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SciFly NYC // 133 // Remote Speculations Week 16

Speculative Events, News & Resources | Sent 6/28

Hey SciFly Readers!

This week, I want to wrap up some of the wonderful news and events from PRIMER2020 so you have a one-stop shop to get connected with all the great people, content, and ongoing events!

First of all, what an AMAZING conference! As co-organizer for PRIMER19, I really do know exactly how hard it is to put on a conference, and can't even imagine how hard it was for our awesome Speculative Futures Atlanta team to so quickly pivot too virtual after COVID19 made an in person conference possible.

The blend of speakers, workshops, exhibition spaces, online social spaces, collaboration across several digital platforms made the conference, though virtual, seem super intimate, and I had the wonderful opportunity to get connected with several awesome people from across the world.

Don't believe me? The PRIMER2020 team even got a wonderful write-up in Core77 talking about how exactly they went about taking the event online and how much hard work they did You can check it out here.

Congrats again to the fabulous PRIMER2020 Team & Speculative Futures Atlanta!!!

Okay, now let's chat about where you can find all the cool stuff from PRIMER2020!

Where Can I Find PRIMER2020 Talks & Content?

Talks & Presentations
Well... As you can imagine, not EVERY talk is live yet. We still have lot's of work to do behind the scenes to edit everything for length, quality, and get it uploaded.

BUT, several of the talks, especially any that were missed or had technical difficulties were recorded, and are available on the Design Futures Initiative Vimeo.

There were also several workshop presenters who shared their findings, materials, and resources with the community. While these aren't all in one place, you can check out the PRIMER and Speculative Futures Twitter accounts, where we tried really really hard to repost everything shared about the conference. 

Conference MIRO Boards
If you made it to the conference, you will also remember that every day had a super cool MIRO board where the talks were outlined, prompts given, and awesome collaboration took place between attendees. They are still all up and live right now, though I believe we will try to download them and save as PDFs eventually. For now, check them all out here! PRIMER Video Podcast
Before the conference, we recorded an awesome podcast with several speakers and created a Video Podcast series where they chat about their talks, workshops, and discuss the theme of #ActivatingFutures.. There are some AMAZING talks in here, and you should totally check them all out! 
Watch them all here.

Emerging Designer Exhibition Winners

Each year, we host an emerging designer exhibition to showcase the work of students and recent graduates working on speculative projects. I was lucky enough to be one of this years initial judges, helping to select the finalists who would display work at the conference. Big thanks to my fellow judges, was such a pleasure to get to know you all and work together. Shout out to Khalida Allen, Shihan Zhang, and Christine Meinders!!!

This year, we had 10 amazing finalists which were shown off in a Mozilla Hubs Virtual Reality Gallery during the conference, which attendees could (and still can) view.
You can check out the VR exhibition here.

Attendees were asked to check out the finalists, and vote for their favorite over the course of the contest.

Just wanted to quickly shout-out the winning projects, and props to some major Parsons representation! (so you know, all my judging was done 100% blind, so made it more exciting when I saw the winners!

🥇First Place & People's Choice Award
Crisis of Imagination
by Vaidehi Supatka, Raissa Xie, Darcy Keestar, Mohhamad Sial
Parsons School of Design | MFATransdisciplinary Design

Our framing dooms our climate efforts. We instinctively see the crisis as an external problem and call for new materials and methods to imagine how we can shape the world around our lives. Still, we can hardly imagine different ways of living. This project presents problem framing as an essential piece of the solution by exploring how entangled societal factors—politics, economics, culture, etc.—which typically present barriers to change can become the material for experimentation and innovation. We decide to look internally at our values by building a world out of a series of signals that demonstrate how the hierarchy of values has shifted across the nation. A 2031 broadcast from the Global News Network carries the viewer through the journey of two nation-states that have emerged from a tumultuous upheaval of American politics due to the rapid escalation of climate issues paving the way for a “bioborg” in Hawaii named LAKA and “artifactual intelligence” in San Francisco named SAM to make local, administrative decisions based on those values and with a post-post truth era definition of objectivity. 
Check It Out

🥈Second Place 
Unstable Label: Designing Contested Spaces in Machine Learning
by Adit Dhanushkodi
ArtCenter College of Design, 2020

The process of machine learning is a project of world-building facilitated by the labeling of data. Once created, these fictional worlds are deployed to make predictions about our current experiences, posing these computationally generated models as universal equivalents to our situated, locally specific experiences and knowledge.  Unstable Label is a speculative and participatory civic data labeling application that proposes an alternative approach to building datasets for machine learning: rather than treating the data labels as a fixed set of categories, what if label categories were continually re-labeled, re-contextualized, and re-imagined based on each contributors' own experiences?  What would it look like to use machine learning as a space to contest meaning rather than simply as an operational tool for efficiency and optimization?   Unstable Label enables local communities to collectively build an object detection algorithm as a process of negotiating meaning, helping to facilitate conversations of how we each see and imagine the world around us differently. It argues for an approach to machine learning that embraces and designs around situated data rather than striving for the impossibility of objective data.  
Check It Out

