I’m freshly back from the Institute for the Future’s 10-Year Forecast meeting. I’ll do a complete download in an upcoming post. It was, as always, a powerful, fascinating and engaging gathering. For now, here’s things I saw go by on Twitter that inspired, challenged and energized me. Hope they do the same for you!!
Special note: In the last few weeks, I’ve had occasion to meet a number of people who are regular readers of this blog. I just wanted to say that your stories of how you are using this material in social work/social work education spaces is deeply inspiring to me. THANK YOU for your feedback and your comments. Thank you for sharing, boosting an experimenting with these ideas in our shared mission to make the world a better place using new tools and frameworks. I also appreciate the ideas that you have for future social work curriculum, research and community development anchored in democratize futures principles. Let’s keep going and more to come!!!
Want to feel inspired? Young peoples’ futures/social action movements are growing every day. You’ve heard about Greta (HOORAY) but how about these other extraordinary young people? Let’s boost all their signals. They are demanding brighter futures – let’s lift them up or get out of their way. This article reminds us that 41% of the global population is under the age of 24…and they’re angry.
Here’s a piece that is an excellent discussion of the role of technologies that further marginalize or complicate gender non-conforming community members. Here’s one that talks about how “code” is still binary – and provides an extremely narrow way of categorizing (and automating those categories) in a world that is much more complex gender-wise. I found another piece that talks about “the trauma of travel for transgender people” which is worth a read. Given that most folks agree that the gender binary will continue to evolve in the future…we need to get better at being ready for the full range of human expression in the “real world” and through our technologies.
A recent study has come out with lots of mentions regarding inequities found in artificial intelligence in health care spaces. This is definitely concerning, but is another reminder that we can’t assume AI is bias free…evidence continues to mount that old biases show up in new ways. Here’s a good new article about AI bias in general…and some ideas about what to do about it that are actionable. Finally, here’s a new piece out from AI inequity scholar Ruja Benjamin called “Assessing risk: Automating Racism.” This is a fine shorter piece building from her book on the same topic which I’ve spoken about admiringly on this blog before.
Economic Frameworks/Issues of the Future
I’ve been really intrigued with the idea that people should be paid for their data – it strikes me as a contemporary way to guarantee a universal basic income and I’m not alone in that observation/imagining. That said, this author says it won’t actually work. I found it to be a challenging and interesting piece. We have to keep wrestling with this carefully – too much is at stake.
I’m still exploring and learning about cryptocurrencies and how they might fit into the “future of the economy” story. This article says they are the future. I’m not endorsing this point of view – just sharing what I’m reviewing and learning.
The World Economic Forum has a new piece out about the top risks to the global economy – which of course will impact many things that we care about either directly or indirectly. Worth a look.
Art, Speculative Fiction and Science Fiction as Bridges to Futures Understanding
In the category of “one of my new favorite things” is discovering the work of futurist Leah Zaidi. She’s shared her 2017 Master’s Thesis called “Building Brave New Worlds: Science Fiction and Transition Design.” It is fascinating and inspiring from a creative thinking perspective. Do yourself a favor and look through her dynamic work. She’s just getting started! Here’s another of her pieces (from 2019) including some speculative fiction regarding jobs of the future.
Here’s another new to me speculative fiction writer named Cory Doctorow and new book he’s written called “Affordances.” This article reviews the book and draws links to the very contemporary issues it illuminates. I’ve also been hearing a lot about Ted Chaing lately. He’s a writer getting a lot of attention for his “not always dystopian” but more hopeful science fiction offerings. This is a nice overview/review of his newer work.
Climate Change and Global Regeneration
As I write this blog post, California is experiencing yet another season of devastating fires…and other parts of our country, and our planet, are experiencing other significant challenges. It felt especially good to nurture some eco-healing inspiration with some finds from Twitter.
Here’s an article about the future of wind energy – which some suggest, with current tech capability, could meet the world’s energy needs several times over.
This is a powerful article centering the voices of People of Color globally who assert that they will experience climate change disproportionately and have a strong vision for what should happen next. This one is worth a thoughtful read.
I ran across this inspiring “earth design manifesto” focused on asserting earth design-centered principles. Another design-leaning eco-focused article explores ecological design, system complexity, and systemic health. Also noted this wonderful short (12 minute) film about regenerative agriculture.
The Future of War
Powerful special edition of the MIT Technology Review on the future of war. It’s sobering, but important to explore.
Reimagining Community Resilience
This wonderful article is medicine for reading about the future of war in the link above. It’s a feminist vision of the future of community strengths and healing.