SciFly // 159 // Remote Speculations Week 65/66

Speculative Events, News & Resources | Sent 6/14

Hey SciFly Readers!

Happy Pride Month!!! 🏳️‍🌈 🏳️‍🌈 🏳️‍🌈

Hope you are all enjoying your June, and super excited to bring back one of my favorite annual traditions, Doc's Queer Speculations list!

Each year, I scour the web for the best new speculative fiction (and sometimes art and other projects if I can find it) and share it with you here so you can put on your rainbow-tinted glasses and step into our world for a while. :D

Scroll down for the list!

In other news, a couple of quick announcements.

Doc & Jack Talk Futures x Design

Super excited to report that the Introduction to FxD Jack and I did with Speculative Futures Austin is now live on Vimeo, and you can check it out at your leisure (no judging on my ridiculous hair day though :P).
Watch Video


Also, have you got your PRIMER21 ticket yet? No? Well, now is the time! This year, PRIMER21 is going global, and all of the Speculative Futures chapters from around the world have joined together to help us put on an amazing conference! The speaker line-up will be published this week, so keep an eye on the website for the latest updates, and get your ticket on our Hopin PRIMER21 page!.

🏳️‍🌈 🔥👾
Doc's Queer Speculations 2021

Here are some of the best speculative fiction/fantasy books, magazines, podcasts etc. I've found out about this year!

AZE Journal // Online Magazine // Link 

AZE is an independent journal publishing the writing and artwork of ace, aro, and agender authors. It was first established as The Asexual in October 2016 by Michael Paramo, a queer aze Mexican-American artist who was inspired to create a space to elevate the creative expressions and perspectives of asexuals. They felt asexual people were ignored in a world that invisibilized and invalidated the existence of asexuality. From 2017-2019, ten issues were published that explored intersections between asexuality and various themes including the body, race, sex, representation, pride, and attraction. In 2019, the journal’s name was changed from The Asexual to AZE to be inclusive of ace, aro, and agender authors. The name reflects what Michael conceptualizes as azeness, or the shared experiences of ‘absence’ that unite ace, aro, and agender people under cisheteropatriarchy.

Victories Greater Than Death // Charlie Jane Anders // Book // Link

Tina never worries about being ‘ordinary’—she doesn’t have to since she’s known practically forever that she’s not just Tina Mains, an average teenager, and beloved daughter. She’s also the keeper of an interplanetary rescue beacon, and one day soon, it’s going to activate, and then her dreams of saving all the worlds and adventuring among the stars will finally be possible. Tina’s legacy, after all, is intergalactic—she is the hidden clone of a famed alien hero, left on Earth disguised as a human to give the universe another chance to defeat a terrible evil.

A Psalm for the Wild-Built // Becky Chambers // Book (coming in July) // Link

It's been centuries since the robots of Earth gained self-awareness and laid down their tools. Centuries since they wandered, en masse, into the wilderness, never to be seen again. Centuries since they faded into myth and urban legend. One day, the life of a tea monk is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honor the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of "what do people need?" is answered. But the answer to that question depends on who you ask, and how They're going to need to ask it a lot.

Once & Future // A.R. Capetta, Cory McCarthy // Book // Link

When Ari crash-lands on Old Earth and pulls a magic sword from its ancient resting place, she is revealed to be the newest reincarnation of King Arthur. Then she meets Merlin, who has aged backward over the centuries into a teenager, and together they must break the curse that keeps Arthur coming back. Their quest? Defeat the cruel, oppressive government and bring peace and equality to all humankind.

Anathema | Spec from the Margins // Online Magazine // Link

Exceptional art is a bruise: it leaves its mark on you. At its best it leaves us vulnerable and raw, transformed by the experience. At Anathema we're interested in giving that exceptional work a home. Specifically the exceptional work of queer people of color (POC)/Indigenous/Aboriginal creators. As practicing editors we're keenly aware of the structural and institutional racism that makes it hard for the work of marginalized writers to find a home. So Anathema: Spec from the Margins is a free, online tri-annual magazine publishing speculative fiction (SF/F/H, the weird, slipstream, surrealism, fabulism, and more) by queer people of color on every range of the LGBTQIA spectrum.

Amatka // Karin Tidbeck  // Book // Link

Vanja, an information assistant, is sent from her home city of Essre to the austere, wintry colony of Amatka with an assignment to collect intelligence for the government. Immediately she feels that something strange is going on: people act oddly in Amatka, and citizens are monitored for signs of subversion. Intending to stay just a short while, Vanja falls in love with her housemate, Nina, and prolongs her visit. But when she stumbles on evidence of a growing threat to the colony, and a cover-up by its administration, she embarks on an investigation that puts her at tremendous risk.

A Memory Called Empire // Arkady Martine // Link

Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire only to discover that her predecessor, the previous ambassador from their small but fiercely independent mining Station, has died. But no one will admit that his death wasn't an accident—or that Mahit might be next to die, during a time of political instability in the highest echelons of the imperial court. Now, Mahit must discover who is behind the murder, rescue herself, and save her Station from Teixcalaan's unceasing expansion—all while navigating an alien culture that is all too seductive, engaging in intrigues of her own, and hiding a deadly technological secret—one that might spell the end of her Station and her way of life—or rescue it from annihilation.

The Black Tides of Heaven // Neon Yang // Book // Link

Mokoya and Akeha, the twin children of the Protector, were sold to the Grand Monastery as children. While Mokoya developed her strange prophetic gift, Akeha was always the one who could see the strings that moved adults to action. While his sister received visions of what would be, Akeha realized what could be. What's more, he saw the sickness at the heart of his mother's Protectorate. A rebellion is growing. The Machinists discover new levers to move the world every day, while the Tensors fight to put them down and preserve the power of the state. Unwilling to continue to play a pawn in his mother's twisted schemes, Akeha leaves the Tensorate behind and falls in with the rebels. But every step Akeha takes towards the Machinists is a step away from his sister Mokoya. Can Akeha find peace without shattering the bond he shares with his twin sister?

The City We Became // N.K. Jemisin // Link

Every city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She's got five. But every city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs beneath the earth, threatening to destroy the city and her five protectors unless they can come together and stop it once and for all.

The Chosen and the Beautiful // Nghi Vo // Book // Link

Nghi Vo’s debut novel The Chosen and the Beautiful reinvents this classic of the American canon as a coming-of-age story full of magic, mystery, and glittering excess, and introduces a major new literary voice. Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society—she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She’s also queer, Asian, adopted, and treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her. But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how.

