SciFly // 170 // Happy 5th Birthday SciFly! 🎂

Speculative Events, News & Resources | Sent 11/15

Hey Scifly Readers!

So as you can probably tell from the title, SciFly turns 5 years old this week! 

I started SciFly the November I finished grad school in 2017 at the encouragement of some awesome friends I met at MIT's Reality Virtually hackathon. At the time, I was feeling super disconnected from all of the amazing classes, lectures, random encounters, and amazing people I was constantly surrounded by as a student at Parson's MFADT program, and had excitedly told them about all of it over our time together hacking away and drinking Chai soylent. 

After my fellowship with IDEO ended in the Summer of 2017, I returned to NYC jobless (except for part-time teaching) for the first time since I had left undergrad in 2009. I found myself with all this free time on my hands, but didn't know how to find events and communities that I could share my love of speculative practice and creative technology with outside of school. Then I remembered how, when I was in San Francisco for my internship, I met the amazing and brilliant Es Braziel who wrote a weekly newsletter called [es]sf which was a lifeline for me in a new city, and helped me meet all sorts of cool people and check out new things. After finally getting bored of sitting around waiting on a series of job interviews to pan out, I realized that I wanted to do the same thing for people in New York City, especially those who might be new here and didn't know how to find stuff to go to.

SciFly operated that way for a couple of years, but then COVID-19 made in-person events impossible. I thought of cancelling SciFly at the time, but again, I was in a dark place, lonely and feeling disconnected from my community. Especially since I had just reconnected with Jack Wilkinson the previous year and finally was able to find a home and family in the Speculative Futures NYC chapter, peaking with my amazing opportunity to co-chair PRIMER19 and join the DFI board, allowing me to meet more chapters from around the world.

So instead I decided to transform SciFly into something bigger, a global newsletter of all the cool speculative online events, resources, and projects I could to share with other people who were similarly stuck at home, disconnected from their friends and local communities.

Today I looked back at the very first issue I wrote (which you can check out here) to reflect on what I was thinking about when I started SciFly. The line that most stood out to me from my intro post was: "As part of SciFly's mission to educate and empower others to shape the futures they believe in, I have wanted to find a way to connect others in NYC to the growing community of design, fiction, art, and emerging technology that have come under this [speculative] umbrella." 

That still resonates with me 100%, especially if you have heard me say one of my classic lines, "I'm really more of a curator than a creator."

So looking back on the last 5 years and 170 issues of SciFly, I was able to remember why I started in the first place and reflect on how much of a (sometimes) pain, (usually) pleasure and (always)labor of love publishing SciFly is. Week after week, then eventually biweekly as new jobs began, relationships deepened, new projects started, and my free-time dwindled. Of course there were times when I was sick, busy, exhausted, and even plain depressed when Sunday night rolled around - "newsletter night" we call it in our house - and the last thing I wanted to do was sit on my laptop and spend a couple hours looking up events, projects, and articles for a newsletter. But as soon as I finished putting an issue together and hit the send button, I always felt better.  At the very least, I had curated a list of things that I could attend, read, and refer to keep myself going. At the best, I could help other people learn new things, feed their speculative diet, and hopefully connect with one another.

In so many ways, this newsletter has kept me going through good times and hard times, through slow times and busy times. It has introduced me to so many cool people who have reached out after reading it to talk further, connect, share ideas, events, or resources, and I have even met some great online friends who I hope to one day visit IRL when travel picks back up more.

So for SciFly's 5th Anniversary, I just wanted to thank all of you, anyone who is reading this, however often. I hope that you have found cool stuff to go to, learned new things, been opened up to ideas and futures that you never would have thought plausible, and most importantly had a moment of joy on a Monday morning when you needed something to flip through that wasn't the doom-scroll of current events.

So thank you, thank you, thank you, and I'm so excited to keep sharing with you in the future. Who knows where SciFly will go in the future, but for now, I'm so happy and excited to have been in it with you this long.

Words really don't do the journey justice, so instead, I went back through my SciFly covers and photos and put together a short chronological journey of SciFly. I have shared so much with all of you, and I hope you enjoyed it at least half as much as I have. ❤️

Stay speculative my friends, and I'll see you in the future.
The Cover of the very first SciFly issue, published on November 19, 2017
The first of my annual SciFly R3s0lut10ns issue where I look back on my speculative goals for the last year and make new ones.
The one time in 5 years I got a terrible flu and published SciFly a couple of days late. 
The time my partner and I got way to into playing French Sailor Moon on Retro Pie and I talked about how much I love Raspberry Pi and learning to use it
When my oldest childhood cat Xander passed away in May of 2018
When I finally won the auction for a plot of land in Decentraland
When Danya came to Speculative Futures to teach Cyborg at the Frontiers
The first time I got to learn in person from Frank Spencer who has become a great friend, fellow-geek and mentor in futures thinking and strategic foresight over the last couple of years
During PRIMER19 when I got to hang out in the 'green room' while emceeing
After PRIMER19 when I finally collapsed on my couch
When I got to visit poland to talk about blockchain and digital manufacturing and wrote an issue from my friend's couch at 4:30am before my flight home
When I had an idea about the 'triangle' for Speculative Design and tried to explain it
My very short-lived idea for a book club, but it was a cool graphic!
When I got to write an issue from Austin at our DFI offsite retreat 
When I decided to make... this because I thought it was hilarious at the time.
When I got to go to New Orleans and give a presentation on Post-Gender Futures for my job at TFA
When I tried to map the Theory of Change to the Futures Cone
When I built my first building in Decentraland, a speculative design museum (which I later accidentally deleted, ughhhhh)
When COVID19 first hit and I had to start wearing masks for the first time (note it is actually on upside down here...)

Also when SciFly changed over to its global remote event format
When I started taking pictures of all the LinkNYC announcements during early COVID on my daily walks
When the younger of my two childhood cats Neko-chain stayed with us during COVID-19 and (sadly later passed away in January 21)
The 5th anniversary of my Dad passing away where I shared how much of an impact he had on my life and love of speculation
When SciFly finally went biweekly in 2020
When I had to go under anesthesia for a procedure last year
When I learned how to make Milk Bread (shokupan) during the pandemic
When I got way to into Valheim last February, but it was amazing <3
The first time Jack and I taught our Futures x Design class in April of 2021
When I realized that the cryptopunk I won in a raffle at a geeky blockchain art conference had suddenly become the new cool things (and weirdly very valuable?!?!)
When we got our new kitten Sasha in July, the love of my life (along with my partner 😉)
When I got to participate in an IFTF foresight talk earlier this Fall.
And most recently, when I got really excited about the idea of Futuriography as a sub-discipline of Futures Studies and tons of cool people reached out to give me feedback and more ideas
As always, I hope you are all doing well, wherever you are!

Don't forget you can find me on the Speculative Futures Slack (which I pseudo-moderate) if you want to chat! @DocMartens

Stay safe in your speculations, and catch you next week!


"The future is here, now let's distribute it." 

Doc Martens

SciFly is a design studio dedicated to leveraging speculative design and science fiction to imagine and prototype alternative futures enabled by today's emerging technology.

