aftershocks and opportunities futurists book

The Winner Takes it All

"The winner takes it all" ~ ABBA The quote above really sums up the near-term effects of the combined COVID-19 and social crises on the 2020s ahead. I was recently asked to submit a chapter to Aftershocks and Opportunities, and I wrote on exactly that; how crises highlight and amplify the deep-seated cracks and devastating … Continue reading The Winner Takes it All

hollywood cults and culture

On cults, climate and culture

Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood - based, of course (loosely) on the infamous, real-life story of the Manson Family's murder of Sharon Tait and her friends story gives us a glimpse of the dark side of happy hippie culture - and how counter-culture-culture can turn into a cult. Recently, I was asked to co-author … Continue reading On cults, climate and culture

party package politics like bad set menus

Package Deal (or No Deal)

For me, one of the biggest issues with democracy today - and one of the biggest threats to our collective (and individual) futures is that of package politics (or party-pack politics as I shall call the system). Party-pack politics forces you to pick your politicians off a set menu, with no additions or substitutions to … Continue reading Package Deal (or No Deal)

reflections of a revolution in france

Reflections on the Revolution in France

Reflections on the Revolution in France... a  book written by a rich Englishman of leisure, critiquing the working-class French Revolution from the other side of the pond... Revealing, (although perhaps more revealing of Burke himself than the author may have intended) as much for what it gets wrong about the French revolution itself (Burke was … Continue reading Reflections on the Revolution in France

On mob mentality

The Lottery

Shirley Jackson's collection of dystopian short-form fiction The Lottery (and other stories) is a stark reminder of the fragility, banality and horror of the un-scrutinised human condition. It's all too easy to slip into group-think that priorities the "greater good" over the individual life. And once we have accepted that, it is a slippery slope to treating people … Continue reading The Lottery

RUR bronwyn williams futurist

Rossum’s Universal Robots

"They have a phenomenal memory. If you were to read them a twenty-volume encyclopaedia they could repeat the contents in order, but they never think up anything original. They'd make fine university professors." ~ R.U.R   The defining text for robots, Rossum's Universal Robots is a facial science fiction play written in the 1920's as … Continue reading Rossum’s Universal Robots

spy secrets lies futurist

Secrets and Lies

I don't know about you, but I cannot live without a few secrets. Without secrets, without a private inner life, we lose our individuality and our sense of self. Today though, we are bombarded with messages telling us that privacy is worth sacrificing for the greater good; for the good of community security, for the … Continue reading Secrets and Lies

social cooling trend and futures talk

Social Cooling

The below is a transcript of my recent Pecha Kucha (20 slides, 20 seconds each) talk on "Social Cooling" - a disturbing phenomenon I think everyone should be aware of. Personal data is said to be the new oil…not just because of the industry’s value, but because of its power. And, like big oil is blamed … Continue reading Social Cooling

the end of literacy

Are we nearing the end of the age of literacy?

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.” ~ George R.R. Martin As we move from the text and screen web to the voice and spacial web (and possibly even into the age of a fully connected human Brainternet), we move one step closer to … Continue reading Are we nearing the end of the age of literacy?

Robot Rights

Can robots have rights? Should robots have rights? These deceptively big questions regarding "roborights" are shaping up to be among the Big Issues debated by law makers, scientists, engineers, and philosophers in 2019 - and far into the future. I read David J. Gunkel's Robot Rights to get a handle on where academia is "at" … Continue reading Robot Rights