Blackfish City // Sam J Miller // Book // Link

After the climate wars, a floating city is constructed in the Arctic Circle, a remarkable feat of mechanical and social engineering, complete with geothermal heating and sustainable energy. The city’s denizens have become accustomed to a roughshod new way of living; however, the city is starting to fray along the edges—crime and corruption have set in, the contradictions of incredible wealth alongside direst poverty are spawning unrest, and a new disease called “the breaks” is ravaging the population. When a strange new visitor arrives—a woman riding an orca, with a polar bear at her side—the city is entranced. The “orcamancer,” as she’s known, very subtly brings together four people—each living on the periphery—to stage unprecedented acts of resistance. By banding together to save their city before it crumbles under the weight of its own decay, they will learn shocking truths about themselves...
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, June 15th - Monday, June 21st

Tuesday, June 15

UNCOVER Talks #1: Urban Design & Urban Innovation // 10am - 12pm EDT // Free
Featuring: Dr. Tom Bieling, postdoc senior researcher and lecturer at Zentrum für Designforschung (HAW Hamburg), Ruth Reichstein works in I.D.E.A., the Advisory Board of the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. She deals with Green Deal-related issues and coordinates the New European Bauhaus initiative, Lea Jordan works at Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft’s Cross Innovation Hub as a program manager and carries out innovation formats between the creative industries and other business sectors. Dan Hill is Director of Strategic Design at Vinnova, the Swedish government’s innovation agency. His previous design leadership roles include Arup, Future Cities Catapult, Fabrica, SITRA and the BBC. 
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HoloCenter Seminar 2. "What is a Hologram" - an artist perspective. // 12pm - 1:30pm EDT // Donation
Join us for our next seminar with a panel of leading holographic artists as we discuss the unique creative possibilities of holographic imagery. On the panel will be Philippe Boissonnet, Canada, Betsy Connors, USA, Pearl John, UK, Dieter Jung, Germany, Ana-Maria Nicholson, USA, Andy Pepper, UK with Linda Law, Executive Director of the HoloCenter, chairing the session. These eminent artists have been exploring holography as a creative medium for many years, through challenging times and changing technology. In this time of expanded awareness and usage of the term "Hologram", it feels appropriate to ask them their opinions on this topic. Together we will discuss their continuing passion for this unique medium and the many creative directions they have taken over the years. They will be joining us from many parts of the world representing the international community of holographic artists that has existed since the late '60s.
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Postgrowth and Degrowth // 11am - 12:15pm EDT // Free
How can we decarbonize our economy? Proponents of Postgrowth and Degrowth approaches argue that it will not be possible to decouple economic growth from ecological impacts. Contrary to the logic of Green Growth, they call for abandoning the political fixation on GDP growth and propose alternative economic models for a sustainable future economy. In this second event, we give the floor to leading experts from Postgrowth and Degrowth economics, to present different concepts from this vibrant scholarly field. Prof. Susan Paulson, Centre for Latin American Studies at the University of Florida, will be in discussion with Prof. Tim Jackson, Director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity, University of Leeds and Dr. Katherine Trebeck, Co-founder and Senior Strategic Advisor at the Wellbeing Economy Alliance. Christiane Heisse, PhD candidate at SOAS, University of London and scholar of the Foundation of German Business will moderate the event.
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Wednesday, June 16

Digital Interventions on Urban Societal Challenges in Southeast Asia // 7am - 8:30am EDT // Free
Taking into account lived experiences, the practices of doing and the culture of participation within networked societies, it is pertinent that long-standing conversations pertaining to sustainable development now shift towards regenerative solutions whereby the “digital” serves as a platform for critical intervention instead of a disruptive overhaul to an existing ecosystem. For Southeast Asian cities to thrive in terms of societal well-being, it is important to use the digital as a tool to increase social interaction/connectedness, and to reinforce the development of culture, creativity and wellness. By drawing upon case studies from research conducted on selected Southeast Asian cities in the area of communication, lifestyle, the gig-economy and healthcare, this seminar conceptualizes an approach based on mobilizing participation, networked collaboration and fostering transparency in order to explore how we can re(imagine), (re)evaluate and (re)negotiate this assemblage of disruption as a result of current social and environmental problems by adding connectivity and creativity within the existing societal infrastructure.
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Decentring Whiteness: A Platform for Intersectional Conversation // 12pm - 1:30pm EDT // Free
This event features three distinguished art historians, Michael Ohajuru, Marenka Thompson-Odlum, and Jasmine Chohan, to discuss race and art history from their own perspective or in relation to their work. Organised with Courtauld's BAME Society, the event seeks to bring attention to personal experiences and art historical approaches of scholars of color. During the event, the panelists will highlight paths and methodologies that senior scholars have taken in the academy, as well as their limitations. The conversation will be useful for anyone interested in discussions around decolonizing art history and decentering whiteness in the discipline.
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Beyond Biology: Robots, Telepathy and Artificial Brains // 1pm - 2:30pm EDT // Free
A symposium exploring the themes behind Cognitive Sensations' programme 'The Downloadable Brain', with artists, researchers & scientists, exploring the themes behind ‘The Downloadable Brain’, co-hosted by the Centre for the Future of Intelligence. Mirroring our public programme’s curatorial framework, the event will explore three technological goals: 1) To build a machine that can think for itself. 2)To create a technological copy of a human. 3)To read another’s thoughts through their brain data. These objectives may seem like sci-fi fantasies, but their origins can be traced right back to Greek mythological times when the first imaginings of AI were born. As strange and alien as they seem, many aspects of these innovations are already coming to fruition.
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Thursday, June 17

How to do a Zoöp | TNL x Zoonomic Curriculum // 1:30pm - 3:30pm EDT // Free
Het Nieuwe Instituut as zoöp serves as a case study for the larger question of how to take the interests of more-than-human inhabitants into account when designing green public spaces? How would spatial arrangements and patterns of use have to be reorganised? How might the ecological quality of life, and the relationships between the entire multispecies community (including humans!), be enhanced?
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De-Extinction Mermaids and the Future of an Interspecies Library // 1pm - 2:30pm EDT // Free
To close out the exhibition’s public programming, artist and researcher Richard Pell will present his enigmatic publication ‘Theory of Mermaid De-Extinction’ (2021), which makes its debut at Interspecies Futures. Curator, Oscar Salguero will present important moments in the history of interspecies-related books, and will discuss what the future of an Interspecies Library might look like. Salguero will identify the ways in which the library can act, both, as an archive and platform for the discussion of alternative shared reality with other species. Interspecies Futures [IF] is the first survey of bookworks by leading international practitioners from the contemporary fields of bio-art and speculative design who have turned to the codex as a tool for the proposal of alternative human-nonhuman scenarios.
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Architectures of Change // 9:15am - 10:30am EDT // £0 – £8
Chaired by Amahra Spence Co-Founder and Creative Director of Birmingham based social justice organization MAIA and YARD Art House, this discussion will consider the resourcing and reimagining of public space for the public good and social need. This panel will discuss the increasing privatization of public space and share architectural perspectives on the challenges and possibilities of engaging a multiplicity of voices in both the ownership, design, and build of reactive and multi-purpose community assets.
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Faculty Profiles in Research, Art and Innovation // 7:30pm - 8:30pm EDT // Free

