Category Archives: Thoughts and speculation

The Programmable Pound

It’s always a pleasure to write for the British Science Fiction Association’s Focus magazine & it was great to receive the autumn copy today which includes my article on the (possible) programmable pound of the future.

A lot of the thinking came from the 22 Ideas About the Future project with Cybersalon, especially from David Birch, and from reading David Graeber and Mark Carney.

I hope it inspires some great sci-fi, and even some policy pondering about a programmable pound.

Future Imaginaries

Now available on my Youtube channel – the closing “Futures Imaginaries” talk at the Goethe-Institut Indonesien’s Digital Discourses Science/Fiction conference, looking at how future-shaping technologies are changing the way we live, work, and eat.

I talk a bit about the interactive role of stories, and in particular speculative fiction, with future(s), describe a project with King’s College London and a project with Cybersalon, read a short story designed to raise ethical issues with AI predicting future mental health, and then answer audience questions.

Influencing and predicting the future using speculative fiction:

  • What is the role of science fiction in imagining the future?
  • Do science fiction’s predictions affect the future?
  • How can fiction raise ethical issues around the future of technology and society?

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