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YOUR BIWEEKLY DOSE OF EVERYTHING SPECULATIVE

DESIGN // FICTION // TECHNOLOGY // ART

 
   
 
 
 

SciFly // 135 // Remote Speculations Week 18/19 - We've Gone Bi-Weekly!

Speculative Events, News & Resources | Sent 7/13


Hey SciFly Readers!

Welcome to the new BIWEEKLY  SciFly!!!

As I mentioned last week, for a variety of reasons, I will now be publishing SciFly every 2 weeks, and feature 14 days of awesome online events featuring speculative design, art, and emerging technology.

I am super pumped to have even more of a chance to curate cool content for you all and hope that this new format will make it easier to plan out things on your calendars and have lots of choices for fun things to do while stuck at home. 😂

Just as a quick heads up, I will still RESEND SciFly on the Mondays in between new issues, just as a reminder that there is still another week of events happening.

So expect to get a copy of THIS SAME newsletter in your inbox next Monday as well!!!
 

To kick off this new schedule, I'd quickly like to talk about virtual connections.

Over the last few months, I feel like I have been wracking my brain about how to best connect with my friends, new and old when we can't be physically co-located.

Some friends, mostly those in the speculative community, or those I work with through the Design Futures Initiative, I talk to constantly. Even though we don't know each other as well as say, my high school friends, our shared passion and already prepared shared digital platforms like Slack, Zoom, Drive, etc. have made it easy for us to continue collaborating almost like normal. Also, we go to the same online events, read similar articles, and like to talk about the same news and projects. Here, I have found the challenges is finding the time and accountability to create new partnerships to get things done, even if a really cool idea.

For example, I have met lots of awesome people on the SF Slack and monthly open forums, often coming up with some cool ideas we'd like to workshop, talk about, do an event on, etc. However, each time, the passion flares up quickly, we get excited, maybe have a meeting, and then life gets in the way, and we inevitably lose touch. I know we all have crazy schedules, and if anyone else is like me, get super excited when talking to others and perhaps say Yes too quickly, or overestimate the extent I can participate in something.

In this case, I have been wishing there was an easier way for people to create shared accountability, or perhaps a format for collaboratively doing projects and artwork together in an easier way. For some reason, being virtual is weird, it makes everything feel harder and more tiring, so how could we get over that and find a better process for dreaming up, ideating, and actually shipping new ideas and projects out into the community?

On the other hand, there are my friends I'm more close with in physical life. Here, the challenge is that hanging out like we used to do physically just feels weird/awkward/boring/tiring when you try to do it virtually. Like everyone, we've have the handful of requisite remote happy hours with friends. I even badgered my high school bestie to play FFXIV together with me while we chat on Discord, just so we could at least be DOING SOMETHING together rather than just sitting around drinking and chatting on Zoom.

In other cases, I have a quickly dwindling stock of friends who still live 'nearby' (aka they haven't had to leave NYC yet) and we occasionally meet up for socially-distant hanging in the park, on a random bench with to-go drinks, for a walk/bike ride, and more recently, to sit in the little grass area out front of my apartment building in lawn chairs, and sometimes a small grill.

While these hangouts are always fun, there is always the constant shadow of being near others (even if outdoors) and having to constantly sanitize (and did anyone else suddenly realize just how many small cuts they have on their hands after having to do that all the time???), wash things, not touch things, avoid people if our mask is down to take a sip of a drink etc.

Lately, 've been brainstorming ways to set a more regular schedule of doing things together online, I feel like if we put it on a calendar and have a reasonable expectation (once a month), maybe we'll actually do things. I'm a dork, so my current plan is to DM a game of Cyberpunk Red with a handful of friends (if I can convince them to actually try a role-playing game - D&D didn't go so hot with them). Also, as I mentioned, trying to find a virtual world we can meet up in that actually has something to do (like a game) vs. the weird quasi-virtual worlds that are starting up, but what are you really supposed to do in them?

Probably my most interesting revelation in this whole process was just how spread-out my friend network had already become before COVID19, and how in many ways, my socialization habits haven't changed all too much, outside of meeting up with people indoors at bars, which, at least for the summer, I am totally happy to do without.

One way or another, if this lockdown is going to continue (and it will to some degree or another for a while) we are all going to have to learn new strategies for getting our socialization in, especially if we don't live in the same neighborhood as many of our friends or those with shared passions.

I'm really curious as to how virtual worlds/games like Animal Crossing, Fortnite, Final Fantasy XIV and more provide a shared, explorable world, where you can meet up with friends (at least the dorky ones) to at least have your avatars 'physically present' with one another. Otherwise, it's going to be a combination of Zoom, imagination, and perhaps some shared digital platforms like MIRO, MURAL, etc. that we can use to collaboratively express ourselves, having a 'digital hand' in a shared space for writing, drawing, diagraming, collaging, etc. Or maybe the answer is a good VR headset and enough other friends who have one too!

Who knows.

I certainly don't, nor do I know where this is going to go, but its a super interesting thing to watch, consider and reflect on as we are forced to change our habits and find new ways to connect to the people and communities we care about.
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
Before and after quarantine haircut! Finally!!!!!

"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 🗓

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, July 14 - Monday, July 20

Tuesday, July 14


🔥🕹🔥Games for Change Festival // Tue 7/14, 9:45AM - Thu 7/16, 7:10PM EDT // Free
The 17th annual Games for Change Festival will be virtual! For the first time, registration will be free to all participants – drawing a global audience to explore how video games and immersive media foster resilience, connectedness, and well-being. Developers, educators, policymakers, and non-profits from all over the world are invited to share and learn how they can leverage the power of games and immersive media for positive social impact! (I've been to this before, and it is AMAZING!!!)
Learn More

Unreal Fest Online // 8AM - 11:15AM EDT // Free
Coming to you from the comfort of your own home on Tuesday, July 14, Unreal Fest Online is a free one-day virtual event that brings together Unreal Fest and Unreal Academy to offer an exciting and informative program of sessions that’s open to everyone. Unreal Engine creators can choose between five content tracks: architecture; automotive; games; film, TV & live events; and cross-industry. With a choice of sessions for each timeslot in each track, there are over 50 sessions in total, and each session includes a live Q&A. 
Learn More

