Bookmarked Futures Thinking: The Basics (Fast Company)

This isn’t an easy task. Futures thinking is hard work. Fortunately, you do get better at it with practice. It’s worth the effort.

Jamais Cascio breaks down the process of futures thinking:

  • Asking Questions
  • Scanning the World
  • Mapping the Possibilities
  • Asking the Next Question
  • Thinking it Through

via Dave Cormier

Liked Curating Resources for Futurizing Courses! (Reflecting Allowed)

So I’m collaborating with some local colleagues on a Futurize Your Course competition as part of AUC’s Research and Creativity Convention in April. If you are an AUC faculty member or student, instructions are here and the expression of interest form is here:

Bookmarked Blade Runner’s vision of tech in November 2019 (BBC News)

The cult classic was set in today’s world, but how many futuristic predictions did it get right?

With the arrival of November 2019, the year the movie Blade Runner is set, Szu Ping Chan reflects upon the many predictions. Such provocations are always useful to stop and consider the world we are making. I am also reminded of Cory Doctorow’s notion of ‘techno realism‘, where the particulars maybe wrong, but the shape of the future is right.
Listened Planning for a problematic future from Radio National

We all know the value of planning, but in a complex, complicated and often confounding world it can be difficult knowing how to start.

In this episode, we speak to two proponents of the Scenario Planning approach. We find out what it entails and how it might benefit organisations and businesses.

We’re also introduced to the Fab City initiative – an international network of cities aiming to be self-sustainable by 2050.

Edwina Stott explores the strategy of scenario planning as a way of responding to the complex, complicated and often confounding futures.  It is interesting to think about this in regards to education.

Scenario planning is something that St Paul’s School uses in their prediction for 2028:

Another example is Google’s speculative design The Selfish Ledger:

Replied to New AI Systems Are Here to Personalize Learning by Aaron Frank (Singularity Hub)

Can the technologies automating jobs also help workers learn the skills they’ll need to find new work in the changing economy? This AI learning startup thinks so.

The idea of AI tracking every movement in education and providing for our next step is an interesting proposition. I am just concerned why ethics comes after the supposed solution:

“Our goal is to build an ethics review board that has teeth, is diverse in both gender and background but also in thought and belief structures. The idea is to have our ethics review panel ensure we’re building things ethically,” Talebi said.

What happens if the ethics board says the whole thing is unethical?

Personally, I am left wondering if the supposed personalized ‘results’ are worth the reward? There is talk of scraping even more data:

Going forward, Ahura hopes to add to its suite of biometric data capture by including things like pupil dilation and facial flushing, heart rate, sleep patterns, or whatever else may give their system an edge in improving learning outcomes.

Next we will be measuring the pupils of every staff member to maximise market gains? Is this what education is for?

Bookmarked How far will digital video go? (Bryan Alexander)

Let’s envision video as our default setting in life. In this future we prefer to communicate through video, as opposed to all other mechanisms, so during a given day we participate in videoconferences as often as we check emails or text one another today. We consume content primarily through video – i.e., we’re watching stuff pretty frequently. We also make video, either by passive recording (having systems record our lives) or actively creating video content (recording, remixing, editing, sharing).

Bryan Alexander discusses the possible future of video as a medium. He provides a number of scenarios, including responsive interfaces everywhere. He also explores some of the possible responses to this, such as revulsion at deepfakes and destruction of screens. What is not discussed is the data associated with all of this.
Bookmarked What if California seceded from the US? (

Secession is extremely improbable. But looking at what could ensue if it happened underscores some fascinating truths about the US – and where power really lies.

Rachel Nuwer explores what might happen if California seceded. She discusses the possibility of civil war, as well as the impact on politics and immigration. This reminds me of the Selfish Ledger, the Google thought-experiment.
Listened Going viral: Fox News, Davos and radical economics – podcast from the Guardian

Rutger Bregman became a social media sensation after his onstage tirade at the gathered elite in Davos this year captured the imaginations of millions who viewed the speech online. But can his utopian ideas be translated into realistic policy changes? Plus: J Oliver Conroy on David Buckel, a year on from the climate protester’s death in New York

Rutger Bregman discusses his book Utopia for Realists and his pushback at Davos.

For Bregman, the future is in Universal Basic Income, borderless world and more taxes. When asked about what he would stop doing today, he said to stop reading the news and find other people.

It is interesting to consider the similarities and differences between Bregman and Douglas Rushkoff, presented in his book Team Human.

Bookmarked Future of Learning Platforms – Phil Komarny – Medium (Medium)

First let’s acknowledge that the future is already here.

Phil Komarny provides an interesting take on ‘BYOD‘:

BYOD 2.0 — version one of BYOD stood for Bring Your Own Device. In the 4th Industrial Revolution, the D will not stand for devices, it will stand for Data. The promise of distributed ledger technology has provided a way to deliver the learner a valid and trusted representation of their knowledge and understanding. This information that is currently housed in information systems with a registrar as the intermediary validating the credential is released to the learner to power their future in this global knowledge economy. This creates 1/2 of what I’m calling the Digital Rosetta Stone, one that will translate the wants and needs of industry to academia. Insuring that we have the necessary talent to power our futures.