🥉Third Place 
A Post-Work Renter's Paradise
June Lee
Parsons School of Design | MFA, Design & Technology

In A Post-Work Renter’s Paradise productivity is for robots; children belong to themselves; to work is to reproduce; and everyone is a surrogate. In this post-capitalist world, productive labor has been automated, and the work left for humans to perform is solely reproductive. The social sphere is a stage for leisure and reproduction. Human labor is no longer about productivity, but about maintaining the social and physical infrastructures that have stalled with the dissolution of capitalism. Inspired by non-biological forms of kinship, the family as we know it is extinct, and everyone is a substitute for each other. This fictional world is presented in the form of an audio-visual essay which narrates a time before and after full automation. At its core, this project is a critique of the asymmetrical relationship between ‘productive’, and ‘reproductive’ labor. Despite the necessity of this type of work for the survival of the human race, reproductive labor is often unpaid and under-valued. To me, a simple and provocative way of making this work visible to an audience – and promoting the fact that it is work – is to present a new form of social existence that is born with the full automation of productive labor. 
Check It Out

An Exciting New Partnership & Upcoming Speculative Futures Program!

I have been helping to work on a super super exciting project that I haven't been able to talk about until now, but we FINALLY announced it at PRIMER2020, so now I can spill the beans.

Over the last couple of months, we have been working on an exciting partnership between The Design Futures Initiative and The Futures School, to co-create a new 2-day interactive and hands-on Speculative Futures course which will immerse participants in the mindsets and practice of Design Futures (Speculative Design, Design Fiction, future artifacts, etc.)

We are working hard on putting together an amazing curriculum right now, and will launch the program in beta by the end of 2020. The class will officially be part of The Future School's growing and super cool learning ecosystem, a series of amazing classes exploring speculation and foresight from different angles and practices. 

If you want to learn more information, feel free to get in touch with me on Slack (preferred), or on one of my other various social media accounts!!

Beyond PRIMER2020

If you made it to PRIMER2020 and want to connect more with the community, or if didn't make it to PRIMER2020 and want to meet all the people who did go, here are a couple of ways to get connected.

Speculative Futures Slack
As always, the Speculative Futures Slack is the place to be. We got lot's of brand new members during PRIMER2020, so there is even more great conversations and activity happening right now. You can join the workspace here.

Speculative Futures Calendar
A couple of awesome attendees from the conference decided that it would be great to create a shared calendar of Speculative events. It is still super new, so not sure how much is on here yet, but looks like it will be a great place to find stuff in the future!
Find the calendar here.

Speculative Futures Monthly Global Forums
Every month, the Speculative Futures international community is invited to come together during two Global Forums, each held 12 hours apart from the other, to give equal access to people and chapters spread across the globe. At these forums, chapters can share cool events and projects, get to meet other people from the community, hear updates about new programs and opportunities from the Design Futures Initiative (DFI), and chat about speculative projects, prompts, and news.
Check the DFI's Event Page for upcoming dates.

That's it folx!

Hope you have a chance to check out all the awesome stuff out of PRIMER2020, and if you need some excitement, check out this quick announcement we put out about PRIMER2021!
I hope you are all doing well, wherever you are!

Don't forget you 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.

News, Resources, Events, Fun Things to Keep You Occupied

Online Events

Running list of online events that I will update weekly. These won't all be taking place this week, but I'll add things as I find them so you have some time to plan!

Monday, June 29th

Draping Interfaces: a Live Zoom Performance // The Digital Anthropology Lab // Mon Jun 29, 7AM - 8AM EDT // Free

The Digital Anthropology Lab announces the first live performance of Draping Interfaces, a utopian fiction online Zoom performance in collaboration with London College of Fashion Collaborative Unit MA students. Please join us online for this three-act play inspired by the utopian novel, "Woman on the Edge of Time", a novel often hailed as the utopian companion to "A Handmaid's Tale". The performance promises creative digital set and costume design with drape, filters, video backgrounds, sound and audience participation.
Learn More

HIV/AIDS: Activism & Posters // Mon Jun 29, 5:30PM - 7:30PM EDT // Free
A talk on the history of posters in HIV/AIDS activism. No other crisis in modern American history has had the same visual impact as that of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the myriad posters that were created in its wake. Raw, brutal, harrowing, and direct, these images were a call to action to a society that was ignoring the deaths of countless queer people. Poster House is proud to offer a talk between Avram Finkelstein, one of the creators of the iconic Silence=Death poster, and the AIDS historian Ian Bradley-Perrin.
Learn More

Cineville At Wonderville Presents: The Lost Arcade // Mon Jun 29, 9PM - 12AM // Free
Time for another installment of Cineville at Wonderville, aka the monthly film series that's not happening in the middle of a bar/arcade/event space, cuz of you know what, but that's what Twitch is for. And June of 2020's selection is... The Lost Arcade.
Some of the best video game documentaries you’ll find are less about the games themselves and more about the games who play them, those who are affected by them. Yet The Lost Arcade truly stands out by not only depicting an intimate portrait of New York’s fighting game scene, and detailing the complicated relationship that the Big Apple has with public spaces dedicated to gaming in general, but by doing so in an unapologetically objective manner.
Learn More