Open Keynote: Ben Stopher | Creative Tools, Methods and People // 5AM - 7AM EDT // Free
Creative Tools, Methods and People: In this talk, Ben will explore experimental tools developed in his research and in the work of the UAL Institute for Creative Computing research team. He will reflect on how computational tools mediate much contemporary experience and how he explores this as a co-author of the forthcoming book “Living with Digital Interfaces".
Learn More

Rights in Light of Covid-19: Disability Justice // Autograph // 2PM - 3:30PM EDT // Free
This is the second online event in Autograph’s series exploring human rights in light of Covid-19 – and what this means for civil liberties now and in the future. Our focus will be primarily on the UK. In a livestreamed conversation, Deborah and Kate will consider the ways in which disability rights inform their creative projects and discuss the impact of Covid-19 on their work and the communities they support. Kevin and Tara will discuss the role of disability activism in creating lasting change in the face of systemic discrimination, drawing on their experience of campaigning at a local and national level.
Learn More

Digital Humans Day // 3PM EDT // Free
CAA, the world’s top talent agency, just signed Lil Miquela (a digital human) to a major talent deal. There’s now a digital human that dispels COVID-19 fake news using CDC data. Major phone manufacturers are banking on the future of smartphone interactions being centered around
digital humans. News of “Digital Humans” is becoming more popular every day. However, most people have no clue what to make of news like this. By the end of Digital Humans Day, you’ll know everything there is to know about this fascinating technology.
Learn More

FUTURE LOOK - Hooked: The Future of Media Consumption & Digital Marketing // 4:30PM - 6:00PM // $0 - $5
People are spending more time at home and on screens. For leaders in the digital media or entertainment industry, that’s good news, right? Maybe, but as advertising, communications, and reaching customers online continues to evolve, it’s time to think seriously about how today’s choices impact future generations. Join us July 14th as we hear from a panel of media experts, explore how the pandemic has changed digital spaces, and consider how to make positive business choices the benefit the future.
Learn More

Summer of Science Fiction & Fantasy Series with Nalo Hopkinson // 9PM - 10:30PM EDT // Free
Readings include selections from recently published books, unpublished stories, or novels-in-progress. The featured reader also answers questions about writing, teaching, editing, and other topics. Vibrant and edgy, rich and dazzling, deeply human and humane, Nalo Hopkinson was born in Jamaica. She lived in Jamaica, Guyana, the US and Trinidad before moving to Canada as a teenager. She has published six novels and numerous short stories. In 2018, she was awarded Eagle-Con’s Octavia E. Butler Memorial Award, given in recognition of impactful contributions to the world of science fiction, fantasy and speculative fiction, with the spirit and conviction demonstrated by multi-award winning author Octavia E. Butler. She is the author of “The House of Whispers,” a new graphic novel in Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” Universe. She is currently completing Blackheart Man, an alternate historical fantasy of the Caribbean.
Learn More
 

Wednesday, July 15

🔥Open Talk: Denisa Kera | Philosophical Exorcism with Prototypes // 5AM - 7AM EDT // Free

The different calls for critical, speculative, more-than-human, but also participatory and open design force us to include the philosophical questions of the subject, consciousness, agency, but also society in prototyping. Prototypes become forms of philosophical inquiry that explore novel functions beyond user, human-centered, UX, and interaction design. These material and conceptual engagements “exorcise” the technologies and their complex genealogies, including the present political and social contexts, and invite us to think of design as future- and world-making. 
Learn More

Virtual Beings Summit // 10:30AM - 3PM // $0 - $150 
Join virtual beings startups, investors, real-time engine creators, AI academics, and CEOs, as we explore the new world of Virtual Beings and their involvement in our day to day lives. Hear from industry professionals who specialize in this space, and learn about the future of virtual beings. For the first time, witness virtual beings interacting in real-time with other virtual beings and people.
Learn More

RCA2020 Arts & Humanities Opening // 1PM - 2PM EDT // Free
For the first time in its history, the RCA's renowned graduate show will this year take place online as a digital discovery platform – RCA2020. Wherever you are, join us online to navigate, explore and immerse yourself in the work – and thinking – of the world's most talented emerging artists and designer
Learn More

The New Social Environment #86: Spirit Voices, Women’s Voices // The Brooklyn Rail // 1PM - 2PM EDT // Free
Art historian, Susan Aberth and artist and critic, Ann McCoy will discuss why women artists whose work deals with Spiritualism and esoteric content is now coming into focus and why contemporary women artists still face the same kind of devaluation of their work that deals with the spiritual. We'll close with a poetry reading from Rodrigo Toscano.
Learn More

Future Politics with Jamie Susskind // CIPR // 2PM - 3:30PM EDT // Free
Future Politics confronts one of the most important questions of our time: how will digital technology transform politics and society? Having explored similar themes while we have been carrying out the work to create and maintain a horizon scan for lobbyists, Jamie's view on changing the way we think about politics in the future will keep the discussion alive.
Learn More

Raising Provocations - the culmination // 3PM - 4PM EDT // Free
As part of our Raising Our Futures project we invited five visionary thinkers to contribute to a conversation about the future of working, the future of caring or the future of humanity. Raising Our Futures considered how the lessons we learnt during lockdown might help shape a better future for the industry and our five thinkers offered provocations to contribute to the conversation. Their provocations are available on the Raising Films website.
Learn More

🔥Blockchain & Principles for a Decentralized Future // Women in Blockchain // 8PM - 9PM EDT // Free
We, who are working in the blockchain space are building products and systems that automate, integrate, evaluate and reward. They reward based on what? We are creating infrastructure for the masses. But is there equal opportunity? Who defines the users' rights and are they protected? The killing of George Floyd during the Corona lock-down fell into the delicate moment of pause and attention shining light on a biased system that kills in the US 2.6 more black people at the hand of police than it kills whites. And that is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Initiated by the World Economic Forum (WEF), the Presidio Principles are one effort to prevent transferring society’s existing biases onto blockchain-based projects which would not only negate the promise of a more equal society but accelerate and solidify systemic failure.
Learn More

