SciFly // 155 // Remote Speculations Week 57/58

Speculative Events, News & Resources | Sent 4/19

Hey SciFly Readers!

Have had a long but rewarding weekend helping to facilitate our new 2-day Futures x Design workshop, so suffice to say I am BEAT!

This week I'll leave you with some cool pics from the workshop, and quickly shout out a panel I'll be participating in this Thursday with Speculative Futures Austin!

Futures x Design Workshop

Learn more about the class & upcoming sessions on our website.

This weekend, Jack Wilkinson, Adam Zeiner and I taught the first public offering of The Design Future Initiative's brand new Futures x Design workshop, in partnership with The Futures School, which provides a hands-on introduction to the basics of doing a speculative project from start to finish.

It has been a LONG time in development, and such a rewarding experience. Going through the curriculum and activity design was a powerful way to refine my own thinking and methods around speculative practice, and really got me re-inspired to continue some explorations I've outlined in the past: Speculation for Social Impact Orgs, Speculative Practice, and Entrepreneurship, Prototyping from Science Fiction, etc.

Since my brain is pretty broken after teaching all weekend, here are some cool pictures shared by class attendees, and a fresh new mock-up of the Futures x Design framework's overarching methodology which we have been developing and iterating for over a year now, all founded on some amazing work Jack did during and after grad school exploring this topic.
The Futures x Design Framework
Four modes: Extrapolate, Create, Experience, Strategize
Image Credit: Andrés Valencia, FxD Participant, and also our amazing FxD graphic designer who helped make everything look so great!!!

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!


"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, April 20th - Monday, April 26th


Tuesday, April 20

Speculative Fiction: The Real & Unreal | L.A. Times Festival of Books 2021 // 10pm - 11pm EDT // Free
Speculative Fiction: The Real and Unreal, Presented by the Ray Bradbury Foundation. Spanning time and space, psychological thrillers, and familial sacrifices, these acclaimed authors create fantastical worlds while tackling societal moral dilemmas.
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2041 Panel Discussion: A Glimpse of the Future? // 6:30pm - 8pm EDT // Free
Arising spontaneously around the country just a year ago, the Wilderstudent movement has taken American colleges and universities by storm. Students around the country are skipping the dorm experience and opting for a very different resident life experience--living in the woods around their campuses in hammocks, tents, lean-tos and yurts. Is the Wilderstudent Movement the latest iteration of the American back-to-nature idea, a sign of changing values in the wider society, a reaction to the last decade of societal and environmental turmoil? All three, and more, argue our panelists, who each provide a different perspective on the movement. We’ll hear from the Wilderstudents themselves, and consider a critical question: should the Wilderstudents be welcome to call the college-owned forestlands home?
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Brown Bag: Designing a Future // 12am - 1:15am EDT // Free
Associate Professor Jawn Lim, Can we design futures? We cannot accurately predict the future. However, we could design future scenarios that are preferable. This Webinar will introduce the concept of speculative design that can be used to frame future conversations, or at least, conversations about possible futures.
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Low-Tech: Working Creatively with Nature // 12pm - 1:30pm EDT // £4.33 – £7.48
Have we been too quick to focus on the promise of new technologies and ‘smart cities’ in facing the challenges arising from climate change? What are some of the different ways that we can incorporate technologies based on nature? This event will bring together an interdisciplinary panel of practitioners committed to working creatively with natural local materials such as thatch, rammed earth, timber and hemp. Through short presentations and a discussion, this event will explore how low-tech ecological solutions based on traditional techniques could lead us closer to designing a more sustainable future.
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AR/VR Technology Innovations Impact on the Future of Education // 6:30pm - 8pm EDT // Free
Join Potential of EdTech and our panel of experts from Microsoft Mixed Reality Group, Balti Virtual, PeakActivity, and Reality Lab as they share examples of how innovations in AR/VR can be used to shape the future of education. Advancements in virtual reality and augmented reality technology can help make lectures, books, exercises and learning in general an immersive and interactive experience for students of all ages. The use of AR/VR can improve the learning process eliminating language barriers, contribute to inclusivity, and can aid in maintaining student focus the number one struggle educators face. 
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Is AI Racist? // 2pm - 3:30pm EDT // Free
Are AI technologies racist, by design, in their data collection, or through the optimization of their functions? Are uses of AI technology racist by application or outcome? Is there racism in the AI community of makers, companies, and funders? Is it possible that AI be used for anti-racist outcomes? This wide-ranging conversation will build on issues raised in the companion screening of the award-winning documentary film Coded Bias. Exploring the question of whether AI is racist, our expert panel will consider both what is being done today about racism in AI, and what could be done in the future from multiple perspectives.
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Weaponized Media: politics of affect & propaganda #2 -- Panel Discussion // 11:30am - 1pm EDT // Free
Join us for an exciting Panel & Discussion featuring eight leading international scholars of media studies, emotion, and propaganda as we launch our new book! Affective Politics of Digital Media : Propaganda by Other Means (Routledge 2021) examines how sophisticated digital practices and technologies exploit and capitalize on emotions, with particular focus on how social media are used to exacerbate social conflicts surrounding racism, misogyny, and nationalism. How do clickbait, "fake news," and right-wing actors deploy and weaponize emotion? How do algorithms, big data and behavioral science enable new frontiers of propaganda?
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Wednesday, April 21

AHSS Presents: David Blandy 'The World After: Art, Fantasy // 12:30pm - 2pm EDT // Free
For this talk, David Blandy will talk about his art practice over the last twenty years, examining how we define ourselves through the stories and images around us, culminating in a series of works around community. He will relate how, working individually and in collaboration with artist Larry Achiampong, he has made video, installation and performance work that confronts Britain’s relationship with Empire, identity and race. Blandy will then explain how he is currently using the speculative and communal potential of fantasy and roleplay games to test the idea that in order to build a new society, we must first imagine it. 
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Emerging Tech Panel // 5:30pm - 6:30pm EDT // Free
Join the Design Internship Program, XD Roundtable and DePaul Digital Media Ties for an exciting panel of design professionals to explore the latest tools, best practices and growing trends in the field of emerging technology. From artificial intelligence to blockchain and virtual reality, the ever-expanding world of future technology is an exciting place. Through this panel, students will learn from three alumni currently working in the field about how their experience at DePaul University helped shape their career path and what guides them in the process. Along with the latest emerging tech.
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Creative AI: The Inside and Outside of Algorithmic Culture // 6pm - 8pm EDT // $10
Art has long provided audiences with opportunities to inhabit the internal world of others. Books, theatre, and cinema all allow us to experience other lives and points of view. We come back to ourselves with the gifts of this process and our world expands. Is it any wonder that art has been central to addressing the isolation brought about by COVID-19? How we find and experience culture is changing as we introduce technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. As more of our culture is created, curated, and categorized by automated systems, what will be the impact on the stories that get told? Join this workshop to explore: the impact of algorithms on the culture we create and share; how AI might be used to diversify the stories available to us; examples of works that are trying to use AI in innovative and positive ways; and a rough model for thinking about and designing AI solutions that celebrates human difference and interiority.
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Games for Change Series // 4/21 & 4/28, 10:30am - 11:30am // Free
VRE presents the Games for Change Series a cycle of panels for exploring Gaming as a multidisciplinary approach in the Cultural, Artistic, Educational, and Experiential fields. A new frontier destined to revolutionize the way we produce and spread culture. During the panel we will deep dive into: What do we mean when we talk about gamification? How are museum spaces changing? How has gamification changed the ways of access to artworks? What are the cognitive and social benefits of games? How can video games be used in the context of Educational and Learning? Is Gaming an Innovative Storytelling? How Gaming could enhance Cultural Heritage? What are the new forms of art and what will they be? How are the Arts affected by new technologies?
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Introduction to Integrated Storytelling Principles // 2pm - 3pm EDT // Free
Storytelling is more than stories. Today's technologies, new media plaforms, communication channels, make it possible to create and implement narratives with a higher impact on the audience. Brands, attractions, cultural institutions are now taking steps forward to integrate stories in their experience design, placemaking, destination management, guest entertainment etc. The process for doing so can be complicated, especially with different channels and audiences to reach. To help professionals master it successfully, we introduce our updated online courses in Integrated Storytelling, starting with this one-hour introduction.
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Thursday, April 22

