This is part of a regular series of posts that track a few notable things I find on Twitter that reflect signals and/or futures thinking I think will be relevant to social workers and/or folks in higher education. I’m recalibrating this feature and will start a slightly different format where I just run through 10 things of value I come across. You can view previous posts in this series here.
(One) Of great interest in the future of tech world is the issue of facial recognition technology proliferation in cities. Portland, Oregon (my home town) just passed among the most rigorous facial recognition bans in the country. For social justice tech activists – this is a very good thing. Most agree that there are many more down sides and risks – all hinging on serious concerns about embedded and dangerous surveillance racism. You can read about it here, here and here is an ACLU statement about recent legislation introduced on the same issue at the national level. Here are a couple of other pieces that lay out a variety of important points too. This will continue to be an important space for social workers focused on human rights and urban planning to be active and attentive.
(Two) This is a really powerful and important article about how Covid-19 has revealed even deeper and more complex rifts in the digital divide in the world. “As the Covid-19 pandemic has forced millions to remain in their homes and restricted the capacity of public spaces, people have turned to online spaces to continue all forms of social interactions. However, despite being heralded as a means to overcome social inequalities, the new “digital public spaces” have continued these inequalities.” Increasingly, access to full participation in society is digital – how are social workers incorporating and accounting for this increasingly relevant and urgent issue? This article underscores that covid-19 has exacerbated this dynamic . Social workers will need to gain even more tools and skills to attend to this divide – and to advocate effectively for equitable access.
(Three) Will civic unrest escalate as the covid-19 and other equity movements continue in the coming months and years? A recent study which looked at 57 historic pandemics suggests that it will. It’s a thought provoking piece – and it says that uprisings have occurred more because of how those epidemics heightened social tensions. As our communities continue to work for change – there is clearly a sense of readiness for evolution.
(Four) New(ish) article about using virtual reality as a tool for behavioral health. This article discusses increasing availability of the technology, challenges and opportunities in integrating with behavioral health practice. This is a great piece for introducing VR to social workers and provides some helpful analysis of the practice ecosystem.
(Five) Numerous times in this blog, I’ve discussed items related to the future of the economy – globally and in the U.S., including topics such as “post-capitalism” and other emerging discourses. One of these is referred to as “de-growth.” This new article provides an indepth introductory look at this approach and offers it as a viable framework as an alternative to capitalism worth considering.
(Six) Dr. Jose Ramos is a favorite futures scholar – here’s a new piece related to yet more imagining of what Covid-19 will teach us and what might come next using the symbol of the chrysalis as a set of opportunties related to social transformation. It is a thoughtful and insightful set of ideas worth exploring. “We are living in Epic Times, historic times imbued with personal and collective meaning and logic. For each of us this story will be different, however we all have a part to play in the drama we see unfolding. Who we are, how we act, what we do, makes a difference. The era is calling forth new selves and new patterns from us. What does our world, its challenges and transition, want from us? What thinking, innovations, methods, feelings, movements? What could emerge from the Chrysalis?”
(Seven) Another writer I enjoy reading is Douglass Rushkoff (well often it aggravating but that is just because he does a good job of identifying the cracks in the machine…). This article is called “The Privileged Have Entered Their Escape Pods,” reminding us of grotesque inequality during the times of Covid-19 – and the absolute and total truth that we are definitely not all in this together. As noted previously in this post, such brutally apparent injustices through awful times are not sustainable and will likely increasingly be a point of focus in continuing dialogue about the future of democracy, community and equity. Here’s a point of reference regarding gross inequality regarding health outcomes from Covid-19.
(Eight) Well, how about the future of sex? Here’s a great little “TED” type talk with sex-tech expert Bryony Cole talking about how sexuality and the sociology/psychology of sexuality are changing in the modern world. This is relevant to social work explorations in the future of relationships, families and coupling.
(Nine). This past month, a new wonderful Afrofuturist volume of edited stories has been released. It’s called “Black Freedom Beyond Borders: Memories of Abolition Day.” It’s a powerful collection of stories set after police abolition has occurred with Afrofuturist sensibilities. There is a rich and insightful webinar that was part of the launch where various authors read their work. You can see it here and download the entire book for free here. It is inspiring!
(Ten) This article is called “The world deserves a good ancestor: Will you be one?” Using the frame of colonization the author offers: “Humankind has colonized the future. We treat it like a distant colonial outpost devoid of people where we can freely dump ecological degradation, technological risk and nuclear waste – as if nobody will be there.” Building on the harms from other colonization This frame powerfully accentuates the need to consider power and responsibility to future generations. This image is included in the piece and speaks volumes.