Online Events 🗓

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

WEEK 1 - Tuesday, November 16th - Monday, November 22nd


Tuesday, November 16

🔥Perennial Activities: Perspectives on Astroculture // 11/15 - 11/19, 12pm EST // Free
The journey of humans into space is often figured and imagined as a radical break from contemporary life on Earth. Scholars like De Witt Douglas Kilgore note that science and speculative fiction more generally take this approach, and this attitude has diffused throughout pop culture's conceptions of humanity's future in the stars. Yet other scholars like Tamara Alvarez document countervailing trends, like the figuring of the Moon as an Eighth Continent, that attempt to normalize outer space to contemporary concepts in order to extend concepts useful to the powers that be, like property rights, off-world. This apparent conflict calls for investigating current trends in the production of astroculture and astrosociology, as Alexander Geppert and Jim Pass have respectively proposed. Perennial Activities will host a week-long series of lectures dedicated to examining several seemingly universal human behaviors and asking how these are developing for the space age. Studying this ongoing production of new modes of behavior allows for a closer examination of the trajectories of life beyond Earth. And through understanding where these behaviors seem to be heading, designers today may consider how to construct a future to support, sustain, and perhaps propagate these ways of life into the future. Monday, 15 Nov: Ayodamola Okunseinde - Cooking & Eating, Tuesday, 16 Nov: Edward Butler - Worshipping, Wednesday, 17 Nov: Eleanor Armstrong & Akvile Terminaite (Exo-Moan Studio) - Having Sex, Thursday, 18 Nov: Sitraka Rakotoniaina - Playing, Friday, 19 Nov: Sands Fish - Crafting
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Neal Stephenson in conversation with Andy Weir — Termination Shock // 9pm EST // $38.50 – $42.50
Third Place Books is thrilled to welcome back Neal Stephenson—the Hugo Award-winning author of The Diamond Age, Cryptonomicon, Fall; or, Dodge in Hell, and more—for the highly-anticipated release of his new novel, Termination Shock. Neal Stephenson will be joined in conversation by Andy Weir, the bestselling author of The Martian and, most recently, Project Hail Mary. Neal Stephenson’s sweeping, prescient new novel transports readers to a near-future world in which the greenhouse effect has inexorably resulted in a whirling-dervish troposphere of superstorms, rising sea levels, global flooding, merciless heat waves, and virulent, deadly pandemics...
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Disability, Design and AI // 76er pm - 8:15pm ESt // Free
The implementation of AI systems for services such as healthcare, housing, employment and mobility is increasing in prevalence in society. However, these systems have the potential to cause significant harm to those with disabilities if not designed properly. Our panel, composed of Sachin Pavithran, Lydia X.Z Brown, and Karen Nakamura will discuss these problems from various perspectives respectively: US policy, community activism, and academic.
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(M)otherwise with Ciara Healy-Musson // 3pm - 4pm EST // Free
In this informal session, Dr Ciara Healy-Musson will read through her paper "Mother to the Other", which explores what it means to have missed out on conventional concepts of motherhood due to infertility and, in doing so, it reconsiders and re-visions what it might mean to mother what ecologist David Abram calls "other forms of sentience" in the 21st century. The expanded concept of motherhood proposed in this paper offers agency to, and care for, sentient kin from the more-than-human world. Such interconnected relationships were implicit in many indigenous communities and have emerged in many contemporary communities in recent years, most especially since Covid-19 lockdowns began. Drawing on personal experience, poetry and mythology as well as case studies from contemporary visual art and feminist/environmentalist theories of Donna Haraway and Isabelle Stengers, this paper reclaims an enriched definition of what motherhood is, and can be, in a time of climate change and a global pandemic. This paper will be delivered in such a way to allow dialogue and raise questions on how we might address and offer support to those who increasingly are becoming part of the narrative of rapid fertility decline in recent decades.
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Towards Governing the Metaverse - Blockchain and Human Models // 5:30pm. -7pm EST // Free
How can freedom, safety, and commerce be effectively supported in the Metaverse through governing frameworks? The success of the concept is predicated on reasonable solutions to this question. As even the largest central virtual worlds creators today are talking about decentralization in the future we will explore that area. We'll go over the basic governance models in decentralized networks, various incentive mechanisms, voting systems and examples to better understand how humans govern themselves and how we might improve collaboration and coordination in the future. We will have a pre-event exploration and networking session in a fun, web-based 3D immersive virtual space.
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Saul Griffith, Author of Electrify, with Sam Calisch and Shuguang Zhang // 12:30pm - 1:30pm EST // Free
Climate change is a planetary emergency. We have to do something now—but what? Saul Griffith has a plan. In Electrify, Griffith lays out a detailed blueprint—optimistic but feasible—for fighting climate change while creating millions of new jobs and a healthier environment. Griffith's plan can be summed up simply: electrify everything. He explains exactly what it would take to transform our infrastructure, update our grid, and adapt our households to make this possible. Billionaires may contemplate escaping our worn-out planet on a private rocket ship to Mars, but the rest of us, Griffith says, will stay and fight for the future.
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The Possibilities of Personalized Medicine // 5pm - 6:30pm EST // Free
As scientists work to understand which genes control which traits and responses, the opportunity to tailor treatment based on our genes is becoming a reality. Imagine no longer spending months or years finding the right medication and dose that works for you and your body. This could mean millions of people no longer hospitalized from adverse drug reactions each year in the US. Not to mention, effective drug discovery could cost less and happen more quickly too. But as with any new technology not every possibility is a good one. Who might profit off of the vast amount of personal medical data needed from individuals to make this technology work? Could genetic testing could be used as a basis for discrimination? What would it mean if only rich people can afford it? And for those in ethnic groups with smaller populations or fewer people getting genetic testing, will the tests even be useful?
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The New Together Vol. II-Empirical Reality – Exhibition Panel Discussion // 1:30pm EST // Free
Independent curator Suzy Halajian will be engaging the collaborators - artist Ryat Yezbick, vocalist Anna Pangalou, and climate educator Georgina Spyres - in a discussion about the exhibition. In conjunction with Nicoleta Chatzopoulou's Ngallery, LA-based artist Ryat Yezbick, Athens-based vocalist Anna Pangalou and climate educator Georgina Spyres collaborated on a series of documented performances engaging water as both a vital life source and potential contaminant. The exhibition examines parallels between our relationship to interiority, both emotional and physical, and the natural world - such as the biophysics of breath or swallowing, the ebb and flow of oceanic tides, or the phenomenon of sinkholes - in an attempts to explore our collective emotional state as we process our fears around greater collective contamination. Juxtaposing the reality of the climate crisis against the incomprehensible and absurd gesture of speaking through water, the audience is invited to sit in the interval between truth, clarity and incoherence.
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Planetary Health — a creative sanatorium // 9am EST /// Free
Under the European Enlightenment, binary splits such as between 'nature' and 'culture' framed distant lands as terra nullius (a Latin phrase meaning, 'empty,' 'unoccupied,' or 'nobody’s land'), their forests as wild places, and the indigenous peoples who had nurtured them for centuries as uncivilised, and essentially inferior to the white European. This disrecognition informed a cultural paradigm that permitted capitalist-colonialist societies to accumulate vast wealth by enslaving non-European peoples, dispossessing their lands, and degrading their ecosystems. How might artists and designers respond to this complexity? We propose an engagement with the discourse of Planetary Health, which cuts across conceptual and disciplinary boundaries to offer an expanded conception of health, that could connect ecological regeneration and restorative social justice. The 'sanatorium' will comprise a set of two sessions online, and a Covid-safe field trip. 
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The Electrified Future // 12pm - 1pm EST // Free
We are approaching a generational shift towards a more sustainable and equitable energy future. As new federal, state, and city incentive programs prioritizing renewable energy are being developed, more companies are investing in advanced solutions to produce, store, and distribute green energy. Through its Innovation Studios, Newlab is focused on reimagining energy systems and future-proofing infrastructure. From smart grids to novel EV charging and energy storage deployments, Newlab is working with entrepreneurs, engineers, and inventors to integrate renewable energy into industries and cities and shape a new energy market that benefits everyone. Join us for a moderated discussion exploring how EV infrastructure, smart Distributed Energy Resources, and connectivity are laying the groundwork for flexible, resilient energy systems.
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Wednesday, November 17