Elly Bangs in conversation with Kameron Hurley // 7pm - 9pm EDT // Free
Join us for a visit from breakout debut author Elly Bangs, in conversation with Kameron Hurley about her novel Unity! Evoking the gritty cyberpunk of Mad Max and the fluid idealism of Sense8, Unity is a spectacular new re-envisioning of humanity. Breakout author Elly Bangs has created an expressive, philosophical, science-fiction thriller that expands upon consciousness itself. Elly Bangs writes short stories, novellas, and novels—usually speculative fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, and uncategorized weirdness—with a thematic emphasis on longing, heartbreak, and the grim fate of humankind. Kameron Hurley is an award-winning author and trained historian specializing in the future of war and resistance movements. 
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WFoS Performance / EC[h]OLOCATIONS #2 / Jacek Smolicki // 7am - 9am EDT // Free
Echolocation is a technique that some species use to identify distances between elements of their environment by the means of reflected ultrasounds. Those reflections help them navigate in environments that have no visual clues or remain covered in darkness. Eye-impaired people also use echolocation skills. By generating specific sounds and paying attention to their echoes, they can read them as clues to understanding their surrounding. The way Smolicki attends to echolocation is obviously different. In a quite speculative manner, he wonders what it would mean to position oneself in a space where present sounds are listened to as the echoes of the past. In his work, echolocation or ec(h)olocation becomes a technique for reconnecting with the histories of various ecosystems whose soundscapes have over the years been subject to dramatic reconfigurations. Coming from the ancient Greek oikos, eco means home. Ec(h)olocation is hence a technique of becoming aware of one's position - a home - by recognizing, amplifying, and paying attention to the echoes of other positions and homes for some reason relegated to the (audible) past.
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SBTD Talks 2021: New models, streaming and the designer // 11:30am - 1:30pm EDT // Free
This panel discussion hosted by Libby Todd looks at new working methods employed by Designers and other Theatre Makers over the past year, and how these will inform the future of making theatre. From working and collaborating remotely, to engaging audiences through streaming, to VR and embracing new technologies. The panelists will discuss some of their projects and reflect on new ways of working before a Q&A session.
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Design leadership for the future of work – RMIT Global Webinar // 3am - 4:15am EDT // Free
Events over the past year have accelerated, intensified and laid bare the structural inequalities that persist within the EU and internationally. ​ This situation has caused disruption to our working environments, changing workplaces within organisations as well as the relationships for organisations and their partners, users and clients. Post-COVID life offers an opportunity to rethink how we want to work, and why. ​In this context, designers may be uniquely positioned to rebuild and restructure working environments that are ethical, caring and effective, in line with EU principles and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. RMIT's Global Webinar brings together representatives from industry and research-enhanced design practice to explore and discuss future ways of working, towards greater equality and sustainability.
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The Sound of Science: Artists and Scientists Discuss Climate Change // 1pm - 3:30pm EDT // Free
Join us for conversations and musical performances with artists, scientists, composers, musicians, and museum directors on the implications of NFTs, carbon capture, and the performing arts in the age of climate crisis. Guests Andrea Andersson (Rivers Institute for Contemporary Art & Thought), Jacqueline Austermann (The Earth Institute at Columbia University), Torkwase Dyson (artist), John Gerrard (artist), Laurie Goldman (The ClimateMusic Project), Dr. Andrew Jones (The ClimateMusic Project), Miranda Massie (The Climate Museum), Andrew Revkin (The Earth Institute at Columbia University), and Erik Ian Walker (The ClimateMusic Project) join Rail Editor-at-Large Paul D. Miller (aka DJ Spooky) in conversation.
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ANTI-META: New Media Thesis Exhibition // 4/22 - 4/23, various times // Free
ANTI-META welcomes you to enjoy a diverse array of artworks from the graduating students of the New Media program in the RTA School of Media, at Ryerson University’s Faculty of Communication and Design, available online from April 22nd to April 25th, 2021 at Live panels and events will be taking place within the virtual exhibition space throughout the ANTI-META opening weekend. These will showcase the talented artists and discuss topics such as student creative processes, activism and education within the context of art, digital storytelling, and much more.
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NAVER LABS Europe seminar: My robot gets me: How Social Interaction Drives Design // 10am - 11am EDT
Carla Diana is a designer, author, and educator who explores the impact of future technologies through hands-on experiments in product design and tangible interaction. She has designed a range of products from robots to connected home appliances, and her work has appeared on the covers of Popular Science, Technology Review and The New York Times Sunday Review. This talk will take a fresh look at products in our everyday lives through a lens of social robotics. Carla Diana will share case studies from a decade of design projects that span from thermostats to hospital robots, looking at how a holistic approach to design can give teams a clear vision for creating products that are built on meaningful, intuitive, and delightful interactions.
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Participatory Design as we age // 8am - 10:30am EDT // Free
The seminar Participatory Design as we Age is aimed at experts in the field of co-design and participatory design together with scholars in the socio-gerontechnology network and ageing studies scholars to reflect on key issues of relevance to participatory design in the field of ageing and technology design. Ann Light, University of Sussex; "We went in as old people...": Bringing Life Experience to codesigning Futures - John Vines, University of Edinburgh; “If participatory design is so good, why are we still surrounded by horrible technologies?”, Linda Tonolli, University of Trento; “Active aging as ageism: participatory design to age in my own terms”, Andreas Bischof, Chemnitz University of Technology, "The Challenge of "Configuring" Participation and Participants.", Susan van Hees, Utrecht University; “The value of values in co-creating implementation pathways for digital innovations in health and ageing”, Sanna Kuoppamäki, KTH Stockholm “Designing with care: Developing participatory approach in robot-assisted care”.
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Friday, April 23

Science Fiction / Science Fact: Fiction Narratives as a Technocultural Tool // 3pm - 4pm EDT // Free
In this webinar, Galit Ariel will discuss the value of non-mainstream and other multicultural perspectives of Science Fiction, and she will also assess the intertwined relationship between Science Fiction, technological and cultural representations. Science Fiction as a medium had a tremendous influence on modern and contemporary culture. Since its conception, it reflected and predicted the techno-cultural and cultural zeitgeist, instigating imaginative horizons —from new aesthetics to cinematic innovation, and inspired countless real-life technological advancements. This talk will discuss the value of non-mainstream and other multicultural perspectives of Science Fiction as a way to examine conceptual and artistic paradigms, reflected in multiple Science Fiction media outlets (including film, television, interactive, and animation).
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ANAHX Presents PART II: The Tenders and Virtual Mixed Reality Futures // 7pm - 8pm EDT // Free
ANAHX is a talk series that expands the interdisciplinary narrative in methodology & pedagogy through art and the world. Judd Morrissey is a writer and code artist who creates poetic systems across a range of platforms incorporating electronic writing, internet art, live performance and augmented reality. Mark Jeffery is a Chicago-based performance/installation artist, curator and Associate Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Mark co - founded ATOM-r in 2012 a performance/technology group where he is a choreographer, and performer in the company. Tricia Van Eck is a curator with over 20 years experience - first at MCA Chicago for 13 years and then at 6018North, which empowers a new generation of Chicago multidisciplinary artists to innovate, build community, and enhance Chicago’s quality of life. Her work at 6018North, across Chicago, and at international venues range from large-scale Chicago Architecture Biennale installations to intimate audiences engaged experiences. Moderated by: Ye-Bhit Hong.
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Open-Source Arts Lecture Series // 4/26 - 4/29 // Multiple Times
Join us for four evenings of lecture presentations by the STUDIO's cohort of artists-in-residence! During spring 2021, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and in partnership with the Clinic for Open-Source Arts, the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry has hosted a group of creative technologists who are developing Open-Source Software Toolkits for the Arts (#OSSTA). More than ever, today’s media artists create their work using a suite of free programming toolkits made for artists, by artists. These open-source software toolkits for the arts, or OSSTAs are created by individuals and small, self-organized collectives of artists, designers, and educators in order to fulfill needs that are unmet (and probably unmeetable) by the marketplace. Generally, these toolkits take the form of software libraries: bundles of code, associated documentation, and work examples that are free and accessible. Because they are made by artists for artists, they reflect and respond to the specific needs and vision of artists and designers. This ground-up approach allows for a community to unlock creative potential by defining its own tools, rather than be subject to the whims of major corporations.
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Altered Consciousness: Between Virtual & Real // 2pm - 4pm EDT // Free
We posit the following conjecture: Perhaps the term “Virtual Reality” inaccurately describes the space which one enters in a VR headset. It may be better understood as an alternative reality, one in which we experience a momentary shift in perception, rearranging the threads of the fabric of our shared experiences. When we enter VR, our reality-creating faculties are momentarily hijacked by this evolution in immersive technology. As a result, there is often an emergent, ethical, and very legitimate concern that we may be leaving the ‘real world’. Yet for thousands of years, philosophers have argued that our reality is already illusory in nature. From Plato to Foucault, the question of how much reality we actually experience is strongly under question. In this talk, we will discuss how an encounter with immersive technology challenges our fundamental reality-making faculties of perception, what that means for our concept of reality itself, and what such ideas and technology might mean for the future of the human experience! Are we really leaving reality behind, or are we utilizing these technologies to interact with our own reality-creating faculties?
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Dis/Able: DIY Lecture by Thirza Cuthand // 6pm - 7pm EDT // Free
DIS/Able will be showcasing how dis"abled filmmakers subvert the film-making process to be more inclusive of their accessibility needs. As Jaene Castrillon says "The goal of this program is to show how accessible film-making IS, and help re-imagine a future were we are at the table leading and guiding a more equitable, inclusive and decolonized way of making films.:
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Saturday, April 24