Join us for a conversation about Speculative Fiction with UCR professors Nalo Hopkinson, John Jennings, Andre Carrington, and Sherryl Vint. This is the Science Fiction research cluster at UC Riverside. The Speculative Fictions and Cultures of Science (SFCS) program explores intersections among speculative fiction, science and technology studies (STS), and traditions of speculative thought. We offer a Designated Emphasis at the PhD level and an undergraduate minor. This panel will be an introduction to the current research projects of the research cluster members.
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Climate Crisis & Contemporary Culture Kick-Off // 12pm - 1:30pm EDT // Free
How do words affect our planet? Where do science, the arts, and social sciences converge, diverge, and respond to one another, supplement or disagree, when it comes to communicating on our world’s most imposing problem? How do we explain the unthinkable? And where do the limits of research and divulgation meet the beginnings of speculative thought and the representative arts? The 2021 joint cultural programming series "Climate Crisis & Contemporary Culture" by the Alliance Française and Goethe-Zentrum Atlanta seeks to explore the diverse means by which we communicate on our current climate crisis.
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The future of wearable technology // 11am - 12pm EDT // Free
Over the past year, we in the Institute for Molecular Science and Engineering have been bringing together scientists, engineers and medics from across Imperial College London to discuss what the future of wearable technology might look like. Through our discussions, we have written a Briefing Paper on what the blurring of the divide between wellness devices (for example, the Apple Watch) and medical devices could mean for data misuse and privacy. Considering there is already concern about what happens to a user’s personal data once it leaves a wearable device, the ability of future wellness devices to monitor more about us will only exacerbate this concern.
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Collectively Imagining De-Gentrified and Abolition // 6pm - 7pm EDT // Free
Black, Indigenous, and all communities of color have been suffering from racialized capitalism since long before the pandemic, but COVID-19 has exacerbated land displacement, rent burden, economic inequality, and police violence. The past year has felt dystopian at times, compelling us to think outside of the box, to reimagine a radically different society that is more just and upholds our common racial, economic, climate, and social justice values. This program will highlight cultural collectives that are unleashing popular imagination and shared vision to build an abolitionist and de-gentrified future, and discuss concrete ways that we can enact this future together.
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Intellectual Property in the Commons // 12pm - 1:30pm EDT // Free
Nowadays that the means of intellectual production are widely dispersed in the population, everyone can literally be a creator. In this context, information, knowledge, and culture are increasingly produced through sharing and collaboration between multiple individuals in communal unity. At the same time, scientific and technological breakthroughs are more and more based on access to the prior state of the art. In this complex new world of borderless intellectual production, the commons gradually surpass industries and states in their capacity to achieve creativity and innovation. Does intellectual property law fit in well with contemporary practices of creativity and innovation? How can we accommodate our communal practices of creating and innovating together in ways compatible with applicable legislation? Which reforms are necessary to unleash the potential of the emerging modes of intellectual production, distribution, and consumption?
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Interface: Sarah Selby in conversation with Daniel Chadash // 1pm - 2pm EDT // Free
In this discursive event, University digital artist in residence Sarah Selby will discuss her artwork, which she is in the process of realising after a year of research and development, alongside Daniel Chadash from Twist Bioscience in Miami. Sarah’s new work will use DNA data storage to encode stories and experiences of the diverse communities of Loughborough into synthetic DNA, which will then be embedded within pen ink and written into a new charter or manifesto for the University. To achieve her ambition she has been working with Daniel Chadash. Daniel will cover the science behind DNA data storage, the work Twist has been doing and the potential applications of the technology. Sarah will then discuss her artwork, the concept behind it and the creation process.
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Friday, June 18

GALLERY TALK | Discussions on Archive, Memory and Belonging // 1:30pm - 2:15pm EDT // Free
Zain Al-Sharaf Wahbeh was born in Jordan and raised in the United Arab Emirates, Zain Al-Sharaf Wahbeh is a London-based Palestinian researcher, designer, and postgraduate Architecture student at the Royal College of Art. As a Part II Architecture student at Royal College of Art, Zain Al-Sharaf has actively confronted the dissolution of the Palestinian vernacular under the Zionist occupation, through multidisciplinary archival practices. To problematise the extinction of Jaffa’s Arab urbanity, she conducts speculative reconstructions of its urban-communal-memories using digital modelling and rendering software. Her forensic and journalistic endeavours have since been invested in promoting social justice, biopolitical inclusivity, and cultural restoration.
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ODI Fridays: Artist AM Darke on Fairly Intelligent™️ // 11am - 12pm EDT // Free
‘Why let a few tech executives and engineers control the algorithms that shape our lives? In an effort to democratize this technology, we have created an automated decision-making program that learns from you. After a brief assessment, you can be a part of the system. You can be Fairly Intelligent™️.’ Artist A.M. Darke discusses the process of developing Fairly Intelligent™️, speculative fiction about the world’s worst algorithm posing as the world’s best algorithm.
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Democratic by Design // 8:30am - 10am EDT // £0 – £8
What sustainable and alternative futures can we foster in the present by embracing new economic thought; and what can the sector learn from new ownership models, exchange economies and democratic governance? This panel discussion will discuss how as a sector we can foster responsible civic institutions that operate for social good, community wealth, collective well-being and ecological sustainability and will be chaired by Josh Gabert-Doyan. Josh Gabert-Doyon is a writer, radio producer, and digital strategist with Common Wealth, a think tank that focuses on the politics of ownership.
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Digital Infrastructures // 10:15am - 11:30am EDT // £0 – £8
In conversation with Ruth Catlow Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Furtherfield and Baile Ali of Sable Radio. Sable Radio is an online radio station + creative platform; who broadcast, run workshops, produce podcasts, support artists and curate programs all from their little studio on the outskirts of Leeds. Ruth Catlow is co-founder and artistic director of Furtherfield and networked cultures expert. Her artistic practice and curatorial work at Furtherfield have focused on critical investigations of digital and networked technologies and their emancipatory potential. Furtherfield is London’s longest-running center for art and technology. Its mission is to disrupt and democratize through deep exploration, open tools and free-thinking. From venues online and in London’s Finsbury Park we rethink life in a world of advanced technologies.
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Future Visions: Image At Its Limits // 1pm - 2:30pm EDT // Free
Working at the edge of experimental image-making practice, this talk brings together artists Quentin Lacombe and Benoit Jeanette in conversation with sociologist and visual anthropologist Joël Vacheron to explore the future of image-making practice. Joël Vacheron - A sociologist, writer and researcher, teaching visual anthropology and media studies. Benoît Jeannet - Professional photographer with a polymorphic approach to the medium. Quentin Lacombe - Professional photographer challenging the immediacy of the medium.
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What We Leave Behind: An Interactive Experience with Andrew Nemr // 9pm EDT // $20
In this come-as-you-are, interactive experience, artist Andrew Nemr extends an invitation to consider the impact of choice and radical empathy through the lens of his project, What We Leave Behind. What We Leave Behind is a series of six improvisational movements that aim to interpret the complex relationship between choice and impact. Developed as part of the Inbreak Residency and featured in the current exhibition Into the Deep, Unto the New, this series engages the intersection of art, faith, and race, to grapple with individual responsibility in a world overcome by institutional and social pressures. Each movement is expressed in a video piece, corresponding physical boards, an essay, and a single lesson in a multipart course.
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Saturday, June 19

