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YOUR BIWEEKLY DOSE OF EVERYTHING SPECULATIVE

DESIGN // FICTION // TECHNOLOGY // ART

 
   
 
 
 

SciFly // 147 // Remote Speculations Week 41/42

Speculative Events, News & Resources | Sent 12/28


Hey SciFly Readers!

Wishing you a happy New Year and hope you are all safe over the holiday break!

I have had QUITE the week, with some terrifying housing drama to start my holiday break, followed by the usual yet unusual activities of shopping, decorating, wrapping, and visiting during a pandemic. 😭

Suffice it to say that I am BURNT OUT tonight, home in BK, half-watching Hamilton (again) with the partner, and hoping to have a less stressful second week of vacation while hopefully ironing out the housing issues. 🤞

I really do want to write about some of my experiences playing Cyberpunk 2077 "as a futurist" and really playing video games in general with a speculative mindset, and how I think it both differs from and enriches the experience of playing them 'normally'. But it will have to wait! Going to grab a glass of some sort of delicious cocktail (we'll see what we have), put my feet up, and trying to remember what relaxing feels like. 😜

Since it was another 'fortnight' for events, I added lot's of fun predictions, lists, and such for starting off 2021 in the news & cool stuff sections. Also added some great new projects shared from the SF Slack community!

Catch you all next time for my annual R3s0lut10ns post where I look back at my speculative resolutions for 2020, see how I did, and try to set some new ones for 2021!

Until then, have a wonderful New Year stay safe, however you choose to celebrate!!! 🎉🎊🎉
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!

❤️Doc

"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.
 
Couldn't help dropping in my build for V in Cyberpunk 2077. <3
 
 
   
 
 
 

Online Events 🗓

Running list of online events that I will update biweekly. Events are organized chronologically by week, with ongoing events and Speculative Futures events listed separately at the end.

WEEK 1 - Tuesday, December 29 - Monday, January 4

Tuesday, December 29


A Time of Uncertainty: Tristan Poyser Artist Talk // 2pm - 3:30pm EST // Donation
This is a participatory talk organised by Artlink, Donegal, in collaboration with Grain, the strategic network for photography in the West Midlands of England. Poyser invites the public to consider the impact of the referendum vote, on those living on the Irish border and how it will impact their future. He asks them to tear the photograph where they think the border is, and write a comment about this period of uncertainty and Brexit. The resulting images form part of a document that records the responses of hundreds of individuals from across Ireland and the UK.
Learn More

Bitpush Interview: Misinformation and The Quest for Truth // 8:30am EST // Free
The truth has become increasingly difficult to find as social media continues to rise. How can we sort out the facts from the mass of information, the truth from lies? Should technology giants be held responsible? How can blockchain rebuild the trust between people? Linkedln Co-Founder Eric Ly talks with Bitpush News on how to find truth in this age of misinformation..
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2040 - The Film for the Future // 7pm - 9pm EST // Free
An inspiring film that showcases what the year 2040 could look like if we invested in the green technologies we have already developed.
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Framing Our Futures: Rethinking Black Storytelling In The New Normal // 7pm - 8pm EST // Free
A panel discussion with 6 Black photographers working in a broad range of styles. They will discuss what creating looks like during the time of COVID, setting intentions for the new year, and what it means to frame our own futures as Black creators. Panelists include Wavebeast (Wavebeast productions) Jasano Brooks (Opya Studios), Zeal Eva, Lataevia Fowler (B.LaRae Photography), Jordyn Ari (Jordyn Ari Photography) and Martell Hardy
Learn More
 