Nothing to report! 👾

Sunday, April 25

A Conversation on Earth Optimism // 4:30pm EDT // Free
Join A Passion for the Planet composer Geoffrey Hudson, climate scientist Michael E. Mann, activist Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, and others as they discuss the climate emergency and explore just solutions. There is a lot of work to be done, and we are capable of doing it. There is still time to create a better future. And that work is underway all around us. What gives you hope?
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Monday, April 26

Algorithmic Poetry: Speculative Imagination, Machine Learning, Code Studies // 2pm - 4pm EDT // From €187.64
How do we integrate machine learning algorithms into our poetic practice? The class aims to merge three different universes: code, literature, and machine learning. We will descend into this Bermuda Triangle of disciplines with a poetic, speculative, and conceptual approach, as well as a technical perspective. What is the difference between writing with code and writing with text? Is code a new material? What is electronic literature and code poetry? How far the-rabbit-hole can computers take us? 5 Week Class, 4/26 - 4/24
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There Goes the Neighbourhood with Ama Josephine Budge // 12pm - 4pm EDT // £11.37
To build new worlds, first, we have to imagine them, and Ama’s workshop will act as a guide for our communities to do so. Participants will be sent out reading materials in advance to discuss and build from in the workshop. Ama Josephine Budge is a Speculative Writer, Artist, Curator, and Pleasure Activist whose praxis navigates intimate explorations of race, art, ecology, and feminism, working to activate movements that catalyze human rights, environmental evolutions, and troublesomely queered identities. 
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Material Futures Symposium // 12:30pm - 2pm EDT // Free
Material Futures students present a series of talks inhabiting the intersection of craft, biology, and technology. Over the course of three evenings, we will bring together international thought-leading academics, designers, and scientists who challenge the future of design, to explore possible futures through the lens of materiality - in its broader sense. This symposium is organized by the MA Material Futures students at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London. Material Futures is a trans-disciplinary research program with an emphasis on learning through making. The course aims to develop materials and systems for a more sustainable future. We are organizing this event with the objective to raise funds to secure a platform in which to showcase our research projects.
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LFTF: Seeding Hope For the Future // 7pm - 8pm EDT // Free
The problems we're facing today are admittedly huge: food apartheid; widespread contamination of water, soil, and air; an economy dependent on exploitation of the poor and people of color. While it is important to acknowledge and study these problems, it must be in service of finding an alternative. In this event, change-makers in urban agriculture and food justice will come together for an evening to share their visions of the future. Together with folks from Forty Acres Farms, Chicago Food Policy Action Council, and more, we'll travel a hundred years into the future of Chicago. They've written letters home to their loved ones, describing a Chicago where food production has become truly safe, equitable, and in harmony with the Earth. This deep and wide transformation has rippled out to touch many aspects of our lives, from how we work and travel to how we spend time with our loved ones. Our home is unrecognizable - and irresistible.
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Getting into the Doughnut: Kate Raworth on a New Vision for Economics // 1pm - 2pm EDT // Free
Oxford University economist Kate Raworth has been described by the author and environmentalist George Monbiot as 'the John Maynard Keynes of the 21st century’. On April 26 she comes to Intelligence Squared to discuss what she calls Doughnut Economics, an idea she came up with to help humanity deal with the challenges we face today: financial crises, extreme wealth inequality and relentless pressure on the environment. The doughnut posits a world where we zero in on a sweet spot: all our material and political needs are met without exhausting the planet. Drawn on paper, the space where everyone can thrive looks like a doughnut. Join us as Raworth shares her concept of a world that is safe and just for everyone and learn how her big idea has already been embraced by cities around the world including Amsterdam and Copenhagen, while celebrated naturalist Sir David Attenborough has called her idea ‘our species’ compass for the journey’ to a sustainable future.
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+100: The First Cyborg? - Our Future in Health // 11am - 12am EDT // Free
Optimizing the human body has always been one of mankind's greatest dreams. Since time immemorial, some of the most powerful drivers of development have revolved around our bodies: to be younger, stronger, more beautiful and, above all, healthier. And we are well on our way. Statistically, we are the generation that lives the healthiest and stays young the longest. But our children will top us! Today, we're talking about what we humans need to do to make that happen. Because the journey into the future of medicine leads to nanobots in the bloodstream and health chips in the body. But what happens when we want to optimize our minds after our bodies? How will our children live when the brain-computer interfaces that are already being researched today work? What tasks will humans then turn to and how will we fit into the world's operating system? Will we then be able to upload our consciousness into a computer? And will we live in it forever?
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IFT Workshop with Artist in Residence Michelle Scarlett // 4/26 & 4/27,  2pm - 3pm EDT // Free
Join us alongside the IFT's Immersive Media Producer, Michelle Scarlett as she takes us through working on oral history archives and story structure and scripting for virtual reality (VR) in projects. Over the two sessions, Michelle will be taking us through her work on oral history and (VR) projects. She will be discussing: the benefits of using oral histories; How oral histories can be recorded; How oral histories can be used to enhance a variety of projects; Story structure; Scripting for virtual reality. Michelle will be taking an in-depth focus on our newly launched #Brixton81 project, which combines art, design, and oral history to open up new discussions about the 1981 Brixton Riots. 
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RealTime Conference: The Rise of the Metaverse // 4/26 - 4/28, Multiple Times // Free
2021: The Rise of the Metaverse is a live, interactive online convening: three days of sessions, keynotes, and real-time live demos sharing cross-industry insights into the real-time technologies creating new workplaces, workflows and ways to stay connected while apart. The event will be streamed live from around the world in real-time, and attendees can connect with each other and leaders in the field. Sessions span industries and topics: Virtual Production, Design, Fashion, E-Sports, 3D-Commerce, Architecture, Neural Rendering, Edge Computing, Streaming, Cloud, Haptics, and more.
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WEEK 2 - Tuesday, April 27th - Monday, May 3rd