Systems-led Design as a Tool for Change // 10:30PM - 11:30PM EDT // Free

In a COVID-19 pandemic world, systems are evolving under new pressures. RMIT and ATO are excited to present this engaging online panel that brings leading thinkers and practitioners in this space. We’ll dive into potential opportunities and challenges as we move together into the future.
Free
 


Thursday, July 16


Open Talk: Massimo Menichinelli | Platforms, networks, and impact of open, distributed and collaborative design and making processes // 5AM - 7AM EDT // Free
The integration of open source and peer-to-peer systems with the design practice and research has generated many changes and opportunities for developing new kinds of projects. An important example in this direction can be found in the distributed networks of collaborative design and making, especially present in the Maker Movement and in Open Design projects. This presentation will explain to them, and especially how they are supported by digital platforms, how new networks are created from them, and how we can understand the impact of all these new actors and phenomena.
Learn More

🔥IFTF Foresight Talks: How to Build Brave New Worlds // 12PM EDT // Free
What does it take to design new worlds and tell powerful stories about possible futures? Join us when IFTF's Director of Game Research and Development, Jane McGonigal, will host a free, public-facing webinar with guest Leah Zaidi, master storyteller and founder of the strategic foresight consultancy Multiverse Design. You'll hear some of Leah Zaidi's most surprising recent forecasts on the future of love technology and the future of work, while she unpacks the process of how she created them. Leah will give an up-to-date look at how the possible long-term consequences of our global COVID-19 response are changing and playing out differently in different parts of the world. Jane and Leah will also explore the connections between game design and the seven foundations of worldbuilding, inspired by how science fiction writers imagine and communicate new possibilities.
Learn More

Playform Insights with Anne Spalter // 12PM - 1PM EDT // Free
As part of Playform's Webinar Series, artist Ann Spalter will talk about her creative process and how she integrated Playform in her works. The webinar will be in the form of conversation between the host and the artist, exploring her experience integrating AI in her works and diving into her practice. Digital mixed-media artist Anne Spalter is an academic pioneer who founded the original digital fine arts programs at Brown University and The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in the 1990s.
Learn More

Youth for Basic Income: BI Futures Thinking Workshop // 12PM - 1:30PM EDT // Free
This Design Thinking Workshop is a continuation of the webinars series from June 11 to July 2, 2020. Building on the topics and knowledge, in this interactive virtual workshop, we will explore the futures and possibilities for Basic Income. Specifically, we will be focusing on the case for guaranteed liveable income and exploring questions like “What will such a shift mean for gender equality,” "What will such a shift mean for youth empowerment," and “How will it support international cooperation and the efforts towards sustainable development?”
Learn More

Exhibition Launch: Space and Satellites Artist Residency // 12:30PM - 1:30PM EDT // Free
A group of 5 multi-disciplinary artists have been focussing on the theme of Space and Satellites data for the past 3 months. Artists were teamed up with scientists to make data visible highlighting changes on earth from the movement of Puffins to environmental changes through to the impact that the Coronavirus has had on our cities.
Learn More

Building the Future with 5G // Newlab // 2PM - 3PM EDT // Free
A new future is on the horizon. 5G will unlock step changes in industrial automation, healthcare, energy, transportation, and financial services, to name a few, in ways previously thought unfathomable. The 5G Studio, created by Verizon and Newlab, using Verizon's 5G Ultra Wideband network, will build and test applications foundational to the future state of the fourth industrial revolution.
Learn More

Biology as Inspiration for Design and Engineering // 2PM - 3:30PM EDT // Free
Biological organisms operate within boundary conditions set by the physical world -- conditions that vary incredibly widely, from the bottom of the ocean to the tops of mountains; from tropical rainforests to arid deserts. In this Foresight salon, Dr. Michael Lerch and Dr. Thomas Schroeder will discuss turning to biology for inspiration (at varying levels of abstraction) for the design of engineered materials, systems, and structures. They will further discuss how bio-inspiration ultimately may lead to more autonomous, lifelike materials.
Learn More

Jenny Kleeman: Sex Robots and Vegan Meat // 2:30PM _ 3:30PM EDT // Free
Welcome to a world of kitchens where thousand-dollar chicken nuggets are made, members-only meetings where people learn how to kill themselves, labs where foetuses grow in bags and the discussion boards where men plan all-out war against women. Sex Robots & Vegan Meat will introduce you to scientists, humanoids, designers, ethicists, entrepreneurs and provocateurs; a fertility specialist prepared to do almost anything to satisfy his patients, a man married to his sex doll, a cake decorator who helped her best friend die and an artist who uses living flesh as his medium.
Learn More

Reimagining the university and pedagogies of hope // 8AM - 11AM EDT // Free
In the current neoliberal model of higher education (HE), the disciplining effects of the market have resulted in an ongoing reduction of spaces for educators to envision alternatives. In a precarious Covid19 climate, how can we carve serenity and quietude to develop creative, ontological approaches? How can we bring together emotion and vulnerability to broach discussions with students as potential allies? How can we activate hope to slowly imagine other futures for university education?
Learn More

WordHack Online 6-Year Anniversary Show! // Babycastles // 7PM - 9PM EDT // Free
WordHack is celebrating 6 years of amazing shows, online and off with a fantastic lineup of friends from near and far. Join us this month on the Babycastles twitch stream. WordHack is a monthly evening of performances and talks exploring the intersection of language and technology. Code poetry, digital literature, e-lit, language games, coders interested in the creative side, writers interested in new forms writing can take, all are welcome here.
Learn More

Modern Matters Conference | Design Ethics of Technology // 11PM - 2AM (Fri) // $27.15
This conference seeks to untangle the ethical issues behind how we design, develop and deploy new technologies. The recent emergence of innovative technologies has defined our current era as part of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”. But while technological revolutions can be signs of growth, it can also spell disaster for us and society if we don't keep a close eye on its development and use.
Learn More
 