Wednesday, December 30

NYC Resistor at RC3 - Avatar Fashion Show // 5pm - 7pm EST // Free
We are super excited to be launching our virtual NYCResistor space - NYC Resistor Clubhouse and Hackerspace connector - in conjunction with this year's Chaos Computing Congress (CCC) this year known as RC3 - Remote Computing Experience. You can join 2D in your browser on your desktop or mobile, or you can join in VR -- all major headsets are supported. You can join via the browser or in VR. All headsets are supported, you’ll need to log in from the browser to get VR login keys. For best browser experience we recommend Firefox or Brave. (On chrome you will experience a very slow frame rate). Events will include a Femme Hackers Meetup, a Hacker Dance Party, Avatar Fashion Show and Generative Art Gallery!
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🔥CATH-ART-SYS 20/21 // 5pm - 9:30pm EST // Donation
It's been a crazy year. Let's end it by purging some psychological demons by doing deep futures / deep time reflections. Following the extended present idea developed by renown peace researcher and futurist Elise Boulding, each segment (25 min) will use art to explore the past/present/future of these time scales. Different ZJs take on these categories, developing a curated experience for watchers / listeners / audience. The segments use art to reflect and surface themes and issues from the time frame, past present and future. Each segment will use Boulding's extended present to stretch timeframe. 
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LCSF reads The Left Hand of Darkness // 7pm - 8:30pm EST // $5 - $19.50
Join us and our host Evan once a month for a discussion on some of the most stirring classic and contemporary speculative fiction. Next up is Ursula K. Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness A groundbreaking work of science fiction, The Left Hand of Darkness tells the story of a lone human emissary to Winter, an alien world whose inhabitants can choose - and change - their gender. His goal is to facilitate Winter's inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization. But to do so he must bridge the gulf between his own views and those of the completely dissimilar culture that he encounters.
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"The Speculative Misfires of the Post-Truth." // 6:30am - 7:30am EST // Free
American Center New Delhi, in collaboration with the Kutumb Foundation, presents Josh-e-Umang, a series of performing arts events. The first theater performance of this series will be presented by Third Space Collective, one of Delhi's premier theater troupes. Every human being is innocent until proven guilty, and they will explore this fundamental human right through their original play, The Speculative Misfires of the Post-Truth. In the play, four college friends meet up in the evening to discuss the goings-on of their lives. Their 'political correctness' sticks with them as they constantly document and stream their lives, which in turn is up for public consumption.
Learn More
 


Thursday, December 31


Nothing to report! 👾
 


Friday, January 1 2021 🎉


Nothing to report! 👾
 

 

Saturday, January 2


The Hand-Off: Nick Drain and Harrison Kinnane Smith in Conversation // 7pm - 8:15pm EST // Donation
Artist Nick Drain in conversation about his work and the intersections of photographic violence, Blackness, surveillance and (in)visibility. Published in the Bunker Review's new Hand-Off series, Drain's essay What Are You Looking At? uses photographic history, Simone Brown’s sousveillance, and Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon to uncover the entangled relationship between “the technology that is race and the technology that is photography.” Join us for a virtual conversation between Drain and Bunker Review editor Harrison Kinnane Smith about Drain's essay, and how he addresses the questions it raises in his art.
Learn More
 

Sunday, January 3

Nothing to report! 👾
 
 

Monday January 4


'Alphonse Mucha: The Illustrator Who Changed the Advertising World' // 8pm - 9:30pm EST // $10
Alphonse Mucha arrived in Paris in 1887, living in relative poverty as an obscure illustrator for many years. On Christmas Eve in 1894, the Lemercier printing firm was tasked with making a poster for the reopening of a play featuring one of the world's most famous actresses, Sarah Bernhardt. Mucha happened to be one of the few illustrators available over the holidays, so it fell on him to design the poster by New Year's Day. What resulted was a poster that captivated Paris — one that would launch his design career and help him become one of the most celebrated graphic designers of the Art Nouveau period. This is the story of Alphonse Mucha and how his posters changed the advertising world.
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The Benefits of Simplicity in the Art of Historical Game Design // 6pm - 8pm EST // Free
Games have always been an extension of human creativity. As we continue to explore the ways that games can help us teach and learn our shared history, it is important to think about how we as designers express that history. How can we take a variety of historical and historiographical sources and fit them into our models? In this session, we will focus on how smaller wargames can authentically model and distill history to create efficient (and enjoyable) play experiences.
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WEEK 2 - Tuesday, January 5 - Monday, January 11

Tuesday, January 5


Visualizing Uncertainty for Better Inferences from Data // 6pm - 8pm EST // Free
Charts, graphs, and other information visualizations amplify cognition by enabling users to visually perceive trends and differences in quantitative data. While guidelines dictate how to choose visual encodings and metaphors to support accurate perception, it is less obvious how to design visualizations that encourage rational decisions and inference. I'll motivate several challenges that must be overcome to support effective reasoning with visualizations, and describe visualizations and interactive mechanisms that can help.
Learn More
 


Wednesday, January 6


Design as an Attitude by Alice Rawsthorn | Book Discussion // 7pm - 8pm EST // Free
Join us to discuss ‘Design as an Attitude’ to explore the many ways design is currently responding to the state of our world. Let's collectively come together to envision a world where we use our skills and tools to take the world's most urgent problems.
Learn More
 


