Futures galore

Seems to be a small burst of future-related speculation, rising above the usual background level, at the moment.

Some is good old-fashioned feelgood technophilia. Michio Kaku has a new TV series airing in the US – which is being elucidated helpfully on the Panopticon blog.

It isn’t around in the UK yet, but judging from the lavishly designed Discovery Channel website and Panopticon’s commentary it goes beyond even his Visions (old book, more recent TV series), in high-tech optimism about a future which realises science fiction dreams using technology Kaku really believes will happen. Nothing tentative here:
“What would you see and experience if the clocks rolled forward 50 years? In a unique blend of drama and science, this three-part series shows you the world of tomorrow.” Wow…

Kaku’s exuberance is beguiling, but there’s a more sober taking stock of 21st century technical challenges which was launched at the AAAS last week by the US National Academy of Engineering
These concern such worthy, and necessary goals as securing cyberspace, preventing nuclear terror, and ensuring access to clean water, but good old Ray Kurzweil – I assume – managed to get “reverse engineering the brain” on the list as well. So good luck with that. They are all attracting some intereting comments though.

Rather different stuff going on at FACT gallery in Liverpool, and on its website.
They have an art exhibitions on show now about bioengineering: sk-interface – curated by the Jens Hauser (an interesting but somewhat theoretically inclined chap judging by a talk I heard him give at the RCA in London last week). Exhibition looks great though, and is first of a series which runs up to the end of the Summer and are all geared to provoking thoughts about possible futures. The British Association meet in Liverpool in September, just in time to miss all of this, which is a pity. The FACT website has a blog and records of some community discussions, but these are fairly quiet so far. May be worth watching how they develop as the subsequent exhibits are rolled out.

No smart way to sum all this up, except to say that the future does seem to keep cropping up. Now why is that?

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