Overburden Panel Discussion: Imaginaries // 5:45pm - 8pm EDT // Free
Oxygen Art Centre in Nelson BC and Kootenay Gallery of Art in Castlegar BC announce a unique collaborative group exhibition, Overburden: Geology, Excavation and Metamorphosis in a Chaotic Age. Overburden is the topsoil and vegetation that is removed before mining takes place. It also references our earth’s current condition and the psychological burden that many people experience in the face of climate and other ecological changes. Overburden brings together a group of artists whose shared concerns address geology and its relationship to shifting climate patterns and resource extraction, in both a regional and global context.
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remote\displaced by Andrea Mancianti and Robert Fusco // 5pm - 5:45pm EDT // Free
An immersive audiovisual concept album by quietSpeaker based around Öljysäiliö 468, a vast, decommissioned oil tank by the sea of East Helsinki. The album, constituted of a collection of brief immersive audio-visual visits to this remote place, was originally presented to Ars Electronica 2020 festival, with the experiences accessible through a virtual reconstruction of the Silo, realised in the social VR platform Mozilla Hubs. In this new edition, a 8k version of the 360 album is completed by a live performance of quietSpeaker, streamed over the internet, based on audiovisual materials from the same place. The live happens remotely inside a virtualised silo, reconstructed both acoustically and visually via Impulse responses and a 3D point-cloud captured in the space.
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Deep Prediction: Forecasting on Time Scales from Microseconds to Eons // 10:30pm - 11:30pm EDT // Donation
Scientific forecasts span a staggering breadth of time scales, and they range in precision from vague & qualitative to exact & quantitative. This presentation will provide an overview of predictability. We’ll look at examples drawn from trading, meteorology, celestial mechanics, and cosmology. Finally, we'll end with the latest research-based forecasts for what will happen to the Universe in the extremely distant future. Our speaker, Dr. Greg Laughlin, is Professor of Astronomy at Yale University. He is co-author of The Five Ages of the Universe and co-founder of the online prediction aggregator Metaculus.
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Sunday, June 20

Black in Astro Week 2021 // 6/20 - 6/26 // Free
The goal of #BlackInAstro is to celebrate and amplify Black scientists and engineers within the space community. This space provides support, networking, and guidance. This is a week-long series of events/talks including #BlacktotheFuture, #Astroworld, and more!
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Monday, June 21

Biodesign Challenge Summit 2021 // 6/21, 9am - 6/25, 3pm EDT // Free
Join us at Biodesign Challenge Summit 2021! Watch 53 finalist teams from across the world present innovative biodesigns to a panel of leaders in academia and industry. Students will showcase new ideas for the future of medicine, architecture, fashion, food, materials, bioethics, and more. One team will go home with the coveted Glass Microbe!
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WEEK 2 - Tuesday, June 22nd - Monday, June 28th


Tuesday, June 22

Transhumanism and the Future of Humanity // 1pm - 2:30pm EDT // Free
From bionic eyes to designing new senses and extending life expectancy, transhumanists are redefining what it means to be human. This talk takes a deeper look at the movement and its implications for the future of humanity. In conjunction with the University of Atypical’s exhibition ‘I Want To Believe’ by David Vintiner & Gem Fletcher, this talk explores transhumanism and its implications for the future of humanity.
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The Future of Contracts // 6pm - 7:30pm EDT // $0 - $20
In early 2021, artists and curators Maia Chao, Mira Dayal, Anaïs Duplan, Yxta Maya Murray, and Simon Wu opened the exhibition Drawn Together at Cuchifritos gallery. The exhibition included an instructive and expansive “orientation video” on contracts that was installed in the space and used as a starting point for a series of conversations with the gallery’s constituents; these culminated in a series of proposed edits to the historic nonprofit’s bylaws. The project as a whole focused on the contractual underpinnings of power, the etymology and embodiment of the word contract (from the Latin meaning drawn together, tightened), and the potential for values-driven, constituent-led conversations to lead to positive, systemic change within an institution. Please join us for a report on their processes (artistic and logistic), translation (how social and human needs became contractual terms), results (what occurred when the proposed changes got to the board of Artists Alliance Inc. that governs Cuchifritos), and recommendations for organizations and artists looking to create an infrastructure that more accurately reflects their values and priorities. 
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AAD Books: Dwelling on the Future // 12pm - 1:30pm EDT // Free
Dwelling on the Future focuses on the design of dwellings and their varied environments, and questions how an architect responds to the challenge of providing humane places in which to live for a growing, multifarious population in an increasingly divided world. The issue is never just housing. People – individuals, groups and societies – can and do have different goals and aspirations. Is it possible to imagine and implement a world in which a level of comfort and stability is available for even the poorest members of societies?
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Future Tech and the Gospel // 8pm - 9pm EDT // Free
Emerging technologies are transforming how the Church advances the Gospel. How can Christians innovate and still remain faithful to the Way of Jesus? Join us to talk about Future Tech and the Gospel. How could emerging tech impact Christian ministry in the next 5 years? We’re talking cutting-edge technologies like AI, VR, Blockchain, and more, with time for you to share your own insights. Then we’ll hear from experts on the most popular issues that arise from your conversations and questions.
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Wednesday, June 23