Thursday, January 7


The Future of Space Travel with Kennedy Space Center Director // 1pm - 2pm EST // Free
Just recently, astronauts launched from Cape Canaveral for the first time in nine years! With this launch, a new era of space exploration is underway. NASA has come a long way in the last 50 years and the Kennedy Space Center is transforming to become the multi-user spaceport of the future. In this virtual talk, Director of NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center and former NASA Astronaut Robert D. Cabana will discuss the pivotal government and commercial partnerships that have taken place over the last nine years to transition the Center from a government-only launch complex to one where commercial partners are providing the capability to take astronauts back to the International Space Station—after nine years without it—through the Commercial Crew Program.
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Telling Stories with Immersive XR Experiences // 1pm - 2pm EST // Free
2020 was the year of remote activity which in many respects accelerated the next wave of digitization - including the implementation of XR. For museums and cultural organizations, the pressure to have “virtual tours” has become all the more pressing. Every museum has unique challenges and unique opportunities. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Like all things that have value, it takes hard work to arrive at the exact right solution for your institution. Luckily there is a process of discovery that you can use with your team and a developer to arrive at a solution that is effective, matches your goals and fits within your budgetary constraints
Learn More
 

Friday, January 8 

Live Coding: HYDRA for Creative Visuals // 3pm - 5pm EST // Free
HYDRA is a browser based programming tool for live coding interactive graphics. Participants will learn how to create exciting and reactive visual displays while learning the basics of computer programming. Three exercises will be taught to demonstrate how to create graphics that react to music, evolve, and how to share your creations with the community.
Learn More
 

Saturday, January 9

Black Curatorial Lab: By Design // 7am - 10am EST // £5
The Black Curatorial Labs are virtual & physical spaces for curatorial experimentation where Black curators are able to discuss, dissect and build curatorial projects together in a critical and accountable way. Hosted by curator Aliyah Hasinah, each Lab will include a Guest Provocation and space for Black artists, curators, critics and thinkers to share ideas, work together on their visions and learn new things within community. Join us for our first session exploring some of Aliyah Hasinah's research into Decolonising the Curatorial alongside a guest provocation.
Learn More

The Human Code // 9:30am - 1:30pm EST // Free
An event filled with accomplished & celebrated artists. Learn, dance, sing, write, code & create! Join our hosts, Melissa Sassi & Manuj Aggarwal, as we take participants through an exploratory and experiential event aimed at demystifying computer science through the arts. Expect to learn, dance, sing, write, code, and create. Beginners to tech and the arts welcome.
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Is Decentralised Finance the Future of Money? // 2pm - 3pm EST // Free
The rise of Decentralised Finance (DeFi) and cryptocurrency is making large strides towards integration within the financial ecosystem. Can DeFi challenge the traditional banking industry and surpass it in the future or is it the latest fad based on a fantasy currency? How does DeFi, in its current format, align to the classical ideas of Dharma - does it benefit the greatest number, minimise harm, or create a society that meets human needs?
Learn More
 

Sunday, January 10

The Past, Present, and Future of VR: Grandfather of VR Dr. Thomas Furness // 8:30pm - 9:30pm EST // Free
Dr. Furness is an American inventor, professor, entrepreneur, and virtual reality pioneer. He is also the founder of the non-profit Virtual World Society for extending virtual reality as a learning system for families. Known for his contributions in developing human interface technology, Dr. Furness has earned the title, "Grandfather of Virtual Reality." He received the first-ever lifetime achievement award for his 50 years service in the field of virtual reality and augmented reality from the Augmented World Expo in Santa Clara, California. Dr. Furness is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and received the IEEE VGTC Virtual Reality Career Award in 2016 for his lifetime contributions in pioneering the development of virtual reality and augmented reality technology and applications.
Learn More
 

Monday, January 11

Zines for Survival // 6pm EST // $15 - $45
This is a 2 hour workshop on how to make and organize educational, activist, or resource sharing zines. In a world of community care and mutual aid, we all have talents and knowledge to share and offer. With the proliferation of Instagram slideshows and digital guides, how do we translate back into the physical realm and organize our skills into zines for distribution? In this discussion and making class, we will learn about information design and simple zine structures. With these skills in our tool belts, we will be equipped to make zines that will support, inform, and help ourselves and our community survive.
Learn More

Upcoming Speculative Futures Meetups 


👾Nothing to report!
 

