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SciFly NYC // 132 // Remote Speculations Week 15

Speculative Events, News & Resources | Sent 6/22

Hey SciFly Readers!

This week I pulled out all of the awesome PRIMER content you will need, event by event, to dig deeper into the awesome stuff going on each day.

If you want the brief rundown with just the events & times, check out last week's newsletter.

Now, if you don't want to read my sappy Father's Day post, please feel free to scroll through to the events section directly. Otherwise, I need to emote a little. :P

To My Dad, On the 5th Anniversary of Missing You for Father's Day

As you may or may not know, today marks my 5th Father's Day with no Dad to celebrate with. 😥

My wonderful Father, Jim Martens passed away from Pancreatic Cancer in 2015, at the (way too young) age of 58.

I won't lie, today has always been hard for me, and I have been in a bit of a funk since I finally got back indoors today (was trying to exercise myself into distraction).

If you didn't know him, my Dad was such a wonderful, complicated, generous, fun person who I miss with all my heart. He always pushed me to explore more, try harder, and it turns out, he often knew me better than myself, especially when I was just settling.

He was also a futurist, in his own way.

Jim loved new technology. I remember when 3D Printing first started getting popular about in 2010, I sent him an article and he was SOOO into it. He even went to a conference at the Javitz Center to see all the new stuff demoed, brought me back a ton of souvenirs, and was 100% convinced it was the future of everything he hoped from SciFi movies (I think he wanted me to even invest in it, lol!). My Dad was always into the future and emerging technologies, even if they couldn't be farther from his career as a bartender on the LIRR (the cool kind, back in the 80 & 90's when they had the bar car!!!). 

When he passed away, I was still working at a Public Health nonprofit as a Policy Associate and had no idea what I wanted to really do with my life. I think my Mom called it "falling into a pit and decorating it with Pottery Barn". I remember my Dad pushing me to get into the tech world over and over, knowing that I was a secret techie from the hours I spent on the computer at our house. He and I played my first MMORPG together, Asheron's Call (though he got waaay to into it and Mom broke the disc in half after a year), he taught me how to wire his extensive complicated speaker system & receiver (the subwoofer isn't right unless an actual glass of water shakes when the T-Rex comes in Jurassic Park), and he was always taking home movies and editing videos, even coming to almost all of my Rugby games in college and recording them for me (just found them all recently).

His death was actually a huge kick in the ass for me to re-evaluate what was important in my life and even pushed me into my grad school and future career. I remember sending in my application for NYU ITP the day he died, and being so sad that he never knew I got into both NYU and Parsons, a huge accomplishment since I had no actual career or background in Design, Art, or Tech at the time, and was super nervous they'd never let me in.

I'm so sad my Dad never got to see how far I've come in the last 5 years, graduating with honors from Parsons with an MFA in Design + Technology, and later teaching there. He never got to see me switch careers and become a UX Designer. He never got to see me learn about and grow into my passion for speculative futures and social impact, joining the Speculative Futures network, hosting PRIMER19, and joining the board of the Design Futures Initiative. He never got to hear about the awesome trips I took around the world, to China to present my artwork with grad school, and even Poland last year to talk about my Thesis work in Blockchain and Digital Manufacturing... He would have been so excited had he known.

In fact, he would have been ecstatic to even have gotten SciFly in his email every week. Had he been alive when I started publishing this newsletter, I know he would have been my first subscriber, my most avid reader (or at least he'd pretend to have read it all and told all his friends about it).

In saying this, I'm not trying to pat myself on the back for having come so far. It's just that, looking back over the last 5 years, I'm so devastated that he never got to keep seeing the person I've grown into, and he'll never get to see what I might become one day.

I miss you Daddy, so much. I still have the 3D printed paperclip you brought me as a souvenir from that conference way back when, and I always look at it when I'm down, tired, depressed, or just exhausted from work and my many extracurricular passions. It will always remind me that you believed in me, even if you didn't get to see all the outcomes (much like the future). I love you, and I hope that wherever you are, you are happy and at peace. Happy Father's Day!

Here are a few photos of my awesome Dad!
Anyway, thanks for bearing with my sappy homage!

I hope you are all doing well, wherever you are!

Don't forget you can join me on the Speculative Futures Slack(where I pretty much live right now) if you want to chat!!!

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, rather I'll add things as I find them so you have some time to plan!

PRIMER2020 Detailed Breakdown 

All PRIMER2020 Talks are 100% Free to Attend! Get a ticket here.