Tuesday, April 27

Curious Minds Meetup: Co-Envisioning the Future of AI // 1pm - 2:30pm EDT // Free
How might we shape AI systems that foster freedom rather than surveillance? What if AI could help us develop new forms of communication with non-human beings and thereby support sustainable approaches towards the planet? The meet-up Curious Minds: Co-Envisioning the Future of AI aims to offer a space for speculative explorations and playful interactions between participants. As part of the session, you will be invited to gather in small groups to connect with one another, share perspectives and co-create speculative scenarios about the future of AI. We will be joined by media artist Helena Nikonole and AI researcher Natalia Soboleva. Through short impulses, Helena and Natalia will share about their work and introduce us to the questions that drive their inquiries. These impulses will lay the ground for our collective explorations.
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Artist Talk with Suzanne Treister // 1:30pm - 3:30pm EDT // £0 – £3.77
Suzanne Treister is a British contemporary artist based in London. Her works are known for being conceptually oriented around emerging technologies. An ongoing focus of her work is the relationship between new technologies, society, alternative belief systems and the potential futures of humanity. Treister studied at St Martin's School of Art, London (1978-1981) and Chelsea College of Art and Design, London (1981-1982) based in London having lived in Australia, New York and Berlin. Initially recognized in the 1980s as a painter, she became a pioneer in the digital/new media/web based field from the beginning of the 1990s, making work about emerging technologies, developing fictional worlds and international collaborative organisations. 
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Author Talk: The Next 500 Years by Christopher E. Mason // 1:30pm - 2:30pm EDT // Free
Inevitably, life on Earth will come to an end, whether by climate disaster, cataclysmic war, or the death of the sun in a few billion years. To avoid extinction, we will have to find a new home planet, perhaps even a new solar system, to inhabit. In this provocative and fascinating book, Christopher Mason argues that we have a moral duty to do just that. As the only species aware that life on Earth has an expiration date, we have a responsibility to act as the shepherd of life-forms—not only for our species but for all species on which we depend and for those still to come (by accidental or designed evolution). Mason argues that the same capacity for ingenuity that has enabled us to build rockets and land on other planets can be applied to redesigning biology so that we can sustainably inhabit those planets. And he lays out a 500-year plan for undertaking the massively ambitious project of reengineering human genetics for life on other worlds.
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Wednesday, April 28

"Bold BOOM Universe" Artists Talk // 7pm - 8:30pm EDT // Free
Three escape artists bring us closer to reality with an exhibition of bold works on paper, through diverse representative storytelling, concept art, comics, and illustration. Jerel Dye, LJ-Baptiste, and Zahirah Nur Truth create alternate universes that overlap with our own The confines of COVID have caused most of us long to expand our limited spaces. Experience three artists who habitually explore new worlds. Think intricately imagined, biomorphic machines floating above speculative landscapes; or the everyday adventures of a precocious black preteen living in a fictional Massachusetts town; or zombies and monsters inspired by the macabre “Lovecraft Country.” With fast, furious, expressive lines and action, their works draw upon the excitement children take in populating alternative worlds with half-human creatures and spaceships—evoking the sound effects: Wow! Oooo! Boom!
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Victoria McNulty Exiles Zine Workshop // 2pm - 4pm EDT // Free
Our cities are changing at an unprecedented rate. Modernity sees our housing stock being pushed to the limit, while leisure and public space is being transformed beyond traditional understandings. Technology and pollution present complex ethical conundrums, often at odds with the lives of ordinary people. In short, our cities are vibrant, complex but fundamentally flawed. In collaboration with Speculative Books, Glaswegian poet and author of Exiles (2020), Victoria McNulty will run a short series of workshops focusing on urban writing and contemporary themes. Writing is a sharp tool in resisting urban development that does not serve a city’s citizens. It is how we air our grievances and imagine a better environment. 5 weeks, 4/28 - 5/28.
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Alluvial Plains: Playing the Ancient Past: GAME PLAY SESSION // 1pm - 3:30pm EDT // Free
Alluvial Plains is a roleplay game set during the stone-age on and around the region now submerged under the English Channel and the North Sea, often referred to as Doggerland. Playing the game provides an imaginative and speculative opportunity to explore the life and times of the people who lived on these ancient landscapes. Barnaby is a game facilitator and designer and host of the Loco Ludus podcast. He is also a Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College, London, interested in graphic technologies and arts, including cinematography and photography, with particular emphasis on avant-guard practices. This has led to work on topics such as animation, proto-cinematography, experimental film, graphic reproduction technologies, comic strips, paleoart and the historiography of aesthetic theories and practices of abstraction.
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Thursday, April 29

A is for Another 2021: Talk by Mushon Zer-Aviv // 11am - 12:30pm EDT // Free
“Recalculating route” the synthetic voice says, as the navigation app detects that the driver has strayed off the shortest path it predicted. It queries the server and suggests a new route, and with it a new ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival). Mushon Zer-Aviv, who previously designed maps for Waze, argues that a lot is happening within these few moments between the driver’s disobedient turn, and the new path and ETA predicted by the app. In this talk he will discuss this adversarial negotiation between driver and app/algorithm as a unique matter of dialogue, and agency. Mushon will also talk about the case of political disinformation bots in Israel, and the ‘Shabbos Goy’ as different metaphors of AI, and the shaky boundaries between how we classify the ‘human’, and the ‘machine’.
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Visual Methodologies for Climate Futures // 1pm - 3pm EDT // From €187.64
The act of producing digital images is now embedded in our everyday life as we share our experiences with internet-connected digital eyes. In 2017, 1.2 trillion digital photos were taken just with our smartphones. Such digital images become networked when we share, like and comment on them online. In this course, we will apply visual methodologies to the theme of climate futures using science fiction as a speculative storytelling genre, as a means to look forward and (re-)imagine the future in a way that is unbound by today’s limited possibilities. 5 weeks, 4/29 - 5/27
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Interstices: towards a decolonial trans poetics of the future // 8pm - 9:30pm EDT // Free
A talk by Kama LaMackerel (they/them), a Mauritian multi-disciplinary artist, educator, cultural mediator, writer, and literary translator who lives and loves in tio’tia:ke (Montréal), Canada. Their work is grounded in the exploration of justice, love, healing, decoloniality, and self-and collective empowerment. Kama’s artistic practice spans textile, visual, poetic, digital, and performative work; their work is at once narratological and theoretical, at once personal and political. A firm believer that artistic practices have the power to build resilience, heal, and act as forms of resistance to the status quo, their work articulates an anti-colonial praxis through cultural production.
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AI and Affect // 12pm EDT // Free
The increasingly prevalent use of AI technology has shifted the cultural politics of emotion. On the one hand, AI has instigated new models of collective belonging and radical joy for traditionally marginalized subjects. On the other, the use of AI to surveil, map, and commodify an entire panoply of physiological markers and body language has resulted in politically fraught and oftentimes violent modes of subjectivization. Addressing the nexus of technology and affect within AI ecosystems, the AI & Affect panel brings together artists and theorists to discuss how AI can help highlight digital prejudices and biases, reconceptualize the politics of identity, and build more equitable digital futures, among other topics.
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Desktop Studio Visit: Ruth Angel Edwards // 12pm - 1pm EDT // Free
Ruth Angel Edwards will be joined by Wysing Curator and Acting Head of Programme John Eng Kiet Bloomfield to discuss her ongoing residency at Wysing which includes various collaborations and investigations, to produce sound, radio, video works and research. Ruth Angel Edwards explores the dissemination of ideology through pop culture, drawing from sub and counter cultural movements both past and present, as well as the conditions which give rise to them. Individualism, the body, gender and sexuality, consumerism and spirituality are recurring themes in her work; hedonism, spectacle and dissent are deconstructed and reformed to create communicative works across a variety of media. For the past few years her 'ENEMA' series of installation works have used fan fictional narratives staged within dense augmented spaces, to explore personal cycles of consumption and waste and the ways these things are politicised as they connect with global capitalist economies. She is interested in how ideology is communicated, consumed, internalised, rebelled against and regurgitated. 
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RAFT In conversation with Paola Tognazzi & Xinyi Huang: Morphing Interfaces // 10am - 11:30am EDT // Free
The way that we interact with design is changing fast. This RAFT in-conversation event will bring designers Paola Tognazzi & Xinyi Huang together to discuss their current design research. They will talk about their different approaches to user interface design and how they approach the morphing of interfaces in their studio practice. Paola Tognazzi is a Physical interaction Designer, Choreographer and multimedia artist. In 2008 she founded Wearable_Dynamics. She focuses on wearables that give superpowers and enhance sensorial awareness. Xinyi Huang is a fashion and textiles designer. She completed her Masters (MA Fashion Design Technology) at the London College of Fashion inn2021. She started her PhD research in the Edinburgh College of Art in 2021 and is currently engaging in the field of morphing interfaces and fashionable technology. Sarah Kettley Chair of Material and Design Innovation at Edinburgh College of Art, with a remit to develop new cross-disciplinary teaching and research initiatives at the intersections of making traditions, new technologies, and the humanities. She chairs the RAFT Research Group, whose members investigate innovative interdisciplinary research practices through making and discussion.
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Warren Neidich · Noise and the Brain without Organs Art // 1:30pm EDT // Free
Noise is prevalent in our post-industrial society. Whether presenting as the cacophony of the factory and war machine, the racket caused by the anarchic movement of cars and trucks, the clamor of grunge music emanating from loud speakers in a mall or the static clogging of information networks, noise gets a bad rap. It is usually considered offensive and something that needs to be controlled or mitigated. However, noise has another side more positive and emancipatory as it today represents a ways and means to constitute new forms of knowledge and of ways of understanding organization. This contemporary conception of noise creates new possibilities for the forms, shapes and events that characterize and acoustically shape the sound track constituting our cultural landscapes – be they real, imaginary or virtual. Where in the past noise was something to be suppressed, today it is a key concept in notions of emergence, complexity and non-linearity. Today, noise and uncertainty are embraced alongside contingency as a driving force of innovation, creativity and resistance.
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Debate: Who is responsible for how technology shapes society? // 11am - 12:30pm EDT // Free
Tech giants possess enormous power of today’s technological impact and thus influence our society more than ever. But in a time where policy-makers in Europe are struggling to develop policy responses to fast-paced digital innovation, we ask ourselves; should we really just count on tech companies to do the right thing or is there a lack of political determination for this. As young people, soon being able to contribute to the transformation, we lack a clear understanding of how far in the process we are, who should take the lead, whom to be held accountable and more importantly, how can we step up with new ideas and insights? 
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Tech Isn’t Just a Tool & Humans Aren’t Just Users // 3pm - 4pm EDT // Free
It is impossible to ignore the role technology platforms play in our collective sense-making, our social relationships, our physical and mental health, and our politics and elections. Every time we talk about technology, what we’re really talking about is power. We need to view technology through a socio-technical lens. In this panel, we will explore how the environment, economy, and constraints of technology impact our ability to innovate ethically and what we can do to tip the scales.
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Friday, April 30