Friday, July 17


BiohackingCongress, Virtual Edition // 12PM - 7PM EDT // $0 - $800 
BiohackingCongress is the platform dedicated to furthering the advancement of Biohacking, BioTech, Digital Health, HealthCare, Healthy Food, Wellness companies through International Investment, Partnership, and Expertise. One of our goals is to promote beneficial cooperation and partnership between Investors and Entrepreneurs.
Learn More

Ferment TV | 07. New Paradigms for Design // Ginkgo Bioworks // 1PM - 2PM EDT // Free
How creatives thinkers and doers are building holistic innovation frameworks for a new age of biotechnology. Maurizio Montalti is a designer, researcher, educator and entrepreneur. In 2010 he founded Officina Corpuscoli, a multidisciplinary studio, providing creative consultancy and developing both commissioned and self-initiated projects, inspired by and in collaboration with living systems and organisms. Seetal Solanki is founder and director of Ma-tt-er, a research-based practice working with brands, institutions and industry to advance material literacy as relates to people, place and planet. 
Learn More

Automation & Cultural Production // 1PM - 3PM EDT // Free
Seb Franklin and Annie McClanahan join Nick Ridout for a conversation about automation and its relationship to cultural production. Instead of imagining a future in which our lives are managed for us by robots or AI, it may be time to think instead about how automation is already deeply embedded in our everyday lives. Automation is quietly reshaping human activity in manufacturing, logistics, finance, welfare, education and justice. Automation is not replacing human beings, but it may be changing how we work and act, and how we think and feel about ourselves and other people.
Learn More

Antarctic Futures Play Session // 8PM - 9PM // Free
Antarctic Futures is an online game developed as part of the wider Antarctic Cities ARC (Australian Research Council) project. The game’s goal is to translate complex scientific scenarios about the future of Antarctica into accessible and playable experiences. Players can experiment first-hand how different global policy responses to climate change may – or may not! – save the world from environmental catastrophe.
Learn More

"Is Art Installation Architecture?" - Pamela Tan // 11:40PM - 12:20AM (Sat) // Free
Pamela Tan is an architectural designer that explores various fields in art, architecture, and design. Her work blurs the boundaries between disciplines that embody narrative and values in all forms. She aims to propose speculative ideas that seek the subtle unseen and unveil the unknown delights in all scales.
Learn More
 


Saturday, July 18


🔥Imagination Design // 1PM - 4PM EDT // Free
In the last few decades, the proliferation of human technology has overwritten a lot of old-world common-sense. Technology not only guides our thinking but responds to it, with new technology being created in response to human problems—real or perceived. Thus, techno futurism represents a unique opportunity to envision our lives beyond the violent and oppressive structures of the present. Imagination Design is an AI-facilitated online workshop that brings together approaches from user interface design and Afrofuturism to guide participants in writing socially-aware speculative fiction. In one three-hour session, participants will join exercises to identify social obstacles in their own communities, envision futuristic technology, and write stories that use their fantasy inventions to shed light on the reality of the present. 
Learn More

Resistance Strategies in the Age of Surveillance // 2PM - 4PM EDT // Free
María Angélica Madero will explore the contemporary significance of masks—shielding the respiratory system from viral infection, protecting protestor anonymity, and weathering climate change-induced natural disasters—and will teach participants how to create augmented reality face filters. Joselyn McDonald will lead a tutorial, using flora and other readily available organic materials, to create masks that undermine an algorithms' ability to recognize a human face. The session will conclude with the opportunity for participants to make their own anti-surveillance masks.
Learn More
 


Sunday, July 19


Tough Talk: Telling Difficult Stories Through Zines // Soapbox // 1PM - 4PM EDT // Free
Tough Talk is a 3-hour virtual zine workshop. Participants will respond to prompts distributed ahead of time and come with some notes or ideas, but otherwise we will make our own zines about difficult stories. Using collage, cut and paste art, stickers, stencils, and other creative tools, participants will spend the workshop exploring ways to tell their stories, including considering audience. We will do some self-care and group sharing, with the ultimate goal being to create individual zines that can then be scanned, copied, and shared digitally and in person.
Learn More
 

Monday, July 20

🔥Participatory Futures: Global Perspectives on Designing the Future // 9PM - 10PM EDT // Free
COVID-19 has laid bare the need for societies to build a new normal. People are increasingly aware of the world changing and of the need for the world to change. What kind of change do we want? How do we make it happen? And who should create it? In this event Global Innovation Design graduates Eva Oosterlaken, Jess Riley and Finn Strivens will discuss how designers can empower people to imagine and create the futures they want.
Learn More

🔥Exploring Nesta’s Participatory Futures Report // 8:30PM - 10PM // Free
In late 2019, global innovation think-tank Nesta published Our Futures: By the people, for the people – a practical guide to ‘doing’ participatory futures. Participatory futures is about moving beyond traditional public engagement, to help people and communities develop a collective image of the future they want . This helps us all make better, more informed decisions today.In this seminar, Jose Ramos, co-author of the Nesta report, will present the guide and discuss how governments, funders, citizens and society can work together to create more inclusive futures for our communities.
Learn More

WEEK 2 - Tuesday, July 21 - Monday July 27

Tuesday, July 21


🔥Future of Skills: An Immersive Gaming Experience // 11AM - 12:30PM // Free
In the world of 2030, the humanitarian sector will be a tangled web of distributed networks, newly powerful nations, altruistic individuals and opportunistic profiteers. Combinations of these actors will continuously shape and reshape, forming quickly around an issue and dissolving as quickly as they appear. In this session, you will get an opportunity to take on one of the different archetypes of future humanitarian workers, and co-create a possible 2030 together using the interactive Gamoteca platform. You will be able to work with other players around the globe in small teams to discuss future scenarios and best practices for preparing for a disruptive future.
Learn More

Author Talk: Is the future human? by Edward Ashford Lee // MIT Press // 12:30PM - 1:30PM EDT // Free
Are humans defining technology, or is technology defining humans? In this book, Edward Ashford Lee considers the case that we are less in control of the trajectory of technology than we think. It shapes us as much as we shape it, and it may be more defensible to think of technology as the result of a Darwinian coevolution than the result of top-down intelligent design.
Learn More