DAY 01. Futures for All

🎤PRIMER2020 Conference Opening // Mon Jun 22, 11AM EDT

🔑PRIMER2020 | Keynote 1: American Dreaming, Jake Dunagan // Mon Jun 22, 11:30AM EDT
The end is near, and so is the beginning. The almost 250 year experiment in American democracy is coming to a close, with a failed and spectacular ending. But the story of the United States is mixed and complex. What comes next will determine whether we look back on this experiment as a springboard to a better world, or a curious caution tale in the grand scheme of history. 
Learn More

PRIMER2020 | Amplifying Voices // Mon Jun 22, 12:45PM EDT
Current Event Response
- Emerging Designer Exhibition Sponsored by AdobeXD
- Design Challenge Sponsored by delaO Design Studio

PRIMER2020 | Workshop: Future Games for All // Mon Jun 22, 2:30PM EDT
In this workshop we will introduce the participants to a variety of gaming techniques, tools and strategies used by futurists. Participants will play two activities that we designed as part of our futures practice (Futures in 1 Hour, Futures Out Loud). Futures in 1 Hour teaches the basics of futures studies in a fun and interactive team-based activity. Futures Out Loud is a scenario generation and evaluation card game. These activities have been used in the field with Fortune 500 companies and in higher education settings. We will discuss how to use games to develop actionable and practical implications and to activate futures for all. At the end of the workshop, we will facilitate an interactive discussion about how participants could use different gaming techniques and strategies in their work and what challenges they might face.  
Learn More

DAY 02. Civic Futures

PRIMER2020 | Workshop: Our Futures: A game about participation, design, and the future(s) // Tues Jun 23, 8AM EDT
NESTA is an innovation foundation focusing on bringing bold ideas to life to change the world for the better. In 2019, NESTA commissioned the Action Foresight Global Swarm to scan for and document high-impact participatory futures projects that engaged the public / citizens in thinking and acting to shape the future. The primary output of our scan was a user’s guide for participatory futures aimed at commissioners and champions within government and public sector agencies. One of the key questions of the project was to ask: how can technologies combine with participatory futures approaches to tackle the wicked problems of the 21st Century? When we considered the complexity inherent in this question, we felt that practitioners were best placed to provide an answer.
Learn More

PRIMER2020 | Building a Future of Global equity // Tue Jun 23, 11AM EDT
A consortium of designers, anthropologists, behavioral economists and global health experts led by Sonder Collective, and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, immersed themselves in the lives of some of the most vulnerable populations in the world to orient the field of global health toward a deeper understanding of social and environmental vulnerability. The project, called Pathways, has as its primary goal to create new inputs into the field of global health’s long term thinking by going beyond biomedical or tech-driven solutions. 
Learn More

PRIMER2020 | Civil Society, Facilitating Futures for All // Tue Jun 23, 12PM EDT
We have been asking ourselves, what does "futures for all" look like if we truly want inclusiveness? For “futures for all” we need to be hyper-intentional and action-oriented to facilitate the inclusion of all. Who is better placed than civil society to take this on? Might civil society be at the helm of this transformation? In this session, we want to give a voice to some of the perceptions, hopes, and desires of civil society from the global south on inclusive futures, bringing in experiences of civil society organizations from Africa and Latin America. We’ll share preliminary results of a futures research project that digs into what civil society practitioners consider futures for themselves, their context and countries. We want this session to be a conversation, we want YOU to bring in your own examples of civil society in your own country and context.
Learn More

PRIMER2020 | Speculative Rural Flyover // Tue Jun 23, 1PM EDT
Speculative Rural Flyover will share connections, provocations, successes, and failures from working in a rural context between Appalachia and Nebraska. It aims to connect with similar off-center speculations outside of urban centers. "Flyover land" is often used as a pejorative term, signifying a "boring place where more flights pass over than land." However, this notion of the rural can be challenged both as an imaginary and as a necessary link to urban supply chains. This talk will discuss Southern Devices, a project in Appalachia that examines data centers (Apple, Google, Facebook) and mineral mining where the physical internet has transformed the landscape from furniture and agricultural industries. 
Learn More

PRIMER2020 | Daily Download // Tue Jun 23, 5:30PM
Track 1: 
Come meet and hear all about our Speculative Futures Meetups from around the world led by DFI Global Chapters Director, Luisa Ji.

Track 2: 
Join the discussion with the panel of today’s speakers.

DAY 03. Global Futures

PRIMER2020 | Exploring Possible Cultural Futures Through Speculative Semiotics // Wed Jun 24, 11AM EDT
In 2018, Axis Mundi, in collaboration with Louise Jolly, staged a speculative semiotics performance at the ONCA gallery in Brighton, UK as part of their future fictions season. We transported our audience to the year 2030 to take part in the inaugural open day for Triangle, a mental health centre offering psychedelic treatments and experiences for the Brighton community.  On both sides of the Atlantic, we’re living through revolutions in cultural and scientific attitudes towards psychedelics (and other alternative) treatments. To provide relief from difficult-to-treat conditions such as depression, addiction and anxiety — but also for people who simply want to cope better in the high-speed drift of modern life. We were inspired to deploy speculative design techniques coupled with semiotic analysis to redress ‘societal misjudgement’ of psychedelics. Given there may still be residual cultural resistance to psychedelics in the year 2030, we set out to explore how a future clinic might communicate the value of treatments sensitively and professionally? 
Learn More

