Virtual Futures Salon: Beyond Bitcoin, with Vinay Gupta

presented by Luke Robert Mason, Vinay Gupta

Blockchain is in that space where we still have to explain it, because most of the peo­ple have gone from not hav­ing it around to hav­ing it around. But for kind of the folks that are your age or a lit­tle younger it’s kind of always been there, at which point it doesn’t real­ly need to be explained. It does how­ev­er need to be con­tex­tu­al­ized.

How an Algorithmic World Can Be Undermined

presented by danah boyd

All they have to do is write to jour­nal­ists and ask ques­tions. And what they do is they ask a jour­nal­ist a ques­tion and be like, What’s going on with this thing?” And jour­nal­ists, under pres­sure to find sto­ries to report, go look­ing around. They imme­di­ate­ly search some­thing in Google. And that becomes the tool of exploita­tion.

Parenting a Mind

presented by Jennifer Kumura

BJ Copeland states that a strong AI machine would be one, built in the form of a man; two, have the same sen­so­ry per­cep­tion as a human; and three, go through the same edu­ca­tion and learn­ing process­es as a human child. With these three attrib­ut­es, sim­i­lar to human devel­op­ment, the mind of the machine would be born as a child and will even­tu­al­ly mature as an adult.

Living in Information

presented by Jorge Arango

The fram­ing of what we design is very impor­tant to how we go about it. We have not been fram­ing these things as con­texts. We’ve been fram­ing them as prod­ucts, ser­vices, and a whole oth­er series of terms that are— Tools, for exam­ple. And these are things that are most­ly trans­ac­tion­al. They’re not things that are meant to be inhab­it­ed.

Virtual Futures Salon: Fucking Machines

presented by Dan O'Hara, Ian Pearson, Kate Devlin, Luke Robert Mason, Trudy Barber

We are here to talk about fuck­ing machines. In London, on a fog­gy evening, on a Tuesday, for yet anoth­er debate about fuck­ing machines. Another curat­ed dis­cus­sion under­lined by our own human inse­cu­ri­ty about ver­sions of us in sil­i­ca. Fucking anthro­po­mor­phic fuck­ing machines. Machines that fuck us. And let’s face it, machines are already fuck­ing us, or so we seem to be told.

The Conversation #56 — Aengus Anderson and Micah Saul at SXSW
A Sheep in Wolf's Clothes: The Myth of Disruption

presented by Aengus Anderson, Micah Saul

As the show advanced, we real­ized that there are a lot of peo­ple real­ly real­ly wor­ried about the future, and they’re wor­ried about big, big things. We’re talk­ing things like inequal­i­ty. We’re talk­ing things like over­con­sump­tion of resources and envi­ron­men­tal col­lapse. Social col­lapse. Community break­down. General feel­ings of pow­er­less­ness against mas­sive sys­tems. And this seems to be uni­ver­sal.

Design for Diplomacy: Breaking Down Cultural Divides

presented by James Keller, Marcelino J. Alvarez

We as design­ers have an abil­i­ty to pro­vide per­spec­tive, to bring focus, and to share the tools that we use on a dai­ly basis to align a group of dis­parate voic­es for a cause that is greater than our own.

Why Facts Don’t Unify Us

presented by Tali Sharot

Why do you spend pre­cious moments every day shar­ing infor­ma­tion? There’s prob­a­bly many rea­sons, but it appears that the oppor­tu­ni­ty to impart your knowl­edge onto oth­ers is inter­nal­ly reward­ing.

REACT to Close the Digital Gender Divide

presented by Nanjira Sambuli

I found that research glob­al­ly is point­ing out that women are 50% less like­ly to be con­nect­ed to the Internet. And not just that. Even when they’re con­nect­ed they’re 30 to 50% less like­ly to use it for per­son­al empow­er­ment. So much for Web For All, right?

Solving the Economic Generation Gap

presented by Christine Lagarde

I want­ed to start off this morn­ing using an American poet and nov­el­ist, Langston Hughes. And I quote him to have said, What hap­pens to a dream deferred?” It is a ques­tion now fac­ing mil­lions all over the world, espe­cial­ly young peo­ple. Why? Because of pover­ty. Because of exces­sive inequal­i­ty

Virtual Futures Salon: Dawn of the New Everything, with Jaron Lanier

presented by Jaron Lanier, Luke Robert Mason

So here’s what hap­pened. If you tell peo­ple you’re going to have this super-open, absolute­ly non-commercial, money-free thing, but it has to sur­vive in this envi­ron­ment that’s based on mon­ey, where it has to make mon­ey, how does any­body square that cir­cle? How does any­body do any­thing? And so com­pa­nies like Google that came along, in my view were backed into a cor­ner. There was exact­ly one busi­ness plan avail­able to them, which was adver­tis­ing.