Personal Token Virtual Summit // 1PM - 3:30PM // Free
The first open summit to discuss personal tokens and other self-issued digital assets. Talks from 7 speakers. Adam B Levine @ Let's Talk Bitcoin Podcast - Circa 2013: The Early Experiments, K Mike Merrill - The World's First Publicly Traded Person, Simon de la Rouviere - Gratitude Tokens & More, Christopher Robison @ meTokens - Trustless Design: Synthetic Labor, Jake Brukhman @ CoinFund - Balancer: A Personal Liquidity Platform, Lauren Garcia @ Microsponsors - Your Time as a Primitive, Alex Masmej @ $ALEX - An Initial Human Offering.
Learn More

UNSENSORED works: July // 6PM - 7:30PM EDT // £5.98 – £14.61
Would you like to make your own sex toys or perhaps develop a virtual reality simulation? Maybe you would like to how to code your own software to remote control your partner or maybe you are more into theoretical debates and brainstorming or simply want to try something playful and fun? Either way, we got you covered! We are collaborating with sex-tech, sensual and kink orientated makers and experts worldwide to bring the most extravagant, interactive and engaging workshops online to boil up your fantasy and spice up your senses!
Learn More

🔥A Queer Guide to GIF-Making // 6PM - 8PM // Free
In 2014, the blogging platform Tumblr existed as a cottage industry of GIF-making, with many users mastering the skill of creating GIFs from video footage of their favourite television show, anime, and Youtube videos. In this two-hour workshop, join multimedia artist Alex Jensen for a crash-course on GIF-making as he explores and shares his own queer history of GIFs and how GIF-making practices are being integrated into contemporary media art.
Learn More
 


Wednesday, July 22


🔥AI3SD Online Seminar Series: Design Fiction & AI // 9AM - 10:30AM EDT // Free
AI is a fast-moving field that is rapidly advancing and becoming embedded in a multitude of sectors and applications. With such a fast pace and excitement over the possibilities it allows, there is often a rush to get things going. By using the methodology of speculative design, we can more closely examine these implications and outcomes before the technologies become a reality. This talk will introduce speculative design and give some examples of design fiction, a method wherein objects from fictional futures or alternate presents are created to provoke discussion and explore possibilities.
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The New and Emerging Technologies : Extended Reality // 9PM - 10PM EDT // Free
With humanity facing an uncertain future in the year 2020, we need to better understand the tools we have to face up to and begin countering global challenges such as healthcare, the future of work and climate change. The rapid development of the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is seen by many to exemplify our greatest strengths as a scientifically grounded and technologically capable species. However, whilst AI does indeed hold great promise to help us tackle these challenges, there are serious considerations for how we develop and apply this technology in a responsible manner.
Learn More
 


Thursday, July 23


The Future Cubed: Being SMART // 11AM - 12PM EDT // Free
The future is going to happen – the trouble is we don’t know how. Predictions for the post-Covid world range from back to (nearly) normal, to an everlasting dystopia of social distancing. The truth is that we don’t know what the future of our towns and cities will be and so, as ever, we will have to be flexible and resilient. In these 40-minute sessions, panels of ‘’futurologists’’ from around the globe will each highlight 3 ways in which the future built environment could be different and what we should be doing in response.
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Working Together for a Stronger Future // The National Arts Club // 1PM - 2PM EDT // Free
The National Arts Club and Association of Art Museum Curators Foundation are collaborating to highlight new ways into what is and will be a new arts community. This panel discussion gathers thought leaders and advocates at the forefront of speaking out and forging an equitable and sustainable future. Breaking traditional models of working separately towards the same mission, speakers discuss strategies for collaboration and ways that combining forces can help our community navigate and build resiliency moving forward.
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The Art of Statistics // 1PM - 2PM EDT // £12
It is claimed we live in a “post-truth” society in which emotional responses dominate balanced consideration of evidence. This presents a strong challenge to those who value quantitative and scientific evidence: how can we communicate statistics, risks and unavoidable scientific uncertainty in a transparent and trustworthy way? In this talk, renowned statistician David Spiegelhalter talks about the challenges of communicating during the covid-19 outbreak. And about the wider question: can we communicate deeper uncertainty about facts, numbers, or scientific hypotheses without losing trust and credibility?
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Augmented Society Network | What controls you? // 2PM - 3PM EDT // Free
Following on from The RSA Global event on July 22nd "Tech vs. Covid-19" - on the emergence of Covid-19 surveillance products - and the ASN three-part series on finding new ways to respond to, and work with rapid change, the conversation moves on to one of control. We want to understand how both technological and behavioral boundaries are established and applied to society as a whole both ordinarily, and in times of crisis.
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Race, Integration, and the Future of America // CIIS Public Programs // 10PM - 12AM EDT // Free
Fifty years after the last meaningful effort toward civil rights, the US remains overwhelmingly segregated and unjust. Our current solutions — diversity, representation, and desegregation — are not enough. Acclaimed writer Calvin Baker argues that we first need to envision a society no longer defined by the structures of race in order to create a truly equitable and just world, that the only meaningful remedy is integration: the full self-determination and participation of all African Americans, and all other oppressed groups, in every facet of national life.
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Friday, July 24
 

Saturday, July 25

🔥Future of Dating, Intimacy, Marriages : Speculative Workshop // 8:30AM - 10:10AM EDT // Free
Welcome to this interactive workshop on the Future of Relationships. We will be speculating on how love, dating, intimacy, marriages will look like in 2030, using Futures Thinking tools. We will begin with some news articles (signals of change) around relationships - could be about new dating apps, trends in marriages, other emerging trends and then we will do group activities to dig deeper into the topics and forecast how things may look like by 2030
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Personalized Medicine: DNA, Drugs, and Data // Genspace NYC // (Two Parts) Sat 10AM, Sun 2PM EDT // $90 - $180 
Personalized medicine (also known as precision medicine) combines genomics, big data analytics, and population health information to treat diseases. In this two-part course, we’ll introduce pharmacogenetics and the use of polygenic risk scores in clinical predictions for medication use and response. You’ll learn how to interpret and compute results related to pharmacogenetic direct-to-consumer (DTC) testing, and how to interpret polygenic risk scores for complex diseases, such as heart disease.
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Sunday, July 26

