Category Archives: News

New: 22 Ideas About the Future

I’m extremely pleased to announce the publication of 22 Ideas About the Future.

It’s the book I’ve been co-editing with Benjamin Greenaway for Cybersalon, based around the four events we ran last year on the future of health, community, the high street and money.

It has 22 speculative stories exploring these themes with an afterword for each section by one of the experts. Topping and tailing it is an introduction from Douglas Rushkoff (named by MIT as one of the “world’s most influential intellectuals”), a preface by Cybersalon founder Eva Pascoe and a postface about writing the tales from Dr Christine Aicardi of King’s College London.

Here’s some more info, but you can find out all about it, including all the contributors and how to pre-order, on the Cybersalon Press website.


This collection of provocations from the think tank Cybersalon brings together a blend of near-future speculative fiction and non-fiction commentary from leading experts in the fields of health, community, retail, and money. Together, they shine a light behind the cornerstones of our lives to reveal the unexpected and invite you to cast your critical eye on technology and its effect on society. Be prepared for warnings and inspirations from those who speculate about the future and those who make it a reality.


“The shards from a score of Black Mirrors reflecting future truths, as only fiction can.”
Charles Arthur, author of Social Warming: How Social Media Polarises us all


“Challenging and lively, these short stories will inspire readers to give more thought to the surprising risks and opportunities of pervasive technologies.”
David Wood, Futurist and author of Vital Foresight


“These stories will stop you in your tracks, make you think and spur you into action!”
Jana Hlistova, Founder of The Purse, Host of The Purse Podcast


“When the Western population is lost in a fantasyland of algorithms and abstractions, the 22 tales of speculative fiction in this book are able to provide unique and subversive insights into our possible futures.”
Richard Barbrook, author of Imaginary Futures


“If visions are futures for the heart, here we have much heartfelt foresight into how our lives, our relationships, and our selves, are being transformed by data-fication. These futures feel personal, as they should.”
Tracey Follows, futurist and author of The Future of You


Copyright faces. Innocent tech.

In the latest offering of Pith – my (sort of ) newsletter – I touch on a couple of things that caught my eye recently around fake faces and the presumed innocence of tech. Alongside some brief pondering about these there’s also bits and pieces of news.

If having fairly random emails from me in your inbox is something you fancy, you can sign up for Pith here:


Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kumarsedit/16443534782

Utopia Now – today

Today, I’ll be at the launch of the zine that came from a project that I was involved in with King’s College London. It was a fascinating and very rewarding project, and made me want to do more of the same or similar. Here’s the blog post I wrote for the project:

Who decides which future we get?

There’s a lot of answers to that question and one of them has to be, “those that will have to live there.” That’s why, with no hesitation, I agreed to take part in the Utopia Now project for the young people of Lambeth and Southwark run by King’s College London.

A day in 2070 might seem like a difficult thing to imagine, especially if that’s over three times as many years away as you’ve been alive. Which is why we encouraged the young people to talk to anyone they knew who was alive in 1970 about what has changed and what hasn’t. I’m told there were some surprises, especially around communication and travel. A sense of wonder tinged with disbelief about having to write to relatives abroad or use telephones in boxes on street corners and about the rareness of owning a car or travelling abroad. This prompt is one of many set out in the 7 day challenge developed and hosted by King’s College London – a wonderful resource for anyone, whatever age, starting out in writing science fiction. As if the challenge of imagining a day in fifty years time wasn’t enough, the stories had to be under a 1,000 words. Now, I write a fair bit of flash fiction and I can testify that it’s no simple task to convey character, story, and a futuristic world in a story that takes less than 10 minutes to read.

I had a pleasant surprise when I received the competition entries for judging. They were fantastic. Such insight into possible futures and of human behaviour was heartening. There was some really good story telling too. Not only did they make me smile, chuckle, gasp and raise my eyebrows they made me think about things I’d not previously considered. I’ll let you discover what those things are for yourself.

The winners then took part in a day long workshop, virtual of course, where they developed their stories through discussion, sessions with KCL artificial intelligence experts and by asking and answering lots of questions. The one thing that stood out for me during the day was just how deeply these young people had thought about their story, not only the futuristic technology but also the motivations of government, society and individuals within the world they had imagined. These were not tiny tales run off with little thought. I was also very impressed with how they listened to the feedback and used the workshop to develop their stories into the ones you can read now.

By the end of the day I was left with a strong sense that these young people understand quite a lot about their possible futures, they have a good balance of scepticism and hope for their futures and they know how to tell a good story to get others to consider their futures.

I highly recommend this collection of flash fictions to you and hope you’ll give them the time they deserve to capture your imagination. This project reminds me of the proposition by Yancey Strickler in his book This Could Be Our Future where he suggests that as well as the ‘now me’ and the ‘now us’, we should consider the ‘future me’ and the ‘future us’ when making decisions. After all, “the future is ours and it’s up for grabs…”


More details on time and place on my events page.