Periodic interesting things gathered – to accelerate (or disrupt) social working thinking, exploring and practice with a futures/foresight lens. 10 things seems like a good amount of things…and about as much as any of us can handle at one time. (I’ve been away from doing this for awhile…but you can see previous posts of this kind here.)
- Artificial intelligence is creating a new world order. (Remember when I did that project to explore how AI was turning up in the social work practice environment? It’s still a worry – I don’t think we’re adequately acknowledging the ways that AI in all its forms is part of our operations and ecosystem as workers…and therefore, how much it may diminish and/or compromise the good work we hope to do.). Case in point: An algorithm that screens for child neglect raises concerns.
- New-ish article (shout out to Finn Bell, MSW – Social Work Health Futures Lab Fellow for sharing this one.). Social Work in the face of collapse. Collapse scenarios matter as we consider some of the worst outcomes possible, what the triggers for these might be, and if there any way to avoid them… Reading the current Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report (and this “The next global mental health crisis is about climate change“)may invoke feelings of dread as well as a desire to act. Is it ethical to practice social work any more and NOT consider some of the hardest possible futures even as we fight hard to avoid them? What resiliencies and new kinds of adaptive capacities will we need to get to the next chapter of our shared world? This group is working on the answer to that question – good place to plug in.
- Revolutionizing Activism: The Power of Utopia was a really inspiring webinar sponsored by the Center for Creative Activism and featured Stuart Candy, Terry Marshall and Cory Doctorow. Their discussion focused on the ease of slipping into the “dystopia habit” and the power, urgency and importance of investing in utopias as sources of inspiration and possibilities for this hurting world. You can see some of the other cool and inspiring things this group has done here. And you can check out the book based on their frameworks and work called the Art of Activism here. Not related to this group, but about the importance of utopias in our futures work is this fine essay by Ruth Levitas.
- There’s an abundance of chatter about the multiverse – but I found this piece by National Geographic particularly interesting and useful. Check out the science-based aspects of the possibility of this phenomenon – wonderful history as well.
- Tired of being digitally surveilled? Here’s a useful and interesting site to give you tools to fight back – Surveillance Self-Defense.
- Another organization I have a crush on is the Creative Reaction Lab in St. Louis. They do a lot of cool and innovative community justice activities in creative ways. Love this Equity-Centered Design card tool/set they produce – and if you scroll down they have a free digital version you can download too!
- At last year’s IFTF 10-year-forecast, I got to hear Geoff Manaugh and Nicola Twilley talk about their remarkably timed research into the history and future of quarantine – just as covid-19 was bearing down. Here’s a recent presentation of their work – their work is prescient, urgent and compelling.
- Science fiction and speculative futures provides an endless source of information, inspiration and expansive space to think and consider the futures we may face. I found a wonderful human named Jewel Davis, Education Librarian from Appalacian State University who does work specifically in analyzing speculative fictions specific to Communities and Worlds of Color. There is much to learn beyond the limits of white science fiction. Check out her generously shared presentation slides here.
- I found this blog post “We’re not ready for what’s already happened: Welcome to discontinuity – Population – everyone” a good read and well-conceptualized capsule of the ingredients of future shock many are feeling right now. The term “discontinuity” seems really on point.
- Dr. Jose Ramos has become a trusted mentor and friend – I’ve recently completed his “Mutant Futures” training and will do a post on it soon. Meanwhile, here’s a blog post from him about what it means to “Answer the Call of Epic Times.” Hope you find it as inspiring and energizing as I do.