PRIMER2020 | Participatory futures // Wed Jun 24, 11:30AM EDT
Last year, I started the first undergraduate course in Speculative & Critical Design in Karachi at a liberal arts university located in Karachi, Pakistan. The course is  transdisciplinary and is taken by students across multiple disciplines ranging from computer science, social development and policy and communication design. Through this talk I would like to share my experience working with students to engage with different local communities to imagine inclusive futures for all. We have been exploring and creating tools and methods of engagement to imagine alternative futures through a participatory process. The intent has been to look at the discipline from a critical and inclusive lense and to understand how people of different cultures understand and perceive futures and futuring differently. Our experience on ground has been challenging but has also resulted in many revelations which can help the discipline and its methods evolve.  
Learn More

PRIMER2020 | HUM 2035 - Speculations on the Future of Humanitarian Work in South Asia // Wed Jun 24, 12PM EDT
In early 2019, the Barbican Centre, London commissioned Quicksand and Tandem Research to develop a public exhibition about the future of humanitarian work. The key inquiry was about how humanitarian aid will transform and adapt in the face of catastrophic global change. Told from the perspective of HUM, a fictional humanitarian aid network founded in 2020, the exhibit comprised of its origin story, its trajectory in the coming years, and also the story of HUM-affiliated humanitarian workers dealing with the aftermath of a fictional storm ‘Lata’ which hit Goa, India in 2035.  Here is the vision statement for HUM-  ‘HUM is a South Asian humanitarian initiative created to lend analytical and operational insight to humanitarian work happening in the region.
Learn More

PRIMER2020 | Why Pasifika Futurism Matters // Wed Jun 24, 12:30PM EDT 
According to National Geographic, 370 million Indigenous peoples make up less than 5% of the total human population but manage over 25% of the world’s land surface and 80% of the global biodiversity. Therefore the future of Indigenous people is the future of the planet. With these communities isolated and spread throughout the world, imagining ways of survival through economic and ecological crises is imperative to the future of Indigenous people. Pacific Islanders are among the most vulnerable people in the world and thus require a whole movement of their own to not just survive, but thrive in the future.  
Learn More

PRIMER2020 | Democratised scientific futures: community visions guiding science // Wed Jun 24, 1PM EDT
According to National Geographic, 370 million Indigenous peoples make up less than 5% of the total human population but manage over 25% of the world’s land surface and 80% of the global biodiversity. Therefore the future of Indigenous people is the future of the planet. With these communities isolated and spread throughout the world, imagining ways of survival through economic and ecological crises is imperative to the future of Indigenous people. Pacific Islanders are among the most vulnerable people in the world and thus require a whole movement of their own to not just survive, but thrive in the future.  This talk explores the history of Pasifika Futurism, its various forms and its current importance in solving the Climate Crisis. 
Learn More

PRIMER2020 | Notes from the Sea: Post-human scenarios & participatory design // Wed Jun 24, 1:15PM EDT
According to National Geographic, 370 million Indigenous peoples make up less than 5% of the total human population but manage over 25% of the world’s land surface and 80% of the global biodiversity. Therefore the future of Indigenous people is the future of the planet. With these communities isolated and spread throughout the world, imagining ways of survival through economic and ecological crises is imperative to the future of Indigenous people. Pacific Islanders are among the most vulnerable people in the world and thus require a whole movement of their own to not just survive, but thrive in the future.  This talk explores the history of Pasifika Futurism, its various forms and its current importance in solving the Climate Crisis. 
Learn More

PRIMER2020 | Daily Download, Wed Jun 24, 1:45PM EDT
Join the discussion with the panel of today’s speakers. 

PRIMER2020 | Workshop: SystemViz for the Future-Maker: The New Jeito, Judo, and Jagaad of Change // Wed Jun 24, 2:30PM EDT
To imagine the future, consider how systems tangle up our world. That isn’t easy because the tangle is extremely complex; too much to juggle in the mind at once. SystemViz is an open-source research project by Peter Stoyko about visualizing systems for interdisciplinary design ( The proposed workshop would use Visual vocabulary as a starting point. Worthwhile change is often undermined by the inertia of systems, many of which operate at cross-purposes. Participants would visually map out the systems entangled within a design challenge. 
Learn More

PRIMER2020 | Building Connections to People & The Places We Live In // Wed Jun 24, 5:30PM EDT
Join for discussion about today's systemic global issues. From social to environmental, what can futurists do to build bridges in local & global communities?