Speculative Zoology: Artist Talk with Dougal Dixon // 1pm - 2:30pm EDT // Free
Join us for a conversation and artist talk with Dougal Dixon, Scottish scientist/artist and founder of the speculative zoology genre, who will present an overview of his publications starting with After Man: A Zoology of the Future (1981), The New Dinosaurs (1988), The Future is Wild (2002), Greenworld Vols. 1 & 2 (2010), and more. Dixon will describe his use of book archetypes, including natural field guides, sci-fi paperbacks, pop-up books and more, as well as discuss his latest projects, including his contributions to the new Netflix docu-fiction series Alien Worlds. 
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AGYU Desire Lines: Access to Print // 2pm - 3:30pm EDT // Free
This network shows us how the absences, or received lack, in one publishing project generates desire for new ones. These panelists will share their personal memories of scenes and magazines as sites of discursive community, reflecting on how one magazine can emerge as a response to another. For instance, the poststructuralism and cultural theory of Border/Lines can be read as a response to the materialist politics of Fuse. Despite these formal differences, Border/Lines and Fuse emerge as two parallel discursive spaces where the language and practice of queer identity and cultural race politics were developed in the 1980s and 1990s. Further, the absence of a certain form of content creates desire for new forms that can hold new content, as these two magazines acted as points of consolidation for discourses that resonated into other socio-cultural contexts and prompted the creation of even more publishing spaces, such as Topia.
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The Urbanism Hour / Community as Tenant // 8pm - 9pm EDT // Free
The next Urbanism Hour will be a conversation around strategies for creating relevant community-focused places in the digital age. Justin and Jennifer will speak about projects both real and speculative to illustrate how we can inhabit town centres, reinvent the high street and cultivate diversity in public green spaces.
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Net Art Generations: From 1.0. to 2.0 and Post-Internet, Christiane Paul // 10am - 11:30am EDT // Free
In its almost thirty-year long history, Internet art evolved along with the technological platforms and communities supporting it. The playful anarchy and poetic exploration of early browser-based art expanded into the corporate platforms of social media and the so-called post-Internet practices of the past decade that entailed a return to materiality. The talk will outline the aesthetic and conceptual evolution of net-based practices from Web 1.0 to the current wave of crypto art, chronicling their engagement with identity, data frameworks, and collaborative production. Also discussed will be the curatorial models for presenting Web-based art over the decades, as well as approaches to and best practices for conserving the art form.
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CONTAGION Opening Event : Control, Consensus, Chaos: The Global Response to the Pandemic // 9am - 10:30am EDT // Free
Though Covid-19 has affected numerous countries across the globe, some nations have managed to contain the virus while others are still struggling to do so. In this talk, Professor Sheila Jasanoff will present a study that compared pandemic responses in eighteen countries. Research teams in each country have closely followed the crisis in three interlocking sectors—health, economy, politics—providing vital information on how and why Covid-19 has produced such different outcomes and what policy-makers can do moving forward. Jasanoff, who co-directed the study, will talk about the most surprising findings from this massive undertaking and discuss how they can inform our understanding of the human impacts of the pandemic.
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Reflecting on the role of power in participation engagement in co-creation // 4/30, 7pm - 5/31, 6:30pm EDT // Free
Co-creation is heralded as a promising approach to foster better-aligned outcomes in the technological and social innovation. The active recruitment and engagement with a diverse set of stakeholders can allow for increased flows of knowledge, insights, and experiences, which are necessary to address the complexity of wicked problems. While many co-creation initiatives do include a variety of actors, power differentials between stakeholders persist. This may take the form of formalized decision power and/or more informally assigned roles (e.g. experts vs. lay people) as well as how/when these roles take the stage in the co-creation exercise. In this workshop, we invite you to reflect on power in co-creation, namely its role in influencing inclusion, participation and decision-making processes, and to find creative ways to address power differentials among stakeholders and in the governance of co-creation.
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Saturday, May 1

Magic & Tech: Elements of Science Fiction and Fantasy // 1pm - 4pm EDT // $10 - $30
Speculative fiction allows readers to imagine worlds where things that don’t seem possible in our current moment are not only possible but commonplace occurrences. It asks us to consider not only the world as it is but as it might be, as it could become. It entertains, cautions, inspires, makes us wonder and hope, and helps us recognize when we have lost our way. Fantastic elements, like magic or technology, are the backbone of science fiction and fantasy (SFF) stories, but the thoughtless introduction of said elements risks destroying the very universe they are creating! This workshop will delve into the do’s and don’t’s of worldbuilding, with a focus on craft techniques. The goal is to help writers integrate SFF elements into their story universes. The class will include exercises to generate believable and consistent magic/science systems.
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Sunday, May 2

Nothing to report! 👾

Monday, May 3

Winter 2021 Lecture Series: Ayanna Dozier and Nina Cooke-John // 5pm EDT // Free
Today, New York City’s Hart Island is primarily known as a potter’s field for the burial of unclaimed bodies. With renewed public awareness around its use as a burial ground for those who have died from COVID-19, Hart Island has taken on an additional layer of historical significance given the more severe impact of the pandemic on communities of color. Throughout its storied history, the island has also housed an asylum, jail, and sanatorium—and was once the planned location for an amusement park meant to serve the Black population of 1920s Harlem. Cities of the Dead traces the imagined (re)construction of Solomon Riley’s park, dubbed “Negro Coney Island,” across an installation of photos, speculative monologues from imagined park attendees, and an architectural rendering of Riley’s abandoned plans co-designed by architect Nina Cooke-John. Cities of the Dead establishes an imagined near future in which the park approaches its 100th anniversary in 2024 and unites seemingly disparate threads of Hart Island’s histories together. Hart Island is a site for reflecting on the absence in Black life of architectural spaces for mourning and the way in which gross economic and social inequities frame Black death and plague it in its afterlife.
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Upcoming Speculative Futures Meetups 

A light, but wide dive into Design-Futures // Speculative Futures Austin // Thursday, April 22nd, 8pm - 10pm EDT // Free
We'll be joined by a panel of educators and practitioners, who are actively contributing to the field of Design-Futures, in a series of short lightning presentations, followed by Q&A discussions. We are grateful to Jake Dunagan, Tamie Glass, José de la O, Kelly Kornet, Dana 'Doc' Martens, and Jack Wilkinson for taking the time to engage with us. Learn More