Speculative News & Resources 📰

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


24 Big Ideas that will change our world in 2021 // LinkedIn News
No one saw 2020 coming. It tested our resilience, forcing the world to change on the fly how it lives and works. As we near 2021, with the tenuous promise of a suite of vaccines, we face a new test: We will need to decide what kind of post-pandemic world we want to build, for ourselves and for future generations. Every December, LinkedIn editors ask our community of Influencers, Top Voices and frequent contributors to share the Big Ideas they believe will define the year ahead. This year, in the shadow of a once-in-a-century pandemic, we offer a selection of predictions and thoughts on where we go from here — at work, at home and everywhere in between...
Read More

Robot Exhibition in Beijing | The Coolest Robots from China // CIFTIS 2020
Robot Exhibition 2020. The newest and coolest robots and amazing technologies of the future. Incredible robots and gadgets in China. News of technology. China International Services Trade Fair CIFTIS 2020 this year was the first major event in China since the beginning of the pandemic. And the real sensation was the robot exhibition grounds. 
Watch Video

The rise of Japan’s loyalty point influencers // Restofworld.org

Chuken, a Japanese Twitter influencer with over 12,000 followers, promises to teach his fans how to escape poverty — not by learning personal finance hacks or leaning on welfare programs, but by using loyalty points. Chuken, which means “loyal dog,” calls himself one of Japan’s top-tier point stars, someone well-versed in the complicated art of “point alchemy.” The loyalty rewards he’s accumulated have helped him pay for everything from utility bills and vacations to the occasional trip to the salon. “I’m one of probably up to 100 people in Japan who earn more than 1 million yen [nearly $10,000] a year from points,” he told Rest of World...
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The Rise of the Earthshot - 2021 Began Last Week // Greg Larkin
The dawn of the Earthshot age occurred at 9:20am on December 14th, in Queens, NY when Sandra Lindsay, a 52 year old African American nurse received America’s first dose of the coronavirus vaccine. The vaccine was launched by Pfizer in partnership with BioNtech. It was heroic, fast, mission critical innovation that will save millions of lives, spur economic growth, and enable children and grandparents to hug one another once again. Every CEO in every industry should take a moment to understand what happened, why it happened, and why it matters for them...
Read More

Gradually, then suddenly // Protocol Cloud
For almost two decades, enterprise technology was building toward the moment realized fully this year. The first name for this idea was "utility computing," the suggestion that obtaining computing power should be as easy as flipping a light switch and billed on a consumption basis. Utilities are neither exciting nor entrepreneurial, however, so that morphed into "cloud," a catch-all term for a utility-like pool of computing resources and managed software that lay beyond the walls of a given company's data center. Within Silicon Valley, cloud computing is old news: It's been table stakes for years...
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Elon Musk Will Run Into Trouble Setting Up a Martian Government, Lawyers Say // Futurism The Byte
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is steadfast in realizing his dreams of establishing a permanent colony on Mars, but any new government there will face immense legal challenges. We got an early glimpse of what such a future society could look like, buried deep inside the user agreement for SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service. “For services provided on Mars, or in transit to Mars via Starship or other colonization spacecraft, the parties recognize Mars as a free planet and that no Earth-based government has authority or sovereignty over Martian activities,” the terms of service read. “Accordingly, disputes will be settled through self-governing principles, established in good faith, at the time of Martian settlement.”...
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How a Software Map of the Entire Planet Could Change the World Forever // SingularityHub

Covered in cameras, sensors, and a distinctly spaceship looking laser system, Google’s autonomous vehicles were easy to spot when they first hit public roads in 2015. The key hardware ingredient is a spinning laser fixed to the roof, called lidar, which provides the car with a pair of eyes to see the world. Lidar works by sending out beams of light and measuring the time it takes to bounce off objects back to the source. By timing the light’s journey, these depth-sensing systems construct fully 3D maps of their surroundings...
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Gartner Top 10 Strategic Predictions for 2021 and Beyond
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted businesses and global economies in unprecedented ways, but it also forced organizations to consider a different type of future. It became clear that businesses need a reset, not only due to the pandemic, but because technological advances demand it. Plummer presented these Gartner top strategic predictions for 2021 and beyond...
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Why this forgotten punctuation mark should be revived for 2021 // FastCompany
Why a piece of punctuation proposed in the 1960s was adored, ignored, and should be brought back. It’s hard to believe the year we have had. Even harder that a punctuation mark could help explain it. But when you consider the history of the interrobang—a largely forgotten symbol that marries both question and exclamation to convey disbelief—it provides a perfect cap to 2020...
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Landscape of Care, A Handbook for Urban Design Engagement
Shared by Noah Fang on SF Slack. This publication invites the reader to explore an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural project of urban design research conducted 2018-19 in the city of Tiznit, Morocco. The project was initiated by the Netherlands based creative platform Slow Research Lab and realized in partnership with the bureau of architect Salima Naji and Naji’s nonprofit association Gardiens de la Mémoire, both based in Tiznit.
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Forrester Predictions 2021
Explore the dynamics that will shape 2021 and beyond. Use these blog posts, videos, guides, and other resources to navigate a fast-changing landscape and thrive...
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Defuturing the Image of the Future // Andrew Blauvelt (Walker Art)