Uncanny Reality: Defining ‘Alive’ in the Age of Androids // 1pm - 2:30pm EDT // Free
At a time when our species is, in many senses, facing the very real prospect of technological replacement, this talk investigates the future of robotics technologies, the ethics involved in producing human-like androids, and the very nature of what it is to be human. In 2017 Maija Tammi’s portrait of Erica—a convincingly human-looking android photographed for her series ‘One Of Them Is Human’—caused controversy when it was selected as a winner of the National Portrait Gallery’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize. The rules of the competition state that the image “must have been taken by the entrant from life and with a living sitter.” The question as to the nature of androids remains. How do we define what it is to be ‘alive’ in an era where technology has become so integrated with our daily lives and robotics technologies produce ever more convincing human facsimiles?
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Agora Talk 27: What's the meaning of architecture in the Metaverse // 1:30pm - 2:30pm EDT // Free
This talk is led by Dr. PF Gérard who will give you an overview of the evolution of virtual reality technology as well as a personal guided tour in Mozilla Hubs. Dr. Gérard is the founder of, a design practice helping people take advantage of immersive technology and real-time 3D graphics.  From architect and 3D visualizer to freelancer and entrepreneur, I have developed a deep understanding of the Virtual-Reality industry. As a self-described VRchitect,, he takes pride in designing meaningful virtual architecture and thrive in enhancing people’s spatial abilities to navigate the Metaverse. I enjoy working with small teams, as it allows me to use my wide knowledge to solve different problems and iterate quickly.
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The Future of Rights // 12pm - 1pm EDT // Free
As ethics and morality are in many ways the foundations of our legal norms and codified rights, this panel will examine whether we need new rights, such as a right to the freedom of thought and freedom from manipulation, a right to the freedom of thought and a right to "switch off" or disconnect, among others. Panelists include Susie Alegre (Doughty Street Chambers), Andrew Pakes (Prospect Union UK), Frank Pasquale (Brooklyn Law School), and Sushma Raman (Carr Center for Human Rights), and the discussion will be moderated by Elizabeth M. Renieris, Founding Director of the Notre Dame-IBM Technology Ethics Lab.
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Designs That Defined Modern Japan // 8am EDT // Free
The decades leading up to the turn of the 21st century have seen in Japan an unprecedented amount of growth and development, with the nation spearheading the way in pioneering technologies, art, and designs. While some cross-referenced existing global design movements, Japanese creators have focused on the needs and preferences of their society, creating many ground-breaking products with new conceptions that revolutionized not only the fields of design in Japan but also provided key inspiration for future designs in the Western world. From fashion to ceramics, transportation devices to objects used in the daily lives of the average person, Japan offered new directions to explore original ideas.
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Test/Break - BioSphere Shrugged interactive choose-your-own-adventure experience // 2:30pm - 4pm EDT // Free
BioSphere Shrugged is an interactive choose-your-own-adventure experience hosted on MIRO. A comedic homage to the BioShock game series, the experience satirizes Objectivism and similar social and economic philosophies that affect society today. Originally intended as a live stage show, BioSphere Shrugged is an online experience that will ideally make the jump into a live production one day.
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Curating Institutional Change: Care and Compassion // 8:30am - 9:30am EDT // Free
We expect the arts to be a natural understanding, empathic, touchy-feely environment. The reality is often far from this for institutions and organizations with the increasing pressures of inflated expectations, shrinking finances, and, quite frankly, juggling an unrealistic number of balls. Perhaps now more than ever we need to remember we are dealing with people. How do we slow things down a little and bring back humanity? How can we care for our community of artists, curators, administrators, cleaners, and the CEO in the same meticulous way we attend to the artworks? A series of three-panel discussions with incredible speakers responding to provocations and with an open Q and A; discussing how the visual arts sector can become more inclusive and accessible for Disabled people.
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Surveillance State // 1pm - 2:30pm EDT // Free
With the rise of facial recognition technology and increasing state surveillance, we are no longer in control of what images are taken of us, or how they are used. This talk discusses the politics of personal image in a world where our actions are being increasingly monitored. From state surveillance and facial recognition technology to online data surveillance, our movements, actions, and interactions—online and offline—are increasingly watched, scrutinized, and recorded. But by whom and for what purpose? This talk discusses hears from artists and theorists asking questions about the rise of the surveillance state.
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Art as Activism: How Art can help Unpick the Social Impacts of AI // 10am - 11:30am EDT // Free
Caroline Sinders is an acclaimed Machine Learning artist and researcher, exploring the intersections of technology’s impact in society, interface design, artificial intelligence, abuse, and politics in digital, conversational spaces. This event will explore some of these themes in Caroline's artworks, followed by a discussion of the role of AI and art in society. TRK - Technically Responsible Knowledge A provocation that calculates the cost of gig economy labeling work, exposing the aspects of data work that are often glossed over and confronting the user with the true costs of such work. In Caroline's words, "a tool and advocacy initiative spotlighting unjust labor in the machine learning pipeline which includes an open-source data labeling and training tool and a wage calculator, and is a part of the Feminist Data Set project".
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Experimental Words // 2:30pm - 4:30pm EDT // £3.83 – £10.30
A high-energy collision of science and spoken word! The UK's leading scientists and poets launch a new album of rhyme, rhythm, and reason. We've paired up some of the UK's most exciting scientists with incredible poets - and challenged them to make a spoken word album. Join us as we launch this unique record - featuring live performances, sizzling science, and interdisciplinary action. As mathematics meets metre and physics encounters free verse, expect ballads about biology and chemical cadences. Celebrate the creative similarities between science and the performing arts! Building on the success of their previous collaborations, Dr. Sam Illingworth and Mr. Dan Simpson are delighted to invite you to join our experiment in art and science.
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Thursday, June 24

Embodied Engagements: A Conversation Keynote with Kana Race & Anne Galloway // 7:30pm - 9pm EDT // Free
This moderated conversation event on 'Embodied Engagements' features two prominent STS researchers whose work uniquely engages with the workshop theme of situated practice. The discussion will touch on topics such as: How we situate ourselves in relation to our objects of study. Methods for enacting situated practices of research. The role of 'place' in orienting research (especially in the context of the settler-colonies of Australia and Aoteroa New Zealand). And how an attentiveness to 'situatedness' might also help us to build better practices of care.
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Milo Keller: A.I. takes control of the photographic image // 8am - 9:30am EDT // Free
Artificial intelligence is everywhere in different applications and forms. Today, most images are produced by machines for machines. In the entertainment industry, algorithms automatically design custom interfaces, disguising mainstream productions as bespoke propositions. Machine learning produces photo-realistic images of non-existent subjects, and A.I. retouching is being democratised from our smartphone apps to professional software. Artificial intelligence is part of our contemporary image production, distribution and consumption and will permanently change our perception of reality.
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Raucous Exchanges - Animating the Inanimate // 11am - 1:15pm EDT // Donation
Raucous is an ever-evolving collective of theatre makers, technologists, and designers who investigate how theatre can be made more immediate, urgent, and immersive for an audience. Raucous’s work is shaped by its exploration with collaborators and we are frequently invited to share our methods with fellow creatives. The Exchanges sessions have been created in response to the demand from writers and theatremakers wanting to explore and experiment with new tools and technology. They have been designed to be delivered with industry professionals, surveying how storytelling worlds might evolve when new tools are used to build narrative, evoking a more heightened and immediate experience for an audience.
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- uncanny < > familiar - Explorations in X-Space // 1pm - 3pm EDT // Free
Artists Maybelle Peters and Gary Stewart take us on an exploratory archival visit through X-Space - a programme of iniva digital art commissions. As artist in residence in partnership with Decolonising Arts Institute at UAL, Maybelle Peters considers how the unfamiliar can produce alternative forms of interaction. The artist's research during her remote residency at the Stuart Hall Library focuses on the Uncannily Familiar which examines the digital spaces operating between the familiar and unfamiliar black body in an archive. The metadata existing within the digitised information held in the archive is (re)visited, foregrounding acts of mapping processes. How do black bodies move? How are they moved by blackness?
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Our future in space // 2pm - 3:30pm EDT // £0 – £21.14
From private sector efforts led by SpaceX and Virgin Galactic to a new space race between the US and China, human space exploration is set to take off in the coming years. 60 years after the first human in space, join Chris Impey as he explores the history and landmarks of the international space program, gives a snapshot of the current dynamic situation and plots the probable trajectory of the future of space travel.
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The Plasticization of Matter // 1:30pm EDT // Free
Plastic is the intimate manifestation of our cultural fixation with and dependency upon oil. And yet it is a material beyond oil, a material that effectively effaces its origins in oil; it is the afterlife of oil, the ineradicable residue of the era of petrocapitalism. Through infrastructures and imaginaries, plastic has built the world that we inhabit, including the digital networks upon which we increasingly rely. But it also refuses to let us go, for plastic can also be understood as a medium, in the sense of a clairvoyant, communicating with long-dead organisms to make their vital presence felt amongst the living, where the haunting legacies of plastic are voiced. In this talk, Heather Davis will consider the relationship between plastic as a media and plastic as a medium, where the plasticization of matter reorganizes our notions of time.
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Friday, June 25