Alexa, Siri & Google | Let's Have a Conversation // Mon Jun 29, 8PM - 9PM EDT // Free
The future is increasingly becoming "AI First" and a key part of that vision is the ability to engage in natural language conversations with machines around you whether at home, or on the go. Industry trends indicate that conversational UI/UX will fundamentally alter the way users interact and engage with brands, and will likely become the preferred interaction paradigm for connecting consumers to contextually-relevant services and experiences. Learning to design and develop experiences for signature platforms will be a critical skill for next-generation application developers.
Learn More

Future Learning Unit - Fablab Barcelona Presentation - Fabschools // Mon Jun 29, 12PM - 1:30PM EDT // Free
FLU is inviting designers, makers, and educators to present projects at any phase of its development: From tested solutions to well-presented concepts. The challenge is to bring the virtues and values of Distributed Design into helping educators and other educational agents to adapt to these new contexts and scenarios in a usable and engaging way. The proposal should also address the model of fabrication and distribution.The FLU Research Group at Fablab Barcelona will be presenting their projects. 
Learn More

Ethical Transhumanism // Future Blackboard // Mon Jun 29, 4:30AM - 6:30AM EDT // Free
Transhumanism is a way of thinking about the future that is based on the premise that the human species in its current form does not represent the end of our development but rather a comparatively early phase. It is hard to say where the human form will be in 5, 10, or even 100 years but it is certain that as technology advances it will slowly be integrated into human beings for the better or worse of our species. In this presentation, Dr Kerr will discuss the many considerations we must acknowledge as we move into the era of merging humans with technology.
Learn More

Tuesday, June 30th

DON'T FCK PEOPLE WITH BAD POLITICS: Design, Activism + Anti-Capitalism // Tue Jun 30, 6PM EDT // Free

Activism and politics within or alongside of design isn’t a new topic; however, there are many either waking up to a new level of awareness and/or feeling called to step into their activism in new and bigger ways. This can be a confusing and difficult process, as dismantling toxic systems involves holding an anti-capitalistic mindset while functioning in a capitalistic industry. The only guarantee is that the journey is a personal and imperfect one. Please join us for a virtual talk with Jillian Adel as she shares her story of becoming politically-charged within and outside of design. From feminism to sex positivity to pro sex work issues, Jillian will share her experience of what it has looked like to function as a radical within a conservative industry.
Learn More

Machines + Media | Episode #1: AI & Emerging Trends in Media Technology // NYC Media Lab & Bloomberg // Tue Jun 30, 11AM EDT // Free
The hype around AI in newsrooms and production studios has been a hot topic for many years, with the long-discussed technology promising to change the way media is produced, distributed, consumed, and monetized. Are these applications actually helping or hindering journalists as they cope with an unprecedented scale of information, all while their normal practices are disrupted by working remotely? Machines + Media will stream a new event each in July!
Learn More

The Future of Retail // PSFK x RIW // Tue Jun 30 - Thu Jul 2 // Free
This three day festival is full of ideas and insight that help the retail community get back to work in a more inclusive way. Topics of talks include Direct to Consumer, eCommerce and Store Experience Design.
Learn More

The New Social Environment #75: Torkwase Dyson // The Brooklyn Rail // Tue Jun 30, 1PM - 2PM EDT // Free
Painter and sculptor Torkwase Dyson will discuss their body of work with art historian, Dr. Robert Shane. We will conclude with a poetry reading from Gabriel Palacios. Torkwase Dyson is a painter whose compositions address the continuity of movement, climate change, infrastructure, and architecture. For Dyson these subjects in relationship to each other produce abstractions that explore the history and future of black spatial liberation strategies and environmental racism.
Learn More

Fake Graphics for Real Movies: Graphic Design in Animated Film // Tue Jun 30, 3PM - 4PM // Free
In animated movies, hundreds, sometimes thousands, of pieces of illustrative and typographic design are generated to create a believable and rich world. The graphic designers’ main role is to support and advance the storytelling, while adding beauty, humor, texture, and a sense of time and place. Collectively, designers Laura Meyer, Paul Conrad, and Craig Foster have contributed to just about every Pixar feature film, short, and ancillary project. In this talk, they’ll share design work, discuss their process, and show what it takes to bring a film world to life through graphics.
Learn More

Futures Literacy Series | Applying Speculative Futures in Business // Tue Jun 30, 3PM EDT // Free
Speculative futures, foresight, scenario design, and other futures thinking methodologies seem to be set far into the future. They appear difficult to apply in business contexts that focus primarily on short- and mid-term time horizons. In this talk, Jörgen will demonstrate how they apply futures thinking for clients, offer his view on how to bridge the gap between the far future and what businesses can activate today, and will guide us through a participatory exercise.
Learn More