This reminds me in part of Jim Groom’s discussion of Next Generation Digital Learning Environments:

In a worst case scenario, the NGDLE offers a way for institutions to more easily extract and share their learning community’s personal data with a wide range of sources, something that should deeply disturb us in the post-Snowden era. But the real kicker is, how do we get anyone to not only acknowledge this process of extraction and monetization (because I think folks have), but to actually feel empowered enough to even care.

I think that this is where IndieWeb and Domain of One’s Own is significant.

Liked The Horizon Never Moves (A Horizon Report History)

EDUCAUSE is out today with the latest Horizon Report for Higher Education. This is, of course, a report that almost wasn’t as NMC, the original publisher of this project, abruptly closed its doors late last year. I had hoped that the whole thing would go away, but nothing ever dies in ed-tech. It just gets renamed – rebranded as “innovative” – and stays in circulation forever. Zombie ed-tech. Always on the horizon.

Liked A day in the life of a futurist, 2018 edition (Bryan Alexander)

It’s useful if unsurprising to see how much of my work depends on digital networks, how uneven they are, and how accustomed we are to the latter.  Nobody groaned on the Silver Line when the car slipped out of 4G coverage, because we expect it.  Conversely, at no point was I beholden to a physical office, as my work exists in a distributed assemble of brain, devices, networks, and multiple storage/service sites.

The idea of recording a ‘day in your life’ is such an interesting idea. I might start this myself as a part of my yearly activities.
Liked Hootenanny #CUEBOOM (DCulberhouse)

I was privileged to be able to attend the CUE Hootenanny at the San Diego Maritime Museum with 50 incredibly dedicated and awesome educators.  Jon Corippo, the Executive Director of CUE had mentioned that at the end of the day they would be giving away “golden” clickers to the best #CUEBOOM.  While I did not get a chance to participate in the #CUEBOOM, earlier in the week I had a flash of inspiration and thirty minutes later this spoken word piece rolled out.  So, while I did not participate in the #CUEBOOM, I thought I would share the result of that flash of inspiration (even though it is a bit raw and unfinished)…

Bookmarked Weekend question: where will automation take us by 2033? (Bryan Alexander)

How do you think automation will transform society over the next 15 years?

Bryan Alexander takes a different look at the future. Rather than making a particular prediction, he provides ten possibilities. This is a useful provocation for starting a conversation about today.

A) Significant unemployment and underemployment will result as automation fails to create new jobs to succeed the ones it replaces.

B) New types of jobs appears in response to emerging technologies and practices, as they did through most of the Industrial Revolutions.

C) Humans increasingly feel unease or panic at being rendered obsolete.  This manifests in various cultural and political forms.

D) Income and wealth inequality grows immensely, as businesses involved in automation generate and accrete enormous financial power.

E) Very little change will occur, because AI is overhyped and robotics are too limited in practical application, at least in this timeframe of a mere 15 years.

F) Some form of universal basic income will be implemented.

G) A data-based surveillance dystopia is installed, grounded in ubiquitous technology and guided by governments and/or business.

H) A new arms race breaks out between nations to see who has the best AI.

I) A major backlash emerges against automation for various reasons, leading to a major social step back from AI and robotics.

J) A very pleasant time will result, when we don’t have to work so much, our basic needs are met, and we are freer to develop ourselves.

Replied to Uncanny EdTech (bavatuesdays)

Uncanny Learning

Although the zombie apocalypse did not occur in 2012 (as much as I am aware), many of these futures sadly seemingly are coming into fruition. From net neutrality to Web 2.0, many ‘promises’ have failed. One highlight was the mention of Wordle. The uncanny aspect is that it feels like a conversation that is needed today as much as ten years ago.
Listened Radical Sacrifice: Terry Eagleton and Daniel Soar | Events from London Review Bookshop

Professor Terry Eagleton’s more than 40 books have explored, in consistently invigorating ways, the many and surprising intersections and confluences of literature, culture, ideology and belief. His latest book *[Radical Sacrifice][2]* (Yale) draws on the Bible, the *Aeneid*, Hegel, Marx, Heidegger and Henry James in a brilliant meditation on the concept of sacrifice, fundamentally reconfiguring it as a radical force within modern life and thought. Professor Eagleton was in conversation about his latest work with Daniel Soar, senior editor at the London Review of Books.

Terry Eagleton talks about all things relating to sacrifice. It is an enthralling conversation that goes in many directions. One interesting idea that he discusses is Marx as prophet:


Eagleton explains that Marx’s work was not about creating a Utopia, but rather about fixing the present, for the future is created with the language of today. This reminds me of Audrey Watters’ talk The Best Way to Predict the Future is to Issue a Press Release:

I am not a futurist. I don’t make predictions. But I can look at the past and at the present in order to dissect stories about the future.