speculation   1992

« earlier    

Language Log » English or Mandarin as the World Language?
- writing system frequently mentioned as barrier
- also imprecision of Chinese might hurt its use for technical writing
- most predicting it won't (but English might be replaced by absence of lingua franca per Nicholas Ostler)
linguistics  language  foreign-lang  china  asia  anglo  world  trends  prediction  speculation  expert-experience  analytical-holistic  writing  network-structure  science  discussion  commentary  flux-stasis  nationalism-globalism 
29 days ago by nhaliday
Solarpunking Speculative Futures — Cultural Anthropology
"Here is a map of Eneropa, a vision of the continent of Europe in 2050. Reorganized by renewable energy production, the new states—Hydropia, Solaria, Biomassburg, Geothermalia, Vrania, Tidal States, and the Isles of Wind—are connected by a centralized European energy grid. The grid serves to redistribute renewable energy across the continent by season, with the predominant energy supply from strong winterly winds in the north replaced by solar summers in the south. Europe’s carbon emissions have dropped by (at least) 80 percent from 1990s levels, and the continent is almost entirely energy-independent. The new, post-transition Europe is a safer, happier, and more politically stable place to live.


This is not an exercise in speculative fiction, but an example of backcasting: a policy technique of detailing a desirable future and then reverse-engineering solutions to achieve it. This map was featured in a 2010 vision document entitled “Roadmap 2050: A Practical Guide to a Prosperous, Low-Carbon Europe,” which was funded by the European Climate Foundation. It is only one in a series of eye-catching visuals that present a case for a European energy grid that would have made the inventor and scientist Buckminster Fuller proud. Others include snapshots of what each of these regions will look like; often, renewable energy production is integrated with holiday-like leisure activity, from surfing to sunbathing and general frolicking in the sea.

If the imagery seems fantastical, it is nonetheless informed by a mass of technical data: grid engineering and design, plausible costs, investment plans, in-depth modeling of system balancing requirements, and analyses of the macroeconomic impacts of large-scale decarbonization. The Office for Metropolitan Architecture gave the project visual form. Head architects Rem Koolhaas and Rainer de Graaf, among others, worked in conjunction with experts at the Energy Futures Lab at the Imperial College London, the technical grid consultancy Kema, management consultants McKinsey and Company, the climate change think tank E3G, and Oxford Economics. The aesthetic might be fantasy, but the genre is very much policy.

Many have written about the synergistic, mutually constitutive relationship between speculative fiction and technological innovation. Less attention has been paid to the more mundane work of policy, which serves to bridge speculative imagination and mass adoption of a new way of life. One way to address this might be to extend the aforementioned analyses, comparing themes across a sampling of publications to determine the influence of speculative fiction on the genre of the vision document, or vice versa. Another would be to eschew the reading of one genre alongside another in favor of reading such policy documents as speculative literature in themselves. This is what “Roadmap 2050” challenges us to do. Far from being facetious, its purpose in employing codes of fantasy is to engage us in an act of genre generosity. The fantastical elements empower us to approach the document with a willingness to suspend disbelief and to go beyond our usual attunement to limits and conservative assumptions.1

But what does reading policy as a speculative genre achieve? To begin with, it forces us to acknowledge that fiction as conventionally defined no longer has a monopoly over speculative narratives. As an act of world-making, speculation is present in several contemporary professional contexts, with climate change–related policymaking as only one of them. Design fiction, for instance, is a speculative world-building methodology that employs so-called diegetic prototypes to explore how new inventions hold up both socially and technically in multiple future scenarios (see Sterling 2005). However, while design fiction accounts for a variety of futures, both desirable and dystopian, policy backcasting must always project an optimistic future. This makes it somewhat unique, read against the pantheon of speculative subgenres.

Within academia, optimism is often adopted self-consciously as an ethics, or is tied back into an overarching analytics from within which it is rendered either “cruel” (Berlant 2011), naive, or a symptom of selling out. Reading policy not only for its proffered content but speculatively for its form might prompt anthropologists to take optimism seriously—not (just) as an ethics, but as a form of labor that we encounter in the field. We know the plight of climate scientists all too well (see Clayton 2018), but how can we make sense of the obligatory optimism of policymakers as they work to promote so-called global solutions?

