Monday, November 10, 2014

Jamais Cascio – Bad Futurism (21 minutes)

Climate Engineering and the Meaning of Nature (7 minutes) Watch Jamais Cascio (minute 27 to 34 minute)

Jamais Cascio comments (4 minutes): watch minute 66 to 70.

Step 1 (Assigned Nov 10) – Determine if you are interested in exploring preferable future situated in either an urban location or a suburban area. Be specific about the city/region you propose to study. Identify a zipcode you want to work within.!input.action

Look up global forces for that area here:


11 thoughts on “Monday, November 10, 2014

  1. Pessimism is a luxury of good times.. In difficult times, pessimism is a self-fulling, self-inflicted death sentence.” The truth is, we can build a better world, and we can do it right now. —Jamais Cascio

    Jamais Cascio expands on the ideas of a full grown technological world that begins to formulate models for networking environmentalists. I believe that world will become more technological and my ideals do align with Cascio. The world would idealistically benefit from the ever-growing information on the digital market. With our digital generation, we can then inform every individual citizen to focus our attention towards what Casciao calls the “Earth Witness” project, giving a chance to every citizen to play a role in the protection of the planet.

    I believe that it’s kinda obvious that our phones will definitely be an extension for new and upcoming information. Our phones are a key that plugs the world into a internet basket carrying all of our information and then redistributing the information across the distances.

    Though I do admire the environmental extensions of the technology we all own. I’m glad he focused on the a tool that contributes to saving us from the future.


  2. I bet Cascio’s talk was a blast to give. It’s always fun to make fun of other people doing it wrong 😀

    That said, I do think there’s some important truths there, and it almost feels mathematical: the more you can compress a scenario, the less useful it is. For example, “climate change wasteland” = bad = not useful. But like he pointed out, the world in the Diamond Age is a little more complex, so it’s more useful to talk about. Even Shell’s scenarios, when they just made two, were clearly not “good” and “bad”. I think it’s important not to lump scenarios into “good” and “bad”, and one thing that had frustrated me about earlier scenarios (like the Mont Fleur ones, where one is good and the rest are bad).

    Well, nah, I take it back. Thinking about “good” is useful too – normative scenarios and ways to think about how to get from here to there. And now I’m full circle to Cascio’s talk and how it’s important to practice imagining good scenarios.


  3. In Cascio’s talk “Bad Futurism”, he argues that we should avoid coming up with futures that represent “the good, the bad, and the ugly”. I really loved this point because, as Cascio argues, it pushes us to think more realistically rather than of extremes. I think I made this “bad futurism” mistake on my Assignment 1 by having more extreme versions of the future of aging in the United States rather than scenarios with an equal number of good and bad traits.


  4. Cascio’s talk was incredibly accurate in pointing out things that are key to believable futures but easily overlooked. I especially appreciated his touching on branding and products. We as a culture always imagine the future as stuff: newer technology, cool gadgets, different stuff. We never imagine the future as a different culture that thinks differently, or governed by a new system, or other similar big-picture things. It’s hard for us to imagine ourselves in a context so fundamentally different than current day. (Whether that says something about a cynical nature and an inability to believe that we will ever fundamentally change, that’s another discussion.) But Cascio is right; the way to fully push someone into thinking about a truly different world is to not talk about it in terms of stuff, but more so relationships, with other people, with our careers, perhaps with that stuff. I also really liked his point about scenarios being a morality play. Perhaps spelling out a collapse scenario creates enough realistic fear to enact real change. Perhaps the opposite creates enough hope to do the same.


  5. I really like the second video of James Cascio. It was interesting how he went from talking about the perceived “consequences” of climate change that are so often, as it turns out, played up to the extreme, to how that doesn’t mean we are absolved from responsibility. I like the point he makes that it’s all about selfishness for humans, though I don’t think it’s a bad thing to be concerned with the survival of your own species. I don’t know if selfish is the word for this, but I like that he encourages people to address climate change *because* it is going to affect human civilization, rather than the earth in the long term. The point he makes at the end about how it’s going to be a difficult and deadly process for many people is also sobering and something I didn’t consider before.