Natural Structural Materials // 7pm - 8pm EST // Free
Our society is on a constant quest for novel structural materials that are more damage tolerant, lightweight, multifunctional, and sustainable. Such combinations of desired attributes are often found in the biological world. Organisms from nature construct a variety of different biological structural materials for protection, predation, body support, camouflage, and etc. Despite the fact that these materials are made with limited constituent materials with usually poor intrinsic mechanical properties, such as brittle minerals and soft biopolymers, biological materials are often able to achieve remarkable mechanical properties while offering additional functionalities simultaneously, such as low density, coloration, transparency, flexibility, visual sensitivity, etc. In this talk, Dr. Li will present his team's recent work in elucidating the fundamental structure-property relationships in some natural structural materials from seashells, cuttlefish, and sea urchins, with emphasis on their strategies in achieving damage tolerance, weight reduction, and multifunctionality. The team's research combines quantitative multiscale 3D structural analysis, in-situ mechanical analysis, theoretical and computational mechanical/optical modeling, and design and manufacturing of bio-inspired materials.
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Clash of Realities 2021 // 11/17, 4am - 11/19, 1pm ESt // Free
For the second time in 2021, the Clash of Realities international research conference is providing the opportunity for interdisciplinary exchange and dialogue. Experts from the academia, science and research, economics, politics, and the game industry will discuss pressing questions concerning the artistic design, technological development, and social perception of digital games, as well as the spreading of games literacy. This conference welcomes scholars, social scientists, game developers, specialists in education and media, up-and-coming creative talents, students, and all those interested in and excited by digital games.
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Design@Large: Decolonizing Medicine to Serve All // 7pm - 8pm EST // Free
The Deep Medicine Circle (DMC) is a woman of color-led, worker directed organization working to heal the wounds of colonialism through food, medicine, restoration, story and learning. DMC members California Indigenous Herbalist Sage LaPena and Associate Professor of Medicine at UCSF Rupa Marya will describe how Western medicine is limited in its capacity to serve the health of all people by the same histories and contours of power that create and recreate the structural inequalities in society. To achieve the possibility of different health outcomes, we must re-conceptualize health with the understanding of our bodies as systems impacted by the systems we are part of – from ecological to social/historical to microbiological.
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Aesthethics of Interconnectedness 11/17, 2pm - 12/15, 4pm EST // €187.64 – €321.32
For more than 10.000 years, we have been domesticating non-human specimens. Plants (which were the first ones), horses, cats, dogs, amongst other species have become more and more a part of our daily lives, cohabiting with us on one hand in symbiosis, on the other hand as a necessary resource. In the past, and still now in the indigenious communities such as Inuits in Arctic or Pygmy Baka Tribe in Africa, living beings were considered “non-human persons” - there was a knowledge that if these non-human persons are not respected, the equilibrium would be destroyed and nature would turn against the humans. But somewhere along the line, this understanding was lost. In this course we will look at city-dwellers’ attitudes towards other living organisms, and whether it is possible to find ways to accept non-human persons agency and develop reciprocal relationships while sharing this predominantly human-made space. (5 Week Course, Wednesdays)
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Artist Talk: Fictions, Realism, and the Motion Picture Industry // 5:30pm EST // Free
Join Artist Andrew Norman Wilson and Film and Media Studies scholar Dr. Joshua Glick for a virtual discussion on how Wilson’s work approaches intersecting histories of image circulation, cinema, and labor, as well as their shared interest in points of connection between Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and Washington D.C. In a conversation moderated by exhibition curator, Selby Nimrod, Gilck and Wilson will discuss these themes as they relate to the works on view in Wilson’s exhibition at the List Center and Wilson’s recent embrace of the and narrative fiction film form in his newest work, Impersonator (2021).
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Thursday, November 18

Beyond Games // 11/18, 3:30am - 11/19, 1:30pm EST // £36 – £420
A two-day summit focused on the future of games, transmedia, digital entertainment and the creative industries. As the lines blur between online experiences, social networking, games, and traditional entertainment formats, this online event will help connect the dots and plot a vision of the future. How will Hollywood utilise game-making tools and techniques? Why is Netflix hiring games executives? What is Sony Music working on with Unreal? Are TikTok and YouTube stars the future of media? When will VR and AR take over? Are we about to enter the metaverse? Find out at a new two-day conference discussing the emerging opportunities in the digital entertainment sector.
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Coded Bias. There is no algorithm for truth // 11/18, 3am - 11/28, 2:59pm ESt // Free
Modern society sits at the intersection of two crucial questions: What does it mean when artificial intelligence (AI) increasingly governs our liberties? And what are the consequences for the people AI is biased against? When MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini discovers the most facial-recognition software does not accurately identify darker-skinned faces and the faces of women, she delves into an investigation of widespread bias in algorithms. As it turns out, artificial intelligence is not neutral, and women are leading the charge to ensure our civil rights are protected. The screening of CODED BIAS is part of the film series IMAGE+BIAS. FILMIC EXPLORATIONS bringing together feature films, documentaries and short films that reflect on the sustainability of our value systems for a digitalized and high-tech future.
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FaithTech Chicago Meetup: Is the Metaverse Next? // 7pm - 8pm EST // Free
After Facebook’s name change, everyone’s talking about the Metaverse! So obviously, we are too! Join us to imagine what it will look like! To get our Unreal Engines started, we got special permission to share out a chapter from Virtual Reality Church by Darrell Bock and Jonathan Armstrong. “The Nature of Virtuality” covers 10 qualities of how the Metaverse will shape our lives. For example: #3: VR … cannot directly present abstract concepts, #4 VR can facilitate cross-cultural communication, #6 Users in VR are disidentified, #7 VR cannot simulate anonymity... Do you agree? Disagree? Regardless, come imagine the future with us!
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ITA on Rethinking Materiality // 12pm - 2pm EST // Free
Every semester, the Institute of Technology in Architecture (ITA) of ETH Zurich invites two leading figures from the fields of architecture and construction to contribute to interdisciplinary discussions on the construction of the future and on societal issues such as digitalization, resource efficiency and energy transition. Our second lecturer of the Fall Semester 2021 is Anupama Kundoo. She is Professor at Potsdam School of Architecture and winner of the 2021 Auguste Perret Prize for her contribution to architectural technologies.
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The Upcycled Glass Company: Sustainable Design Talk // 12:30pm - 2:00pm EST // Free
Join Ian Hankey in this Smart Citizens Sustainable Design Talk as he discusses his new community interest start up, the Upcycled Glass Company, based in South Devon. During this talk Ian will discuss how he aims to tackle the huge problem of what to do with end of life window glass, as well as the waste glass that goes to landfill from studio glass companies. Working with a team including history and heritage experts, material scientists from Imperial college London, and Exeter University, local glass businesses and a farm on Dartmoor, he has developed processes that recreate 17th century renaissance glassmaking methodologies, alongside cutting edge digital design and technologies, in order to create new sustainable products and business models.
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Presentation: Adriana Knouf on the strange, alien and other // 2pm - 3pm EST // Free
This presentation follows a series of explorative efforts wherein Adriana, in collaboration with participants and students, explored the act of letter writing as artistic method and delved into the strange worlds of lichen in order to understand better how one might prep for uncertain times. Did you know for instance that these multi-species entities are able to withstand outerspace conditions? And are actually an assemblage of not one, or two, but often a manyfold of different species? During this conversation Adriana invites you into the odd, while also bringing some unique samples and sharing with you the many unfolding lives and letters.
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Ocean Prototype Nights: Canoes, Conservation, and Computation // 11/18, 10pm - 11/19, 12am EST // Free
Ocean Prototype Nights: six live-streamed evening dialogs twice a quarter from October through June around the Ocean Art + Science: Navigating the Pacific Project, a dozen 3-year artist-scientist-scholar collaborations in oceanographic and Indigenous ocean art and science culminating, in 2024, in rolling exhibitions at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps and the Geisel Library. Part of the Getty Pacific Standard Time 2024 regional collaboration of exhibitions on Art + Science, Graphic Ocean and Navigating the Pacific are forthcoming publication and exhibitions promoting intersections between art and science around oceanic conservation, contestation, and communities of practice. These dialogs are "prototypes" in the sense that they show research in progress.
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CHM Live | How AI Is Transforming Our World // 2pm - 3:30pm EST // Free
Whether you consider AI a tool, a partner, or a rival, one thing is certain: AI will alter your experiences and permanently change your relationship with reality. The good news? We can still decide how. Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO and Chairman, and Daniel Huttenlocher, inaugural dean of the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing, will explore what AI means to all of us and answer compelling questions: What will AI mean for health, biology, space, and quantum physics? How will AI impact war, security, and diplomatic negotiations? How will AI influence our culture, our concept of our humanity, and even our history? While the advancement of AI may be inevitable, affecting our relationship with knowledge, politics, and society, its ultimate destination is not. As digital citizens, we each can help shape technology in ways that are ethical and good for humanity.
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AI Tools for Media & News // 1pm - 2pm EST // Free
More and more, media startups and established news outlets are using AI tools—such as machine learning and natural language processing—to automate, innovate, and stay competitive in a highly challenging and rapidly changing media environment. During our "AI Tools for Media & News" event, we'll connect with media experts who are working to implement specific AI tools in newsrooms. We'll discuss AI for data visualization, story automation, paywalls, and more.
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IN CONVERSATION: Amanda Rhodenizer with Emma McKay // 7pm - 8:30pm EST // Free
O’er the Western Hills was conceived by the artist in collaboration with her subjects, including students, temp workers, teachers and retirees, who are actively engaged in work from a range of specialized STEM fields including fire safety, water quality, wetland conservation, site remediation, regenerative permaculture, ethics and justice, accessibility and outreach, and astrophysics. Despite their many professional accomplishments, the lived experiences of these members of the science community remains largely dominated by masculinity, whiteness, hetero-cis-normativity, and other forms of privilege. Rather than acting as a recruitment for Women in STEM, the thirteen paintings in the exhibition are intended as a collection of portraits of female and non-binary workers sharing their experiences. Please join us for an informative and engaging conversation between artist and subject, moderated by Ivan Jurakic.
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Friday, November 19