  • Kelly Kornet: As a participatory futurist and designer, Kelly finds meaning in creating the conditions for individuals to step out of their day-to-day and collaborate in highly diverse teams to perceive and affect change. Using the tools of collaborative design, systems thinking and strategic foresight, she helps organizations build the capacity to navigate and transform in uncertain times.
  • Jake Dunagan: Jake is an experiential futurist, governance designer, and teacher. He directs the Governance Futures Lab at IFTF. His work has been centered on the concept of social invention and novel methods to help individuals, organizations, and governing institutions re-imagine and re-invent their futures.
  • Tamie Glass: For over a decade, Tamie Glass has been a noteworthy leader in design education. Before joining the School of Design and Creative Technologies as the inaugural MA in Design Faculty Director, Tamie was a tenured faculty member and program director at the University of Texas School of Architecture.
  • José de la O: Trained as an industrial designer and with a Master’s in Conceptual Design from Design Academy Eindhoven, de la O is the creative force behind the delaO design studio. He has an epistemological approach to design in which he studies its role in society and visualizes future possibilities of how technology could impact society.
  • Dana 'Doc' Martens: Dana Martens is a designer, creative technologist, maker, teacher, life-long student and geek working to educate and empower communities to embrace the potential of emerging technologies for social impact. They currently work as a UX Designer at Teach for America by day and an Adjunct Professor at Parsons School of Design by night, designing educational initiatives and consulting on the role of technology-led design for social impact entrepreneurship.
  • Jack Wilkinson: I’m Jack, an innovation strategist and design futurist. I am currently a Senior Strategist at Jam3, a global experience design agency where I lead research, strategy, and the design of innovative experiences and new offerings. On the board of the Design Futures Initiative, I spread speculative design and futures-oriented creative practices through our annual conference, PRIMER, and our international network of meet-ups, Speculative Futures. Most recently I have designed a curriculum to teach Design Futuring in partnership with the Kedge Futures School

Speculative Book Club: "How to Future" // Speculative Futures Seattle // Thursday, April 29th, 9:30pm - 10:30pm EDT // Free
For our first book club, we'll read "How to Future: Leading and Sense-making in an Age of Hyperchange" by Scott Smith & Madeline Ashby. Find a copy at a local book store here. We'll cover two chapters every other Thursday at 6:30 pm and combine discussion with practical application. If you attend all 4 sessions, you'll be entered to win a special prize! 
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  • April 29 - Chapters 1-2: Different futures for different needs / Getting started: scoping
  • May 13 - Chapters 3-4: Sensing & scanning / Sense-making & mapping
  • May 27 - Chapters 5-6: Scenario development / Storytelling & prototyping
  • June 10 - Chapters 7-9: Assessing effectiveness / What to do next / Conclusion