Shared by Brandon Meyer on SF Slack. On the occasion of the opening of Designs for Different Futures at the Walker Art Center, they published a number of texts from the exhibition catalogue. All acts of design are themselves small acts of future-making. In the process of illustrating ideas, fabricating models, drafting plans, or prototyping solutions, designers shape what does not yet exist. In this way design is both propositional and prospective—it offers renderings and mock-ups, schematics and drawings, and instructions and code in the hope of instantiating a future. Design attempts to script the future by projecting its desires (and those of others) forward in time. As Susan Yelavich has declared, “Design is always future-making.”
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How designers are memorializing the biggest tragedy of the century // FastCompany
The end of the COVID-19 pandemic is still far from certain, but the memorials are already taking shape. Some are temporary efforts, like the thousands of tiny flags planted on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and the drive-by tribute in Detroit featuring oversize photos of pandemic victims. Others are digital, with cities like Chicago and Glendale, California, creating simple memorial pages on their websites and inviting residents to submit photos and remembrances of lost loved ones. But now, at the end of a very painful year in which more than 1.6 million people have died worldwide because of the pandemic, the tributes and memorials are beginning to take a more traditional and permanent form as public spaces of remembrance, reflection, grief, and hope...
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Governable spaces:  a feminist architecture for platform policy // Nathan Schneider
Feminist tradition sees with particular clarity how the digital patriarchy has contrived to be both apparently open and persistently unaccountable. Various feminist critiques amount to a simple insistence: the systems that structure our technology must listen better to the people who rely on them. This article extrapolates from feminist insights and experiences toward a policy agenda for vexing challenges in three domains of the online economy: social-media moderation, platform mediated gig work, and network infrastructure. The agenda calls for crafting“governable spaces” organized to invite diverse and accountable forms of participation in the inevitable mechanisms of control.
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2020 in Neuroscience, Longevity, and AI—and What’s to Come // SingularityHub
Covid-19 sucked most of the oxygen out of science this year. But we still had brilliant wins. The pandemic couldn’t bring rockets or humans down: multiple missions blasted off to the red planet in the “summer of Mars.” Two astronauts launched to the International Space Station—and made it safely back—in a game-changer for commercial space travel. NASA released dozens of findings on how space travel changes our bodies, paving the way to keep us healthy in orbit—or one day, on Mars and beyond...
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Scientists Discover a SuperHighway Network to Travel the Solar System // Slash Gear

Researchers have discovered what they describe as a new superhighway network to travel the solar system much faster than previously thought possible. Scientists say that these routes can push comets and asteroids close to the distance between Jupiter and Neptune in under a decade. The speedy paths can also move comets and asteroids 100 astronomical units in less than a century. It’s possible these superhighway networks could be used to send spacecraft to the far reaches of the planetary system relatively quickly. Now that these networks have been discovered, they can also be used to monitor and understand near-Earth objects that might impact our planet...
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Google Reportedly Forcing Its Researchers to Say Its Tech is Good // Futurism The Byte
When Google AI scientists publish work on topics deemed to be “sensitive,” the company subjects them to extra scrutiny and makes sure that they portray the technology in a positive light. Starting this past summer, according to a bombshell NBC News investigation, the company imposed a “sensitive topics” review that seems to be preventing scientists from accurately tackling the potential dangers of emerging technology — especially ones developed by Google and other Alphabet companies...
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Bentoism: A Map to Liberate Ourselves from the “Now Me” // Future Now (IFTF Blog)