Queer Black Futures: A Creative Writing Workshop // 4PM - 6PM // Free
A creative writing workshop exploring the possibilities of Afrofuturism hosted by Nneka Jackson, the founder of Eek! A Vagina. Eek! A Vagina originally took shape as a zine to make space for QTBIPOC femme expression. Eek's mission is to liberate and center marginalized voices through platforming by making room for the thoughts, words, and art of Black and brown queer femmes.
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Monday, July 27

Speculation Made Material: Experimental Archaeology & Maker’s Knowledge // 4AM - 5AM EDT // Free
Experimental archaeology is usefully understood via ‘maker’s knowledge’. Conducting archaeological experiments generates embodied know-how enabling archaeologists to grasp and challenge various hypotheses and perspectives concerning past practices, while well-placing them to generate integrated interpretations. I further use experimental archaeology to illustrate ‘material speculation’: the constraints and affordances of archaeologists and their materials shape productive exploration of the capacities of objects and human skill in ways relevant to archaeological questions. This is in sharp contrast with the often abstract, imagination-focused conceptions of idea-generation favoured by philosophers.
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Past/Future as a form of Resistance // RCA // 1PM - 2PM EDT // Free
This event will be pre-recorded presenting responses from Sonya Dyer, Alexandria Smith & Tanoa Sasraku to Peter Spanjer and the RCA Contemporary Art Practice Cohort – who have been working on a series of events focusing around the idea and forms of Resistance.
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Upcoming Speculative Futures Meetups 


Secession: Using design fiction to create alternative realities // Speculative Futures Austin // 7PM - 9PM // Free
Kayla Lewis will present Secession, a project that uses design fiction to explore an alternative reality where Texas successfully seceded. Secession’s narrative unfolds through a series of immersive performances and artifacts. Audience members use Secession’s absurdist lens to collectively imagine outcomes of its fictional plot, with their current reality as a backdrop. During the event, Kayla will introduce the world and guide the audience through a virtual immersive experience, complete with actors and props. The latter half will be for audience feedback on the story and project design.
Learn More

 

Ongoing Events


Reconstruct The Internet ● Digital Adaptation // (multiple dates, July - October) // DOnation
"a homage to the limitless future/s possibilities for the internet ecosystem" Reconstruct The Internet is an exploration of our emotional needs in the digital age and a space to speculate alternative internet ecosystems. this interactive workshop sees participants reimagine the internet ecosystem outside the digital economy and instead focus on the emotional needs the internet help us meet ⁠— both individually and collectively.
Learn More

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

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

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

Check out Wonderville's Livestream!
Support Wonderville on WithFriends

 

News, Articles, Resources 📰

News about emerging technology, speculative practice, and futures design. I'll try to put anything explicitly COVID-19 related at the end, in case you need a break from doom-scrolling!


On an Interstellar Flight, Language Itself Would Evolve // Futurism
In science fiction, there’s something called a generation ship: a spacecraft that ferries humankind on a multiple-generation-long journey to brand new star systems or even galaxies. The idea has also been touted here in the real world by those hell-bent on traversing the stars. But there’s a major problem with the concept, and we’re not talking about the countless generations doomed to be born and die for the sake of a mission they never agreed to — that’s a whole other thing. Rather, Universe Today points out that, if past is prelude, the language spoken on the ship would eventually evolve to the point that it seems incoherent back on Earth...
Read More

AI for Self-Driving Cars Doesn't Account for Crime // Futurity
Existing approaches to artificial intelligence for self-driving cars don’t account for the fact that people might try to use the autonomous vehicles to do something bad, researchers report...
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NYC’s new Black Lives Matter mural is more than art. It’s the future of urbanism // FastCompany
Ever since the words Black Lives Matter were painted in bright yellow on the street behind the White House on June 5, similar projects have appeared on the streets of cities across the country. They’ve been alternately welcomed and criticized, both from those within the Black Lives Matter movement and those outside. So when officials in Manhattan set out to paint their own street mural in the Civic Center—an area adjacent to land that was a burial ground for people of African descent in the 17th and 18th centuries—they knew they couldn’t mess it up...
Read More

Bio-Ink for 3D Printing Inside the Body // IEEE Spectrum
Right now, almost 70,000 people in the United States alone are on active waiting lists for organ donations. The dream of bio-printing is that one day, instead of waiting for a donor, a patient could receive, say, a kidney assembled on-demand from living cells using 3-D printing techniques. But one problem with this dream is that bio-printing an organ outside the body necessarily requires surgery to implant it. A way around this problem could be provided by new bio-ink, composed of living cells suspended in a gel, that is safe for use inside people and could help enable 3-D printing in the body...
Read More

Theater’s Next Act? A Show That’s All in Your Head // NYTimes
Immersive theater, timed and ticketed, has arrived in virtual reality. Is this a brave new pixelated world for live performance? Or just another app?
Read More

Prospects for a World of Declining GDP // The Club of Rome
Our human species has lived on this earth for about 15,000 generations. Until 1750 there was essentially no growth in GDP per person. For 300,000 years average people experienced no overall improvement in welfare during their lifetimes. Only during the past 15 generations, a mere 0.001% of humanity’s existence on earth, has it become accepted and expected that life for all should continuously and rapidly improve...
Read More