Blue Moon Speaker Series: Innovators, Artists, and Designers // 3pm - 4pm EDT // $25
For this lunchtime presentation typographer, designer, and writer Erik Spiekermann will share his thoughts on the nature of creating in our digital age, the collaborative aspects of book design, and why we, as humans, should be deeply concerned with design in general. Speaking about his latest project, The Other Collection (TOC), Erik will discuss TOC's core belief that important literature deserves well-designed books -- and in turn, well-designed books inspire dialogue, provide respite from the world at large, satisfy our craving for beautiful, treasured things.
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Saturday, June 26

Nothing to Report! 👾

Sunday, June 27

Silk and Steel: Janine A. Southard, Django Wexler, and Jennifer Mace // 2pm EDT // Free
Join us for an evening with the amazing minds behind the Silk and Steel: A Queer Speculative Adventure Anthology! Janine A. Southard, Django Wexler, and Jennifer Mace, in conversation with Kate Towner, discuss producing the anthology, Queer SFF. Princess and swordswoman, lawyer and motorcyclist, scholar and barbarian: there are many ways to be a heroine. In this anthology, seventeen authors find new ways to pair one weapon-wielding woman and one whose strengths lie in softer skills. “Which is more powerful, the warrior or the gentlewoman?” these stories ask. And the answer is inevitably, “Both, working together! From big names and bold new voices, the stories in Silk and Steel are fun, clever, and always positive about the power of love.
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Another Final Frontier: Spoil Island Habitat // 7:30pm EDT // Free
GREY ISLAND, advocates for rethinking and refocusing; rather than seeking to conquer the natural world through technology. “We artistically and poetically suggest ways of reconnecting with the landscape at hand and understanding technology as existing within – rather than despite – the natural environment.” Taking on the role of pseudo astronauts, Kitchen & Ogasian ventured out on an intense 4-day expedition which would take them to a small island they named “Grey Island – Another Final Frontier,” located fifteen minutes by kayak from the shore of Beacon 42 on Mosquito Lagoon, one of many odd islands formed during the dredging of the Intracoastal Waterway. Grey Island sits within view of the active launch complex 39, now leased by SpaceX.
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Monday, June 28

Beyond the Hype - NFT Basics for Visual Artists // 6/28, 10pm - 6/29, 12am EDT // $21 – $26.25
This introductory course will help you get your artwork on the blockchain! Over two hours, we will cover the basics: from purchasing cryptocurrency and setting up a wallet to choosing an NFT marketplace and minting your first piece. The discussion will also include considerations when pricing your work and the associated fees you may encounter along the way. Ethereum-based platforms such as OpenSea, Foundation, and SuperRare will be compared, as well as new (and more environmentally friendly) up and comers like Hic et Nunc. Workshop slides and associated materials will be provided to attendees.
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Robo_Po /// Robo_Op // 11am - 12:30pm EDT // Free
Long the domain of popular science fiction, robots increasingly permeate every aspect of society. How will this impact the creative and performing arts? This project, initiated by the Centre for Research in Opera and Music Theatre and supported by MAH Knowledge Exchange and the Sussex Humanities Lab, explores the ramifications of robot presence through encounters with music, words, movement, image and operatic performance.
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Catalysing Creativity: Stories of Change Discussion Event // 8am - 9am EDT // Free
‘Catalysing Creativity’ discussion event is presented by ASCUS Art & Science and ScotCHEM, in collaboration with participating artists and scientists, to complement the digital exhibition. It aims to shed a light on the process of art-science collaboration. What are the conversations that underpin cross-disciplinary collaboration and what insight does this work bring to our understanding of the complex world in which we live? During the collaborative process of the making of these works, both artists and scientists embarked on a journey into each other's work and practices.
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Upcoming Speculative Futures Meetups 

Speculative Book Club: "How to Future" // Speculative Futures Seattle // Thursday, June 24th, 3:30pm - 6:30pm 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. June 24 - Chapters 7-9: Assessing effectiveness / What to do next / Conclusion.
Check It Out

Community Catch-up // Speculative Futures Amsterdam // Thursday, June 24th, 1pm - 3pm EDT // Free
Another catch-up moment for us to meet on Discord and chat about what is going on. Discord is our go-to place for any community-related activities. We want to invite you on this day to join us as meet each other, talk about whatever is on our mind and ideate how we can work more closely together with all of you. If you would like to join, feel free to fill in this form: . From time to time Mick will go through the list and send invitations before the event. Hope to speak to you soon! ⚡️
Check it Out

Systems and Futures: Mindset, Methods, and Making // Speculative Futures Austin // Friday, June 25th, 12pm - 2pm EDT // Free
'Systems' and 'Futures' are interrelated and inextricable. J. Paul Neely, Kalyani Tupkary, and Sophia Kecir Camper will be joining us to share work they're actively engaged in at the confluence of Systems and Futures. For the purposes of our event Systems encompasses 'Systems' Thinking, Systemic Design, and Systems-oriented Design. 'Futures' encompasses Futures Literacy, Design-Futures, Strategic Foresight, and Futures Studies. We will explore and discuss Systems and Futures as a mindset, an approach to how you inhabit the world, and how you design products, services, systemic interventions, and alternative future scenarios that will or can manifest in the worlds you inhabit.
Check It Out