The Conversation #55 — Ed Finn

presented by Aengus Anderson, Ed Finn, Micah Saul

The Center, one of our core goals, our mis­sion state­ment, is to get peo­ple think­ing more cre­ative­ly and ambi­tious­ly about the future. What I mean when I talk about that is that we need to come up with bet­ter sto­ries about the future. If you want to build a bet­ter world you have to imag­ine that world first.

Invisible Images of Surveillance

presented by Trevor Paglen

One of the things I real­ly want out of art, what I see the job of the artist to be is to try to learn how to see the his­tor­i­cal moment that you find your­self liv­ing in. I mean that very sim­ply and I mean it very lit­er­al­ly. How do you see the world around you?

Christian Sandvig and Eszter Hargittai on Tools for Truth Empowerment

presented by Christian Sandvig, Eszter Hargittai

[Stefik’s] four ideas about the Internet is that we think about Internet, num­ber one as a library. And this was the 90s and we had this elec­tron­ic library, the dig­i­tal library. That doesn’t mean that we dig­i­tized libraries, it means that that’s the metaphor we used to think about the Internet, as a place that has infor­ma­tion that we can look up. His sec­ond was we think of it as the mail. Or you could say the tele­phone. And so that’s more about indi­vid­u­als and inter­per­son­al­ly com­mu­ni­cat­ing in some way. The third is that we think of it as a vir­tu­al world. And the fourth is that we think of it as a mar­ket­place.

Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism

presented by Safiya Noble

One of the things that I think is real­ly impor­tant is that we’re pay­ing atten­tion to how we might be able to recu­per­ate and recov­er from these kinds of prac­tices. So rather than think­ing of this as just a tem­po­rary kind of glitch, in fact I’m going to show you sev­er­al of these glitch­es and maybe we might see a pat­tern.

The Monkey Selfie” Case: Can Non-Humans Hold Copyrights?

presented by Christopher Bavitz, John Kerr, Jonathan Lovvorn, Kendra Albert, Tiffany Li

Naruto, then 3 years old, came up and picked up one of his cam­eras and start­ed look­ing at it. And he made the con­nec­tion… By Mr. Slater’s own admis­sion he made the con­nec­tion between push­ing the shut­ter release but­ton and the change to his reflec­tion in the lens when the aper­ture opened and closed.

Gay Science

presented by Frank Lantz, Robert Yang

How do we make gay worlds in video games? Well, I can tell you how not to make a gay world. You should not rely on the AAA game indus­try to pity you and leave you some table scraps. I’m tired of being 0.1% of a world, right. Why isn’t Dragon Age 100% gay sex, right?

The Conversation #54 — Charles Bowden

presented by Aengus Anderson, Charles Bowden, Micah Saul

I don’t under­stand the fear. And that’s the biggest threat. And the rea­son it’s a threat is it makes your judg­ment bad. You nev­er make good deci­sions when you’re afraid. And it destroys your abil­i­ty to clear­ly look at the facts and do some­thing. You choke, in oth­er words.

Biohackers Die

presented by Jeffrey Tibbetts

So grinders are a com­mu­ni­ty com­mit­ted to rad­i­cal­ly alter­ing the body. And so some­times it’s treat­ments like tran­scra­nial mag­net­ic, or direct cur­rent stim­u­la­tion. It could be through the use of pre­vi­ous­ly untest­ed chem­i­cals like VIP. Often it takes the form of implant­ed devices. All these approach­es come with risks. What I’m going to focus on today is why despite all the risks being tak­en, a grinder hasn’t died yet.

Artificial Intelligence is Hard to See: Social & Ethical Impacts of AI

presented by Kate Crawford, Trevor Paglen

The big con­cerns that I have about arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence are real­ly not about the Singularity, which frankly com­put­er sci­en­tists say is…if it’s pos­si­ble at all it’s hun­dreds of years away. I’m actu­al­ly much more inter­est­ed in the effects that we are see­ing of AI now.

The Tyranny of Algorithms and the Use of Predictive Policing by Israel

presented by Marwa Fatafta

We have been doc­u­ment­ing and research­ing into human rights or dig­i­tal rights vio­la­tions that are tak­ing place in Palestine and Israel. And one of the most recent case stud­ies or work that we’re look­ing into is the use of pre­dic­tive polic­ing by Israel, which is rather a sen­si­tive issue giv­en that there isn’t a lot that we know about the sub­ject.

