Two centuries ago, on a dare to tell the best scary story, 19-year-old Mary Shelley imagined an idea that became the basis for Frankenstein. Mary’s original concept became the novel that arguably kick-started the genres of science fiction and Gothic horror, but also provided an enduring myth that shapes how our society continues to grapple […]
September 8, 2016 is the 50th anniversary of the Star Trek universe. Celebrate with us by taking a journey to the final frontier, where Captain Picard and his stouthearted crew encounter mystical artifacts and grapple with whether Data has an artistic imagination. The seventh season episode “Masks” quietly raises fascinating questions about crew dynamics and […]
By Megan K. Halpern, Jathan Sadowski, Joey Eschrich, Ed Finn, and David H. Guston
Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society
Listen to our Futurist in Residence Brian David Johnson on The Gist podcast with the inimitable Mike Pesca!
The stories were created by students in “Slow Catastrophes, Speculative Futures, Science & Imagination: Rewriting and Rethinking Sustainability,” a course designed and taught by Dr. Michele Speitz at Furman University in South Carolina. The course and the stories were inspired by Project Hieroglyph, and particularly by our first anthology, Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future (HarperCollins, 2014), which the students read and discussed throughout the course.
When technologists describe their hotshot new system for trading stocks or driving cars, the algorithm at its heart always seems to emerge from a magical realm of Spock-like rationality and mathematical perfection. Algorithms can save lives or make money, the argument goes, because they are built on the foundations of mathematics: logical rigor, conceptual clarity, and utter consistency. Math is perfect, right? And algorithms are made out of math.
What happens after the zombie apocalypse ends? We’ve managed to survive and fend off the ravening hordes, but how do we rebuild our communities? The award-winning BBC series In the Flesh imagines a future where ex-zombies—sufferers of Partially Deceased Syndrome—are rehabilitated through medication and therapy. But reintegrating these people into society is traumatic and unpredictable, […]
Running alongside Star Trek‘s original series at the dawn of the Space Age, Lost in Space presented a strikingly different vision for the future of human exploration in space. Lost in Space imagines deep space colonization as homesteading: the series is based on the classic novel The Swiss Family Robinson, and it blends domestic squabbles […]