Speculative News & Resources 📰

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

Drawing Out the Truth: Using Creative Response Surveys in Participatory Foresight to Drive Conversations about Change // Journal of Future Studies
Creative Response Surveying as part of foresight activity can address barriers such as fear, resistance, lack of diversity, and groupthink that naturally occur during conversations about new ideas and change. Using the participatory drawing tool, Piccles, the authors found a novel way for adults, children, artists and non-artists, to express themselves through drawing, where individual pictures work together with others to reveal larger patterns. This method has been shown to yield unique qualitative data that uncovers truths that previously went unspoken and could be a useful activity for foresight processes like Causal Layered Analysis...
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'This is not science fiction,' say scientists pushing for 'neuro-rights' // Reuters
Scientific advances from deep brain stimulation to wearable scanners are making manipulation of the human mind increasingly possible, creating a need for laws and protections to regulate use of the new tools, top neurologists said on Thursday. A set of “neuro-rights” should be added to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations, said Rafael Yuste, a neuroscience professor at New York’s Columbia University and organizer of the Morningside Group of scientists and ethicists proposing such standards. Five rights would guard the brain against abuse from new technologies - rights to identity, free will and mental privacy along with the right of equal access to brain augmentation advances and protection from algorithmic bias, the group says...
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Anti-vaxxers are weaponizing Yelp to punish bars that require vaccine proof // MIT Tech Review
Spamming review portals with negative ratings is not a new phenomenon. Throughout the pandemic, the tactic has also been deployed to attack bars and restaurants that enforced mask-wearing for safety. As pandemic restrictions have lifted, businesses like Mother’s Ruin have sought to ensure that safety by requiring proof of vaccination using state-sponsored apps like New York’s Excelsior Pass, vaccine passports, or simply flashing vaccine cards at the door — practices that have instigated a second surge of spam reviews...
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As countries run out of cemeteries, Japan has a thoughtful new way to bury the dead // FastCompany
As the global population continues to grow, space for putting the dead to rest is at a premium. In the U.S., some of the biggest cities are already short on burial land, and so are many other nations around the world. At the same time, many nations are transforming funerary rituals, changing the way cemeteries operate and even destroying historic cemeteries to reclaim land for the living.  Since 1999, the Shōunji Temple in northern Japan has attempted to offer a more innovative solution to this crisis through Jumokusō, or “tree burials.” In these burials, families place cremated remains in the ground and a tree is planted over the ashes to mark the gravesite...
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Corporations Want to Put Advertisements in your Dreams // Futurism
Scientists have a stark warning for us: Companies want to target your dreams with advertisements — and they’re already doing it.  40 sleep researchers have signed an open letter calling on legislators to regulate “targeted dream incubation (TDI),” according to Science Magazine. In it, warned that large corporations such as Coors’ and Burger King were actively attempting to engineer the dreams of potential customers.   “TDI-advertising is not some fun gimmick, but a slippery slope with real consequences,” the researchers wrote in their letter. “Planting dreams in people’s minds for the purpose of selling products, not to mention addictive substances, raises important ethical questions.”...
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How to protect species and save the planet—at the same time // ArsTechnica
Humanity is struggling to contain two compounding crises: skyrocketing global temperatures and plummeting biodiversity. But people tend to tackle each problem on its own, for instance by deploying green energies and carbon-eating machines while roping off ecosystems to preserve them. But in a new report, 50 scientists from around the world argue that treating each crisis in isolation means missing out on two-fer solutions that resolve both. Humanity can't solve one without also solving the other. The report is the product of a four-day virtual workshop attended by researchers of all stripes and is a collaboration between the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In light of the Paris Agreement, it’s meant to provide guidance on how campaigns that address biodiversity might also address climate change, and vice versa...
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The future of persuasive algorithms // Futurist
After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which revealed the use of data mining and micro-targeting to make people vulnerable to political manipulation, much of the attention around algorithms was directed at political propaganda and disinformation. Many algorithmically caused filter bubbles do in fact show that we are diverging politically, being swayed by influencers with rather polarized political leanings. It turns out, however, that this is a rather elite phenomenon. On most issues in most instances people attain fairly moderate opinions when they are not persuaded by influential elites. So while algorithms will try to sway the cluster means of each filter bubble to a perpetually more extreme position, most of the targeted individuals will default to a more moderate position...
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Scientists Used CRISPR to Engineer a New ‘Superbug’ That’s Invincible to All Viruses // SingularityHub
Can we reprogram existing life at will? To synthetic biologists, the answer is yes. The central code for biology is simple. DNA letters, in groups of three, are translated into amino acids—Lego blocks that make proteins. Proteins build our bodies, regulate our metabolism, and allow us to function as living beings. Designing custom proteins often means you can redesign small aspects of life—for example, getting a bacteria to pump out life-saving drugs like insulin...
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Endless scrolling through social media can literally make you sick // NatGeo
The pandemic has forced most of us online at incomparable rates. It’s where we’ve worked, taken classes, attended parties, and gotten lost in 2020’s voracious news cycles. But our bodies were not designed to primarily exist in virtual space like this, and as our collective digital time creeps upward, something called cybersickness seems to be leaking into the general population. Characterized by dizziness and nausea, cybersickness has mostly been studied in the context of aggressively submersive niche technologies, such as virtual reality headsets. In 2011, 30 to 80 percent of virtual reality users were likely to experience cybersickness, though improved headset hardware brought the range down to 25 to 60 percent by 2016...
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Facebook's Smartwatch Will Eventually Include CTRL-Labs Tech for Smartglasses Control, Report Says // Next Reality
If you were to summarize the path Snap has taken towards augmented reality smart glasses with a meme template, how it started would be the first-generation Spectacles camera glasses, and how it's going would be the next-generation Spectacles with AR capabilities. However, it appears Facebook will start its consumer-grade smartglasses journey at the wrist. Facebook has been quite open about its plans for smart glasses. Those plans include CTRL-Labs, a brain control interface (BCI) startup funded by Google and Amazon that Facebook acquired in 2019. The technology from CTRL-Labs intercepts nerve signals at the wrist to interpret user intent, which can assist in the accuracy and speed of hand gesture interpretation for AR interfaces...
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SketchAR lets artists turn their work into NFTs // VentureBeat
NFTs have exploded in other applications such as art, sports collectibles, and music. NBA Top Shot (a digital take on collectible basketball cards) is one example. SketchAR aims to boost the creator economy by helping people produce and monetize their art. The app provides a design suite with features like AR-enabled drawing, AI that turns photos into illustrations, a public community feed, and digital courses for learning. Now when an artist is selected as a Creator of the Week by the community, their latest artwork is automatically turned into an NFT placed on the OpenSea marketplace. In the near future, SketchAR will enable any artist to create and auction an NFT on-demand. The artwork has to be created directly in the SketchAR app, which proves that the author is a legitimate rights holder.
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Engineers at MIT Have Created Actual Programmable Fibers // Interesting Engineering
Engineers at MIT have recently announced that they have successfully developed a programmable fiber. This innovation can be used, according to its developers, to store memory, temperature sensors, and be integrated into a trained neural network to reveal some never-before-known information on the human body. Featured in Nature Communications, this new research could result in the development of wearable tech that could sense, store, analyze, and infer the activity(s) of its wearers in real-time. The senior author of the study, Yeol Fink, believes that digital fibers like those developed in this study could help expand the possibilities for fabrics to "uncover the context of hidden patterns in the human body that could be used for physical performance monitoring, medical inference, and early disease detection."...
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These creepy fake humans herald a new age in AI // MIT Tech Review
You can see the faint stubble coming in on his upper lip, the wrinkles on his forehead, the blemishes on his skin. He isn’t a real person, but he’s meant to mimic one—as are the hundreds of thousands of others made by Datagen, a company that sells fake, simulated humans. These humans are not gaming avatars or animated characters for movies. They are synthetic data designed to feed the growing appetite of deep-learning algorithms. Firms like Datagen offer a compelling alternative to the expensive and time-consuming process of gathering real-world data. They will make it for you: how you want it, when you want—and relatively cheaply...
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No Chips, No Tips: How the Computer Chip Shortage Threatens Thousands of Restaurant Service Jobs // The Washington Post
A lack of chips, computer not tortilla, is wreaking havoc on the already beleaguered restaurant and bar industry, the latest victim of a pandemic-induced worldwide shortage that has disrupted the manufacturing of smartphones, cars, and more. Computer chips are used in the systems that restaurants rely on to record customer meal orders and relay them to the kitchen. The chip shortage is creating headaches for existing restaurants and big barriers to entry for new restaurants. Called "point of sale" or POS machines, these systems connect servers' handheld ordering devices to terminals and printers in the kitchen and dining room. At a moment when just about every restaurant in the country is short-staffed, not having enough handheld machines or terminals adds another layer of problems...
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These 1,000 hexagons show how global wealth is distributed // BigThink
If you want to rank the regions and countries of the world, area and population are but crude predictors of their importance. A better yardstick is GDP, or gross domestic product, defined as the economic value produced in a given region or country over a year. And these two maps are possibly the best instruments to show who's hot and who's not, economically speaking. They are in fact cartograms, meaning they abandon geographic accuracy in order to represent the values of another dataset, in this case GDP: the larger a region or country is shown relative to its actual size, the greater its GDP, and vice versa...
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Researchers create self-sustaining, intelligent, electronic microsystems from green material // PhysOrg
A research team from the University of Massachusetts Amherst has created an electronic microsystem that can intelligently respond to information inputs without any external energy input, much like a self-autonomous living organism. The microsystem is constructed from a novel type of electronics that can process ultralow electronic signals and incorporates a device that can generate electricity "out of thin air" from the ambient environment...
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Google Hopes AI Can Turn Search Into a Conversation // Wired
In an onstage demo, Sundar Pichai demonstrated what it’s like to converse with a paper airplane and the celestial body Pluto. For each query, LaMDA responded with three or four sentences meant to resemble a natural conversation between two people. Over time, Pichai said, LaMDA could be incorporated into Google products including Assistant, Workspace, and most crucially, search. “We believe LaMDA’s natural conversation capabilities have the potential to make information and computing radically more accessible and easier to use,” Pichai said...
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The Future of Gender Norms: Generating New Narratives of Transformational Change // IFTF Equitable Futures Lab
If you had six words to describe your vision of the future of gender, what would they be?
This question was the opening assignment for two dozen social inventors and thought leaders
when they convened on March 20, 2019, for a Foresight-Insight-Action workshop. Institute for the
Future (IFTF) designed the workshop as part of Blue Shield of California’s leadership program in
gender justice through the launch of the California Gender Justice Funders Network and Culture
Change Fund, the nation’s first gender justice fund...
Read More