Another World is Possible: Bluestockings and Survived & Punished Party // Tue Jun 30, 7PM EDT // $5 Donation
Join Bluestockings and Survived & Punished as we honor the radical legacy of Pride Month as an uprising against state-sanctioned violence led by Black and brown trans women, sex workers, and people outside of the confines of the Western gender binary. To celebrate Bluestockings' 21st birthday, we've partnered with the New York formation of the national grassroots prison abolitionist organization Survived and Punished to bring you a lineup full of amazing speakers over Zoom, in hopes that we can raise money to help continue funding survivor-informed, abolitionist feminist-led organizing and to help keep Bluestockings' doors open to serve the queer and trans communities that have made us who we are for over 21 years.
Learn More

Ear to Ear: Collective Transmission // Pioneer Works // Tue Jun 30, 6:30PM EDT // Free

Join Other Desert Radio founders Caroline Partamian and Ethan Primason to examine, explore, and converse about community, transmission, and distance. This workshop will dive into the history of transmission-based projects to glean how the medium is rife for community building and experimental communication. Using these examples as a guide, participants are invited to intentionally interact with their space to engage deeper with an invisible and anonymous audience who will be transported by their work.
Learn More

Reconstruct The Internet ● Digital Adaptation // Tue Jun 30 - Jul 23 (various days) 9AM - 10:30AM EDT // Donation
Reconstruct The Internet is an exploration of our emotional needs in the digital age and a space to speculate alternative internet ecosystems. This interactive workshop sees participants reimagine the internet ecosystem outside the digital economy and instead focus on the emotional needs the internet help us meet ⁠— both individually and collectively. Digitally adapted for our community to participate during the COVID-19 pandemic. no design skills necessary, but you must have access to the Google suite.
Learn More

Future Cities | Part 1 // Turning Point School of Art // Tue Jun 30, 9PM - 10PM EDT // Free
This week, Turning Point School of Art looks at the topic of Future Cities with Jai Chuhan, Asten Holmes-Elliott and Sarah Perks.
Learn More

Wednesday, July 1st

Post Primer Sync | Speculative Futures St. Louis // Wed, Jul 1, 6PM - 7:30PM EDT // Free

Join us for an engaging conversation and Primer recap.
Learn More

Speculating Futures Writing Workshop with Tara Betts // Wed Jul 1, 7PM - 8PM EDT // Free
Join the Human Rights Lab for the second event in our two-part series, “Prison, Poetry, and the Pandemic: Speculating Joy and Futures,” with poet and editor Tara Betts. This virtual workshop will ask participants to imagine the freedom we want in the world, through close readings of poems and writing activities. Tara Betts is the author of two poetry collections, Break the Habit, Arc & Hue, and the forthcoming Refuse to Disappear. Her sci-fi-related writing has appeared in Cicada, Near Kin: A Collection of Words and Art Inspired by Octavia Estelle Butler, Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements, and the Hugo-nominated Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia Butler. 
Learn More

Alchemy of the Reset with Carlton Turner // YBCA // Wed Jul 1, 3PM - 4PM EDT // Free
Founder of the Mississippi Center for Cultural Production, Carlton Turner joins YBCA Chief of Program Meklit Hadero alongside YBCA Senior Fellows Brett Cook and Liz Lerman for Alchemy of the Reset, a conversation series about reimagining what is possible for our future. Culture, politics, and policy are transforming in real time. In the wake of ongoing racist police violence and the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and countless others, and while we continue to face the COVID-19 crisis, our society is igniting the potential to leap forward. How can you engage in the reset? How can you support a radical reimagination of what is possible? How can you push against old structures and work to rebuild?
Learn More

The Future Must Be Different From The Past | Embracing an Antiracist Agenda // IIT Institute of Design // Wed Jul 1, 7PM - 8:30PM EDT // Free
In ID's The Future Has to Be Different series, we share emerging design practices and frameworks that contribute to building intelligent, responsible, and cooperative futures that focus on solutions that are inclusive, just, and sustainable. As ID continues our strong commitment to championing equitable and fair infrastructures, we understand there is a lot of work to be done. Embracing an anti-racist agenda is the first step towards this future.
Learn More

Design: A Tool for Social Change. Learning from Spaces for Children // Wed Jul 1, 12PM - 1:30PM EDT // Free
In this masterclass, award-winning designer Sarit Shani Hay will be discussing the intricacies behind designing creative spaces for kids in an era of rapid changes. How do we create an inspiring environment for our children? What happens when design meets pedagogy and how can we use design as a tool for social change? All these questions and more will be covered using her latest award-winning projects and lessons learned throughout.  
Learn More

Ferment TV | 05. Must We Revolutionize Nothing? // Wed July 1, 1PM - 2PM EDT // Free
Dr Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg is an artist working across nature, science and technology, investigating the human impulse to “better” the world. Dr Drew Endy is a synthetic biologist and Professor of bioengineering at Stanford University, president of the BioBricks Foundation, and co-founder of iGEM. Moderated by Christina Agapakis, they will explore the potential for more-than-human flourishing and how to challenge the structural limitations to the futures we want.
Learn More

Resourceful Objects: Imagining objects built from materials in space // GID // Wed Jul 1, 9PM - 12PM EDT // Free
Join a conversation about space resources where we will imagine objects from possible futures. How will we use resources differently in space? What will resources mean to us in the future? We will join in active small groups discussions to explore these questions and build our own speculative propositions.
Learn More

Future Foods for a Sustainable Planet // Wed Jul 1, 9PM - 10PM EDT // Free
Our food supply chain from farm to fork contributes to the environmental footprint of our planet, thus tackling its reduction has become a big challenge for the food industry. How to feed a growing population by 2050 sustainably and efficiently is a challenge and an opportunity at the same time. By combining knowledge of academia and industry the sustainable future of food can be secured. The QAAFI Student Association (QSA) invites you to attend our new seminar series, which brings together industry and academia to talk about Future Foods for a Sustainable Planet.
Learn More

Thursday, July 2nd

Brighton Immersive Meetup: VR in a World Under Lockdown // Thu Jul 2, 1PM - 3PM EDT // Free

Immersive technology can be a powerful tool for learning, socialising and entertainment, especially in a time when physical activities aren’t always possible. Join us as we look at the many ways Virtual Reality has stepped up during the lockdown and how other industries have adopted immersive tech to make positive change throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Talks from Mozilla Hubs, Mutiny Media & Platform B. Hosted in Mozilla Hubs.
Learn More

Feminist Cyborg Reading Group // Genspace NYC // Thu Jul 2, 6:30PM - 8:30PM EDT // Donation
Curious about cyborgs and feminism? Join our Cyborg Feminist Reading Group to discuss the ethical and social implications of emerging technologies with artist Kathryn Hamilton and other Genspace community members. RSVP to receive the texts we’ll discuss 48 hours before the event.
Learn more

Zwischen Workshop 8.5: Utopia Planitia // That Looks Queer // Thu Jul 2, 1PM - 2PM EDT // Free
As the mars colonisation approaches one of the preferred sites is Utopia Planitia, The planes of Nowhere. What would a queer colony look like? What art, music and culture would shape this new world? By analysing the concept of retrofuturism and exploring Oskar Schlemmer's mind bending Bauhaus Ballet, the reimaging of the Bauhaus aesthetic by the giants of electronic music Kraftwerk we shall explore the creation of this queer Utopia.
Learn More

Blockchain Gaming | State of the Industry // Thu Jul 2, 10PM - 1PM EDT // Free
Top blockchain gaming innovators to share their insights on the current state of the industry and predictions for the future. Blockchain is a game-changing technology creating new opportunities for growth in the gaming space, after the mobile boom. Properties such as true ownership of digital assets, provably fair games/distribution, play-to-earn models, interoperable economics/mass collaborations are some of the driving factors drawing organizations to utilize the technology. This event brings together some of the top blockchain innovators and industry experts to share their insights on the current state of the industry in 2020 and their views on the future.
Learn More

Friday, July 3rd

"Free Food" a Special Event with Artist Lani Trock // The Philosophical Research Society // Fri Jul 3, 3PM EDT // Free
free food is a continuous series that explores ideas of interdependence, gift economics, mutual aid, sovereignty and the de-commodification of food systems through the regeneration of backyard farming and communal sharing practices. Past offerings have included meals prepared on-site, saved seeds, homegrown herbs & produce, gleaned citrus, and sprouted seedlings. free food is part of an ongoing project, the national peace service (NPS), initiated in 2017. Through radical thought experiments made into tangible, temporary expressions, the series imagines a decentralized, post-capitalist future society. One that mirrors the effortless, symbiotic flow of nature’s zero-waste, circular systems and honors each individual as essential to the collective whole, intending to build a more just, equitable, loving and peaceful world. 
Learn More

Creative Challenge #1: SynBio Space Odyssey 2020 // After iGEM // Fri Jul 3, 9AM - 10AM EDT // Free
Imagine we’re in the future of space travel, it could be the near future or the distant future. There's a new problem that comes up. Everyone is suddenly worried about it. But, fortunately, a discovery was made, technology was already advanced enough and crisis was avoided. What we’re asking for: A creative piece, it could be poetry, writing, film, art of your own creation. Something short (very short) and casual! We’re going to have fun with this one and work on bigger challenges next! Everyone is welcome! Especially beginners, and non-artists/writers. At the end, we’ll share our pieces with each other, and vote on our favourite.
Learn More

Coming up!

Ensuring Humanity's Survival w/ Lord Martin Rees // Futures Podcast // Wed Jul 8, 2PM - 3:30PM EDT // Free
Humanity has reached a critical juncture. During the next century we are likely to face a number of existential threats from cyberattacks, biotechnology, artificial intelligence and climate change. Surviving these scenarios will depend on our collective ability to adapt to new ideas and plan accordingly for tomorrow. Current methods are hampered by short-term thinking, polarising debates, alarmist rhetoric, and pessimism. For us to successfully leverage science to solve our greatest problems - while avoiding the dystopian risks - we must learn to think rationally, globally and optimistically about the future.
Learn More

Ongoing Events

🔥Z-TOPIA // Design Futures Initiative // Weekends (Fri - Sun) // Free
A webinar-format talk show where designers are invited to muse, speculate and poke at topics they’ve found on the internet. It’s an hour of asking questions and coming up with serious and silly ideas.  The event will be open for anyone to join as a spectator only. Bring a drink and relax. It will be recorded and posted to our Vimeo page and live-streamed to Facebook. 

Check out the full schedule on the Design Futures Initiative website.

Friday, July 3 - Season Finale with Kristin Neidlinger - Sensoree, Vu Nguyen - Sr Designer at Slalom & Jose De La O - DelaO Studio

The New Normal Virtual Series // AI LA // Thursdays, 5/7 - 9/3 // Free
The AI LA Community's new virtual series The New Normal invites experts from around the world to share their perspective of the future. Each episode begins with a short talk by an esteemed guest speaker and transitions into 20 minutes of audience participation in Zoom breakout rooms.
Learn More & See Upcoming Events

Technologies of the Future (Weekly LIVE Webinar and Q & A) // SingularityU Australia // Thursdays, 7pm EST (9am Friday in Australia) // Free
Weekly live webinar of 30 minutes with 20 minutes Q&A The SingularityU community's predictions for the countdown to the Singularity.
Learn More

WORLD GAME NIGHT (Virtual) // Wednesdays, 5pm - 7pm EST // Free
Playcrafting is hosting a weekly Global Game Night series every Wednesday to demo and spotlight games and creators from around the world! Games have the power to transcend boundaries and connect people across the globe no matter who they are or where they're from. Tune in from the comfort of your computer as we take you on a world tour of games. Each week, you'll meet a lineup of game developers from a different place as they show you their latest and greatest. We'll have time for Q&A each week and will feature some surprises along the way!

We're headed to Stumptown to showcase games and creators from Portland. Let's get weird!
Learn More

🔥Wonderville Livestream Events
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak in NYC, Wonderville is closed until further notice. As you may know, this is probably my favorite bar in all of NYC. I highly recommend you check out their new remote content!!! A great way for people not in NYC to get a taste of just how awesome they are! They have set up a Twitch channel to try to stream some of their DJ nights and live music events. Their events page is now 100% streaming. They also have a Discord discussion if folks want to play some games online or talk to us about hosting something. Email if you want to join!

Check out Wonderville's Livestream!
Support Wonderville on WithFriends

Speculative News, Articles, Resources 

Cool news and articles about emerging technology, speculative practice, and futures design. In the past, I chose not to include anything about COVID-19 in here to give people a break, but since it has suffused every aspect of our lives, including lot's of speculative practice and emerging technology, that is kind of not working anymore. So, everything will be here now, but I'll try to put explicitly COVID related articles towards the end. 

Over 1,000 AI Experts Condemn Racist Algorithms That Claim to Predict Crime // Motherboard
Over 1,000 technologists and scholars are speaking out against algorithms that attempt to predict crime based solely on a person’s face, saying that publishing such studies reinforces pre-existing racial bias in the criminal justice system. The public letter has been signed by academics and AI experts from Harvard, MIT, Google, and Microsoft, and calls on the publishing company Springer to halt the publication of an upcoming paper. The paper describes a system that the authors claim can predict whether someone will commit a crime based solely on a picture of their face, with “80 percent accuracy” and “no racial bias"...
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Countries Agree on Regulations for Automated Driving // Communications of the ACM
The United Nations announced that 53 countries have agreed on common automated driving regulations, including Japan and all EU member states. The U.N. Economic Commission for Europe World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations adopted binding rules on Automated Lane Keeping Systems (ALKS), which come into effect next January. The rules concern Level-3 vehicle automation, in which drivers are idle when automated systems are engaged but can intervene at any time and must assume control at the system's request.
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This 22-foot long ‘problem map’ looks at the systemic failures that made COVID spread in the U.S. // FastCompany 
The U.S. now has more than two million confirmed coronavirus cases, more than any other country in the world. A new, staggeringly detailed “problem map” charts out the system failures that helped the virus spread—and helps uncover opportunities for groups of solutions that tackle multiple, interconnected problems that the virus has exposed at the same time...
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What does a cashless future mean? [Video] // The Economist
Many countries are going cashless at great speed. What are the advantages of ditching hard cash and what are the dangers?
Watch Video

