I love retro-futurism - who doesn't? Here's a random selection of some of my favourite past predictions of the future over the 20th century ... and what we got instead. We were promised space holidays: We're almost there with Virgin Galactic: We were promised zip-line zeppelins: We got passenger drones (only for the … Continue reading A Century of Retro-Futurism Reviewed
“Belief sloshes around in the firmament like lumps of clay spiralling into a potter's wheel. That's how gods get created, for example. They clearly must be created by their own believers, because a brief resume of the lives of most gods suggests that their origins certainly couldn't be divine. They tend to do exactly the … Continue reading New Gods for a New Age – Losing Our Religion and Finding it Again in (Unlikely) Places
There is no doubt in my mind that we will all shortly by ruled by machines. I am not talking about robo-cops and terminators (just yet), but rather about technology-powered governments with increasing, omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience over their subjects. Surveillance? - Check The cellphones in our pockets, the social media platforms that record and store … Continue reading Dystopia Now? – The Future of Digital Dictatorships and Totalitarian Technocracies
The monstrously complicated monetary system we have today is responsible for the greatest leaps and bounds of human prosperity, and for the most depressing of depressions suffered by civilisation to date. Want to understand how it works? The Ascent of Money is a good place to start.
In a world where this is possible: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmUC4m6w1wo Seeing is not believing. We can no longer trust our own eyes. Photographic evidence, of course, has been questionable since the distant days of the Cottingley Fairies scam which fooled countless Victorians over 100 years ago. Now, not even authentic video "evidence" can be trusted (as is so … Continue reading More Lies (A Field Guide to Lies and Statistics)
This strange little book is a story of magic and mystery. The author, Jim Steinmeyer is a designer of magic, who has designed illusions for the likes of David Copperfield. In Art & Artifice, Jim Steinmeyer goes back in time to pull back the curtain on some of the most perplexing magic tricks of the … Continue reading Art & Artifice
"I still have 100s of computer programs I wrote for ZX Spectrum from 1983-85 that are on magnetic cassette tapes melting again in my attic, inc my 'chatbot,' and other programs from 1985-87 stored on an 8" magnetic reel. All less readable already than Egyptian hieroglyphics." I D Pearson There are now around 1.8 billion photographs taken … Continue reading Our disappearing, digitised civilisation
The first of Yuval Noah Harari's two best-selling books on the evolution of human society Sapiens, just like the book that follows it, Homo Deus (review coming soon), is a must-read for anyone interested in history or futurism. Sapiens tackles the same issues covered by Jared Diamond's (excellent) Guns, Germs and Steel, and Niall Ferguson's … Continue reading Sapiens – A Brief History of Humankind