Our algorithmic universe: Why we’re bored, lonely, cartoonish and drifting light-years apart // Futurist
Do you feel like your digital life has been eclipsed by your own preferences? That you keep going in circles with the same people, same kinds of movie recommendations, same ads and same controversies? Or vice versa, does it seem like your old friends have been swooped up by aliens and transferred to an alternative reality? This could be because these platforms have been designed with the belief that personalizing everything is the best way to reel you in for as long as possible. Movies like The Social Dilemma and The Great Hack portray a chilling reality where the slot machines in our pockets predict our weaknesses and addictions so our attention can be sold to the highest bidder. Where the algorithms lead us into digital booby traps of misinformation and distorted ideas about reality in the pursuit of profit...
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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

Circa & Dazed's Class of 2021 // Deadline 6/23
As part of Circa and Dazed’s Class of 2021, 30 artists will get free studio access, have their work displayed on the iconic London screen, and one finalist will be selected by a special guest judge to win £30k. As we tiptoe (see: stumble) into life post-rona, the creative industries are facing a period of reckoning. Will the arts continue to operate within the musty hierarchies of yesteryear, or will fresh paths be forged, taking heed of all the valuable lessons from the past 12 months? With this in mind, digital arts platforms Circa and Dazed are launching Class of 2021. This brand new initiative invites budding video artists from all over the world to submit a two-and-a-half-minute short film in response to the theme ‘Communion’, as set by interdisciplinary artist Angel Rose, and judged by a surprise special guest...
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New Jobs at IFTF
Jake Dunagan was kind enough to share some of these awesome positions with the SF slack, so passing them on here! IFTF is hiring for a Sales & Data Administrator, Research Director: Equitable Futures Lab, Directory of Philanthropy & Foresight, and Senior Administrative Coordinator. You can for more info on their website!
Check Out Jobs

Cool Projects

The Impossible Briefs // Studio Aaviz
The Impossible Briefs are a series of made-up briefs purely for the fun of it. Creatives, in general, are constrained by strict guidelines from clients, boring executives, or any other social misfortune. We noticed the need for a place where creation has no boundaries and where design has the power to make the impossible become possible.
Check It Out

Academics for Black Survival and Wellness
Academics for Black Survival and Wellness (A4BL) is a personal and professional development initiative for Non-Black academics to honor the toll of racial trauma on Black people, resist anti-Blackness and white supremacy, and facilitate accountability and collective action. A4BL also is a space for healing and wellness for Black people. A4BL was launched in the Summer of 2020 on Juneteenth in response to the countless murders of Black people at the hands of white supremacy. The initiative began as a week-long initiative and call to action for academics to support and be accountable to Black liberation. With over 10,000 participants from across the world, the initiative provided Non-Black participants with training materials to make an actionable change to address anti-Black racism in their personal lives and academia. Black participants were provided with virtual community wellness events to build their coping and resistance toolkit.
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Gaming, Shows, Books & Other Random Cool Stuff

Ultimate Guide To Dune (Part 1) The Introduction [ViDEO] // Quinn's Ideas
Spoilers on! Dune is the greatest Sci-Fi series ever written. Frank Herbert's Masterpiece spans over the course of five thousand years, contains dozens of main characters and explores the human condition in a way that no novels before have. Join me as I cover all 6 books in this 7-part series!
Check Out the Video Series

Raiders of the Lost Ark turns 40 and it’s still an unqualified masterpiece // ArsTechnica
George Lucas had wanted to make an homage to the serial adventure films of his youth since 1973, and came up with the idea of a globe-trotting adventurous archaeologist named Indiana Smith. (Indiana was the name of Lucas' Alaskan Malamute, which became a throwaway quip at the end of 1989's Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: "We named the dog Indiana!") He got distracted by other films, including Star Wars, released in 1977. That same year, Lucas was vacationing in Hawaii with Spielberg, and pitched his Indiana Smith idea. Spielberg convinced him to change the last name to Jones, and eventually came on board as director...
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Replaced is a new, sci-fi platformer where you play as an AI // Polygon
Replaced is a new platformer from Sad Cat Studios and Coatsink coming to Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Windows PC. Xbox announced the game during its E3 2021 livestream, and revealed that Game Pass players can play for free on launch day. The trailer page description describes Replaced as a “sci-fi, retro-futuristic action platformer.” In Replaced, players control R.E.A.C.H., an artificial intelligence that finds itself trapped inside a human body. Players will need to discover the secrets of Phoenix-City, a dilapidated future city set in an alternative version of the 1980s...
Check It Out

Microsoft Is Making An Xbox Mini Fridge Because Capitalism // Kotaku
In Microsoft’s defense, the gorgeously coiffed (did you see that Black woman’s hair! Finally!) Redfall was probably the announcement it intended to whet our appetites with but still, Microsoft’s parting E3 gift wasn’t Halo Infinite’s release date but a dang fridge. The mini fridge is shaped like an Xbox Series X—so a black rectangular box, like most fridges. According to the teaser, the fridge features “Xbox velocity cooling architecture,” suggesting there might actually be console tech keeping your Monster Energy drinks cool...
Check It Out

What I'm Reading

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

Winds of Change
Mercedes Lackey

Post-pandemic life has thrust us into the 6th stage of grief: the search for meaning
Ruth Reader

Neuroscientists Have Discovered a Phenomenon That They Can’t Explain
Ed Yong

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