DAY 04. Inclusive Futures

🔑PRIMER2020 | Keynote: Design Fluidity: Electromedia, Technoculture and Racial Activism with Ari Melenciano // Thu Jun 25, 11AM
This talk is a survey of Ari's practice in using electromedia for political protest, a celebration of Black culture, and speculation of futures; designing anti-racist technoculture; and her process in developing the New Media Arts, Culture, and Technology Festival, Afrotectopia.
Learn More

PRIMER2020 | INFINITUM: The Dynamic World and Character Building of an Afrofuturist Graphic Novel // Thu Jun 25, 12PM EDT
Created by Tim Fielder, INFINITUM is a fully rendered graphic novel coming out from HarperCollins/Amistad in 2020.  The creation of INFINITUM was a herculean effort in the technical and aesthetic arena Visual Afrofuturism. Fielder has utilized his decades of experience in the gaming, cartooning, and film industries to add plausibility and authenticity to the characters and environments in which they perform.    
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PRIMER2020 | Beyond the Binary: Design Principles for Gender-Identity Inclusion // Thu Jun 25, 1PM EDT
Gender identity isn’t binary. But until recently, the dscout platform gave research participants two options: male or female. It wasn’t working for our users, our customers, our employees, or our company.  So we took a hard look at how our platform asked users about gender—then talked to ~70 people across the gender spectrum about how we could build a more inclusive experience for our non-cisgender users.  It surfaced design principles for gender-identity inclusion—and insights for any company looking to move beyond the binary. 
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PRIMER2020 | Speculating from the thick present: participatory methods for designing feminist futures // Thu Jun 25, 1:15PM EDT
Covid-19 has made it even more apparent that the experience of global catastrophe is compounded by social inequalities such as gender, class and race. The weight of domestic violence, care work, domestic labour, and poverty, is disproportionally experienced by women and has been felt even more acutely during the pandemic. This talk considers how we move towards a world where this is not the case. It argues that the possibility of social equality by design is constrained by dominant narratives of the future. Visions of the future among the general population, particularly in the West, have been heavily influenced by the techno-utopias of Silicon Valley and/or the dystopian scenarios that circulate on TV and in cinemas. These future visions have changed little since the 1950s. 
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PRIMER2020 | Engaging the Black Ethos: Afrofuturism as a Design Lens for Inclusive Technological Innovation / Thu Jun 25, 1:30PM EDT
In his essay “Technology & Ethos”, Amiri Baraka (Leroi Jones) states that “Black creation – creation powered by the Black ethos brings very special results” (Baraka, 1965). This talk will explore Baraka’s assertion and proposes Afrofuturism 2.0 as a liberatory design lens which enables the technology designer to engage a Black ethos in seeing – as articulated by Baraka – “everything fresh and ‘without form’ to “then make forms that will express us <Blacks/African-Americans> truthfully and totally”. 
Learn More

PRIMER2020 | Daily Download // Thu Jun 25, 2PM EDT
Join the discussion with Guest Panel from Today’s Speakers. 

PRIMER2020 | Workshop: Weaving Narratives & Design to Construct Futures // Thu Jun 25, 2:30PM EDT
In this workshop we will dive into the relationship between the designer and the (designed) object, peeling into the constituent layers that reveal the evident and hidden narrative strands and structures that shape up our reality - and inclusivity. Join us as we take apart that which surrounds us, challenging the preconceived ideas hidden in the context through aesthetics and association. The framework we use will make a case for the future mindful inclusive designer.
Learn More

PRIMER2020 | Disparities in Virtual Care // Thu Jun 25, 5:30PM EDT
Nicole Hepner & Michael Chapman will talk about serving poor and vulnerable populations within healthcare.  They will discuss how their research team has looked at wicked problems that exist within the virtual care space, ensuring Ascension can justly and compassionately serve diverse populations.

DAY 05. Corporate Futures

PRIMER2020 | Speculative Futures & Corporate Innovation // Fri Jun 26, 11AM EDT
The application of speculative practices in the corporate context is a known challenge. But how to implement and consequently scale speculative practices in organizations, that believe design thinking is still new and a progressive way of seeing the world?    The strategic design team of the Lufthansa Innovation Hub - tests, adapts and creates tools & methods from futures thinking/speculative design, sense-making, design (thinking), systems thinking, strategic management etc. to see what works in the context of (corporate) innovation.
Learn More

PRIMER2020 | Enterprise Speculative Practices: A Trojan-Horse method for bringing speculative design to a large-scale enterprise // Fri Jun 26, 12PM EDT
At IBM, our work centers around solving users' needs and improving their lives through human-centered product and service design for enterprise-grade technologies. But we noticed that something was missing from our technology-building culture; the ability to think beyond the needs of an individual today and design for a future humanity. Speculative design can take on many forms, but from our point of view it's a way to envision future scenarios that question the potential cultural, social and ethical outcomes of technology and results in the creation of products, services, and intellectual property that solves for those scenarios and questions. So, how might we do that at a company that's the scale of IBM?
Learn More

PRIMER2020 | Futures & Foresight: Putting “Long-term” Back in Strategic Planning // Fri Jun 26, 12:45PM EDT
Over the last twenty years, strategic planning horizons have been getting shorter as the technology-fueled pace of change gets faster and faster. Generally, this is because of the view that, “too much will change in five years, so we’ll create a three-year strategy.” However, this approach assumes that a strategic plan should be based on a forecast of a single, predicted future. We believe there’s a better way: foresight and alternate futures.  While organizations do need reliable short-term forecasts, the long-term future can still be part of strategic planning, it just needs one change: the willingness to explore and prepare for multiple futures.  In this presentation, one approach for examining multiple futures will be discussed.
Learn More

