320 posts tagged with future.
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The past guides us; the future needs us.

Whenever I look around me, I wonder what old things are about to bear fruit, what seemingly solid institutions might soon rupture, and what seeds we might now be planting whose harvest will come at some unpredictable moment in the future. The most magnificent person I met in 2013 quoted a line from Michel Foucault to me: "People know what they do; frequently they know why they do what they do; but what they don't know is what what they do does." Someone saves a life or educates a person or tells her a story that upends everything she assumed. The transformation may be subtle or crucial or world changing, next year or in 100 years, or maybe in a millennium. You can’t always trace it but everything, everyone has a genealogy. Rebecca Solnit in TomDispatch: The Arc of Justice and the Long Run: Hope, History, and Unpredictability [more inside]
posted by davidjmcgee on Dec 23, 2013 - 8 comments

Why the Web Won't Be Nirvana

"After two decades online, I'm perplexed. It's not that I haven't had a gas of a good time on the Internet. I've met great people and even caught a hacker or two. But today, I'm uneasy about this most trendy and oversold community. Visionaries see a future of telecommuting workers, interactive libraries and multimedia classrooms. They speak of electronic town meetings and virtual communities. Commerce and business will shift from offices and malls to networks and modems. And the freedom of digital networks will make government more democratic. Baloney. Do our computer pundits lack all common sense? The truth [is] no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works." A view of the Internet's future from February 26, 1995 at 7:00 PM
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 12, 2013 - 41 comments

1 2 Lose U

“Stylistically, I never had a plan – at the time, I was listening to a lot of intelligent drum ’n’ bass, but when I heard Squarepusher I was like, I can’t listen to normal jungle any more." Vapor City is the 9th album from North Carolina born, New York & Berlin based 'future jungle' producer Machinedrum. Illustrated by the grey-and-black industrial sprawl on the cover, (it) is about an imaginary metropolis; each of its ten tracks is devoted to one of its districts. [more inside]
posted by mannequito on Oct 20, 2013 - 20 comments

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.

Putting time in perspective.
posted by fings on Sep 14, 2013 - 52 comments

The Age of Networked Matter

An Aura of Familiarity: Visions from the Coming Age of Networked Matter. The Institute for the Future commissioned six science fiction writers to create short stories for their Age of Networked Matter research project. "We asked our collaborators to envision a world where humans have unprecedented control of matter at all scales, and to share with us a glimpse of daily life in that world. It was a process meant to make the future tangible." Three of the stories have appeared so far. [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Jun 28, 2013 - 9 comments

In global politics, playing by the rules doesn’t always help.

Western Sahara: Why Africa’s last colony can’t break free
posted by infini on Jun 19, 2013 - 20 comments

In Space, No One Can Hear You Cough Politely

Project Kronos: is a documentary film set in the not too distant future, following a mission to achieve interstellar space travel. As the mission unfolds with extraordinary results, the scientists find themselves dealing with a much bigger agenda.
posted by lemuring on Jun 15, 2013 - 15 comments

Imagine "Thunderbirds" with people instead of puppets

UFO is a 1970 British science fiction television series about a secret military organization which defends the Earth from Alien invaders. The series was created by Gerry & Sylvia Anderson, who previously created the "Supermarionation" puppet TV series in the 1960's (Thunderbirds, Fireball XL-5), and would later create Space: 1999. The production is highly stylized, from the cars, hair styles, and future fashions to Ebert-worthy parties of the future, mesh space shirts and groovy theme music. [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on May 31, 2013 - 44 comments

Important communication skills

Use "Metatalk" skill to discuss communication problems.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on May 15, 2013 - 46 comments

Still waiting on the jetpacks, but...