At IFTF’s 2020 Ten-Year Forecast Summit we were joined by Yancey Strickler, Co-Founder of Kickstarter and author of This Could be Our Future: A Manifesto for a More Generous World. Strickler shared his personal method for making decisions, which is based on seeing the full spectrum of our self-interests (our values, needs, and goals) and thinking beyond the present moment. It’s a method he calls Bentoism, and he’s used it for the past 3-4 years to guide his life choices. Read on to find out what Bentoism is, and what our future could look like if more individuals and organizations used it to exit the unhealthy cycle of short-termism...
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Lunar Resource Management: Applying Public Choice Theory // Open Lunar Foundation
In 2020, Open Lunar kicked off a small working group looking at the application of public choice theory and political economy scholarship to resource management in the lunar context. Whether space as whole is considered as a commons or not, specific resource types and systems have inherent qualities that make them more or less well suited to private, public, commons or club good management. The legal definition of “commons” is also different from the economic definition, and the physical features of a “common pool resource” in economics are not a matter of sentimentality or decree, but observable characteristics of a resource system...
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Re-Finding the Future // Futurist
As high school physics classes teach us, there is difference between speed and velocity. The former is directionless, the latter has both pace and direction. We presently have a direction deficit. Despite the noise around the acceleration of technology and the exponential pace of change, for billions of young people across the world, the future has never been more limited. An entire global generation is being told to accept a restricted future, in the literal and figurative sense. A future where globalisation is reversed, and freedom of movement (and money) is constrained. A future where sustainability and growth are deemed to be incompatible. Essentially, a future where the next generation is being asked to pay the social and environmental debts (once again literal and figurative) of their forefathers...
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The Internet of Landlords: Digital Platforms and New Mechanisms of Rentier Capitalism // Jathan Sadowski
Digital platforms are a nearly ubiquitous form of intermediary and infrastructure in society. By positioning platforms in the geographical political economy/ ecology literature, this paper provides a critical analysis of platforms as a dominant form of rentier in contemporary capitalism. In doing so, I extend this work on rent theory beyond applications to land and nature so that it also includes platforms and data. I argue that the rapid rise of the “X-as-a-service” business model across nearly all sectors of the economy is creating rentier relations by another name. This model is premised on the platform latching onto and inserting itself into the production, circulation, or consumption process, thus creating opportunities to capture value. To better understand the operations and implications of platforms, I outline three key mechanisms: data extraction, digital enclosure, and capital convergence...
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APF Most Significant Futures Works Winners 2020 // Hinesight Blog
One of my favorite things to do each year is to coordinate the APF’s Most Significant Futures Works program. We recently announced this year’s winners. We are building quite a library of significant futures works….stretching back to 2007. So, when someone asks “what does good futures work look like?” Point them to past winners. We had a “record” 24 nominations this year! Six winners were selected. Each winner is recommended by a two-judge team and confirmed by the full panel of judges...
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Now You Can Create Customized Vitamins Based on Your Own DNA // Futurism
Vitamins are a great idea in theory. If you’re not getting specific nutrients from your diet, why not just get them from a fruit-flavored gummy, right? Unfortunately, in reality, it’s not that simple. First off, no two bodies and lifestyle are exactly alike. The vitamins your body needs and is capable of absorbing might be completely different from the vitamins someone else needs. Secondly, most of the nutrients and minerals in generic drugstore multivitamins don’t actually get into your system because of poorly designed delivery methods. That means most of them just get flushed out of your body and down the toilet. But the good news is it doesn’t have to be this way. Thanks to modern science and a high-tech wellness startup called Rootine, you can create a customized vitamin and nutrient supplement program based on a comprehensive analysis of your DNA, lifestyle, and blood nutrient levels...
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Land and justice from the indigenous perspective: a study on the Tayal philosophy of “sbalay” // Da-Wei Kuan & Guy C Charlton
Balay, kbalay, and sbalay are a series of related terms in the language of Tayal indigenous people in Taiwan. They connote Tayal people’s philosophy of reconciliation which is not only for resolving conflicts in the society but also embodied in the human–land relations. This article discusses the concept of justice in the sbalay philosophy that entrusts consensus and reconciliation with the truth. Examining the recent Pyanan Cypress Tree Incident sbalay case, this article analyzes the difference between Tayal people’s value system and Taiwanese state law and discusses some of the reasons behind the land conflicts between the state and indigenous peoples. This article suggests that it is necessary to provide legal space for Tayal people to practice the sbalay philosophy and human-land relations as part of the recognition of indigenous self-determination...
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Space is Queer and Radical // E Whitney Buck (The Anarchist Library)
I’ve had the same argument so many times that I can parrot what my opponent is going to say. “Why are we spending money on space when we have problems like starvation and climate change here?” “Only rich people are going to be able to go to space, so why should I care?” “Space exploration is going to be just another avenue of colonialism.” I want to both oppose the opposition to space exploration among the primitivist gays I keep encountering, and give queers of all inclinations some solid reasons for being excited about space. Because relinquishing space exploration to a few wealthy assholes is surrendering our future to them as well, and we’re not done fighting for that...
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2020 to 2021: From turbulence to transformation? // Forum for the Future
2020 was anticipated as the dawn of a ‘decade of delivery’ in which the much-hyped ambition of the sustainability sector would translate into meaningful action at scale and pace. There’s a stark and daunting contrast in what we had hoped for this year and how things actually turned out. As the curtain falls on one of the most turbulent years of our lives, Forum’s Chief Executive, Dr Sally Uren, reflects on three key lessons learnt and what will be required from each of us next year to help create a just and regenerative future...
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Fun Stuff 🚀

