app, it's a platform that other developers can use to bring remote collaboration to their own software. If remote work is here to stay — and by most accounts, it is — Microsoft wants to be the company taking us beyond Zoom video chats, and towards holographic experiences that everyone can join...
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Scientists Suspect This Drug Can Actually Delay Aging // Futurism
It’s the stuff of legend: a way to stop — or at least slow down — aging. Unlike Ponce de León searching for immortality in the swamps of Florida, though, a growing number of scientists now believe a treatment for Type 2 diabetes might be the key to slowing down the aging process, according to The Washington Post. More specifically, the scientists believe that the treatment — called metformin — can help prevent or slow down three age-related ailments: dementia, heart disease, and cancer. If metformin can effectively combat these diseases, it can also potentially extend our lifespan...
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Sonantic Uses AI to Infuse Emotion in Automated Speech for Game Prototypes // VentureBeat
Sonantic has figured out how to use AI to turn written words into spoken dialogue in a script, and it can infuse those words with the proper emotion. And it turns out this is a pretty good way to prototype the audio storytelling in triple-A video games. That’s why Sonantic technology is finding use with 200 different video game companies for audio engineering. The AI can provide true emotional depth to the words, conveying complex human emotions from fear and sadness to joy and surprise. The breakthrough advancement revolutionizes audio engineering capabilities for gaming and film studios, culminating in hyper-realistic, emotionally expressive, and controllable artificial voices...
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Deepfake videos of Tom Cruise show the technology's threat to society is very real // InputMag
New deepfake videos of actor Tom Cruise have made their way onto TikTok under the handle @deeptomcruise, and boy do they look real. They're so realistic, in fact, it's possible that you wouldn't even know they're computer-generated had you not been alerted by the account's handle. And they were made using not much more than sample footage of Cruise and deepfake technology that's getting easier for anyone to use. Not even two years ago it would have been easy to differentiate between a real and an AI-generated video of somebody. But the technology is advancing so rapidly that we've reached a point of escape velocity, and it's obvious that deepfakery isn't going to be used just for innocent purposes, like animating pictures of your past relatives...
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Alter-Worlds // Hinesight
The newly added “Alter-Worlds” concept of After Capitalism comes from Shaw and Waterstone’s manifesto “Wageless Life.” They suggest there is not a single or all-encompassing approach but rather lots of them. And there is a lot that can be learned from movements springing up outside or on the margins of the system. Alter-Worlds are described as “de-commodified and autonomous territories: entangled spaces of being, of unique stories of dignified coexistence between humans and non-humans.” Their call is for a shift from work-oriented by capitalist laboring at increasingly meaningless jobs to a vision of work directed at resourcing Alter-Worlds...
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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
Nothing to Report! 👾


Cool Projects

The Future of Making // IFTF
Two future forces, one mostly social, one mostly technological, are intersecting to transform how goods, services, and experiences— the “stuff” of our world—will be designed, manufactured, and distributed over the next decade. An emerging do-it-yourself culture of “makers” is boldly voiding warranties to tweak, hack, and customize the products they buy. And what they can’t purchase, they build from scratch. Meanwhile, flexible manufacturing technologies on the horizon will change fabrication from massive and centralized to lightweight and ad hoc. These trends sit atop a platform of grassroots economics—new market structures developing online that embody a shift from stores and sales to communities and connections...
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NYC Media Lab To Unveil Innovative “Exploratorium” // NYC Media Lab
The nature of storytelling is changing. The tools we use to tell them, the stories we tell, and the growing community of storytellers. On March 10th, the NYC Media Lab is bringing together almost one thousand creators and technologists to explore the fast-changing and often dazzling work being done across platforms and technologies. And to make the event itself immersive and magical, the Media Lab is unveiling a brand new immersive space, the Exploratorium, to give attendees a space to connect and collaborate...
Check It Out

Designs for the Pluriverse: Radical Interdependence, Autonomy, and the Making of Worlds [book]
In Designs for the Pluriverse Arturo Escobar presents a new vision of design theory and practice aimed at channeling design's world-making capacity toward ways of being and doing that are deeply attuned to justice and the Earth. Noting that most design—from consumer goods and digital technologies to built environments—currently serves capitalist ends, Escobar argues for the development of an “autonomous design” that eschews commercial and modernizing aims in favor of more collaborative and place-based approaches. Such design attends to questions of environment, experience, and politics while focusing on the production of human experience based on the radical interdependence of all beings...
Check It Out

Edgeryders: Worldbuilding Academy
Edgeryders is a community of changemakers. Our mission is to co-create self-sustaining projects for the common good. Self-sustaining means, your project creates enough (financial and non-financial) value to compensate the people working on it. We are all different, and yet similar in this: we have made our homes at the edges of society. We explore the edges of living and working practices, and we think the edge is where change comes from. A key challenge here is for people with aligned interests to find each other, and as a community, we’re out to solve just that. The community lives in symbiosis with a social enterprise, also called Edgeryders. The company sells expert advice and research. It funds community infrastructure and supports the community’s projects. In return, community members collaborate with the company’s endeavors...
Check It Out

 

Gaming, Shows, Books & Other Random Cool Stuff

CodeMiko Is The Future Of Streaming Unless Twitch Bans Her First // Kotaku
The concept that drives Miko’s stream is simple: She’s a glitchy video game character who interviews real people—specifically, famous Twitch personalities. The great strength of her act is that Miko, the character, does not know who any of these people are, and even when she does, she doesn’t give a fuck. The stream is a sophisticated all-digital setup that Miko can modify using her own skills as a coder, brought to life by a full-body mocap suit—you could be forgiven for thinking she’s from the future...
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The Next Generation of Everything // Polygon
The experience of being online in 2021, or even Extremely Online, often makes us stop and ask, “Wait, people are doing what now?” Every day, new micro-trends emerge, only to become old news in the next five minutes. Remember sea shanties on TikTok? The viral moment may as well have happened 10 billion years ago. It’s impossible to keep up with it all, but it’s a thrill to try. In this collection of stories, Polygon investigates the trends that are on the brink of blowing up in the worlds and fandoms we follow. We’ve also tapped some embedded experts and plugged-in denizens to write about what they’ve noticed in their respective corners of the internet...
Check It Out
 

What I'm Reading

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

Norse Mythology
Neil Gaiman

Valheim Is Changing How We Play Survival Games
Reece Rogers

Why Your Dev Team Needs a Technical Artist
@densmyrnov

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