Digital (Im)mortality: Philosophy, Ethics and Design // 5:30am - 11:30am EST // Free
The development of digital technologies has led to an explosion of interest in radical life-extension and immortalisation strategies; strategies that are in turn spurring philosophical and social movements, artistic interventions, marketing promises and industry investment. Understanding these developments demands new interdisciplinary dialogues. The aim of this conference is therefore to explore novel ideas, frameworks, and theories of digital life-extension and immortalisation strategies, alongside the practical, legal, and ethical challenges that they pose. The conference is divided into three parts: (1) philosophy of digital immortality, (2) design for immortality, and (3) law and ethics of digital immortality.
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🔥Imagined (Lunar) Communities: Hope, Habitation, and Humanity // 2pm - 4pm EST // Free
Four speculative fiction authors come together to workshop the future. Singaporean author Manish Melwani writes sci-fi and horror that explores history and empire; Hugo Award Finalist and sociologist Malka Older writes on subjects from systems to compassion; Brazilian writer Fabio Fernandes writes solarpunk with a postcolonial twist; and Anishinaabe scholar and editor Grace Dillon first defined the genre of Indiginous futurism. Drawing on the future history of the Mare Nectaris lunar habitat, each author will bring a short vignette exploring and building out the world of the future. The body of this talk will be split between a reading, where each author will present their work, and a generative worldbuilding discussion, where our moderator, SF scholar Smaran Dayal will take the panelists through a process of re-imagining the futures their stories inhabit. Through collective storytelling they will demonstrate the processes by which our understandings of the future come to be. The question for the panelists and the audience is: What is a future that we want? What assumptions are we maintaining when imagining that future? What happens if we rewrite our endings?
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Speculative Futures: 2021 Graduate Symposium PacificNorthwestCollegeOfArt // 11/19, 9pm - 11/20, 10pm EST // Free
This symposium will consider how contemporary artists render algorithmic harms visible, and imagine speculative futures optimized for just outcomes. The two-day event will facilitate conversations on the ethical, environmental, political, social, and economic impacts of artificial intelligence and machine learning for artists, designers, makers, writers, researchers, and cultural workers. Featuring the work of Amelia Winger-Bearskin, an artist who innovates with technology to make a positive impact on her community and the environment, and Mashinka Firunts Hakopian, a scholar and curator exploring the intersections of algorithmic justice and visual art, Speculative Futures explores how artificial intelligence shapes political imaginaries of what is yet to come.
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Computational Grammars: Face, Race, and "Difference" // 4pm - 6pm EST // Free
The growing ubiquity of facial recognition technologies and their widespread management, from predictive policing to parasitic governance to border security and beyond demands intervening knowledge and countertactics. Please join Ramon Amaro (University College, London, UK), Zach Blas (University of Toronto, Canada), and Ezekiel Dixon-Román (University of Pennsylvania, U.S.) for a discussion of their generative research on normative ocular regimes, algorithmic architectures, and biometric framing analytics that conjoin “difference” and the face.
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4th DEI4EAI Workshop: Embodied AI and DEI Methods // 8am. -11am EST // Free
Stemming from an intersectional feminist perspective, the activities of this final workshop aim to raise awareness on the complexity of designing with diversity, equity and inclusion in mind. As a matter of fact, mainstream approaches in the design of technologies tend to marginalise populations characterised by some sort of diversity, whether they are women, an ethnic minority, or disabled people. And even when in place, traditional participatory methods often fail to achieve the desired inclusiveness as they fail to address the complexity and challenges that certain marginalised groups may face, hindering their ability to participate as equal partners in the design process. Conscious about the impossibility of defining the ‘DE&I” toolkit, we will discuss desirable practices for designers engaged in the development of embodied AI systems.
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Eco-creativity 2021: Art, Music, Ritual and Global Climate Politics // 8am - 12pm EST // Free
This edition of the Eco-creativity conference series addresses the creative cultural processes that enable activists, artists and indigenous groups to impact global climate politics. Eco-creativity 2021 aims to bring into focus the specific cultural repertoires and the ensuing opportunities and limitations of the quickly developing ritualised ecological arts that have come to accompany climate politics, from conferences to global days of action, and from mediatised political discourses to protest marches. Particular attention will be paid to the role played by visual and performance art through the visual, sonic and performative elements of protest actions. We aim to explore the variously culturally bound and counter-cultural responses and strategies that have emerged in recent years, both in and outside the contemporary art world. A key concern of the conference is that of closely examining the roles of art, music and ritual in creatively engaging culturally diverse participants and audiences with climate change and the ecological crisis, and thus evaluating their impact on global climate politics.
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Design.Sanitation // 9am - 10am EST // Free
A session that brings together dual challenges of sustainability and inclusivity in sanitation and public toilet provision. Speakers include Dr Alison Parker of Cranfield University, who will present her work in low-income economies, developing sustainable sanitation in the circular economy. The session will also show the award-winning film Bathroom Privileges: “Three stories of denied access and exclusion, bringing to light societies views on disability, gender and race in the most intimate spaces”.
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Saturday, November 20

Sacrificial Cabbage: Workshop w Christina Battle // 5pm. -7pm EST // Free
A lot has changed in the arts since the spring of 2020, and one infrastructural shift that I hope continues long after the pandemic subsides is the move to online workshops, events, and talks: now made accessible and available across distance. Much of my research considers distributed networks and how they might offer potentials for the exchange of ideas and the building of community in new ways. Beginning with a lecture and discussion exploring strategies that I’ve been experimenting with as part of participatory practice, together we will perform a number of recent projects and collectively consider what potentials might be gained from Doing Things with Others (across distance).
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Let's Talk Robotics, AI & Beyond - The Future Of African Robotics // 12pm. -1pm EST // Free
R3plica wants to bring the stories from the minds shaping the future of robotics and artificial intelligence (Ai), taking the development for the emerging technologies to the next level. The name 'R3plica' comes from the need to make different and distinctive the title of the 'Replica' project. In this episode, the guest speaker is the Founder and CEO of Reflect Robotics, Sikiru (Olamilekan) Salau, and the Robotics developer Nelson Elijah. Reflect Robotics builds advanced mobile manipulation service and industrial robots as well as robots for education, research, and product prototyping. Africa is highly underrepresented in advanced robotics and robot technologies.
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Life-Centered Design: Understanding and applying biomimicry solutions // 9:30am - 11:30am EST // €40
Organized by Through Objects and Stardust Life-Centered Design, this webinar is focused on sharing Biomimicry essential principles, and finding ways to apply these principles to human-made challenges within organisations. During this session, Giselle, Founder of Stardust, will present a methodology for applying life-centered design principles to some of the most common creative business problems. These strategies are especially interesting for Artists, Designers and creative studios to rethink their working and business strategies. In the second part of this webinar, participants will have the opportunity to practice and apply the acquired knowledge to a group challenge/exercise.
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Unapologetic Films: Back to the Future with Afrofuturism // 4pm - 5:30pm EST // Free
These works are “unapologetic” through their representation of the lived, re-imagined, and projected future experiences of the oppressed of Black people or the African Diaspora. Panelists will discuss key elements of selective works that blend speculative fiction with the cultures and experiences of Black people. Speculative fiction, an umbrella term for genre fiction or narratives that may encompass science fiction or fantasy genre, horror, or history, is a growing trend in black cinema. We will examine some of the images and cultural messaging that make Afro-Futurism a constructive tool to dispel misinformation, build understanding, re-imagine the past, and build new futures.
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Sunday, November 21