To diagnose optimism as an object, we might take inspiration from an analytic device in the environmental humanities: close reading for narrative aesthetics grounded in contemporary petrocultural forms (e.g., Szeman 2017). While we are far from disembedding ourselves from the petrocultural, a new subgenre coalescing around the term solarpunk might serve as a starting point to engage with the labor of optimistic speculation. Described by Elvia Wilk as wishing to “wrench science fiction from both steampunk’s magical tech fantasies and cyberpunk’s tech-gone-wrong,” solarpunk locates itself in a near future of feasible tech that often already exists in some form. Its worlds are fueled not by coal or oil (as were steam- and cyberpunk respectively), but solar energy, as a way to access a postpetro social. In its best moments the genre is not engaged in utopianism, but acts of dislocation.

If the point of speculative anthropology is not simply to recognize the speculative in contexts we encounter but also to adopt the speculative in the manner by which we engage them, then reading policy documents (with some indulgence) as solarpunk might constitute one such act of dislocation. It may even allow us to punk the relationship between our modes of critique and the dominant energy form. Perhaps Bruno Latour (2004) was more prescient than he knew when he declared that critique had run out of steam. Perhaps it is in need of some solar instead."
solarpunk  speculativefiction  speculation  speculative  designfiction  anthropology  nanditabadami  2018  speculativeanthropology 
december 2018 by robertogreco
Speculative Anthropologies — Cultural Anthropology
"At the intersection of speculative fiction and anthropology, we find a sense of epistemological humility about the kind of worlds we could or should inhabit. Yet epistemological humility should not be confused with futility: possibilities and potentialities still matter. We do not know what we are capable of, and yet that need not keep us from the pursuit of what ifs. Through the imaginative interpellations of speculative fiction (SF), the contributors to this Theorizing the Contemporary series gravitate toward new localities and means of presence: ecological, technological, Afro-futuristic. Facing the imminent prospect of both disaster and discovery, they call us to resist despair and to craft tangible ways of shaping and repairing the worlds we still hope for.

Posts in This Series

Introduction: Speculative Anthropologies
by Ryan Anderson, Emma Louise Backe, Taylor Nelms, Elizabeth Reddy and Jeremy Trombley

The Unstable Edge: Anthropology, Speculative Fiction, and the Incremental Threat of Sea Level Rise
by Ryan Anderson

Our Present as the Past’s Fictitious Future
by Sally A. Applin

Solarpunking Speculative Futures
by Nandita Badami

Thinking Parabolically: Time Matters in Octavia Butler’s Parables
by Priya Chandrasekaran

Looking for Humanity in Science Fiction through Afrofuturism
by David Colón-Cabrera

Planeterra Nullius: Science Fiction Writing and the Ethnographic Imagination
by William Lempert (Open author orcid page in new window)

Fieldnotes from the Twilight Zone
by Patricia Markert and Jeremy Trombley

Invisible City: A Speculative Guide
by Taylor Nelms

First Contact with Possible Futures
by Michael Oman-Reagan (Open author orcid page in new window)

Speculative Fiction and Speculating about the Social
by Elizabeth Reddy

Evidently SF
by David Valentine

Anthropology’s Latent Futures
by Samuel Gerald Collins

Unbounding the Field/Note
by Valerie Olson

The Necessary Tension between Science Fiction and Anthropology
by Matthew Wolf-Meyer"
speculative  anthropology  speculativeanthropology  speculativefiction  designfiction  speculation  afrofuturism  ecology  technology  immigration  climatechange  ryananderson  emmalouisebacke  taylornelms  elizabethreddy  jeremytrombley  sallyapplin  nanditabadami  priyachandrasekaran  davidcolón-cabrera  williamlempert  patriciamarkert  michaeloman-reagan  samuelgeraldcollins  davidvalentine  valerieolson  matthewwolf-meyer 
december 2018 by robertogreco
RT : This , here’s a shot of Zed E Jones & Peyton McCandless doing their latest . Also the…
workshopwednesday  speculation  from twitter
december 2018 by skyesidhe
A language that you only understand when you write it. Could there be?
language  speculation  writing  from twitter_favs
november 2018 by joegermuska
Life After People
Life After People is a television series on which scientists, structural engineers, and other experts speculate about what might become of Earth should humanity instantly disappear. The featured experts also talk about the impact of human absence on the environment and the vestiges of civilization thus left behind. The series was preceded by a two-hour special that aired on January 21, 2008 on the History Channel[1] which served as a de facto pilot for the series that premiered April 21, 2009. The documentary and subsequent series were both narrated by James Lurie.
Film  Science  Fiction  Speculative  Speculation  Misanthropy 
october 2018 by dbourn