From Policing to Climate Change, a Sweeping Call for a ‘Moral Revolution’ // NYTimes
A national coalition to address the challenges of the working poor released a sweeping legislative platform in a three-hour virtual rally on Saturday, including proposals to address mass incarceration, health care and wealth inequality. The policy agenda by the coalition, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, seeks to offer a concrete road map for tackling the systemic injustices that have captured the nation’s attention in recent weeks after the police killing of George Floyd...
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Walmart’s movie plan will transform parking lots into drive-in theaters // Slashgear
Walmart just made a surprising announcement: it will turn some of its store parking lots into drive-in movie theaters, using its existing real estate to revive a largely defunct way to view movies. The drive-in theaters will start going live in early August, according to the company, but they won’t be available at every Walmart destination. In case you’re wondering: yes, there will be popcorn...
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Seoul aims to commercialize urban air mobility in 2025 // Inquirer
South Korea aims to commercialize urban air mobility (UAM) services in the domestic market in 2025 as it strives to tackle worsening traffic congestion in major cities, the transport ministry said Thursday. The government plans to begin offering UAM services initially with one to two routes, or terminals, in the Seoul metropolitan area in 2025 and then to increase the number of terminals to 10 by 2030, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said in a statement...
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How Drones and Aerial Vehicles Could Change Cities // SingularityHub
Drones, personal flying vehicles, and air taxis may be part of our everyday life in the very near future. Drones and air taxis will create new means of mobility and transport routes. Drones will be used for surveillance, delivery, and in the construction sector as it moves towards automation. The introduction of these aerial craft into cities will require the built environment to change dramatically. Drones and other new aerial vehicles will require landing pads, charging points, and drone ports. They could usher in new styles of building, and lead to more sustainable design...
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Facebook’s proposed emoji illustrates yet another glaring blindspot on race // FastCompany
Facebook is at odds with a lot of groups these days—from Congress to Media Matters to people who just dislike hate speech. Now it’s diverging from Unicode, the universal standard-bearer for emoji. That is, at least according to Emojipedia, which catalogs all the world’s emojis. This week, it tweeted that Facebook’s rendition of a soon-to-be-released emoji isn’t quite up to code...
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Method Makes Plastic Transparent and Conductive // Futurity
A method to make plastic conductive and more transparent could improve large touchscreens, LED light panels, and window-mounted infrared solar cells, say researchers. They provide a recipe to help other researchers find the best balance between conductivity and transparency by creating a three-layer anti-reflection surface. The conductive metal layer is sandwiched between two dielectric materials that allow light to pass through easily. The dielectrics reduce the reflection from both the plastic and metal layer between them...
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The Future of Commerce Belongs to the Frictionless // Wired
For a minute there, at the start of the global lockdown, it seemed to be an open question: Would we all be able to get everything we needed delivered? Three months in, while nobody’s getting two-day deliveries anymore, it does seem as if Amazon alone might be able to provide almost all of us with our commodity needs. Way back before Jeff Bezos began delivering almost everything to everyone, there was another open question: Was ordering just a few things at a time from Amazon bad for the environment? The answer is a little surprising...
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Google will pay publishers to license content for ‘new news experience’ // Venturebeat
Google announced it will begin paying news publishers for “high-quality content” with the launch of a “new news experience” later this year. The move marks a major departure for Google, which has until now steadfastly refused to compensate news publishers for content. As news organizations’ digital advertising revenues have plunged, critics in the media, and even many politicians, have been pressuring Google to pay to license content...
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Elon Musk Teases Major Neuralink Reveal // Futurism
Elon Musk has announced that the mysterious computer-brain interface startup Neuralink, which he co-founded, will release an update on its progress on August 28. “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” Musk wrote, referring to his greater ambitions to make sure humanity can keep up with advanced AI. “Neuralink mission statement.” Context suggests that this could be a major reveal...
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The 3D Printed Homes of the Future Are Giant Eggs on Mars // SingularityHub
Last month, a 3D printed house that can float on a pontoon was unveiled in the Czech Republic. Last year, work started on a community of 3D printed houses for low-income families in Mexico. While building homes with 3D printers is becoming more scalable, it’s also still a fun way to play around with unique designs and futuristic concepts for our living spaces...
Read More

This Lickable Screen Can Recreate Almost Any Taste or Flavor Without Eating Food // Gizmodo
No matter how they may make you feel, licking your gadgets and electronics is never recommended. Unless you’re a researcher from Meiji University in Japan who’s invented what’s being described as a taste display that can artificially recreate any flavor by triggering the five different tastes on a user’s tongue...
Read More

How ‘The Mandalorian’ and ILM invisibly reinvented film and TV production // TechCrunch
he Mandalorian” was a pretty good show. On that most people seem to agree. But while a successful live-action Star Wars TV series is important in its own right, the way this particular show was made represents a far greater change, perhaps the most important since the green screen. The cutting edge tech (literally) behind “The Mandalorian” creates a new standard and paradigm for media — and the audience will be none the wiser...
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Virtual Production Can be Real for Everybody—Here’s How // Squarespace
Think virtual production is the preserve of James Cameron? The confluence of games engines with faster PCs, LED backlots and off-the-shelf tools for anything from performance capture to virtual camera is bringing affordable real-time mixed reality production to market. Cameron saw this coming, which is why he has upped the ante to where no filmmaker has gone before and decided to shoot the first  “Avatar” sequel as a virtual production under water. Not CG fluids either, but with his actors holding their breath in giant swimming pools.
Read More

Coronavirus Responses Highlight How Humans Have Evolved to Dismiss Facts That Don’t Fit Their Worldview // Scientific American
Bemoaning uneven individual and state compliance with public health recommendations, top U.S. COVID-19 adviser Anthony Fauci recently blamed the country’s ineffective pandemic response on an American “anti-science bias.” He called this bias “inconceivable,” because “science is truth.” Fauci compared those discounting the importance of masks and social distancing to “anti-vaxxers” in their “amazing” refusal to listen to science...
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The Pandemic Shows It's Time for an Alternative to American Capitalism // The Appeal
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the inherent flaws of American capitalism, a profit-driven system of winners and losers that is unprepared to respond to a national emergency and ill-equipped to address the basic needs of society. While the coronavirus has created an historic economic crisis, a dire emergency of economic inequality and injustice in this country long predated the outbreak. Capitalism must undergo structural change. The nation has an opportunity to take advantage of this transformative event and pursue an alternative to the current system...
Read More