Contemporary Approaches to Research Symposium // 11/21, 5pm - 11/23, 1am EST // Free
Each year the ‘Contemporary approaches to research (CAR) in mathematics, science, health and environmental education’ symposium focuses on practical and theoretical aspects of a range of research methodologies – such as cross-cultural perspectives, activity theory, capturing complexity, classroom video analysis, quantitative methods, and interviewing – which are discussed in a lively, informal setting. The symposium in 2021 will be held online (via Zoom), and will focus on practical and theoretical aspects of research methodology (as usual) and this year we are broadening our methodological focus to include the (new) materialists.
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Mycelia at Raindance Film Festival // 3pm EST // CA$19.05
Nanotopia’s Midnight Mushroom Music, in collaboration with the Metaverse Crew, presents Live Reactive Fungi Frequencies and Interpretative Dance Performances featuring R00T and the particle dancers. Connecting living mycelium* biodata into a VR experience, Nanotopia's bio-sonification modules translate micro fluctuations in conductivity into MIDI, enabling them to send fungi energy through their synthesizers, creating a multi-species musical entanglement. The connected mycelium reacts sonically and visually within the audio-reactive world, to the virtual and physical human presence in a fungi-feedback loop. R00T interprets the fungi frequencies inside the VR space through a full-body-tracked dance performance, while she directs a swarm of inhabited particle dancers through the VR world to interact, melt and fight with her, driven by the mycelium beats. Visitors into Mycelia are encouraged to explore, harvest Amanita, and go for a swim while listening to mushroom melodies and experiencing the dance.
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Monday, November 22

SDX 33: An Exploration of Visionary Fiction // 3pm - 5pm EST // $11.62
Join us for a session to explore the practice of Visionary Fiction, and experiment with some speculative writing and world building techniques to imagine possible futures. Participants will learn about the origins of the craft, practice some creative writing techniques for future world building, and gain insight into how speculative fiction can be used in systems transformation to inform the complex challenges they are working with and within.
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Liquid, Love, Dreams: Indigenous Art as Strategy // 12pm. -1pm EST // Free
Wanda Nanibush discusses how First Nations contemporary art that comes from the places of liquid, love and dreams bring us new modes of being. Nanibush will use examples from her work inside the Art Gallery of Ontario and outside in the streets to discuss how to center Indigenous ways of being/moving beyond mere accommodation of difference or inclusion.
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WEEK 2 - Tuesday, November 23rd - Monday, November 29th

Tuesday, November 23

Indigeneity and Sound: A Roundtable // 1pm - 2:30pm EST // Free
How do indigenous politics and practices inform our relationship to Sound? What Indigenous voices are changing the sound of Canada’s creative industries? Join Falen Johnson, Stacey Copeland, The RTA School of Media and XSSC (X University Sound Studies Collective) in conversation with Indigenous media producers, sound artists and thinkers exploring how Indigenous knowledge and practices inform their creative practice.
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Designing the Fibre of a Commercial Ecosystem // 1pm - 2:30pm EST // £0 – £20
Carmen Hijosa was a highly regarded designer of fashion goods in leather and textiles when UN agencies commissioned her to improve local leather industries in some developing countries. In so doing, she became profoundly aware of the ecological challenges of the leather industry and saw alternate options. With the backing of the Product Development & Design Center Philippines, she began a project that lasted more than a decade to design an industrial scale alternative to leather made from waste, indeed converting waste into worth. The material is made consciously valorising waste and a supply chain designed to have the lowest environmental impact possible.
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1E9 THE_CONFERENCE 2021 - SYNTHESE // 11/23, 10am - 11/25, 5pm EST // €29
We live in a time full of opportunities. Through Web3, NFTs, and the Metaverse, we can create a better Internet. The combination of biology and technology is saving lives. But at the same time, our planet is on the brink of collapse. How do we get order out of this chaos? Thinking about the motto for this year's conference, we were struck by how polarized public discourse has become. Too often we end up in "us versus them” situations. But it’s not nature or technology, analog life or digital life, privacy or comfort, profit or impact. We don’t have to choose between the old economy and the new economy. Let’s not fall back into the same divisive patters again and again. Let’s create and celebrate collaborative solutions for a better future. Therefore, our motto for this year is: Synthese. (Which, by the way, is the German word for Synthesis.)
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Consulate General of Ireland "Creating Our Future" Roundtable // 12pm - 1:20pm EST // Free
Earlier this year, the Government of Ireland launched Creating our Future - a campaign to stimulate a national conversation that generates ideas from the people of Ireland to inform the direction of research in our country. The West Coast of the United States is home to some of the most ground-breaking research, science and technology. The Irish and Irish American community embedded within this community have unique perspectives – we want to ensure that this campaign benefits from those perspectives. The theme for this session will be Using Tech for Societal Good.
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Architecture, Engineering and Construction in the Metaverse // 8am - 9am EST // Free
Martin McDonnell – Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Edify - will take the most hyped concepts of recent times: “The Metaverse” & “Digital Twins”, and share insight beyond that hype; how Digital Twins fit into the wider visions of the Metaverse. He will be showing how some of his recent work, particularly on Gigaprojects in the Middle East, reveal how real value and genuine utility can be derived by leveraging the power of games engines and immersive technology.
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3D Bioprinting 2030 Forum // 1am - 2:30am EST // Free
The convergence of advances in biomaterials, stem cell biology and 3D fabrication has enabled us to tackle challenges in health, food production and remote manufacturing that may have seemed insurmountable just a few years ago. So can we imagine what the next few years will bring? This panel of experts are going to give that a red hot go: A/Prof Payal Mukherjee, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital: ENT surgeon and a recognised expert in the translation of new technologies into medical practice. Payal will present her vision for 3D Biofabrication in the year 2030. Dr Cathal O’Connell, RMIT: Research scientist and a scientific communicator. Cathal will present his vision for the use of 3D Biofabrication in Space travel. Prof Bhesh Bhandari, University of Queensland: Research scientist who has pioneered the development of 3D printing of foods. There is no doubt there will be great advances in this area as we stride towards 2030.
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Radical Ecology: Media Art and the Environment // 1:30pm - 2:45pm EST // Free
In the aftermath of the COP26 climate summit and the global demonstrations that call for immediate action to prevent catastrophic global warming, Radical Ecology looks to art as a forum where future possibilities can be imagined and provides a discursive setting to explore these subjects in a media art context. If we think of art as a tool with which artists are able to raise questions about our human existence, the lives we lead and the society we inhabit, then media artists are right at the forefront of this discourse. They work with technology and innovation, looking towards the future and are forced into a dialogue with our throw-away consumer culture as part of their process. Using the National Gallery’s collection as a starting point, we will investigate the environment and landscape as a source of artistic inspiration and contemplation. Radical Ecology invites Ben Eaton, Sarah Craske and Frances Disley to explore climate change, ecology, sustainable practice and conservation within relation to their work.
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Wednesday, November 24