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

Open Calls/Submissions & Cool Projects

Open Calls & Submissions

NYC Open Data Week Call for Proposals // Deadline 1/7/21
The NYC Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics and BetaNYC are looking for virtual event ideas, and, where appropriate, socially-distanced outdoor experiences. We seek ideas that are engaging, filled with learnings, or help build a stronger community around open municipal data. Submit your ideas for interactive workshops, panels, talks, trainings, or hackathons. You do not need to have a fully fleshed out proposal to submit, and you are invited to submit more than one idea!
Learn More & Apply

NYC Media Lab & ASCAP Immersive Music Studio Challenge: Startup & University Application // Deadline 1/29/21
NYC Media Lab and American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) are exicted to launch the NYC Media Lab & ASCAP Immersive Music Studio Challenge. We're seeking startups and university teams to explore a range of experiences that demonstrate new ways for artists to create music, connect with their fans, and reimagine how we interact with music and sound. How can emerging technologies such as AR, VR, spatial audio, GANs, LiDAR, avatars and virtual characters and other immersive and gaming technologies that reflect imaginative, exploratory and creative approaches to music? The challenge will bring together a mix of startup and university teams that as a cohort will explore the overarching, speculative question: What is possible now that was not before? This 12-week challenge is open to 1) startups and 2) university teams. The NYC Media Lab and ASCAP team will select approximately 5 teams. Each startup or university team which will receive a grant of up to $5K.
Learn More & Apply

2021 Wave Farm Residency Program [RESIDENCY] // Deadline 2/1/21
In 2021, the Wave Farm Residency Program will provide artists with a valuable opportunity to concentrate on new radio artworks and conduct research about the genre using the Wave Farm Study Center resource library. Applicants are asked to propose a specific radio art project, which they will complete while in residence and premiere on Wave Farm's full-power FM radio station: WGXC 90.7-FM Radio for Open Ears. Radio artists explore broadcast radio space through a richly polyphonous mix of practices, including poetic resuscitations of conventional radio drama, documentary, interview, and news formats; found and field sound compositions reframed by broadcast; performative inhabitations/embodiments of radio’s inherent qualities, such as entropy, anonymity, and interference; playful celebrations/subversions of the complex relationship between senders and receivers, and the potential feedback loops between hosts and layers of the audience, from in-studio to listeners at home to callers-in; use of radio space to bridge widely dispersed voices (be they living or dead), subjects, environments, and communities, or to migrate through them in ways that would not be possible in real-time and space; electroacoustic compositions with sounds primarily derived from gathering, generating and remixing radiophonic sources.
Learn More & Apply

TRACKED & TRACED: Science Gallery Detroit [CALL] // Deadline 2/5/21
Watchmen and sentinels were joined over time by security guards and closed-circuit TV, and now, by video, data scraping, and bio-sensors. Retail loyalty programs, website cookies, law enforcement facial recognition software, routine health screening, and airport security lists are all part of the vast presence of different kinds of surveillance in our society. And, these are just the forms that are part of mainstream awareness. What else lurks in the realms where data mining and AI surveillance algorithms are developed, flourish, and get put into practice to drive profit, achieve military or security aims, or control other human behavior? While these technologies are all too often deployed in ways contrary to our individual interests, they have also been used to advance personal and public health, reduce human impact on the environment, and engage citizens in participatory monitoring of the natural world. How can we understand and gain control over these practices, unraveling dystopian connections, and further developing utopian-leaning connections?
Learn More & Submit


Commoning The Anthropocene | Call for Abstracts // Deadline 2/26/21
We are pleased to announce our call for individual presentations, special sessions, webinar panel discussio🔥ns, and methods workshops. This conference aims to bring together scholars and practitioners interested in the role that the exercise of common property systems to land use and other shared resources (commoning) will play in the Anthropocene. We will cover topics such as conceptualizing commons across multiple scales, commoning in a telecoupled (or hyper-connected) world with tipping points and deep uncertainty, new forms, and trends in global commoning, interdisciplinary methods to study new emerging commons spaces, scaling up commoning in practice, and much more.
Learn More & Submit


Cool Projects

Positive AI Economic Futures // Randy Lubin & Mike Masnick
Cool workshop summary shared from the Speculative Futures community! A four hour workshop to envision the world after transformational AI remade society. Check out this twitter thread with a synopsis of the event and all the activities they did!
Check It Out

Anthropology + Design 2020 Student Final Projects / Shannon Mattern's Graduate Seminar @ The New School
Adam Z posted a link to this wonderful collection of final projects in the SF Slack from Shannon Mattern's Seminar at The New School. They examine  individual auto-ethnographies, and how justice - racial, environmental, digital - can be designed into (or out of) our immediate material and digital environments: our apartments and city blocks and phone screens.
Check Out the Projects

Mutually Assured Intelligence // Lance Cassidy | Futures on Medium
How might nations led by AI affect global politics? Futures is a publication by DXLabs of illustrated short stories written by designers, artists, entrepreneurs, and futurists to explore the social impact of technology in our society. In this piece, Lance wanted to explore the release of GPT-3, OpenAI’s third generation of an autoregressive language model that uses deep learning to produce human-like text. Thinking into the future, he wanted to explore how Governing systems can be thought of as an operating system for groups of humans and wondered if humanity will reach a point where it’s simply ill-equipped to deal with the exponentially increasing complexity of designing and maintaining governing systems that impact such a massive and diverse population of people. 
Check Out the Story!

