Week 25

Maker future, connected future, everything future

But this “future”—a dusty, meaty world where human skin and sweat and hair were all around, but so were lasers and UAVs and freaking wind-walking robots? That was a future I could live in. A future devoted to pleasing one another.

I’ve been reading short books this week, starting with Cory Doctorow’s recently award-winning novella The Man Who Sold the Moon. It’s basically him thinking about the future in terms of the maker subculture, which he really gets. He also published an essay in the Guardian last week, talking about the internet and its role in society:

There are many fights more important than the fight over how the internet is regulated. Equity in race, gender, sexual preference; the widening wealth gap; the climate crisis – each one far more important than the fight over the rules for the net.

Except for one thing: the internet is how every one of these fights will be won or lost. Without a free, fair and open internet, proponents of urgent struggles for justice will be outmanoeuvred and outpaced by their political opponents, by the power-brokers and reactionaries of the status quo. The internet isn’t the most important fight we have; but it’s the most foundational.

The other book was Cunning Plans, a compilation of speeches given by Warren Ellis. He talks about the future, about technology and magic, and it’s glorious:

I’m just an ageing white man with eight teeth and a tin can with rusty water in it. It’s too late for me. All I could do was gather you up into a room and then lock it. It’s not too late for you. It’s not too late for the future. Start talking. Start building it. Make it calmly, and make it complex and inclusive. Make it real. Make it human. Make it weird and wonderful. No more circuses. Make Future Everything.

I’ve been enjoying Cortex recently, much to my bewilderment. It’s a new podcast, and it’s just two guys I never even heard about talking about how they get their work done. I can’t quite put my finger on why I enjoy it so much, but I do.

All my remaining free time was consumed by Sense8. The show’s premise is pure sci-fi: Eight strangers across the world suddenly become mentally linked; but this premise is used to tell a beautiful, inclusive story about human connection. The editing is masterful, weaving together scenes from around the globe, making the show feel post-geographical rather than merely international. It seems contemporary and native to the twenty-first century in a way I haven’t quite seen before.

Speaking of the twenty-first century.

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Hi, I'm Marcel. This is where I put stuff on the internet. You can follow me on Twitter, or read the about page (if you're into that sort of thing).