Joana Moll: Data Extraction, Materiality and Agency // 1pm - 3pm EST // Free
In this talk, we will discuss the interface as a well-engineered capitalist machine that disconnects users from the material complexities of global chains of commodity and data production—and also social reproduction—with the aim of increasing economic profit. Thus, it is necessary to trace the connections that exist between things—as well as the workload involved in the basic maintenance of those connections—if the user is to fully understand the systems they operate in, in order to balance and repair the profoundly asymmetrical distribution of agency, energy, labour, time, care and resources within these planetary networks. Our so-called networked society has failed so far to transpose the logic of interconnectedness into our lives. Citizens are becoming increasingly machine-like and dependent on data, threatening the connection between humans and their natural habitats. Although most of our daily transactions are carried out through electronic devices, we know very little of the apparatus that facilitates such interactions, or in other words, about the factory that lies beyond the interface.
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Pulse Lab Lecture with Dr. Nicole Dalmer and Dr. Kirsten Ellison // 2pm - 3pm EST // Free
The Pulse Lab and the Gender and Social Justice Studies Program at McMaster University cordially invites you to our Fall 2021 virtual talk with Dr. Nicole Dalmer (McMaster University) and Dr. Kirsten Ellison (Trent University). The seminar, titled, "Designing for future selves, not aging Others: New methodologies for Age Tech research and speculative futures of design," discusses current trends in Age Tech innovation designed to enable aging-in-place assume a shared vision of a future where aging can and should be monitored and controlled through data. Many of these technologies include ambient sensors that silently and remotely track the older, “at risk” person’s comings and goings, their eating, sleeping and bathroom habits, whether they are taking their medication, their gate, the length of time they are sitting, standing, or lying down, and the list goes on. Although there have been some efforts to include the experiences and desires of older adults into the design and critique of aging-in-place technologies, young adults, as future users of these devices – both as caregivers and cared for – have thus far been excluded. In this talk, we share results from focus groups with 10 individuals between the ages of 18-35 where we asked participants to talk about and map out the kinds of technologies they imagine using in their home in later life. 
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Robotic Building | Henriette Bier (TU Delft) // 5am - 7am EST // Free
The module Emerging Fields in Architecture imparts current knowledge from new research fields in architectural and engineering disciplines, with the aim of dealing with current and future design challenges in a broader social context in an interdisciplinary and fundamental way. The lectures impart knowledge about different and interdisciplinary approaches to design, current developments and results of material and construction research, about planning and building under/in extreme conditions as well as about structures that change or develop due to changing parameters.
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Research Insights | Our viral future // 11:30am - 12:15pm EST // Free
The past two years have shown every single one of us how culture, behaviour and even our interactions with the natural world can influence the spread of infection. Dr Richard Sloan’s job is to learn what infections that ‘go viral’ have in common. Together with Dr Aaron Trent-Irving he’ll explore the origins of viruses that have shaped our lives and how similarities between them could help scientists pinpoint potential sources of future pandemics. 
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Thursday, November 25 🦃🥧

Planet Futures My Science Odyssey: lions, leopards and the new future // 2am - 3:30am EST // Free
What is the life journey that leads to a life of science and innovation, to rewilding lions and wolves, and to becoming a futurist? Gary is a sustainability futurist working mainly in the areas of transport, energy and regional innovation. He has a penchant for identifying system scale opportunities which combine technology, business and regulatory innovation. “Scientist, analyst and entrepreneur - I spend my time at the interface between technology, business and policy innovation. I'm especially interested in new technologies/business models that improve sustainability and our capacity to work together to make the world a better place.”
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Friday, November 26

"Meet the Labs": Explorations in Ethnographic Practice from Vancouver to LA // 1pm - 3pm EST // Free
In November 2020, the University of Toronto Ethnography Lab invited some of our sister labs to participate in a virtual roundtable event at the American Anthropology Associations’ “Raising our Voices” annual meeting. The event brought together members of the Center for Experimental Ethnography at University of Pennsylvania, the Center for Ethnography at UC Irvine, and the Ethnography Lab at Concordia University to reflect on the challenges and possibilities of doing ethnography under the shifting, uncertain and unstable conditions. Ethnography Labs and centers often occupy an interstitial place in the academic ecosystem as sites for collaboration, experimentation, and practice outside of departmental programs, relations of supervision, and the university itself. Our “Meet the Labs” series is an extension of the AAA roundtable where we hope to connect and network with sister labs through a shared passion for ethnographic practice and methods. Together we will explore the possibilities of different organizational and institutional forms for the practice of ethnography. 
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Design Dynamics, Designing for Placemaking // 9pm - 11pm EST // Free
The resistance to the rapid gentrification and homogenization of the built environment has led to the thinning out of culture, sense of community and identity. As a result, the notions of place and placemaking emerged as resultant approaches in disciplines of architecture, urban planning, and social sciences, amongst others. In short, placemaking connects people and place. While place is seen as a product, placemaking is a process involving interdisciplinary, entrepreneurial, innovative and creative approaches towards a “cause”. This session “Designing for Placemaking” is a discussion on creating place and placemaking, connecting innovation and creativity, management, impact, and value.
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Saturday, November 27

The Uncertain Future of Media Literacy with Frank Baker // 12pm - 1:30pm EST // $15 - $99
Join us for a provocative conversation with media scholar Frank Baker. His experiences and observations will provoke a spirited discussion about the future of media literacy.
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Sunday, November 28

Nothing to Report 👾

Monday, November 29

Witness: Imagine Life, Work & Tech in a Low Carbon Future // 4am - 5:30am EST // €0 – €6.19
Explore divergent futures and discover how you can help shape a better tomorrow. The last two years have been a stark lesson in how global events can affect people’s lives on a personal level. These are the themes that the NGI Impact Conference explores. Through a program of live and online events, conference participants take a look at all-encompassing philosophies, sweeping economic policies and historic social trends, and asks what these might look like through the eyes of ordinary people living through them. Through experimentation, play and discussion, the NGI Impact Conference is an exercise in asking the question “How can we use Internet Technologies to make the world better...and how would we as individuals fit into that story?”
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Posthuman Reading Group: Extract and Preserve by Shannon Mattern // 1pm - 3pm EST // Free
In this online meeting, we will do a close reading of Shannon Mattern’s, 'Extract and Preserve. Underground Repositories for a Posthuman Future?' to discuss the deep spaces of deep time, preservation efforts, speculating and hoping. The meeting will start with a short presentation giving context to the topic, the text and the author, and will be followed by collective reading and informal discussion. Shannon Mattern is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology at The New School in New York. For 14.5 years she served as a faculty member in The New School’s School of Media Studies. Her writing and teaching focus on archives, libraries, and other media spaces; media infrastructures; spatial epistemologies; and mediated sensation and exhibition. She's the author of three books: The New Downtown Library: Designing with Communities; Deep Mapping the Media City; and Code and Clay, Dirt and Data: 5000 Years of Urban Media, all published by University of Minnesota Press.
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Upcoming Speculative Futures Meetups 

Creating Futures – Speculative Futures x ADC Festival 2021 // Speculative Futures Stuttgart // Tuesday, November 16th, 11am - 2pm EST // Free (In German)
Herzliche Einladung zum analogen Futures Stuttgart-Event 2021! Im Rahmen des ADC Festivals 2021 "Superkraft Kreativität" dürfen wir einen Abend dem Thema "Creating Futures" widmen. Junge Kreative aus ganz Deutschland kommen zusammen, um ihre Arbeiten vorzustellen und mit allen Interessierten in den Austausch zu treten. Der Eintritt ist kostenfrei, um Anmeldung wird gebeten. Teilnehmer*innenzahl aufgrund der aktuellen Lage begrenzt.
A warm invitation to the analogue Futures Stuttgart event 2021! As part of the ADC Festival 2021 "Super Power Creativity", we are allowed to dedicate an evening to the topic of "Creating Futures". Young creative people from all over Germany come together to present their work and to exchange ideas with anyone who is interested. Admission is free, please register. The number of participants is limited due to the current situation.
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Futures of Relationship Building + Coaching // Speculative Futures Austin // Wednesday, November 17th, 2pm - 3pm EST // Free
Luisa Ji is a designer and strategist who uses ecological storytelling to inspire community-level futures. She works with social entrepreneurs and cultural producers in the arts, such as UKAI Projects, FERMENT AI, BMW Foundation, The Bentway, and FromLater, to develop brand and digital strategies that enrich the edges and margins between the digital and the real. Luisa is a partner of Nomadic Labs, a fellow of UKAI Project, and a member of the Diaspora Futures Collective. In 2021, she began developing Found and Futured under Ground Work Studio, exploring diasporas stories of ecology, migration, and histories that will inevitably change our shared futures on this Earth we inhabit. Luisa's Presentation: Our Bodies are of Earthly Relationships. There are always an overwhelming amount of "humanly" things to do in our lives. We came to rely on technologies and strategies for efficiency and productivity, yet they often disregard the need to nourish our bodies and the land. Today, as many of us find ourselves hopping from one burnout to another, living in ecologies in distress, restoring our relationships with the Earth might offer insight on how to design our personal futures.
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Project Share / Collaborative Futures // Speculative Futures Portland // Wednesday, November 17th, 8:30pm - 9:30pm EST // Free

This is an open-to-all presentation share, hosted by the Speculative Futures Portland Chapter. Join us to learn about two incredible Futures projects from Portland community members. This is the first in a series of many project shares to come. In this edition, we'll celebrate collaborative approaches and hear from: Laura Nissen is a foresight practitioner and a Research Fellow with the Institute for the Future. She is also the PI and Director of the national Social Work Health Futures Lab funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which is what she'll be talking about. The goal of this initiative is to bring futures thinking and frameworks to the social work profession. Laura is also a Presidential Futures Fellow at Portland State University where she has been a founder of the university-wide Futures Collaboratory. She is equally dedicated to supporting the successful evolution of public universities into a thriving future. Grace Mervin, a feelings facilitator and transdisciplinary designer, is the designer behind Future Feels, a mobile collaborative exhibit designed to prompt the exploration of feelings surrounding climate change and the future of our planet. She has facilitated this project all around Portland at climate change conferences, PBOT Sunday Parkways, Give!Guide events, the IPRC, and more. Grace is currently living in NYC pursuing her MFA in Transdisciplinary Design at Parsons, but will forever hold Portland dear to her heart! 
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Campaign Fiction – a foresight method from Z_punkt [Digital Workshop] // Speculative Futures Berlin // Wednesday, November 17, 12:30pm - 2pm EST // Free
Design fiction aims at exploring possible futures by creating speculative, and often provocative scenarios narrated through designed artifacts. But the lack of structure when talking about futures can be frustrating. Often, this calls for an employment of existing techniques such as the development of advertising campaigns to provide focus. Advertising campaigns, as controversial parts of society, can be integrated in approaches of design fiction and speculative futures. This mixed approach is what we call Campaign Fiction. The approach was first presented at the PRIMER 21 conference and tested with participants from all over the world.
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Taller : “Explorando Métodos Especulativos” // Speculative Futures San Jose // Tuesday, November 18th, 1pm - 2:30pm EST // Free (In Spanish)
Después de unos meses de silencio, estamos de regreso y emocionados de encontrarnos de nuevo. Queríamos involucrarnos más con métodos especulativos, ¡así que estamos felices y honrados de recibir a Filippo Cuttica y Annelie Berner para nuestro próximo evento! Ambos son futuristas expertos y diseñadores especulativos (ver biografías a continuación) que nos guiarán a través de un taller para explorar distintos métodos. La sesión nos ayudará a aprender más sobre el proceso de diseño especulativo, familiarizarnos con nuevas herramientas y exponernos a nuevas formas de pensar en torno a algunos de los temas más relevantes de nuestro tiempo.
After a few months of silence, we are back and excited to meet again.We wanted to get more involved with speculative methods, so we are happy and honored to host Filippo Cuttica and Annelie Berner for our next event! Both are expert futurists and speculative designers (see biographies below) who will guide us through a workshop to explore different methods. The session will help us learn more about the speculative design process, become familiar with new tools, and expose ourselves to new ways of thinking around some of the most relevant issues of our time.
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Speculative News & Resources 📰

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

Niantic reveals its vision for a ‘real-world metaverse,’ releases Lightship AR Developer Kit // TechCrunch
AR technology company Niantic, best known for Pokémon GO, announced today that it will launch Lightship, an AR Developer Kit (ARDK) that will make building augmented reality experiences more accessible. This free, openly available technology will help Niantic lay the foundation for its vision of the “real-world metaverse...
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Why The Future Is Always Painted White - Cheddar Explains // Cheddar [Video]
If you ask the sci-fi writers, our cities of the future will be painted white. Knowing how science fiction tends to become a reality, it’s no surprise we’re seeing more and more white structures cropping up around the world. What may surprise you is the real world impact the color white has on our cities.
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Team Uses AI to Develop the 'Ultimate' Chickpea // Futurity