Kazakhstan Denies China's Claim of Disease Deadlier than COVID-19 // Futurism
According to an alarming statement by China’s embassy in Kazakhstan this week, a deadly “unknown pneumonia” is spreading in the country of 18 million people — with a mortality rate “much higher than the novel coronavirus.” Unsurprisingly, the ominous news quickly spread worldwide. But now Kazakh officials are firing back. A Facebook post by the Kazakhstan Ministry of Health shows a screenshot of the SCMP article that broke the story, with the words “FAKE NEWS” stamped in red over the top...
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Social Distancing is More Likely if you Have Money // Futurity
A survey finds that liquid assets increased the likelihood that a person in the United States could practice social distancing. “Social distancing is a privilege that comes with resources and wealth, but wealth is not distributed equally in America,” says Michal Grinstein-Weiss, professor and director of the Social Policy Institute (SPI) at Washington University in St. Louis. “Wealth gives individuals agency to make choices, like social distancing, that keep themselves and their families healthy.”
Read More

Harvard professor develops a $50 nasal spray to thwart the spread of COVID-19
You should practice social distancing and wear a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But even masks aren’t perfect. A high-end N95 mask can filter an estimated 99.8% of the virus from the air, while many cotton masks filter just 50% or less. Given that researchers now know the virus is airborne, you may wonder: Is there anything else you can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19? According to David Edwards, a Harvard professor and entrepreneur, there is. And it’s not much more complicated than sniffing a specialized saline solution. “It’s cleaning my bioaerosol footprint, if you will,” he says...
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Fun Stuff 🚀

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

News, Articles & Interesting Projects


FUTURE LIFE [Call for Submissions]
The COVID-19 pandemic has turned life as we know it upside down and outside-in. What will we make of our future life? FUTURE LIFE is featuring art, design, and technology in response to the current pandemic. Join a global community of makers and creators imagining our FUTURE LIFE. Submissions can be design, art, or technology inspired by the current moment or old work that has become relevant. Submissions are due July 31st.
Check It Out

YouTube wants you to film your day for a Ridley Scott documentary // Engadget
A decade after executive producer Ridley Scott and director Kevin Macdonald teamed up with YouTube for a crowdsourced documentary that captured a day on Earth, they’re making a sequel. For the follow-up to Life in a Day, they’re asking people all over the planet to film a part of their life on July 25th. A team of 30 reviewers, three editors and Macdonald will go through the footage and assemble a feature-length documentary. Life in a Day 2020 will premiere at Sundance and on YouTube next year...
Learn How

Build an Off-Grid Wikipedia with a Raspberry Pi // Element14 [Video]
We all rely on the internet as a reference library. In those cases when you do not have access to the internet, it's pretty difficult to access the information you need. What if you could build a device that had the entirety of Wikipedia on it and you could connect to it with your phone no matter where you are? 
Check It Out

Unreal’s new iPhone app does live motion capture with Face ID sensors // ArsTechnica
Unreal Engine developer Epic Games has released Live Link Face, an iPhone app that uses the front-facing 3D sensors in the phone to do live motion capture for facial animations in 3D projects like video games, animations, or films. The app uses tools from Apple's ARKit framework and the iPhone's TrueDepth sensor array to stream live motion capture from an actor looking at the phone to 3D characters in Unreal Engine running on a nearby workstation. It captures facial expressions as well as head and neck rotation...
Read More

Forging a Glowing Katana (Cyberpunk Katana v1.0) [Video]
Forging a Katana in a futuristic Cyberpunk style.  The goal of this project was to create a cross between a Lightsaber and a very real, very functional Katana.  This is a detailed look at the steps involved in the build, the most notable of which are: forging both a back and front section for the blade, creating an artificial differential heat treat by tempering the two sections of the blade at different temperatures, making the handle out of scrap metal, sandblasting the handle components with a homemade sandblaster, and finally lights!  The glow of the blade and handle are created with electroluminescent wire and tape respectively...
Check It Out

The Ethical Nonsense (and plutocratic convenience) of AI Rights // IEET
Neither these robots nor these corporations are people. Other robots, in the future, I very much hope so. I can almost quote by heart that speech from Captain Picard, and don’t get me started on how the Federation treats holographic AIs. But no current or near-term software, whether or not it’s labelled as an “AI,” is any closer to a claim on human-equivalent personhood than (perhaps, and fascinatingly) an insect. My argument for this isn’t a philosophical a priori, but rather encouragement to read any recent technical paper or, even better, to read the code of a contemporary AI framework and use it to train a new one...
Read More


Gaming, Shows, Books & Other Random Cool Stuff

Brave New World [Show premiering 7/15 on NBC]
In a utopia whose perfection hinges upon control of monogamy and privacy, members of the collective begin to question the rules, putting their regimented society on a collision course with forbidden love and revolution.
Check It Out

CloudPunk [Game, PC, Forthcoming on Consoles]
Your name is Rania. This is your first night working for Cloudpunk, the semi-legal delivery company based in the sprawling city of Nivalis. You go everywhere, from the Marrow below to the spires that pierce the grey clouds high above before scraping the edge of the troposphere. No delivery job is too dangerous, and no one is faster than a Cloudpunk driver...
Check It Out

The Platform [Movie, Netflix]
Spanish science fiction-horror film directed by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia.[1] The film is set in a large, tower-style "Vertical Self-Management Center". Its residents, who are switched every 30 days between its many floors, are fed via a platform which, initially filled with food at the top floor, gradually descends through the tower's levels, each level getting only the leftovers from the previous ones. It is a system bound to cause conflict, as the residents at the top levels can eat as much as they can, in an allotted time, leaving increasingly little for those below.
Watch Trailer

Cheap Truth, the Original Cyberpunk Zine [Zine]
Every revolutionary needs a house organ, a voice to amplify its ideas and demands. Cyberpunk was no exception and that early house organ was the two-page typewritten zine in the 1980s edited by Vincent Omniaveritas, aka Bruce Sterling. It was here, over 18 issues in the 1980s, that Sterling and a few guest authors articulated the ideas behind “The Movement” and the loose-knit band of authors dubbed The Mirrorshades Group (later labeled “cyberpunks” by sci-fi editor and author Gardner Dozois).
Check It Out
 
 

What I'm Reading

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

Cyberpunk Red Quickstart Guide
by R Talsorian Games

Coming Soon to a 3D Printer Near You: Plant-Based Steaks
by NowThis

How "Starship Troopers" Aligns with Our Moment of American Defeat
By David Roth

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