« earlier    

related tags

'he  1968  2013  2015  2016  2017  2018  2020  a  abandoned  about  abruptly  abstractinformation  abstraction  academia  accelerationism  accuracy  advertising  aesthetic  aesthetics  afro  afrofuturism  again'  again  against  agriculture  ai-control  ai  album  alexprovan  alzheimers  amid  analogy  analysis  analytical-holistic  andreasgursky  andrewnormalwilson  anglo  angst  animal  anniversary  anonymity  anthropic  anthropology  antimatter  antiquity  archaeology  architecture  archives  arms  art  article  artificial_intelligence  asia  aspirations  assassination  assortative-mating  attack  attention  audio  austerity  authoritarianism  autism  automation  avatar  avx  back  backup  banking  bankruptcy  bannon  behavioral-gen  bellamy_clarke  benevolence  berlin  bicycle  big-peeps  bike  bio  biodet  biotech  bitcoin  bits  blackplanet  blockchain  bloomberg  boe  book  books  brain-scan  brain  branch  branchscope  brexit  briankuanwood  britain  broadcom  bryant  bsdcan  bubble  buffalo  buffettwarren  business  ca  cabinet  canada  canon  canonau  capitalism  cars  carter  ceo  change  character  chemistry  chicago  chief  children  china  christianity  city  civil-liberty  civilization  cjones-like  class-warfare  class  classic  climate  climate_change  climatechange  cocktail  cog-psych  cohesion  coldwar  collapse  colonialism  column  comeback:  commentary  commons  communication  communism  company  comparison  competition  complex-systems  complexity  composition-decomposition  computation  computer-vision  concept  condo  conflict  consequence  consequences  conservative  conspiracy  contradiction  convexity-curvature  cooperate-defect  cooperunion  coordination  corbyn  core-rats  corporatism  correlation  cpu  creative  crisis  criticism  crowds  crux  crypto  cryptocurrencies  cryptocurrency  cryptography  cs  cuisine  cultural-dynamics  culture  currency  cyber  cybernetics  dancer  dark-arts  dark  data  davidcolón-cabrera  davidvalentine  ddr  death  debunk  decay  decision  deep-learning  deep-materialism  deep_fakes  definite-planning  deflects  degrees-of-freedom  dematerial  demi  democrat  dennett  density  deraadt  design-fiction  design  designfiction  desire  detail-architecture  deterrence  developers  developmental  diet  discrete  discussion  disease  dissertation  diversity  doesn’t  domesticity  duplication  duty  early-modern  eating  eclipse  ecology  econ-metrics  economics  econotariat  eden-heaven  eden  edouardgliassamt  education  eea  efficiency  egalitarianism-hierarchy  eighthclime  election  elixxir  elizabethreddy  emmalouisebacke  emotion  end-times  end  endocrine  ends  energy  england  enlightenment-renaissance-restoration-reformationb  environmental-effects  epidemiology  erasure  error  essay  ethics  ethnocentrism  europe  ev  event  events  evidence  evolution  evopsych  examples  executive  existence  expansion  expert-experience  expert  explanans  explore-exploit  externality  extraction  extraterrestrial  fbi  fermi  fiction  fields  film  finance  financialization  fire  firsttime  fitness  flaneur  flux-stasis  food  foreign-lang  france  fringe  frontier  fueling  funding  future  futurism  gallic  games  gap  garett-jones  gas  gavisti  gedanken  gender  generalization  generational  genetic-correlation  german  germany  getrichslowly  gfc  giants  globalization  gnon  gnxp  good-evil  google  government  gplatform  grad-school  graph-theory  graphs  graveyard  great-powers  growth-econ  guydebord  heavy  her  history  hmm  hormones  housing  hsu  hudsonyards  huge-data-the-biggest  humanity  hyperperspicacity  ideas  identity  ideology  idiocy  idk  ignites  illusion  illustration  imaginal  immigration  impetus  in  industrial  inequality  inference  influence  information  infrastructure  innovation  inspiration  instability  institute  institutions  insurance  intel  intelligence  internet  interview  