    The third video offers some interesting perspective to future planning, and reminds me of the very beginning when we were talking about the STEEP and Manoa school scenarios. I think what he is getting at is that categorization of scenarios by good, bad, wrong, right, is not important; it’s only important that we consider all the possibilities, so that we can try to avoid the bad ones.


  6. I really enjoyed Jamais Cascio’s bit on how are actions are pretty irrelevant to the Earth.While we are extremely harmful to the planet, there have been other species that have done worst things and there have been other events caused by nature that have done worse than any species could. When we tend to think of ourselves and our species, we tend to believe that we are the most intelligent and successful species there has ever been, which is not true at all. Earlier in the Earth’s life, life was started and then stopped numerous times. These species could have been much more advanced than us. Regardless, the Earth always recovers from whatever event causes harm. So then why should we care about what we do to the earth? I really don’t know what the answer is. Maybe if we don;t care for the Earth it will cause our species to die out?


  7. Jamais Cascio’s talk about Bad Futurism made me realize that I have been doing a lot of things incorrectly. For one, all my future scenarios are focused on technological change and I don’t consider how people and their relationships might change. Questions around the family unit, demographics in the United States etc. are important questions that I am learning now to consider in future scenarios. I am also beginning to think more about the day to day interactions of people in my future scenarios.

    Jamais second video concerning climate change was very redundant and disappointing. Instead of offering solutions to problems that cities and countries face in confronting climate change, he only acts as a doomsayer. I was hoping to hear some of his thoughts on future scenarios in which countries work together to address these problems.

    Finally, his comments echoes his bad futurism talk, i.e. think about personal relationships.


  8. Jamais Cascio’s talk on Bad Futurism was really entertaining and illuminating. One of the pitfalls he mentioned — having things mess up or get used in ways they weren’t intended to be used, really resonated with me. It reminded me of my robot future and how in the first iteration I just had robot caregivers but through the group discussions, started to think about who fixes the robots. I also liked his point that the future isn’t just about technology. i think our project on sustainability really helped us to avoid that pitfall but even still I think most of us thought about how the technology would change the future first then how it affects everyday life.

    Cascio’s talk on the environment was also interesting. I like the idea that we’re not killing mother earth by our wasteful practices but rather that we are just harming ourselves. The earth will be able to heal itself after we as a species are gone.


  9. Cascio’s talk really opened up my mind and gave me a new perspective on how I should look at the future. I really like that he can see the future in a completely different perspective pointing out the key issues that we fail to realize. He is not afraid to embrace the odds and is encouraging us to look at a failed perspective, when a system does not run well. This means that when you create technology we should also simulate hypothetical situations in which a person will misuse the technology and make it a dangerous thing. Embracing this perspective we get a clearer view on what the future might look like and can begin to storyboard realistic scenarios that could occur from misuse of a technology. The collapse scenario is definitely important because it will channel us to think about the opposite. Also if we stop relying on economically or politically dominant groups as the only groups that matter we can stop basing our decisions on what they think is right and see new insights on what can really change the world. In order to offer a real perspective on a future scenario we need to embrace the opposite, the weird stuff that will occur, the disasters. People can then relate and the world will not be just some science fiction film. We don’t need to care about branding we need to relate to something generic and tangible.


  10. Jamie Cascio’s speech was pretty incredible. It’s very interesting how he spoke about setting the same appeal to all kinds of scenarios, from good, middle to bad – but I wonder how practical that is – I mean the definition of the scenario being good, bad or middle is itself contributing to the appeal fact. But, regardless of that, I think he presents a very valid point – that the audience should have the choice to choose and make a decision – and as a designer there should be trust on the audience as well.


  11. Jamie Cascio’s talk made several interesting points about what constitutes “Bad Futurism.” I agree that we shouldn’t just focus on one aspect of a future, like technology, and state that this constitutes the entire future. We should also think about how the future is going to affect everyone, not just those that are powerful and rich. I find that this is the benefit of our class, we do storyboards to see on a personal level what the future we defined actually means. We define how people actually live, just like Cascio describes.


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