4 Pros Predict the Future of Homes Post-Quarantine // Domino
There is no crystal ball that will help us predict how surviving a pandemic will impact our lives a year or even six months from now. But one thing is certain—for the foreseeable future, we’re going to be spending time and living in our homes in a way that most of us never anticipated. That presents interesting challenges for the people who design, build, furnish, decorate, and help us buy and sell our houses. From bigger, ultra-functional kitchen pantries to FaceTime real-estate walk-throughs, some of our favorite experts weigh in on what comes next...
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Ceramic Metamaterial Solar Sails Could Enable 300 Kilometers per Second // Next Big Future
Extreme metamaterial solar sails as proposed here have the potential to shift the paradigm of space exploration enabling numerous low cost and high-speed missions to be launched anytime and anywhere. Such sails could gain accelerations over 60AU/yr when coupled to low mass spacecraft and dive to extreme proximity to the sun (just 2-5 solar radii). This velocity is 20 times more than Voyager 1...
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Gerd Leonhard @ Brazil Futures Summit | Virtual Keynote - Our future with/post Corona [Video]
This is part 1 of Gerd's virtual keynote at the Brazil Futures Summit on June 19, 2020, showcasing his new virtual keynote style with immersive ‘weather-man animations’. In this, Gerd shares his thoughts on the with/post corona future and what I call the Great Transformation: BigTech, BigHealth BigState. Survive, collaborate, show solidarity, adapt, transform.
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The US Marine Corp's New Weapon Can Electrocute Targets from 100 Feet Away // Futurism
The U.S. Marine Corps is testing a brand new, less-than-lethal weapon called SPECTER (Small arms Pulsed Electronic Tetanization at Extended Range) that can electrocute the target from 100 feet away, New Scientist reports. For a comparison, a current-gen Taser has a range of about 26 feet. The projectile can be fired from any 12-gauge shotgun and is being developed by Colorado-based tech research company Harkind Dynamics, with funding from the US Department of Defense.
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These Mood-Altering Non-Alcoholic Drinks Might Change Nightlife Forever // Futurism
Have you ever wondered if your hangovers were trying to tell you something? It’s not uncommon to imagine that they’re warning you that you should stop drinking so much alcohol. But when it comes to a replacement drink that still provides some social lubrication, your options tend to be limited. But Kin’s euphoric beverages are mood-altering non-alcoholic drinks that might just be the answer. Plus, they won’t give you hangovers...
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California city bans predictive policing in U.S. first // Reuters
As officials mull steps to tackle police brutality and racism, California’s Santa Cruz has become the first U.S. city to ban predictive policing, which digital rights experts said could spark similar moves across the country. “Understanding how predictive policing and facial recognition can be disportionately biased against people of color, we officially banned the use of these technologies in the city of Santa Cruz,” Mayor Justin Cummings said on Wednesday...
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There and back again... [Video] // The Club of Rome
This week, the United Nations Office at Geneva and the World Academy of Art and Science held a virtual conference called Strategies for Transformative Global Leadership. There is an urgent need to fill the global leadership vacuum in order to address the complex, pressing challenges confronting humanity today. Leadership is needed at all levels in all fields. Leadership is a catalytic process that can accomplish what leaders cannot. The leadership needed must be inspired by universal values and visionary ideas, energized by high goals and awareness of untapped opportunities, given expression by courageous individuals, implemented by innovative organizations, and fulfilled by awakening and unleashing the aspirations of the whole society.
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Senators Propose a National Ban on Police Facial Recognition // Futurism
Two U.S. Senators are pushing for the strongest action on the police use of facial recognition to date. The proposed Facial Recognition and Biometric Technology Moratorium ,Act introduced by Senators Ed Markey and Jeff Merkley, would keep facial recognition — and other forms of biometric surveillance — out of law enforcement hands for good, CNET reports. The bill is far more ambitious than any related legislation in the U.S., which has largely left the issue of facial recognition use by law enforcement up to individual cities...
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Michigan is Trying to Make it Illegal for Companies to Put Microchips in their Employees 
Michigan lawmakers just introduced a bill that would ban employers from implanting their workers with microchips — unless, of course, the worker in question volunteered. In recent years, a growing number of companies have explored the idea of tagging their employees with subdermal, rice-sized RFID chips. Companies defend the chips as a way to track productivity, but doing so comes with glaring privacy violations. Now, if the Michigan bill is enacted, ABC News reports that the chips could only be implanted on a voluntary basis...
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Expert: Online Disinfo Now Targeting COVID-19, Black Lives Matter // Futurism
For years, Hany Farid has been warning Congress, the media, and anyone else who would listen that society is losing the battle against disinformation online. With the rise of sophisticated, hyper-realistic deepfakes and other forms of manipulated media and the approaching 2020 presidential election, his warnings seem more prescient than ever. Farid, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley’s electrical engineering & computer science program, is among the foremost experts in digital forensics — the practice of developing technology that can identify doctored media...
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'Fast Complexity' project employs 3D printing to make concrete use more efficient // Design Boom
with concrete responsible for 8% of our global carbon footprint, it is more important than ever to use the material more efficiently. although optimization algorithms can significantly reduce the amount of concrete used on complex buildings, the construction industry remains limited by the available fabrication technologies. to tackle this problem, digital building technologies, ETH zürich has proposed an automated solution that combines the fabrication speed of concrete 3D printing with the geometric precision of reusable 3D printed formwork...
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Microsoft wants to outsource your memories to AR // Protocol
Life is … strange … these days, so anything that can make it a little easier to get through the day would be very welcome. Coincidentally, many of the patents from Big Tech this week do just that. Google wants to make sure you don't forget to lock your doors or miss your appointments, Amazon wants to make sure your microphone works wherever you are, and Microsoft wants to make your camera easier to use. For these minor improvements to my future life, I thank you, Big Tech...
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Immersive Media and Storytelling’s Renaissance // Tony Parisi on Medium
While digital advertising has enabled a whole new scale of consumer messaging, creative storytelling has unfortunately taken a backseat. But there’s an exciting counter-revolution underway, powered by technologies like real-time 3D, AR and VR. Here are a few predictions for where that might take us in the coming years...
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What data experiments tell us about racial discrimination on Airbnb‬ // FastCompany