PRIMER2020 | Designing Futures in a changing world, or how artists can break the norm // Fri Jun 26, 1PM EDT
Like oil and water, artists are not expected to mix in a business environment.  But what if we tried? What are the consequences of bringing creative, out-of-the-box thinkers in an environment that is not ready for them? And what kind of change will they spark?  Now imagine not one, but two stubborn artists with a common vision and a dire need to design change. Imagine the transformation they will ignite and what they can set in motion. In our talk, we will speak of our personal experiences as being the ‘artist’ within non-creative environments. 
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PRIMER2020 | Workshop: Designing Multi-Partner Transformations from Democratized Polytopias into Actionable Next Steps // Fri Jun 26, 1:30PM EDT
As designers and foresight practitioners, we're pretty good at storytelling utopias, ideal experiences, provocative future products, and other end states. However, our partner teams rarely know how to take these ideas from philosophical discussion into productive next steps—especially when our R&D cycles have long tails into "value" metrics that would give us permission to create any of our ideas. How do we answer, "What now?" How do we design interim products that lay a foundation for a grander vision? Or, even more aspirational, how do we steer the actions of multiple teams and industries toward a unified, democratized vision…aligning today's competitors into tomorrow's business partners? how do we utilize our role from the inside, to realize real, tangible, and positive change on the outside?
Learn More

PRIMER2020 | Daily Download // Fri Jun 26, 5:30PM EDT
Join the discussion with Guest Panel from Today’s Speakers. 

PRIMER2020 | 🎉 Happy Hour
Come chill virtually with fellow conference-goers and get to know one another! Sponsored by San Francisco Speculative Futures Meetup

DAY 06. Digital Futures

PRIMER2020 | Designing Against a Data Dystopia // Sat Jun 27, 11AM EDT
Yes, it feels like a dystopia right now. Including how our personal data is treated. Palantir has developed “predictive policing,” deployed in New Orleans. Your Roomba is mapping the layout of your home without you knowing it. AT&T is selling your web browsing history associated with your real name and address. How can we use these dystopias as inputs into our own product building process?  Yes, we can use dystopia as a tool. Dystopia helps us imagine futures we don’t want to create and by reversal, the ones we truly do.
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Trusting Invisibility: Designing Futures We Can’t See or Even Understand // Sat Jun 27, 11:45AM EDT
Trust is fundamental to us, as humans. Global systems, personal relationships and our society can't function without it. But globally, trust is in decline. And at the same time, invisibility is on the rise. Most products and services we use in our everyday lives are designed to be as seamless as possible. To the point of being invisible. But how can we trust what we can’t see, or even understand? As algorithms make increasingly important decisions on our behalf how do we balance the desire for simplicity with the need for transparency and accountability? As designers we’ve been looking into this. We’ll share key findings from our global research, speculative prototypes that probe possible solutions, and take a first step towards concrete guidelines for how to design a trustworthy future.
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🔊 Updates from the Design Futures Initiative Board of Directors // Sat Jun 27, 12:15PM EDT

🔑PRIMER2020 | Keynote: Liquid Gold and Other Suns **A monster at work. Designing the Impossible.** with Nelly Ben Hayoun

Having just travelled to four continents and beyond 14 cities in one month with the hope of bringing back the origin of knowledge in her suitcase, the Willy Wonka of Design and Science, Dr. Nelly Ben Hayoun-Stépanian, joins Primer to share the mysteries behind her practice and the production of the impossible, and her experience performing and reenacting the life of political theorist Hannah Arendt. In this energetic talk, fearless critical explorer, passionate provocateur, Wired Innovation Fellow, and Designer of Experiences Ben Hayoun-Stépanian will create a space for thoughts, debate and provocation around the sociological and critical impact of new technologies. She will define her design work and practice and demonstrate how the Human Condition can prevail over technology. She will pledge for Greek Tragedy and remind the audience that innovation often comes from multidisciplinary conflicts.
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Other Cool Events

Diversifying Art and Design Practices in an Age of Uncertainty // Computer Arts Society // Mon Jun 22, 2PM - 3:30PM EDT // Free
This panel will explore alternative ways of discovering physical and digital making in the time of Covid19. HEIs, Art and Design students, academic staff members and Creative Industries around the globe require additional support through this difficult period.This discussion will exchange ideas and consider innovative art and design pedagogic practices. It will explore alternative ways of discovering physical making and will debate digital making in our current landscape through innovative or less innovative creative methods during the COVID-19; and will inform the diverse and creative societies how our inclusive practices could produce graduates with extensive discipline knowledge and portfolios of high-quality standards.
Learn More