With the Terrafugia Transition flying car (or drivable plane) getting closer to production (though there are doubters), the company has released plans for the TF-X, which looks like the flying car of our dreams. The plans call for a hybrid electric fully-automated transforming car that can take-off and land vertically, travel 200 mph, and not require a pilots license. Flying cars are apparently hot again, with crowdfunded efforts, a mysterious Silicon Valley startup Zee.Aero, the UK's AugustWestland, and the AirMule getting into the game; all while Terrafugia is also developing a "flying humvee" for the military. Of course, we have seen this all before, including one of the first flying cars, which was built around a Ford Pinto and killed its inventors.
posted by blahblahblah on May 6, 2013 - 33 comments

Imagining and sharing desires and fears about the future is a way for

Since time immemorial, people have tried to predict the future. In the second half of the 20th century, these efforts grew more ambitious and sophisticated. Improvements in computational power, data gathering, and analysis were all put to work to try to lift the veil on the future. But the last decade has not been kind to futurology. Bankers' and insurers' forecasts of risk turned out to be drastically wrong, torpedoing the financial system and ushering in a long stagnation. Politicians' visions of long-term stable economic growth evaporated. Perhaps relatedly, scathing critiques of our ability to foresee the future rose to the top of bestseller lists. In this newly self-conscious mood, Nesta funded research that tries to get under the surface of different ways of talking about the future. This paper leans on that research, defending some forms of futurology. Accompanying Guardian post on uncertainty being the only certainty.
posted by infini on May 4, 2013 - 13 comments

The Top 10 Fears of African Diaspora About Africa

They wash dishes in restaurants, clean toilets and look after elderly incontinent people in the West. That makes the majority of the 30 million who have emigrated from Africa. Some are much luckier, they work in subaltern management positions in corporate America or in public institution in Europe. Few are real stars, successful with high pay and social status. Regardless of their current fate, they all share one thing in common: most of them want to return to Africa. The recent medias’ drumbeat about “Africa is Rising” is making them restless and hopeful because most of them have quite a petty life in the West. They are constantly harassed by the state police, crushed by daily racism from their neighbors and strangers, economically and politically isolated, and with very little hope for a near-future improvement. Unfortunately their dream to return home is painfully held back by deep fears and unanswered questions. Here are the top 10 fears of the African diaspora about Africa, and also the top 10 questions most of them are confronted with.
posted by infini on Apr 28, 2013 - 20 comments

Stop the killer robots before it's too late!

Nobel laureate's campaign calls for pre-emptive ban on autonomous weapons. As our technology advances, it becomes more and more feasible to give more and more autonomy to our drones. A new campaign led by 1997 Nobel laureate Jody Williams calls for an international ban on the design of autonomous weaponized drones. [more inside]
posted by Sleeper on Apr 27, 2013 - 123 comments

1993 -> 2013

For WIRED magazine's 20th anniversary, they've "gathered stories for, by, and about the people who have shaped the planet's past 20 years—and will continue driving the next."
posted by zarq on Apr 16, 2013 - 36 comments

Blinking lights convey so much filler

Futuristic User Interfaces in video games, animes, and movies.
posted by Taft on Apr 11, 2013 - 36 comments

Central Station

The Smell of Orange Groves. This short story by Lavie Tidhar (author of Osama: A Novel) is part of his Central Station story cycle, taking place in or around Tel Aviv’s Central Station neighborhood sometime in the future. [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Mar 29, 2013 - 4 comments

Rise of the Afropolitan

The stereotypes about Africa/Africans are too many to list here. They’re mostly negative, myopic depictions that focus on war, famine, abject poverty, disease, and corruption. In other oversimplifications, Africans are written up as model immigrants, overachieving geniuses, or displaced chiefs moonlighting as gas station attendants. Outside of these caricatures, many Africans are going to work and school, voting in their local elections, and spending way too much time on Facebook. And they’re over the ignorance that has collectively miscast them. In response, a swelling movement of young Africans are launching concerted efforts to wrest the image of Africa from entities and interests that don’t promote a balanced understanding of the continent.
posted by infini on Mar 3, 2013 - 69 comments

Brain-to-Brain Interface in Rats

"In a stunning first for neuroscience, researchers have created an electronic link between the brains of two rats, and demonstrated that signals from the mind of one can help the second solve basic puzzles in real time — even when those animals are separated by thousands of miles."
posted by sarastro on Feb 28, 2013 - 78 comments

Is artificial intelligence more a threat to humanity than an asteroid?

