Cancel the Apocalypse
They say the future is not what it used to be.
Well, we wish it could be true. Lately it seems like the future stays the same, inequality is always rising, the icebergs are always melting, privacy is always eroding, jobs are always disappearing, and give or take a few years the Singularity will always be coming and it’s just a matter of time before we’re all uploaded to USBs and forever stored, somewhere in the “clouds”. They collected the data, they build the models and they made their predictions. Who are they? Who is served by this future they envisioned? What happened to all the other futures? Who will write them?
In December 2016 re:publica and Utopia festival held a workshop in Tel Aviv titled Designing Tomorrow. The workshop brought together the brightest minds from the two communities to think together through Science Fiction about alternative desirable futures for cities, bodies, work, equality and the nation state. While the results were very imaginative, we were quite surprised to find almost all groups suggested post-apocalyptic utopias. In other words, we could not imagine a better world without first getting rid of the one we currently have.
Sorry, but that is simply not enough. This year, we want to work harder, to think beyond our dark visions, beyond Silicon Valley’s techno determinism, beyond dystopian dreams, beyond the resistance framework that leaves us always playing defence. This year we will reignite our political imagination. This year we will cancel the apocalypse. Through a set of talks covering climate change, science fiction, space exploration, data-driven determinism, resilience, plurality of futures, artistic activism and practical Utopia we will explore the futures as an open set of political possibilities rather than a predetermined algorithmic prediction. We will discuss this through panels, we will practice it through a workshop and we will plan our steps forwards face-to-face in a meet-up.
Join us. The futures are dependent on it.
Interesting and related Talks from the topic We Can Work It Out are:
Whose Future? Automation anxiety, ecological apocalypse, and the struggle for the future of labor by Peter Frase and
Resilient Speculation by Orit Halpern
- Science & Technology-Every day, we hear new stories about how the Internet destroys society. It’s filled, it seems, with military-grade psyops and discriminatory algorithms. Why? Rather than look fondly back to “cyberspace,” this talk argues today’s situation stems from misguided assumptions about bodiless communication. It further reveals connections between segregation, eugenics and current network tools. To create more just futures, it calls for collaborations across the all disciplines, industry, and activists.
- Research & EducationCreative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Germany (CC BY-SA 3.0 DE)-The rise of automation has always driven new forms of work since the beginning of human civilization. Each time a new era is born it seems like the technological shock will end work. The anxiety this time is at a fever pitch. Yet we will need more things - that fit us better, and waste less - than ever before. There is plenty of work to do. Join and explore the potential for machine/human learning and play as a means of helping individuals and organizations thrive.
- Politics & SocietyCreative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Germany (CC BY-SA 3.0 DE)-Polls and predictions could not foresee the wide appeal of voting for Brexit, for Trump, against the predictions, against the future that was set in the numbers. As worrisome as these phenomenons may be, we can see some hope in this turn against data-driven-determinism. How could we seize this call to action to reignite our political imagination and reclaim the future?
- Arts & Culture-Through the three days of #rp18 we argued for the need to reclaim our political imagination, and after we experimented with some methodologies to bring that about, this meetup is an opportunity for us to work together and further explore the next steps needed to Cancel the Apocalypse.
- Politics & Society-Following Designing Tomorrow, re:publica’s multi-year collaboration with the Utopia festival and inspired by the talks on the Cancel the Apocalypse track we will embark on a collaborative experiment aimed at expanding our political imagination. Together we will learn methodologies and practice thinking in terms of plural “futures” rather than a single monolithic “future”. The workshop would be led by a team well versed in speculative political and creative practices. We’re looking forward to designing the futures with you.
- Politics & SocietyCreative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Germany (CC BY-SA 3.0 DE)-Dystopian thinking has taken over our imagination. The world is burning, the fascists are spreading, the corporations are manipulating, the robots are rising, the asteroids are coming, the end is near. Cancel the Apocalypse.
- Politics & SocietyCreative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Germany (CC BY-SA 3.0 DE)-Why is it, that despite our current fascination and fear of the singularity, it is still not the cyborgs, representing a transitional state of human beings becoming machines, but the rather old fashioned zombies, that dominate pop culture and our collective imagination?
Both of these dystopian scenarios, the zombie apocalypse (with its recent update to a biotechnological, instead of a supernatural cause), as well, as the singularity (hostile to humanity or in the best case scenario viewing its creators with indifference), seem to represent a deep crisis of humanism. But should transhumanism be the answer to overcoming this crisis?
- Arts & CultureCreative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Germany (CC BY-SA 3.0 DE)-Envisioning utopia is naturally uncomfortable; it feels indulgent, a bit delusional, and ultimately impractical and unrealistic. It’s not. Fearlessly working toward radical success is required for meaningful progress.
- Science & TechnologyCreative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Germany (CC BY-SA 3.0 DE)-If we were forced to define Western civilization, we would have to address its hunger for the novel. It seems as if our culture is obsessed with pushing forward, with discovering new ways and places in which to be. This is, often, viewed as a positive thing. However, in our rush for the new, we don’t often delay on the prices those who come to occupy these next frontiers will pay. One of the prices that seem more and more actual is the price of loneliness.
- Politics & Society-The goal of this session is to build up a machine learning/human rights community for an ongoing exchange about impact, issues, best practices, and ways of collaboration.
- Mobility & City-Auf der #rpTEN haben wir unsere Idee das erste Mal vorgestellt: ein fahrendes Fab Lab unterwegs im ländlichen Raum in Ostsachsen. Für von der Digitalisierung abgekoppelte Dörfer und jedermensch mit Bock auf Coding, Design und Hacking. Gegen Fremdenangst und kulturelle Unterversorgung auf dem Land. Denn wenn die Leute nicht zum Fablab kommen können, dann kommt das Fab Lab eben zu den Leuten. Das war die Idee. Jetzt, zwei Jahre später ist es soweit: Das #Fabmobil rollt übers Land und in dem Talk erzählen wir, wie das so lief.
- Leisure & Lifestyle-What happens when technology becomes our memory and we can modify our experience to the point we believe it is real? To create convincing representations of reality is getting cheaper by the minute and offers a range of new possibilities of exploitation. Join the Absurdist Incubator to discover the ethical pitfalls of the future by imagining the most profitable scenarios possible.