FantasIA
Shared by Matthieu Gioani from the Speculative Futures slack. His latest project, FantasIA. An interactive audio experience about technology uses in a security context. In the story, you will embody the human consciousness of Anna, a security IA in an amusement park. You will face many challenges and know more about your relationship with technology. Thus, you will participate to a foresight research of Deftech lab (Armasuisse).
Try It Out  Learn More About Project

 

Gaming, Shows, Books & Other Random Cool Stuff

An AI reporter’s favorite books of 2020 // VentureBeat
The older I get, the more I wish I could stop time so I could read more books. Books that earn my time and attention are those that promise to enrich me as a person and deepen my understanding of AI for the work I do as senior AI staff writer at VentureBeat. This year, I read more than a dozen books, some published in recent months and others in years past, like The Curse of Bigness by Tim Wu, a great read for anyone interested in understanding antitrust, and the novel Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler, one of my favorite books of all time...
Read More

The Map of Doom | Apocalypses Ranked // DoS (Domain of Science)
This follows my journey to find and rank all of the biggest threats to humanity.  This year was the first experience we’ve had of a global disaster affecting every single person on Earth. And also how unprepared society was to deal with it, despite plenty of people giving warnings that this was going to happen at some stage. But in the midst of all the doom I started to wonder, what other things could threaten humanity, that we are not thinking about? So I made the Map of Doom to list all the threats to humanity in one place.
Watch Video

How The Past Year Got Me Thinking Of Post Apocalyptic Games In A New Light // Kotaku
Almost every day, I go for a walk with my kid. She’s just over two. There’s a strange serenity in the isolation of entire city blocks when there’s so few people out and about. In the first few months of the pandemic, it felt like we were walking through an abandoned city. I’ve lived in my neighborhood for over five years, but never really explored it. There’s many buildings I’ve passed by for years without taking a look. We got to know them a lot better. Parking lots, corporate offices, a hollow building that was supposed to be a market, and favorite restaurants that had fallen victim to the prolonged shutdown. Whereas before, running into people was part of the fun and joy of going outside, now, we had to be careful. Whenever we did run into people, they mostly wore masks and all I could see were their eyes. I’ve been surprised how expressive people can be with squints, cheek crunches against their masks, and raised brows. I also became acutely aware of the sound of coughing. More than once, I heard strong coughs from people without masks and swerved away...
Read More

The 10 Most-Anticipated Sci-Fi Movies Of 2021 (According To Their IMDb Popularity) // ScreenRant
With a shocking number of movies being moved out of 2020 amid the COVID-19 crisis, 2021 is now where the film industry must look to for the resurgence of its empire. Science fiction as a genre has always performed well at the box office, and though many of next year's top contenders might be straight-to-streaming releases, the viewer base remains the same...
Check Out the List

20 Biggest Games To Play In 2021 And Beyond // Gamespot
As we predicted in last year's round-up for the most anticipated games of 2020, this year turned out to be an eventful time thanks to the launch of two next-gen consoles and some high-profile releases from developers like Nintendo, CD Projekt Red, and Valve. Still, there were plenty of surprises in store for us throughout this year, and now that we're at its end, it's time we look ahead to the games that will likely shape the year of gaming in 2021, which includes some titles that were supposed to release this year...
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The 30 Most Anticipated SFF Books of 2021 // Tor (Christina Orlando)
Because I love books so much that this list, my Most Anticipated for the coming year, is both the most fun and the most awful thing to do. I love it—searching out exciting releases that feel different than anything I’ve read before is the best part of my job. But this list could also be 500 titles long, which none of us have time for. I agonize over this, because I want not only to share my joy for these books, but also share titles that might be new and exciting to you, the reader...
Read More
 
 

What I'm Reading

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

Divers recover a WWII Enigma Machine from the Baltic Sea
Kiona N. Smith

The Ministry for the Future
Kim Stanley Robinson

21 Insightful Tech Predictions for 2021: My Take on What's to Come
Adrien Book

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