Omens: When we peer into the fog of the deep future what do we see – human extinction or a future among the stars? [Via]
posted by homunculus on Feb 27, 2013 - 31 comments

"In the future, everything will be terrifying."

Dougal Dixon is a scientist, author, and illustrator. While he is most famous for his work on dinosaurs, his books After Man: A Zoology of the Future and Man After Man: An Anthropology Of The Future attempt to explore what might happen in the far future. The Posthuman Art Of Dougal Dixon. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 30, 2013 - 26 comments


Looking to print your own house, jewelry or dessert? Then check out Engadget's Consumer Guide to 3D printers.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jan 30, 2013 - 81 comments

Spoiler: Everyone Dies

The Timeline of the Far Future is a Wikipedia article which serves as a gateway to a ton of fascinating scientific topics on the far edge of human understanding: ~50,000 years from now the Earth will enter a new Glacial period; ~100,000 years from now the Earth will likely have experienced a supervolcanic eruption; ~10,000,000 years from now the East African Rift divides the continent of Africa in to two land masses; ~20,000,000,000 years from now the Universe effectively dies due to The Big Rip.
posted by codacorolla on Jan 22, 2013 - 93 comments

What, Me Worry?

Every year, Edge.org asks a question. This year's is:"What *Should* We Be Worried About?" The responses are things like "Chinese Eugenics," "We Are In Denial About Catastrophic Risks," "Worry About Internet Drivel," "The Patience Deficit," "The Power Of Bad Incentives," "The Complex, Consequential, Not-So-Easy Decisions About Our Water Resources," and "The Cultural And Cognitive Consequences Of Electronics." They are from people like Nassim Nicholas Taleb, David Rowan, Evgeny Morozov, Kate Jeffery, Vernor Vinge, Bruce Schneier, Alison Gopnik, Steven Pinker, Virginia Heffernan and Simon Baron-Cohen. There are 154 answers. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 22, 2013 - 97 comments

A Little Off the Top

"A rough calculation of current rates of soil degradation suggests we have about 60 years of topsoil left." Via.
posted by holmesian on Jan 18, 2013 - 68 comments

Facebook's Graph Search

Facebook today announced their Graph Search during a live event at their headquarters. Some say it is Facebook's attempt at taking down Google and taking over web search (they did partner with Bing), but more astute observers see LinkedIn, Yelp, and OKCupid in their crosshairs too based on the live event demos. [more inside]
posted by mathowie on Jan 15, 2013 - 81 comments

So high, so low, so many things to know.

January 13, 2013 marks the 125th anniversary of the National Geographic Society. The Magazine is celebrating by taking a yearlong look at the past and future of exploration. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jan 8, 2013 - 10 comments

This is not the Africa you're looking for

What Susan Rice Has Meant for U.S. Policy in Sub-Saharan Africa Right now, Africa is changing with extraordinary speed and in surprising ways, but American policy there remains stale and stuck in the past: unambitious, underinvested and conceptually outdated.
posted by infini on Jan 1, 2013 - 13 comments

Stimulated Emission

light AMPLIFICATION - Is the color of future of your future neon pink? Is the language Japanese? Are the city's an eternal nighttime of airbrushed martini glasses, glossy red lips and consumer electronics? Do you jam with the console cowboys in cyberspace? Then this is the tumblr for you. [via mefi projects]
posted by Artw on Dec 29, 2012 - 44 comments

Christmas Present

The Ghosts of Christmas - A spooky SF story for Christmas by Paul Cornell.
posted by Artw on Dec 20, 2012 - 4 comments

Body.next() { Some Assembly Required }

Feeling a little bit worn? Need to upgrade your body? We've been doing it for a long time. An overview of more recent advances (PDF) and a near-future timeline. [more inside]
posted by Foci for Analysis on Dec 15, 2012 - 9 comments

Where are the flying cars? I was promised flying cars. I don't see any flying cars!

