Tweet! Imagining futures

BBC series on imagining futures in (digital) world – ideas and drivers

This programme is about ways of imagining the future. It suggests that for many of us, the speed of technological change makes it feel as if the “future is bleeding into the present” and that the future is equated with technology. The definition of progress has become technology.

Among the perspectives voiced are:

  • a sense of technology designing the “places it will take us to” with a corresponding loss of control over choosing our own destination
  • futures-thinking can “foreclose” as new imaginings are pursued and others relegated
  • a claim that “millenials” will be more interested and self-directed in the possibilities afforded by technology
  • urge for us to evaluate and choose the technologies which will enable and include, which open rather than close opportunity
  • myth that things are moving faster, that the future is arriving at a quicker rate
  • we are “opiating ourselves with the future”

Read! Adams et al, Anticipation: Technoscience, life, affect, temporality

Anticipation: Technoscience, life, affect, temporality

Vincanne Adams, Michelle Murphy, Adele E Clarke

from Dropbox

This paper aims to “parse anticipation” and contends that anticipation in the present, “tacks back and forth between the past, present and future” comprising multi-dimensions which authorise and legitimise action in the now.

Anticipation is part of what Jackie Orr (2006) calls ‘psychopolitics’, in which states, corporations and military complexes tactically project and distribute fear and anxiety as a means to interpollate and govern subjects.
(Adams et al, 2009, p.249)

Dimensions of anticipation for the authors are: abduction, optimisation, preparation, (preparedness, pre-emption, deferral) and possibility (ratcheting-up, grow, coming soon, being ‘lost’ to the future, value-added). Our anticipation is coloured by discourses of uncertainty, threat and doom.

Neoliberal politics that dismantle government services simultaneously open up the space for new kinds of capitalism: millennial capitalism, disaster capitalism, casino capitalism based on risk, apocalypticism and forecasting doom

The paper is an indictment of neoliberalism, outlining how envisioned futures construct present behaviours and have “affective dimensions”. I like the use of language and the way it reveals how “narratives of promise or threat” are promulgated.

anticipatory regimes have affective dimensions, binding subjects in affective economies of fear, hope, salvation and precariousness oriented temporally toward futures already made ‘real’ in the present