The authors of a new book on data-driven decision-making look at how Airbnb dealt—eventually, to a degree—with hosts who aren’t so hospitable...
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Andrew Yang is pushing Big Tech to pay users for data // The Verge
Andrew Yang wants people to get paid for the data they create on big tech platforms like Facebook and Google, and with a new project launching on Monday, he believes he can make it happen. Yang’s Data Dividend Project is a new program tasked with establishing data-as-property rights under privacy laws like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) all across the country. The program hopes to mobilize over 1 million people by the end of the year, focusing primarily on Californians, and “pave the way for a future in which all Americans can claim their data as a property right and receive payment” if they choose to share their data with platforms.
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Other Cool Stuff to Learn/Watch/Read/Play/Know About

News, Articles & Interesting Projects

❤️Finding Self-Love Through Queer Romance and Video Games // Kotaku
That night was my turn to host. We hiked all over, taking in the island’s natural beauty and snacking on peaches. We visited Lucky’s house, chatting with my doggy neighbor and rolling around in his log bed. We even managed to get into a K.K. Slider show, for which I’d bought us matching Able Sisters-brand lolita dresses. After a couple of acoustic deep cuts by the canine nudist, we headed for my place. If I was going to say it, it would have to be here, outside my home on the dulcet shores of Bussy Beach...
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Cyberpunk Dystopias in Real Time: Hong Kong #cyberpunk // Adafruit
As any fan of cyberpunk fiction is undoubtedly aware, the tech-saturated, semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong was a significant inspiration to first-wave cyberpunk authors. Here is Hong Kong today. In this series of dramatic, disturbing photos, taken of the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill protests last year by French photographer Rémy Soubanère, show a dystopian HK that even the original cyberpunk Fab 4 (Gibson, Sterling, Shirley, Rucker) might not have been able to imagine...
Check It Out

Core77 Student Showcase
An online celebration to help students gain exposure for their work and make connections with movers and shakers of the design world for feedback and inspiration.
Check It Out

Lives at Stake: Imara Jones [Video]
Lives at Stake is a series of frank conversations by and for trans people about the issues affecting their communities, hosted by Emmy and Peabody Award winner Imara Jones, The Greene Space’s first-ever Journalist-in-Residence. Building off Jones’ storytelling project TransLash, these online gatherings will also highlight the resilience, creativity and artistry that are critical ingredients to trans life, showcasing trans creatives performing their craft...
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38 Years Ago Today Two of the Best Sci-Fi Films of All Time Bombed in Theaters. What Happened? // Esquire
Film critics get it wrong all the time. But even so, I can’t imagine that the profession has ever had a worse day on the job than June 25, 1982. If you’re a rabid sci-fi nerd (guilty as charged), today marks a special sort of anniversary. One that remains as bittersweet as it is utterly confounding. After all, it was on this day, 38 summers ago, that two indisputable classics directed by two unassailable masters were released in theaters only to be met by critical venom and relative indifference from ticket-buyers. I’m talking, of course, about Ridley Scott’s visionary future-shock brainteaser Blade Runner and John Carpenter’s gooey master class in sub-zero paranoia The Thing...
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I replaced my MacBook Pro with a Raspberry Pi 4 8GB for a Day
Awesome blog post from Jeff Geerling. Have been thinking about trying this out, so wanted to share here! Earlier this week, as part of my work doing a more complete review of the Raspberry Pi 4 (coming soon!), I decided I'd go all-in and spend one entire day working entirely (or at least as much as possible) from a Raspberry Pi...
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Gaming, Shows, Books & Other Random Cool Stuff

Cyberpunk 2077 - FULL Night City Wire Gameplay Presentation | Episode 1 [Video of New Game]
Check out the entire Cyberpunk 2077 Night City Wire: Episode 1 live stream. See the premiere and breakdown of 'The Gig" gameplay trailer, the reveal of Edgerunners anime series, and a full breakdown of the braindance gameplay mechanic by CD Projekt Red devs!!!
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Top 10 books About Remaking the Future [Booklist]
here is no consensus on what constitutes a better future or how to cultivate one – such nebulous concepts can really only be interpreted through the prism of personal situation. Clean energy, universal access to medical services and education, being well clothed, well fed and having basic rights are some of the essentials any civilised individual would ask for before branching off into their own wish list...
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The Vast of Night [Movie]
In the twilight of the 1950s, on one fateful night in New Mexico, a young switchboard operator Fay (Sierra McCormick) and charismatic radio DJ Everett (Jake Horowitz) discover a strange audio frequency that could change their small town and the future forever...
Watch on Prime

What I'm Reading

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

Abaddon's Gate (The Expanse, #3)
by James Corey

An embattled group of leakers picks up the WikiLeaks mantle
by Andy Greenberg

The Simpsons and Family Guy Will Also Recast Their Black Characters With Black Actors
By Julie Muncy

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