Global Trends 2030 Alternate Worlds is the latest quadrennial report from The US National Intelligence Council (NIC). (Report: PDF / Talking Points: PDF.) Similar to its predecessors, '2030' attempts to predict 'alternate visions of the future.' An official blog discusses their speculations. The Atlantic Council has published a "companion publication": "Envisioning 2030: US Strategy for a Post-Western World." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 11, 2012 - 21 comments

Concentrate and ask again.

Do you know the story behind the Magic 8 Ball? Without a doubt
Can you tell me about the magic inside? As I see it, yes
Can I put it back together using my own magic? Signs point to yes
Can I make my own Magic 8 Ball digital app instead? Most likely [more inside]
posted by iamkimiam on Dec 8, 2012 - 24 comments

Into the Future

Hey! The Bad Brains have a new album out! You can give it a spin here at ye olde You Tubes.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Nov 20, 2012 - 35 comments


The Futurist Magazine along with The World Future Society predicts the future with a list of the top trends and forecasts for 2013 and beyond.
posted by The Whelk on Nov 9, 2012 - 53 comments

Automatic building mapping could help emergency responders

Researchers have developed a backpack that generates building layout map in realtime. (yt) The prototype system automatically maps the wearer’s environment, recognizing movement between floors. It was designed at MIT to be used by emergency responders. Read more.
posted by crunchland on Sep 27, 2012 - 38 comments

epistolary novel

Clay Shirky: How the Internet will (one day) transform government [1,2,3] [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 26, 2012 - 46 comments

"If you’re not getting it wrong really a lot when you’re creating imaginary futures, then you’re just not doing it enough."

Wired talks to William Gibson: on Why Sci-Fi Writers Are (Thankfully) Almost Always Wrong, on Twitter, Antique Watches and Internet Obsessions, and and on Punk Rock, Internet Memes, and ‘Gangnam Style’.
posted by Artw on Sep 15, 2012 - 55 comments

The Rockwell International Integrated Space Plan

Over at Make Blog, Sean Ragan has after years of search dug up a copy of the Rockwell International Integrated Space Plan from 1989. It's now scanned and downloadable for your enjoyment.
posted by Harald74 on Sep 14, 2012 - 41 comments

A talk by writer Warren Ellis

How to See the Future.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Sep 9, 2012 - 36 comments

Strange New Worlds

Let's take another look at Chris Wayan's PLANETOCOPIA (previously): A series of detailed conceptions and paintings of vastly different Earths based on differing climates and land mass position. A planet designed to speed up East-West cvilization development! A life-bearing super hot world! An Earth with most of the seas missing! Forever Ice Age Earth! [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Sep 9, 2012 - 11 comments

The End of Sex?

Science is Rewriting the Rules of Reproduction Aarathi Prasad's new book investigates taking sex out of the reproduction equation. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Aug 19, 2012 - 28 comments

“You’re maybe going to take this journey with me for a spell, People aren’t stones.”

"... That’s the way with epiphanies: You can’t know in advance what they’ll be. Even me. I can see them coming, but I can’t understand something until I understand it.”
T he man who can see the future has a date with the woman who can see many possible futures.
posted by divabat on Aug 9, 2012 - 21 comments

My First Prototype Post

Prototypes are usually the missing links in the evolution of human technology, the dead-ends of ideas that give way to the refinement of the final physical product. Prototypes aren't just for Darth Vader. While the legal back and forth between Apple and Samsung continues, a treasure trove of prototype designs for Apple devices has been released to the public, showing insights into various design approaches and feature enhancements, including larger form-factor iPads with and without kickstands and landscape ports and iPhones that parody the Sony logo, show a different layout for camera elements, and look remarkably like fourth-generation models, as far back as 2005. On the other hand, some have made prototypes into the end goal itself, such as the folks at Dangerous Prototypes, a site which features a new open-source electronic hardware project each month. Some are just gratuitous fun, while others are a bit more practical, such as one project that recycles old Nokia displays and another that provides access to infrared signal, useful for hacking together remote controls for all sorts of IR-based devices. Other prototypes of tomorrow's technology are less concerned with shrinking down the guts of the invention itself, to make it disappear, but rather on how we interact with and integrate physical representations of these ideas into our daily lives. Above all else, prototypes are always forward-looking and are therefore inherently optimistic expressions of human creativity: Even children are getting into imagining the world of tomorrow.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 1, 2012 - 14 comments

