Exploring Possible Futures

As discussed in Ziauddin Sardar’s 2014 ‘Welcome to postnormal times’, it is the now which brings the many possible futures into being. This was the common thread tying all of our possible futures projects together.

In the critique of and engagement with the following project pitches, I drew mostly from Eleonora Masini’s ‘Reconceptualising Futures: a Need and a Hope’. Masini’s discussion on how the visions of a desirable future are embedded in the social structures from which they emerge really stood out to me in our Future Cultures lectures.

The process for my critique was to split a screen with the pitch and an open google document with a criteria checklist. I would make notes underneath each point and then later expand on them using the notes I have from our BCM325 lectures in my notebook physically next to me. Finally I would compare their work to the marking rubric to provide a comprehensive commentary on their pitch.

The Misinformation Age

The Misinformation Age is video essay series from Asher Fielder exploring the future impacts on society of botnets, bots and troll farms continuing to manipulate public opinion.

Asher had a really great pitch but was lacking a focus on lecture content and readings so this was a strong focus in the critique I gave. In particular, Wendell Bell’s future theory is relevant to Asher’s concept in imagining a future with and without policies regarding the influence of botnets. Bell’s theory will help Asher make projections about which future is preferable.

If I could change anything about my comment on Asher’s pitch, I would have expanded more on my point about Wendell Bell and discuss his article ‘Making People Responsible: The possible, the probable, and the preferable’. Asher’s suggested sources would be complimented by this article as understanding peoples “beliefs about what will happen, what might happen, and what ought to happen” would be a great framework to structure his video essays (Bell, 1998, pp.327).

Social Media and the Film Industry

Social Media vs. The Film Industry is a blog series from Misha Goldrick predicting the use of social media as a marketing tool for the film industry in the next 5 years.

As a student majoring in Digital and Social Media, Misha’s initial concept really interested me. Films are more and more becoming transmedia texts and social media is pivotal in defining their success.

Misha’s methodology was lacking detail, particularly in defining the context of each of the three blog posts she plans on writing. I suggested that exploring a case study around a successful example of social media in film promotion, The Avengers: Infinity War in particular, would be valuable to demonstrate a desirable future of film promotion.

To increase the utility of Misha’s project and also the value of my critique, I should have also given her a resource analysing an example of bad social media promotion of a film. Misha could use ‘How to Know When a Summer Movie will Flop’ which highlights that predictions can be made about a films success based on its social media presence. Using this source in discussion with The Avengers: Infinity War will more accurately help her explore alternate futures within the next 5 years.

Representations of AI in Popular Culture

Popular Culture & it’s Prediction of Artificial Intelligence in the Future is a collection of research pieces and YouTube videos on the history of representation of AI in popculture to make projections about AI in the future.

Alex’s project will benefit greatly from discussing the portrayal of AI in our weekly screenings which I emphasised in my comment. I was able to draw from one of my tweets during our screening of ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ which will help Alex analyse negative portrayals of AI in our history and how this will effect our future.

While Alex’s project pitch was closely related to our screenings, she didn’t directly address relevant readings to support her project. Similar to my comment on Asher’s pitch, I referred Eleonora Masisni’s work on the visions of a desirable future and suggested Alex explores ways to prevent the AI fears created by popculture from actually happening.

Critically reflecting on the constructive comments I have given my peers has given me a new perspective on how to improve my own project, ‘The Future of Women in Leadership’, particularly in being more specific about direct correlations between society in 2021 and possible futures.

Although each of these projects are exploring very different areas of possible futures it is clear that the common thread is ‘the future is now’.

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