Sex Work as Queer History // Tue Jun 23, 7PM - 8PM EDT // Free
Join The New Republic’s Melissa Gira Grant for a roundtable on how sex workers shaped the fight for LGBTQ rights, and what that means for queer politics now. The movement for sex workers' rights has gained momentum in recent years, but sex workers have been part of almost every movement, including those for gay liberation and LGBTQ rights in the United States—and New York. Join sex workers, activists, historians, and journalists, as we look back to how sex working people have shaped queer life long before Stonewall, and speculate on some queer futures for sex work.
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AWE Nite NYC (Online): AR - A Force for Social Change // AWE // Tue Jun 23, 7PM - 8PM EDT // Free
Driven by recent events, this meetup is focused on how the AR community and tech can help increase inclusion of black entrepreneurs and creators in the XR industry, and will showcase work by black entrepreneurs, creators, and activists followed by a panel with Q&A.
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Future Focus: Art Hack Practice III // FutureEverything // Wed Jun 24, 11:30AM - 12:45PM EDT // Free
As the world shows the first signs of emerging towards a slow and long recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, we are looking at art, making and curatorial practices to reflect on pandemic and post-pandemic times and consider what the implications of this outbreak might be for our practices. What insights have we been acquiring as we navigate through these challenging times? And, as we turn more to online spaces to work, exchange, consume or socialise, what are the implications for community, engagement, collaboration or education during and after this crisis?
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The Mütter Research Institute: Looking to the Past to Improve Our Future // Wed Jun 24, 1PM - 2PM EDT // Free
Can old specimens contain new information? Mütter Museum Curator, Anna Dhody will talk about the ways scientists are looking to the past to improve our future. New technology has emerged that allow researchers access into the past, to see what infectious microbes were responsible for previous pandemics, and hopefully provide insight on how to prevent or combat future ones. Ms. Dhody is also the Director of the Mütter Research Institute which endeavors to collaborate with scientific and medical professionals to utilize our historical collection to increase and advance the cause of modern health.
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Dawn of the Transhuman Era w/ Prof Steve Fuller // Futures Podcast // Wed Jun 24, 2PM - 3:30PM EDT // Free
Transhumanism argues that we should preserve and extend the unique properties that make us human by radically altering ourselves and the environment around us. Recently transhumanist thinking has seen a resurgence thanks to new technological developments that point towards the possibility that many of its promises will be realised. This raises a number of challenging issues that aspiring transhumanists must soon face: from how they will choose to manipulate or upgrade their body; to how they will approach the taboo of death - especially if, in principle, you could live forever.
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Ferment TV | 04. The Social Life of Pandemics // Gingko Bioworks // Wed Jun 24, 2PM - 3PM EDT // Free
The next installment of Ferment TV features Dr. Alondra Nelson, President of the Social Science Research Council and Harold F. Linder Chair in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study, with Dr. Joan Donovan, Research Director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. They will speak to Christina Agapakis about racism as a public health issue and the social dimensions of pandemics.
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The future is close and being prototyped, learn what's new, out or growing // Singularity University London // Thu June 25, 12PM EDT // Free
Even in a “normalized” world, the increasing speed and breadth of exponential change creates significant blind spots. Join Roger Spitz for an online event with Singularity University London (Mitesh Soni), where he will be sharing his thoughts on trends that are Emerging, Reversing or Accelerating. Centered on the theme: “The Future is Close, and being Prototyped”, we will interpret “next order impacts” and rapidly-shifting paradigms.
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(How) Does Fiction Inform Design? // Fri Jun 26, 9AM - 10:30AM EDT // Free
What films or fiction inform the design work you do, and why might that matter? This presentation will offer you a chance to take stock of the fiction inputs to your work and consider the ways that popular narratives about "the future"—which are designed things themselves—are contributing to design work, for better or for worse.
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🔥Machines + Media // NYC Media Lab & Bloomberg // Tuesdays, Jun 30 - July 28 // Free
In partnership with Bloomberg, NYC Media Lab's “Machines + Media” summer 2020 virtual series focuses on examining how AI, machine learning, computer vision, and other emerging technologies are changing how media is produced, distributed, and consumed, as well as their inevitable impact on society.  Throughout June and July 2020, the following 5 one-hour-long episodes will be released online (via YouTube and Facebook) and available to watch free of charge. Register to receive email reminders as each episode drops so you don’t miss a beat! 
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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.

Saturday, June 27 - PRIMER special Edition at Closing Party

Wednesday, July 1 - Season Finale - Z-TOPIA has been running for 2months. We are taking a short break to prepare to come out of beta with a brand new season of formats, guests and topics 

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

June 25th: EPISODE 008 | Spatial Computing For Work During and Post-Pandemic by Irena Cronin
How Spatial Computing technologies can be used for work during and post the Covid-19 pandemic.

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 (General)

Cool news and articles about emerging technology, speculative practice, and futures design. Will try to put nothing about COVID-19 here to give you a break, see below for news/resources on that topic.