Big Data Bodies: Machines and Algorithms in the World

presented by Maya Indira Ganesh

I’m inter­est­ed in data and dis­crim­i­na­tion, in the things that have come to make us unique­ly who we are, how we look, where we are from, our per­son­al and demo­graph­ic iden­ti­ties, what lan­guages we speak. These things are effec­tive­ly incom­pre­hen­si­ble to machines. What is gen­er­al­ly cel­e­brat­ed as human diver­si­ty and expe­ri­ence is trans­formed by machine read­ing into some­thing absurd, some­thing that marks us as dif­fer­ent.

What Do We Do About the Haters?

presented by Jillian C York

A lot of the top­ics that we’re try­ing to tack­le” or try­ing to deal with on the Internet, we’re not actu­al­ly defin­ing ahead of time. And so what we’ve end­ed up with is a sys­tem where­by both com­pa­nies, and gov­ern­ments alike, are work­ing some­times sep­a­rate­ly, some­times togeth­er, to rid the Internet of these top­ics, of these dis­cus­sions, with­out actu­al­ly delv­ing into what they are.

The Internet of Agreements

presented by Vinay Gupta

I was look­ing for the tools that you could use to solve glob­al prob­lems in an envi­ron­ment when the nation-state has turned out to be a very very inef­fec­tive set of machin­ery at all. So I’m going to talk a lit­tle bit about the tech­nol­o­gy. I’m going to talk a lit­tle bit about what it does and where it’s going. And then I’m going to try and tell a sto­ry about the kind of glob­al long-term pic­ture that we could get if this stuff actu­al­ly works.

Virtual Futures Salon: Radical Technologies, with Adam Greenfield

presented by Adam Greenfield, Luke Robert Mason

I am pro­found­ly envi­ous of peo­ple who get to write about set­tled domains or sort of set­tled states of affairs in human events. For me, I was deal­ing with a set of tech­nolo­gies which are either recent­ly emerged or still in the process of emerg­ing. And so it was a con­tin­u­al Red Queen’s race to keep up with these things as they announce them­selves to us and try and wrap my head around them, under­stand what it was that they were propos­ing, under­stand what their effects were when deployed in the world.

Virtual Futures Podcast #7: Trust Shift, with Rachel Botsman

presented by Luke Robert Mason, Rachel Botsman

We rarely think about the link between trust and progress and inno­va­tion, and how soci­eties move for­ward. But when you start to think of it like that, you real­ize that trust is actu­al­ly the key com­po­nent not just for com­pa­nies but any orga­ni­za­tion that wants human beings to try new things.

Biohacking: The Moral Imperative to Build a Better You

presented by Tim Cannon

I think that we have a moral imper­a­tive to change the human being, giv­en the fact that we are built so flawed and built for a time that we no longer live in. There’s a pret­ty per­va­sive belief that we kind of stopped evolv­ing from the neck up. And that we don’t have behav­iors that are actu­al­ly stuck inside the human being, and ways in which we’re in this sort of evo­lu­tion­ary lock­step with what we used to be, and not what we are and what we’ve become.

Everybody Runs

presented by Ingrid Burrington

I’ve been try­ing to get as many weird futures on the table as pos­si­ble because the truth is there are these sort of ubiq­ui­tous futures, right. Ideas about how the world should or will be that have become this sort of main­stream, dom­i­nat­ing ver­nac­u­lar that’s pri­mar­i­ly kind of about a very white Western mas­cu­line vision of the future, and it kind of col­o­nized the abil­i­ty to think about and imag­ine tech­nol­o­gy in the future.

Inform/Transform: Translating Critical Tech Perspectives

presented by Zara Rahman

Over the past cou­ple of years, it feels like civ­il soci­ety has been almost over­whelmed with promis­es of how tech­nol­o­gy can sud­den­ly mag­i­cal­ly solve the prob­lems that we’re try­ing to address. Some com­ing from tech giants who say they’ve devel­oped some sem­blance of social con­science sud­den­ly. Some from star­tups who see a prob­lem and think that tech­nol­o­gy can help with­out think­ing about the sys­temic issues under­ly­ing it.

The Entropy of a System

presented by Tega Brain

I’m par­tic­u­lar­ly con­cerned with how to design from the dystopi­an posi­tion of the Anthropocene. How to make cre­ative work that is simul­ta­ne­ous­ly crit­i­cal and gen­er­a­tive. What does it mean to have aug­ment­ed the atmos­phere and the ocean’s capac­i­ty to absorb heat? And to be rapid­ly increas­ing the entropy of those sys­tems?