Using artificial intelligence, researchers have developed a genetic model for the “ultimate” chickpea, with the potential to lift crop yields by up to 12%. Researchers genetically mapped thousands of chickpea varieties, and then used this information to identify the most valuable gene combinations using artificial intelligence (AI)...
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The Future of AI is a Conversation with a Computer // The Verge
 would an AI writing program start an article on the future of AI writing? Well, there’s one easy way to find out: I used the best known of these tools, OpenAI’s GPT-3, to do the job for me. Using GPT-3 is disarmingly simple. You have a text box to type into and a menu on the side to adjust parameters, like the “temperature” of the response (which essentially equates to randomness). You type, hit enter, and GPT-3 completes what you’ve written, be it poetry, fiction, or code...
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The USDA Just Made Its First Investment in Lab-Grown Meat // Vegnews
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) just made its first investment in the lab-grown meat industry. The government agency will award $10 million over the course of five years to Tufts University to establish the National Institute for Cellular Agriculture, a flagship American cultivated protein research center. The project aims to create a more resilient food system by developing “outreach, extension, and education for the next generation of professionals” in the field of cellular agriculture—which revolves around the use of a small amount of animal cells to create real meat and other animal proteins, replacing the environmentally damaging practice of raising and slaughtering animals for food...
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New York City passed a bill requiring 'bias audits' of AI hiring tech // Protocol
Let the AI auditing vendor brigade begin. A year since it was introduced, New York City Council passed a bill earlier this week requiring companies that sell AI technologies for hiring to obtain audits assessing the potential of those products to discriminate against job candidates. The bill requiring "bias audits" passed with overwhelming support in a 38-4 vote. The bill is intended to weed out the use of tools that enable already unlawful employment discrimination in New York City. If signed into law, it will require providers of automated employment decision tools to have those systems evaluated each year by an audit service and provide the results to companies using those systems...
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When algorithms go bad: Zillow, Amazon, Facebook and the pitfalls of rampant automation // Geekwire [Podcast]
The downfall of Zillow’s iBuying business is a reminder of the downsides of relying too much on automation and machine learning algorithms at this stage in the evolution of technology. On this episode of the GeekWire Podcast, a conversation about the pitfalls of real estate valuations leads John Cook and me into a larger discussion about the continued importance of human judgment and attention in the modern world.
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Neal Stephenson on his new geoengineering climate change thriller and coining the term ‘metaverse’ // CNBC
Neal Stephenson talks about his new science-fiction novel, “Termination Shock,” which features the radical step of geoengineering as a way to stall global warming. He also responds to the sudden widespread usage of the term “metaverse,” which he coined in his 1992 novel, “Snow Crash.”...
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What 100 suicide notes taught us about creating more empathetic chatbots // TNW
While the art of conversation in machines is limited, there are improvements with every iteration. As machines are developed to navigate complex conversations, there will be technical and ethical challenges in how they detect and respond to sensitive human issues. Our work involves building chatbots for a range of uses in health care. Our system, which incorporates multiple algorithms used inartificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing, has been in development at the Australian e-Health Research Centre since 2014...
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A Black Woman Invented Home Security. Why Did It Go So Wrong? // Wired
THERE’S A WELL-KNOWN story among surveillance studies scholars and students of Black innovation: that of Marie Van Brittan Brown, a Black woman from Jamaica, Queens, New York who is now recognized as having invented the home security system in 1966. Brown worked long hours as a nurse and often came home late at night. Her husband also worked “irregular hours,” and Brown worried about who might knock on her door if she were home alone at night. Similar versions of Brown’s story can be found at the MIT Lemelson Center and all around the internet, including on Wikipedia, the African American history site Blackpast, and the history site Timeline. It’s understandable that attention would be paid to Brown’s pioneering work as a Black woman inventor whose contribution has rightly been cited in the development of subsequent home security systems and as the origin point for a massive industry...
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This Restaurant Robot Fries Your Food to Perfection With No Human Help // SingularityHub
Four and a half years ago, a robot named Flippy made its burger-cooking debut at a fast food restaurant called CaliBurger. The bot consisted of a cart on wheels with an extending arm, complete with a pneumatic pump that let the machine swap between tools: tongs, scrapers, and spatulas. Flippy’s main jobs were pulling raw patties from a stack and placing them on the grill, tracking each burger’s cook time and temperature, and transferring cooked burgers to a plate...
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Apple patent fights lookie-loos with glasses-activated screen blur // ArsTechnica
Apple is giving new meaning to the phrase "for your eyes only." A patent filed by Apple and published Thursday by the US Patent and Trademark Office details the tech giant's interest in creating "privacy eyewear" that blurs content on a device's screen unless someone is wearing special glasses to look at it. As spotted by Patently Apple, the patent, which focuses on creating different FaceID profiles for various visual impairments, explores a new type of privacy screen. The patent doesn't specify any Apple product by name. Instead, it refers to electronic devices in general, including smartphones, watches, laptops, TVs, and car displays. Drawings in the patent show the feature working on a smartphone-like device...
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Chinese Scientists Say They’ve Discovered Cheap New Way to Do Nuclear Fusion // Futurism
A team of scientists in China say they’ve discovered a cost-effective method of achieving nuclear fusion that could rival much more expensive counterparts. Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Physics began their experiments into fusion power at the Shenguang II laser facility last summer, according to The South China Morning Post...
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Metamaterial Can Sense, Decide, and Act // Futurity
Scientists have developed an artificial material called a metamaterial that can respond to its environment, independently make a decision, and perform an action without direction from a human. For example, a drone making a delivery might evaluate its environment including wind direction, speed, or wildlife, and automatically change course in order to complete the delivery safely...
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A revolutionary clinical trial is testing customized vaccines that target cancerous tumors // Wesh
A vaccine with the potential to revolutionize cancer treatment is being tested in Boston. The customized vaccines are intended to help the body's immune system target an individual's tumor...
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A system to control robotic arms based on augmented reality and a brain-computer interface // TechXplore
For people with motor impairments or physical disabilities, completing daily tasks and house chores can be incredibly challenging. Recent advancements in robotics, such as brain-controlled robotic limbs, have the potential to significantly improve their quality of life. Researchers at Hebei University of Technology and other institutes in China have developed an innovative system for controlling robotic arms that is based on augmented reality (AR) and a brain-computer interface. This system, presented in a paper published in the Journal of Neural Engineering, could enable the development of bionic or prosthetic arms that are easier for users to control....
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Everything you need to know about solar-powered cars // TNW
We talk a lot at SHIFT about materials innovation, especially advancements in battery ingredients, size, and range. Battery electric cars are growing mainstream with firm commitments from OEMs to replace ICEs with electric (and to a lesser extent hydrogen) powered vehicles. But there’s another form of energy that’s even older — solar. While solar has undergone a comparable revolution in photovoltaic development, a mass-produced solar car has yet to hit the market anywhere in the world...
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What the Hell Is ‘Right-Clicker Mentality’? // Vice
Every new subculture eventually develops its own language, and the people buying and selling NFTs are no different.  The blockchain scene is full of crypto-heads spouting phrases like WAGMI (we are going to make it), cope, and GM (good morning). Sometimes a subculture will produce a new phrase or buzzword so beautiful it gets adopted by the wider culture. So it is with “right-clicker mentality.”..
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Race, gender and representation: The grey area of the metaverse // Vogue Business
Fashion’s enthusiastic adoption of the metaverse, where digital avatars, virtual reality activations, NFTs and gaming partnerships offer fertile ground to build relationships with Gen Z customers, also raises new ethical challenges including on gender and race representation. Questions experts and communities have posed include: Should anyone be able to invent a Black female model? Is it a problem that male gamers are more comfortable using female-oriented avatars than women are using male-oriented avatars? What does it mean that dark-skinned and female avatars called Meebits, which live on the Ethereum blockchain, seem to be less in-demand than white males? And when is a branded presence in a game verging on cultural appropriation?
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Fun Stuff 🚀

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

Open Calls/Submissions/Opportunities & Cool Projects

Open Calls, Submissions & Other Opportunities

With A Cast of Colored Stars // Deadline 11/29
With a Cast of Colored Stars, is an upcoming exhibition that examines visual representations of Black identity and language found in early African-American cinema and music. Borrowing from film studio phrases such as “an all colored cast” or “with a cast of colored stars,” we look closely at how early forms of graphic design in the United States were complicit in shaping stereotypes and reinforcing racism. The exhibition aims to re-interpret, re-envision and re-mix the visual vernacular used to reinforce segregation, as means of direct intervention to Jim Crow era print media.The show’s exhibited content will primarily focus on print ephemera from popular entertainment, highlight examples of Black representation and identify important cultural symbols used to define Blackness in design. From film posters to music sheet covers, artists and designers will explore the historical significance of these printed forms as they propagated a legacy of racialized iconography that continues to impact U.S. racial formations as we understand them today.
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Cool Projects

La Gran Imaginación: Historias Del Futuro // Espacio Fundación Telefónica
The Great Imagination. Histories of the Future proposes a reflection on our capacity to imagine the future in a journey that brings together fictions from the 18th century to the present day. It explores the extent to which our current vision of the future remains anchored in ideas and values of the past, and explores - through four installations created for the exhibition - the role that imagination and creativity can play in the production of alternative futures.
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The Virtual Human Practitioners Guide Code of Ethics
If we are going to create a new form of relationship, an emotional bond with a consumer, then we have a responsibility for: (1) Ownership, (2) Accountability/Traceability, (3) Labelling...
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Gaming, Shows, Books & Other Random Cool Stuff

Deciphering the Philosophers’ Stone: How Scientists Cracked a 400-Year-Old Alchemical Cipher // SingularityHub
What secret alchemical knowledge could be so important it required sophisticated encryption? At the conference, Science History Institute postdoctoral researcher Megan Piorko presented a curious manuscript belonging to English alchemists John Dee (1527–1608) and his son Arthur Dee (1579–1651). In the pre-modern world, alchemy was a means to understand nature through ancient secret knowledge and chemical experiment. Within Dee’s alchemical manuscript was a cipher table, followed by encrypted ciphertext under the heading “Hermeticae Philosophiae medulla”—or Marrow of the Hermetic Philosophy...
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Cy_Borg will provide the cyberpunk apocalypse our society truly deserves // Polygon
 Borg, the award-winning rules-light role-playing game, is getting a high-concept spinoff. Titled Cy_Borg, the 160-page book is written by Christian Sahlén, with art by franchise illustrator Johan Nohr, and in partnership with the Stockholm Kartell. Described by Free League Publishing as a “deck-hacking, brick-throwing upheaval of a game." Polygon sat down with the creatives behind it for an exclusive behind-the-scenes peek at what promises to be one of the biggest tabletop releases of 2022.
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What I'm Loving

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

Kushiel's Avatar
Jacqueline Carey

Episode 95: Science Fiction Keeps Trying To "Fix" Disabled People
Our Opinions Are Correct Podcast

Demolition Man

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