Speculative News & Resources 📰

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

Epic Games raises $1B for long-term metaverse plans, with $200M from Sony // VentureBeat
Epic Games said today it has raised $1 billion in a new round of funding in its bid to build the metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, like in novels such as Snow Crash and Ready Player One. Sweeney, Epic CEO, has been one of the biggest advocates for the metaverse in recent years. At our GamesBeat Summit event in January, he said that the metaverse should be built with open standards so that walled gardens do not dominate the community.
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Here’s why we should never trust AI to identify our emotions // The Next Web
Imagine you are in a job interview. As you answer the recruiter’s questions, an artificial intelligence (AI) system scans your face, scoring you for nervousness, empathy and dependability. It may sound like science fiction, but these systems are increasingly used, often without people’s knowledge or consent. Emotion recognition technology (ERT) is in fact a burgeoning multi-billion-dollar industry that aims to use AI to detect emotions from facial expressions. Yet the science behind emotion recognition systems is controversial: there are biases built into the systems...
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The new lawsuit that shows facial recognition is officially a civil rights issue // MIT Tech Review
On January 9, 2020, Detroit police drove to the suburb of Farmington Hill and arrested Robert Williams in his driveway while his wife and young daughters looked on. Williams, a Black man, was accused of stealing watches from Shinola, a luxury store. He was held overnight in jail. During questioning, an officer showed Williams a picture of a suspect. His response, as he told the ACLU, was to reject the claim. “This is not me,” he told the officer. “I hope y’all don’t think all black people look alike.” He says the officer replied: “The computer says it’s you.”...
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AWE - Augmented World Expo // Video Playlist
AWE is the world's #1 spatial computing (AR/VR/MR) event series producing conference and expos in the USA, Asia, Europe and MEA and supporting AWE Nite Meetup Chapters worldwide.  AWE is on a mission to drive the adoption of AR. We do this by bringing together the spatial computing industry including developers, creators, founders, product leads, C-level executives, media and analysts, to help it succeed. 
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You Can See to the Other Side of the World with Google's Latest Web-Based AR Experiment // NextReality
Have you ever wondered where you'd come out if you drilled to the other side of the world? Now, if you have an Android device and Chrome web browser, you can find out. On its Experiments with Google hub, Google has aggregated a collection of AR experiences built on the WebXR standard that show off the outer reaches of what is possible for web-based AR development...
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This NFT comes with an actual house // Fastcompany
There’s a new architectural NFT artwork on the market. Based on a duplex overlooking the San Gabriel Mountains in Thousand Oaks, California, the NFT is a short video by artist Kii Arens that depicts the driveway view of an unremarkable suburban home. It has a psychedelically tinted view of the mountains beyond, and the sky is soon invaded by several flying saucers. Techno music plays in the background. The artwork is now up for auction and accepting bids via the blockchain-enabled cryptocurrency Ethereum. But it’s not just the art that’s for sale. Whoever buys the artwork also gets the house that inspired it...
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Shapeshifting Streetlights Are the Future We Want to Live In // Hackaday
Regular streetlights are all well and good, bathing us in the glow of their sodium, or more increasingly LED, lamps. They’re mostly rigid metal contraptions installed primarily for public safety purposes. They could be so much more, however, as the Bloomlight demonstrates. The light consists of a flexible main stem, which can be pulled in different directions by six steel cables controlled by stepper motors. At the top, it has a shroud made of wooden slats and fabric that can bloom like a flower around its central lamp, thanks to a 3D printed mechanism. LIDAR is used to detect approaching humans, at which point the Bloomlight leans over towards them and begins to bloom open, showering them with light...
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A Computer Scientist Who Tackles Inequality Through Algorithms // Quanta Magazine
When Rediet Abebe arrived at Harvard University as an undergraduate in 2009, she planned to study mathematics. But her experiences with the Cambridge public schools soon changed her plans. Abebe, 29, is from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital and largest city. When residents there didn’t have the resources they needed, she attributed it to community-level scarcity. But she found that argument unconvincing when she learned about educational inequality in Cambridge’s public schools, which she observed struggling in an environment of abundance...
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Google Signals Smartglasses Ramp Up via Job Postings for Waveguides & Other AR Disciplines // Next Reality
For better or for worse, Google started the race towards smartglasses for everyday use with Google Glass before scrapping the Explorer Edition and pivoting towards enterprise customers. Now, with Apple, Facebook, Snap, and even Pokémon GO maker Niantic working toward consumer-grade smartglasses, Google is conspicuously absent, either in rumor or public disclosure. But that might be changing, as recent job postings suggest that Google is shoring up its hardware resources for AR wearables...
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Texas Man Tried to Blow Up the Internet // VICE
FBI agents in Texas have arrested Seth Aaron Pendley for an alleged plot to blow up an Amazon data center in Virginia with the goal of taking down the internet. “Mr. Pendley allegedly told the undercover he planned to attack web servers that he believed provided services to the FBI, CIA, and other federal agencies,” the DOJ said in a press release. “He said he hoped to bring down ‘the oligarchy’ currently in power in the United States.”...
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New Apple Patents Cover “Micro-gesture” XR Input, Head-worn Haptics to Guide User Attention // Road to VR
A newly published patent application from Apple highlights the company’s internal exploration of “micro-gestures” for AR input, which involves using the thumb against the index finger as a sort of virtual joystick or selector. Another newly granted patent covers the use of head-worn haptics as a means of directing the user’s attention toward virtual objects which are out of sight...
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Privacy & Ads in Chrome Are About to Become FLOCing Complicated // The Verge
If Google sticks to its roadmap, by this time next year Chrome will no longer allow websites to use third-party cookies, which are cookies that come from outside their own domains. The change theoretically makes it vastly more difficult for advertisers to track your activities on the web and then serve you targeted ads. Safari and Firefox have already blocked those cookies, but when it comes to market share, Chrome is currently the leader and so its switchover is the big one...
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Ladybug-sized Implant Measures Oxygen Deep Inside the Body // Futurity
A new tiny wireless implant provides real-time measurements of tissue oxygen levels deep underneath the skin. The device, which is smaller than the average ladybug and powered by ultrasound waves, could help doctors monitor the health of transplanted organs or tissue and provide an early warning of potential transplant failure...
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Korean Workers Need to Make Space for Robots, Minister Says // Bloomberg
South Koreans must learn how to work alongside machines if they want to thrive in a post-pandemic world where many jobs will be handled by artificial intelligence and robots, according to the country’s labor minister. “Automation and AI will change South Korea faster than other countries,” Minister of Employment and Labor Lee Jae-kap said in an interview Tuesday. “Not all jobs may be replaced by machines, but it’s important to learn ways to work well with machines through training.”...
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Big Tech is pushing states to pass privacy laws, and yes, you should be suspicious // The Next Web
Concerned about growing momentum behind efforts to regulate the commercial use of personal data, Big Tech has begun seeding watered-down “privacy” legislation in states with the goal of preempting greater protections, experts say. The swift passage in March of a consumer data privacy law in Virginia, which Protocol reported was originally authored by Amazon with input from Microsoft, is emblematic of an industry-driven, lobbying-fueled approach taking hold across the country. The Markup reviewed existing and proposed legislation, committee testimony, and lobbying records in more than 20 states and identified 14 states with privacy bills built upon the same industry-backed framework as Virginia’s, or with weaker models. The bills are backed by a who’s who of Big Tech–funded interest groups and are being shepherded through statehouses by waves of company lobbyists...
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Disney's 'Real' Lightsaber Is Inspired by... Tape Measures? // Gizmodo
At a recent virtual press conference, Disney Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro apparently whipped out a retractable lightsaber. According to people who were actually there, this drama queen ended a presentation about reopening Disney Parks and upcoming attractions by lifting this lightsaber, turning it on, and saying, “It’s real.” Cue to black...
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Hulu, Coinbase, Ray-Ban & Captain Morgan Unlock Advertising Gold with Interactive AR Ads // NextReality
We've reached the point in the trajectory of augmented reality's growth where AR advertising experiences are becoming commonplace tactics rather than rare experiments. Some of the more impressive examples of AR ads to emerge recently come from Hulu, Coinbase and Ray-Ban via Snapchat, along with a web-based AR experience from Captain Morgan built with the 8th Wall Web platform...
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Wearable 'Crown' Boosts Users' Productivity With Brain Analysis // Interesting Engineering
A pair of engineers have designed a wearable Electroencephalography, or EEG, device called the 'Crown' to analyze the activity of the user's frontal lobe and help them maintain focus and boost productivity with the aid of music. The device, from Neurosity, measures and analyzes the wearer's brain waves with the help of eight EEG sensors...
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“Build Back Better” – Used futures as the cornerstone for the new normal? // Journal of Future Studies
The extraordinary social and economic impacts of COVID-19 have profoundly disrupted the operations of social purpose organizations and shifted the needs and perspectives of the communities they serve. At the same time, the importance of maximizing the impacts of activities that create meaningful and long-term social transformation that is relevant to present and future generations has never been greater. This presents a complex and critical problem at the level of both business and beneficiaries. Causal Layered Analysis (CLA) is a method for deepening the process of addressing complex social problems and formulating alternative futures. Questioning and creating metaphors is the deepest layer of this method and often the most challenging and important [task]....
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Feeding Hate With Video: A Former Alt-Right YouTuber Explains His Methods // NY Times
In 2018, a far-right activist, Tommy Robinson, posted a video to YouTube claiming he had been attacked by an African migrant in Rome. The thumbnail image and eight-word title promoting the video indicated Mr. Robinson was assaulted by a Black man outside a train station. For Caolan Robertson — a filmmaker who worked for Mr. Robinson and helped create the video — it was an instructional moment. It showed the key ingredients needed to attract attention on YouTube and other social media services...
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Is Humanity at a Fork in the Road? // Futurist
IN 1969, Bucky Fuller argued that humanity was a fork in the road, and that one way lay oblivion while the other way lay utopia. By utopia he meant that humanity had now acquired the scientific and technological knowledge and capacity to enable all of Earth’s inhabitants to live a reasonable life style without destroying the environment or using up all its resources. But, he noted, humanity must choose the correct fork in the road if we were to pass this “final exam,” another of his analogies...
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The Healing Power of JavaScript // Wired
A LITTLE OVER a year ago, as the Covid-19 lockdowns were beginning to fan out across the globe, most folks grasped for toilet paper and canned food. The thing I reached for: a search function. The point being that a habit of reaching for code is not only healing for the self, but a trick to transmute a sense of dread into something: A function that seems to add, however trivially, a small bit of value to the greater whole in a troubling moment...
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Scientists Completed the First Human Trial of a Wireless High-Bandwidth Brain-Computer Interface // SingularityHub
Brain-computer interface technology is advancing rapidly, but it currently relies on wires that seriously limit its use in everyday applications. That could soon change, though, as researchers recently completed the first human trial of a high-bandwidth wireless neural interface...
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Waiting for the American Khrushchev: // IFTF Medium
Who will deliver the “Cult of Personality” speech to Americans? My mother cried when she heard on the radio that Joseph Stalin passed away. A young, well-educated doctor who loved classical music and regularly recited Heinrich Heine’s poems in German, she was not alone. Millions of Soviet citizens of all backgrounds and walks of life mourned the death of a monster who, over a rein lasting almost three decades, murdered some twenty million of their neighbors, friends, acquaintances, coworkers, family members, literary heroes, and beloved artists...
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Current Uncontrolled Technology Versus Uncontrollable AGI // Next Big Future
A fear of many who are familiar with AI and technology is that Artificial intelligence could progress to the point where it is rapidly self-improving and not controllable by humanity. The scenarios is that Artificial General Intelligence will become more powerful and more intelligent than humans and it will circumvent all human control. Currently, there are big technology companies that substantially leverage Artificial Intelligence, Data and other technologies to gain various forms of power and influence...
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Nvidia enters 'science-fiction metaverse' with Omniverse Enterprise for 3D collaboration // ZDNet
Nvidia unveiled at GTC 2021 a new platform for 3D designers to collaborate and work on, Omniverse Enterprise. The subscription software has been labelled as a "killer app" by the company, is built on the Universal Scene Description (USD) framework from Pixar, and offers designers the ability to "work simultaneously in a virtual world from anywhere, on any device"...
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Remote school doesn’t have to be terrible. Here’s how to rethink virtual learning // Fastcompany
Throughout history, pandemics have had the secondary effect of accelerating innovation and intellectual progress. With COVID-19 as the trigger, we have been forced to imagine entirely different ways to educate our children. And while the situation may require only temporary stopgaps, the solution may prove superior to the status quo...
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Are We Automating Racism? // Vox [Video]
Many of us assume that tech is neutral, and we have turned to tech as a way to root out racism, sexism, or other “isms” plaguing human decision-making. But as data-driven systems become a bigger and bigger part of our lives, we also notice more and more when they fail, and, more importantly, that they don’t fail on everyone equally. Glad You Asked host Joss Fong wants to know: Why do we think tech is neutral? How do algorithms become biased? And how can we fix these algorithms before they cause harm?
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For First Time Ever, Scientists Create Part-Human, Part-Monkey Embryos // Futurism
For the first time ever, NPR reports, an international team of scientists have created chimera embryos that are made up of both human and monkey cells. The research, as detailed in a paper published in the journal Cell today, is meant to help scientists find new ways to grow organs intended for human transplants...
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Big Tech’s guide to talking about AI ethics // MIT Tech Review
AI researchers often say good machine learning is really more art than science. The same could be said for effective public relations. Selecting the right words to strike a positive tone or reframe the conversation about AI is a delicate task: done well, it can strengthen one’s brand image, but done poorly, it can trigger an even greater backlash. The tech giants would know. Over the last few years, they’ve had to learn this art quickly as they’ve faced increasing public distrust of their actions and intensifying criticism about their AI research and technologies...
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SETI Research Director Warns of "Malevolent" Alien Civilizations // Futurism
While many scientists are trying their hardest to make first contact, or at least find evidence of an extraterrestrial civilization, others are asking a crucial question: Are we sure we would really want aliens to find us? “We have no reason to believe that technological advancement and altruism or morality are somehow linked,” SETI researcher Andrew Siemion told Inverse. “There probably are malevolent civilizations elsewhere in the universe so that’s certainly something that we should consider as we continue to explore the universe.”...
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Fun Stuff 🚀