After Juneteenth // The New Yorker
Tennille Newbold is a twenty-six-year-old medical assistant at a community health center in Manhattan. In the midst of a Juneteenth celebration in Central Park—a kind of barbecue-picnic political rally, on the grounds of what was once Seneca Village, where freed black people and Irish immigrants lived—she stepped to a microphone and announced that one of the three Louisville police officers who shot and killed Breonna Taylor in her home, in March, would be dismissed from the force...
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Ideo apologizes for Instagram post expressing ‘white guilt’ // FastCompany
“Today, we’re sharing resources that some parents who work at Ideo have found useful to facilitate conversations with kids about allyship, race, equity, and privilege.” In another era, this Instagram post from Ideo’s account may have been forgettable—another lazy whiff at engaging in discourse about racial inequity and white supremacy. But following protests around the murder of George Floyd, the global design firm was swiftly taken down by commenters and professional designers alike who questioned Ideo’s sincerity and hiring practices. Eleven days later, the company admitted it was wrong on Twitter...
Read More

A Council of Citizens Should Regulate Algorithms // WIRED
To ensure our AI-driven future is just and equitable, we should borrow from ancient Athens. Are Machine Learning Algorithms biased, wrong, and racist? Let citizens decide. Essentially rule-based structures for making decisions, machine-learning algorithms play an increasingly large role in our lives. They suggest what we should read and watch, whom we should date, and whether or not we are detained while awaiting trial. Their promise is huge–they can better detect cancers. But they can also discriminate based on the color of our skin or the zip code we live in...
Read More

Apple’s Secretive AR and VR Headset Plans Altered by Internal Differences // Bloomberg Businessweek
In late 2018, Apple Inc. was a few years into its plan to build a powerful headset with both virtual- and augmented-reality capabilities when things shifted dramatically. Jony Ive, then the company’s design chief, objected to some fundamental aspects of the product and urged Apple to change course...
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Eye Scanner Reveals Your "Biological Age" // Futurity
All people age, but individuals do so at different rates, some faster and others slower. While this observation is common knowledge, there is no universally accepted measure of biological aging. Numerous aging-related metrics have been proposed and tested, but no marker to date has been identified or noninvasive method developed that can accurately measure and track biological aging in individuals. In what is believed to be the first study of its kind, researchers have discovered that a specialized eye scanner that accurately measures spectroscopic signals from proteins in lens of the eye can detect and track biological aging in living humans...
Read More

How Close Is Urban Air Mobility To Becoming A Reality? // AviationWeek
So far, Uber is sticking publicly to its stated goal of beginning limited aerial ridesharing service in its pilot cities by 2023. And at least one of its vehicle partners, Joby Aviation, remains committed to certifying and operating its electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) air taxi by 2023...
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The ethical nonsense (and plutocratic convenience) of AI rights // IEET
Neither these robots nor these corporations are people. Other robots, in the future, I very much hope so. I can almost quote by heart that speech from Captain Picard, and don’t get me started on how the Federation treats holographic AIs...
Read More

Unique material design for brain-like computations // ScienceDaily
Over the past few decades, computers have seen dramatic progress in processing power; however, even the most advanced computers are relatively rudimentary in comparison with the complexities and capabilities of the human brain. Researchers at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command's Army Research Laboratory say this may be changing as they endeavor to design computers inspired by the human brain's neural structure.
Read More

Realistic, Interactive VR Sex Is Finally Here, and It’s Affordable // Futurism
Virtual reality, as a concept, has been around for decades. And for as long as it’s been in the public consciousness, the concept of VR sex and virtual reality porn has been very close behind. It’s natural, after all, for the mind to wander towards the sexual extrapolation of any new technology. But now this VR sex is no longer just a hypothetical. It’s becoming science fact thanks to the innovative, immersive experience of Titan VR by KIIROO...
Read More

SpaceX Wants You to Try Getting Internet From Space with Starlink // Vice
Hundreds of Starlink satellites are currently orbiting Earth, and SpaceX is asking people to sign up for a chance to test out their service. Over the past year, SpaceX has launched more than 500 satellites into Earth orbit to build its Starlink mega-constellation, which aims to make satellite internet available from practically anywhere on the planet...
Read More

Could Blockchain Be a Solution to the Issue of Misinformation Online? // NYT Open
When a news photo makes its journey from a camera to publication, it passes through many devices, technologies and people. Each step in this journey is designed to ensure the truthfulness and accuracy of the person or event depicted in the photo. However, once the photo makes it to the internet, it can end up anywhere in a matter of minutes — sometimes without its original context or with purposely misleading information. The R&D team at The New York Times has been exploring a number of different solutions to address the issue of misinformation online. One of those explorations was The News Provenance Project, which experimented with blockchain technology...
Read More

Other Cool Stuff to Learn/Watch/Read/Play/Know About

News, Articles & Interesting Projects

The Emmy-Nominated VR Film ‘Traveling While Black’ is a Must-See // Adafruit
While VR hasn’t quite gotten to the Holodeck level, VR does reliably generate one thing: empathy. Because of that VR documentaries that attempt to help participants understand the experiences of other people. “Traveling While Black” is just that sort of documentary...
Check It Out

Alien: An Awesome Low-budget Remake [Video]
A low-budget, high-cardboard remake of Alien (1979). This is HILARIOUS!
Check It Out

Minecraft is the most important game of the decade // Polygon [Video]
Few games have had the sort of cultural impact that Minecraft has. We're looking back at three ways Minecraft changed the landscape of media — and streaming — as we know it...
Check It Out

Gaming, Shows, Books & Other Random Cool Stuff

The Last of Us 2 [Game] // PS4
Five years after their dangerous journey across the post-pandemic United States, Ellie and Joel have settled down in Jackson, Wyoming. Living amongst a thriving community of survivors has allowed them peace and stability, despite the constant threat of the infected and other, more desperate survivors. When a violent event disrupts that peace, Ellie embarks on a relentless journey to carry out justice and find closure. As she hunts those responsible one by one, she is confronted with the devastating physical and emotional repercussions of her actions.
Check It Out

Dune (2020) [Upcoming TV Series] AppleTV
Feature adaptation of Frank Herbert's science fiction novel, about the son of a noble family entrusted with the protection of the most valuable asset and most vital element in the galaxy.
Learn More

Psychological Operations: Principals & Case Studies [Book]
This book condenses and analyzes US and Vietcong PSYOP in the Vietnam War and its history, PSYOP's presence has been felt in battlefield campaigns.
Read It Online

Speculative News, Articles, Resources (COVID-19 Related)

News, articles, and other writing on signals and trends regarding how the world around us is changing due to COVID-19 and speculations on how the future might be different as a result.

Skip this section if you don't want to hear any more about this right now or focus on something else.


Who Will Own the Cars That Drive Themselves? // NYTimes
Fleets of vehicles roaming streets waiting to be hailed are more efficient. But the coronavirus has made people think twice about the future of car ownership even when autonomous tech arrives...
Read More

Six experts on how we’ll live, work, and play in cities after COVID-19 // FastCompany
Architects and urban planners from Gensler, Harvard, and Bloomberg Associates explain the changes coming to our shared spaces. This pandemic is challenging us, but it also offers a once-in-a-century chance to change course and undo some of the damage from the traffic and congestion and pollution...
Read More

Why The Office Simply Cannot Go Away: The Compelling Case For The Workplace // Forbes
We’re in the midst of the most significant reinvention of work in our time. We’ve proven people can work anywhere and the greatest social experiment—sending everyone home to do their work—has decimated barriers to working away from the office... 
Read More

Almost Half Of Universities May Be Gone In 5 To 10 Years, Professor Admits // DailyWire
An NYU professor of business surmises that because of the effects of the coronavirus, anywhere from one-quarter to almost one-half of universities in the nation may go out of business in the next five to ten years. NYU professor Scott Galloway also admitted that foreign students paying full tuition are the “cash cow” for universities and  “might decide not to show up.” He commented, “What department stores were to retail, tier-two higher tuition universities are about to become to education and that is they are soon going to become the walking dead."...
Read More

Sorry, it’s too soon to stop quarantining. Here’s how to design a bubble that keeps you safe // FastCompany
Creating a quaranteam can help mitigate risk while still providing social interactions. After three months of lockdowns, many people in the U.S. and around the world are turning to quarantine bubbles, pandemic pods, or quaranteams in an effort to balance the risks of the pandemic with the emotional and social needs of life...
Read more

Why you should still stay home if you can, summed up in one grim chart // FastCompany
There’s no second wave. You’ve just gotten used to being in high tide. We are still in the thick of a pandemic. There is no COVID-19 vaccine, and it’s still not safe to be in a crowd of people. Especially without face masks. Yet many states have given businesses the green light to reopen (albeit to varying degrees). If that seems ill-advised, you’re not wrong, as one chart deftly sums up...
Read More


Donate your stimulus check to those who need it most.
Learn More


How We Feel lets you self-report your age, sex, ZIP code, and any health symptoms you experience. It only takes 30 seconds! Aggregate data is securely shared with select scientists, doctors and public health professionals who are actively working to stop the spread of COVID-19. The app doesn't ask you to sign in or share your name, phone number or email address.
Learn More

COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund // WHO
The World Health Organization (WHO) is leading and coordinating the global effort, supporting countries to prevent, detect, and respond to the pandemic. Everyone can now support directly the response coordinated by WHO. People and organizations who want to help fight the pandemic and support WHO and partners can now donate through the COVID-Solidarity Response Fund for WHO.
Learn More

What I'm Reading

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

Caliban's War (The Expanse #2) 
by James Corey

Don’t Listen to Fox. Here’s What’s Really Going On in Seattle’s Protest Zone.
by Eric Scigliano

Light bulb vibrations yield eavesdropping data
By Peter Grad

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