"This is what innovation looks like.

32 inventions that will change your tomorrow (NYT)
posted by crunchland on Jun 4, 2012 - 87 comments

Worker bees can leave. Even drones can fly away. The Queen is their slave.

It is well known that the US military and their allies use unmanned aerial drones overseas in wars and other operations. But there are also hundreds in operation here in the U.S., according to records the Federal Aviation Administration has recently released. Local police departments already have used them in SWAT situations, and the Department of Homeland Security has given the green light for them to deploy a drone helicopter that can supposedly taze suspects from above as well as carrying 12-gauge shotguns and grenade launchersas well as providing surveillance. Congress has paved the way for as many as 30,000 drones in the skies over the US by 2020, which has privacy advocates alarmed. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has created a map with all of the organizations that have permits to use drones within the confines of the US. [more inside]
posted by crunchland on Apr 24, 2012 - 93 comments

Midwifing Skynet

Quadcopters are very cool and a little creepy. It was probably only a matter of time before someone attached a machine gun to one and called it Charlene.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Apr 23, 2012 - 67 comments

The 3 African Samurai

Heavily influenced by samurai films from film makers such as Akira Kurosawa, French/Burkinabe filmmaker Cédric Ido produced a short award winning film, Hasaki Ya Suda (The Three Black Samurai) set in the future. Its synopsis reads: It is 2100. In the world engulfed in chaos and war whose residents are consumed by terrible hunger, the last fertile land became the subject of fierce battles. Three warriors: noble Wurubenba (Jacky Ido), Shandaru (Cedric Ido), who wants to avenge his father’s death, and Kapkaru (Min Man Ma) craving for power, will face one another in a fight for life and death. Watch the full 25-minute Hasaki Ya Suda short film (available only with French subtitles at the moment) or the 1 minute teaser. Interview with Cedric in English.
posted by infini on Apr 23, 2012 - 7 comments

Fringe. Division.

The Future of Fringe. This week's episode of Fringe, 4x19, "Letters of Transit" shows us the future of the show - both in universe (recap, speculation) and for our world: Joshua Jackson says, "If you watch [Letters of Transit], you’ll have an understanding of where they want to take the series.” There are three episodes left for season four (teaser for 4x20, "Worlds Apart") and if Fox doesn't give Fringe a possible thirteen-episode fifth-season renewal, they have shot two different endings for season four. (Spoilers and speculation for Fringe.)
posted by crossoverman on Apr 21, 2012 - 122 comments

“Digitize Her!”

Earth, 2147. The legacy of the Metal Wars, where man fought machines—and machines won. Bio-Dreads — monstrous creations that hunt down human survivors... and digitize them!
In 1987, before he created Babylon 5, J. Michael Straczynski was a writer for Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, a live-action sci-fi show for kids. 24 episodes were produced. Straczynski wrote or co-wrote 14 of them, including multi-episode plot arcs. A line of interactive toys brought the battle into kids’ living rooms, and Captain Power was also one of the very first shows on television to feature computer animation in every episode. But in an attempt to appeal to both children and the adults who watched with them, the campy show included some concepts and scenes critics deemed too violent for children and lasted only a single season in syndication. The full run of the show has now been uploaded to Youtube. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 1, 2012 - 28 comments

Zone of Thought

Vernor Vinge is optimistic about the collapse of civilization
posted by Artw on Mar 22, 2012 - 47 comments

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