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

Open Calls/Submissions/Opportunities & Cool Projects

Open Calls, Submissions & Other Opportunities

NEW INC Open Call // Deadline 4/20
NEW INC is a shared workspace and incubator program supporting an anti-disciplinary community of individuals, small teams and collectives. Our year-long program runs September-August, and is designed to support creative practitioners as they pursue a sustainable practice or bring a new business to life. We are based in NYC, but welcome virtual participation. Our Open Call for Year 8 (Sept 2021-August 2022) Incubator Members is now live. 
Learn More & Apply

Sex Tech Hackathon // 5/1 - 5/2 // Rolling Deadline
The Sex Tech industry is projected to be worth 52.7 billion dollars by 2026. As this market potential becomes impossible to ignore, people are ditching the taboo to accept both the importance of sexual health and its potential to reform the way we understand our health overall. This Hackathon invites participants to actively and collaboratively question what the future holds for humans and our relationship with technology and sexuality. We want to hold space for important conversations and welcome creative ideas, dreaming and collaboration. Over the course of the weekend, you will be introduced to the diverse and evolving field of Sex Tech, before working on your own project (in a team or solo - as you wish) guided by mentors from idea to prototype. There are of course prizes to be won!
Learn More & Join

Leonardo Criptech Incubator Call for Participants // No Deadline, Info Session 5/3
CripTech Incubator is an art-and-technology fellowship centered on disability innovation. Encompassing residencies, workshops, presentations, publication,s and education, this innovation incubator creates a platform for disabled artists to engage and remake creative technologies through the lens of accessibility. Employing a broad understanding of technologies, including prosthetic tools, neural networks, software, and the built environment, CripTech Incubator reimagines enshrined notions of how a body-mind can move, look, communicate.
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MIT Reality Hack XR Hackathon // 6/17 - 6/21 // Rolling Applications
I've participated in this one in the past, and it was a blast!!!

Reality Hack is an annual community-run XR hackathon comprising thought leaders, brand mentors and creators, participants, students, and technology lovers, who come together and attend tech workshops, talks, discussions, fireside chats, collaborations, hacking, and more.Participants of various backgrounds and all skill levels attend from all over the world. It is typically held at MIT co-hosted by a team of community volunteers (alumni, friends, and others) with the Reality Hack Organization 501-c3 and a student org VR/AR@MIT. We all share a common goal: to educate, empower and enable people to be part of the XR industry. This year, things will be different as we host a smaller, hybrid virtual and in-person event.
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Buckminster Fuller Institute Trimtab Space Camp // 4 Week Online Course // 5/3 - 5/28

Buckminster Fuller, the Leonardo DaVinci of the 20th century, was way ahead of his time - he could see the future, anticipated humanity's needs and thus designed hundreds of artifacts for a world that works for 100% of life, all through looking to nature for design inspiration. His methodology was called Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science. We call it Design Science for short. You can think of it as a mash-up between design thinking, biomimicry, futurism, and regenerative development. It’s time we revisit this lens, bring it to the 21st century and co-develop a Design Science Toolkit. Join us for a four-week learning journey to dive into Fuller’s Design Science and see how we can apply it to today’s global transition. We’ll learn from leaders in Biomimicry, Design Thinking, Living Systems and Rapid Prototyping. 
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Cool Projects

"InterPlanetary Poetics" // Caitlin McShea
InterPlanetary, a trans-disciplinary project from the Santa Fe Institute asserts that science does not exist independent of art and imagination. We’ll explore this idea by looking at examples of interplanetary poetics and their eventual influence on our current scientific world. On the precipice of becoming a spacefaring civilization, recognition of this relationship is more important than ever. Although this talk will be largely descriptive, it will also be an attempt to inspire the perpetuation of this art-science symbiosis.
Watch Video

N.K. Jemisin Teaches Fantasy & Science Fiction Writing // MasterClass
The winner of the Hugo Award for three consecutive years for her Broken Earth Trilogy, N. K. Jemisin has sold millions of books and created new cultures and histories. Now the acclaimed science fiction and fantasy writer is teaching you how to create a world from scratch, develop compelling characters, and get published. Build your craft and share your voice with inclusive fiction that reflects your experience.
Learn More 

Gaming, Shows, Books & Other Random Cool Stuff

MIT scientists study spider web structure by translating it into music // Ars Technica
A spider weaving its intricate web is a bit like a person composing a song, at least in the eyes of MIT materials engineer Markus Buehler, whose research involves translating web structure into musical melodies. Together with his collaborators, he has devised a way for humans to "enter" a 3D spider web and explore its structure both visually and aurally via a virtual reality setup. Buehler described the ongoing project during a talk at the (virtual) meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) this week...
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When Hackers Were Heroes // Communications of the ACM
Forty years ago, the word "hacker" was little known. Its march from obscurity to newspaper headlines owes a great deal to tech journalist Steven Levy, who in 1984 defied the advice of his publisher to call his first book Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution.11 Hackers were a subculture of computer enthusiasts for whom programming was a vocation and playing around with computers constituted a lifestyle. Levy locates the origins of hacker culture among MIT undergraduates of the late-1950s and 1960s, before tracing its development through the Californian personal computer movement of the 1970s and the home videogame industry of the early 1980s. (The most common current meaning of hacker, online thieves and vandals, was not established until a few years later)...
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Why Video Game Loot Is So Addictive, According To The Creators Of Diablo // Kotaku
Colors mean different things to different people, but very specific colors mean the exact same thing to everybody who plays video games. You know the ones: gray, green, blue, purple, and gold. You covet the latter and revile the former. Loot is a universal language at this point, but it wasn’t always. On this week’s Splitscreen, we talk to the people who invented it about where it all came from and why it’s so darn irresistible...
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Gaze Upon My Browser Extensions and Despair // Gizmodo
They’re not what any of us would call “intimate,” but you can really tell a lot about a person from a quick glance at the browser extensions they use. Is your boyfriend’s browser decorated with favicons from Evernote, Trello, and literally nothing else? He’s either a type-A perfectionist or zen to a fault. Is your aunt’s browser bucking under extensions for coupons, promo codes, and cashback deals? Safe to say she’s obsessively thrifty...
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Say No! More [game] (Polygon)
Say No! More, by developer Studio Fizbin, is a training ground for learning to say no. Playing as a newly hired intern at a shitty corporation, I’m relegated to a desk behind a vending machine, where I learn about the devastating effects of “yes.” I then learn about the power of “no” from a ’90s-styled self-help cassette tape slotted away in my office. And then I become very powerful — able to knock things, people, and buildings over with my forceful no...
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A Scientist Taught AI to Generate Pickup Lines. The Results are Chaotic // VICE
Artificial intelligence is finally learning to flirt. While romantic banter continues to elude the likes of Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant, an advanced AI system out of the United States is being trained to seduce, churning out original pickup lines for the express purpose of scoring a date. Janelle Shane, a research scientist and author from Colorado, created a squad of courtship bots using one of the most sophisticated text-writing AI algorithms in the world: a language model known as the Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 (GPT-3), which uses deep learning to produce human-like text...
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What I'm Reading

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

The Lenz
Damien Lutz

A Lunch Break With This Cyberpunk 2077 NPC
Riley MacLeod

Outcry as Video Shows Robodog Patrolling With NYPD
Victor Tangermann

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