intricacy  investing  investment  iot  iq  iron-age  is  japan  jeremy  jeremytrombley  jfk  john  kernel  kinship  kobe  korea  labor  labour  land  language  large-factor  learning  leaves  lens  lesswrong  letters  leviathan  lexical  libraries  lie  lifestyle  light  linguistics  links  linux  lol  lolbuttcoin  london  long  lovato  lucy_wyatt  lucylippard  machiavelli  machine-learning  machine_vision  malicious  management  map  marialind  market  massvisuality  material  matthewwolf-meyer  maxim-gun  may  mcdonnell  measure  media  mediterranean  meltdown  merger  messaging  meta:prediction  meta:research  metameta  meteorology  methodology  metrics  michael  michaelbloomberg  michaeloman-reagan  midterm  migration  misanthropy  ml  mobile  model3  models  moloch  money  morality  mortgage  mostly-modern  motherhood  motive  multi  multiple  mundane  music  n-factor  nanditabadami  nascent-state  nationalism-globalism  negative  neoliberal  nerve  network-structure  neurneurology  neuro-nitgrit  neuro  neurology  neuron  neurons  new-religion  new  newyork  nibble  nihil  nitty-gritty  nlp  no  nonlinearity  north  now  nuclear  number  obesity  occult  of  old-anglo  opacity  open-closed  openbsd  opinion  opsec  optimism  order-disorder  org:gov  org:junk  organizing  outcomehealth  overdose  oversupply  panel  paper  paradox  parent  parenting  party  patriciamarkert  pattern  pdf  personality  pessimism  pg&e  phase-transition  philosophy  photos  physicalmaterial  physics  planets  play  podcasting  poetry  pointofview  polanyi-marx  policy  polisci  political-econ  politics  poll  populism  poverty  power  powershell  prediction  predictive-processing  preprint  presentation  president  prioritizing  privacy  private  privatisation  priyachandrasekaran  pro-rata  problem-solving  productdesign  productivity  programming  properties  property  protestant-catholic  psych-architecture  psychiatry  psychology  psychometrics  pushes  q1  q4  quant  questions  quixotic  quotes  ratty  read  reading  reagan  realestate  realness  realpolitik  reduction  reference  reflection  regulation  reinforcement  religion  report  representation  republican  research  resources  retro  review  revolution  rhetoric  risk  role  roosevelt  roots  rot  russia  ryananderson  s2  s4  sallyapplin  samuelgeraldcollins  sapiens  scale  schelling  scholar  science  sciencefiction  scifi-fantasy  scifi  scitariat  screening  security  self_driving  service  sex  sf  sharingeconomy  simulation  singer's  singularity  sinosphere  skill  sleep  smart_cities  smoothness  smut  social-norms  social-structure  social.media  social  sociality  society  solange's  solarpunk  southkorea  space  spatial  spearhead  spectre  speculative  speculativeanthropology  speculativefiction  speech  speed  speedometer  sports  squeaky  ssc  staff  star-travel  startup  startups  state  stocks  stories  storm  strategy  straussian  structural  structure  study  studying  sun  surface  synapse  systematic-ad-hoc  systems  tactics  takeover  tax  taxes  taylornelms  tech  technocracy  technology  tesla  tgam  the-bones  the-classics  the-self  the-trenches  the100  theos  thinking  threat-modeling  threshhold  thucydides  tillerson  time-series  time  timeless  to  toread  tories  toronto  traces  trading  tradition  trap  trends  troll  trump  trust  truth  twitter  uk  uncertainty  underemployed  underinvestment  unemployment  unitedstates  universe  unreality  unthinkable  usa  use  utility  valerieolson  value  vancouver  vanessa  variance-components  video  vietnamewar  violence  virtualization  visibility  vision  visualization  visuo  volatility  volo-avolo  walidraad  want  war  wealth-of-nations  wealth  weather  weird  weltanschauung  wheel  whole-partial-many  wiki  williamlempert  wire-guided  withdrawal  within-without  wolff  workshopwednesday  world  write  writing  xenobio  yarvin  yc  yvain  zaotao  👽  🔬 

Copy this bookmark: