View profile

futuribile / curating futures - Issue #36 - Innovating on the shoulders of giants, fossils and peasants

futuribile / curating futures
futuribile / curating futures - Issue #36 - Innovating on the shoulders of giants, fossils and peasants
By Marta Arniani • Issue #36 • View online
Aloha,
The year started with an in-real-life memes invasion of US Capitol, a brutal call to reality for the hopes that the calendar’s turn would be the salvific dawn of a new era. In War and Peace, Tolstoj wrote that a real general never finds himself “at the beginning of some event”; instead, he is perpetually situated in the middle of a series of events, each a link in an endless chain of causation. In this first issue of 2021, you find three prompts to set for the months to come with perspective. May history and interdependence be the engine of innovation.
Happy New Year,
Marta Arniani

Yesterday, the European Commission decided to register a European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) entitled ‘Civil society initiative for a ban on biometric mass surveillance practices'. This is important because if the ECI - better known as Reclaim Your Face - receive 1 million statements of support within 1 year from at least 7 different Member States, the Commission will have to react within 6 months. You know what you have to do (link in the picture).
Yesterday, the European Commission decided to register a European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) entitled ‘Civil society initiative for a ban on biometric mass surveillance practices'. This is important because if the ECI - better known as Reclaim Your Face - receive 1 million statements of support within 1 year from at least 7 different Member States, the Commission will have to react within 6 months. You know what you have to do (link in the picture).
Three prompts to navigate 2021
Deep time thinking. The anthropologist Vincent Ialendi studies the worldviews of nuclear waste experts in Finland, who reckon with radioactive isotopes over extremely long-term planetary timeframes. Their challenge is to factor into nuclear waste management far-future (in the order of tens or hundreds of thousands years) events like glaciations and human population fluctuations. Since it is impossible to get accurate postcards from the far future, experts use deep time analogies, the idea that some form of future may have happened already in the past, although in a different form. For instance, in studying if copper canisters will corrode in the long-term, experts look at analogues, like a Mesozoic copper deposit preserved in mudstone in Devon, England, for 170 million years. Find your deep time observation spot. 🔮
Understanding the countryside. In 1947, the Chinese sociologist Fei Xiaotong described the Han culture’s rural roots as marked by a different cosmology: the universe is perfect as it is; human’s duty is to maintain its harmony, starting from the present moment. In urban culture, instead, life is defined by the pleasure of overcoming future challenges. The dominant narrative sees the countryside as backwards and conservative, while freedom and progress reside in urban areas. It fuels the belief that tech will somehow save or educate rural people. Xiaowei Wang believe that our ability to confront this narrative will determine our shared future. Their book Blockchain Chicken Farms was an illuminating holiday read. I suspect many innovative ideas (hello, Green Deal) reside in embracing city and countryside interdependence and humbly seeking mutual inspiration.
Setting for ambitious problems. The Human Genome Project, the project to map the whole of the human genome, is 30. In an interview, its director Eric Green remembers: “We had this big audacious goal of reading out the 3 billion letters of the human instruction book, but we didn’t have the technology to do it. We didn’t have the methods. We didn’t even have a functional internet. There was no playbook. I could sort of imagine that one day genomics might be part of clinical care. But I truly did not think it would happen in my lifetime.” Many readers of this newsletter focus on challenges that seem impossible to tackle in a lifetime: keep going, search for allies, don’t get stuck with the lack of an immediate solution. 💪
On January 4, Google workers and contractors announced the formation of a union with the Communications Workers of America. The Alphabet Workers Union was born: it is the first union at a major tech company. Hopefully, it opens up a new era of accountability for the tech industry, driven by those who make it possible first hand.
On January 4, Google workers and contractors announced the formation of a union with the Communications Workers of America. The Alphabet Workers Union was born: it is the first union at a major tech company. Hopefully, it opens up a new era of accountability for the tech industry, driven by those who make it possible first hand.
Shots
/// قلب is a programming language written entirely in Arabic; it can’t help being a project that underlines cultural biases in computer science. 🤓
/// A collection of data literacy tools, by the Data Justice Lab: prompts for workshops, interactive learning and much more.
/// The IMF is totally fine with determining your credit-worthiness (shall a bank lend you money?) through your digital footprint (sites you visit, type of browser, online purchases). 😱😱
/// User-centered design ends up being a mirror for both individualism and capitalism. A collective article with actionable alternatives - useful also to non-designers.
/// How Discord (somewhat accidentally) invented the future of the internet.
Oh, dear!
Boston Dynamics robots dance to Fifties rock. A disturbing mix of tech evolution and dad dancing. A useful distraction, too. Accounting for how the pandemic augmented the adoption of robots in Chinese people everyday, the investor Kay Fu Lee underscores that if people are scared by anthropomorphic robots, they are totally fine with robotic coffee machines and other domestic appliances. Design matters: would people think twice about buying a smart vacuum cleaner if it had a face?
Boston Dynamics robots dance to Fifties rock. A disturbing mix of tech evolution and dad dancing. A useful distraction, too. Accounting for how the pandemic augmented the adoption of robots in Chinese people everyday, the investor Kay Fu Lee underscores that if people are scared by anthropomorphic robots, they are totally fine with robotic coffee machines and other domestic appliances. Design matters: would people think twice about buying a smart vacuum cleaner if it had a face?
——————
That’s all, thanks for reading! Hit share to support and spread my work, reply for feedback.
Aloha,
Marta
Did you enjoy this issue?
Marta Arniani

A monthly newsletter at the intersection of technology innovation and social justice. Insights and news about technology impacts on society and how society can strike back.

In order to unsubscribe, click here.
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Powered by Revue