Ariadne

Thinking beyond capitalism

Robert Hickson Sep 24, 2017

Joey Eschrich, writing in Slate, suggests that the futures industry has a “dearth of imagination”. He contends that futurists pay too little attention to “post-capitalist” futures. “As we fret over the future, we worry about rising sea levels and robotic job-snatchers, but the economic and political supremacy of the capitalist market doesn’t seem to be up for … Read More

The once and future farmer

Robert Hickson Sep 16, 2017

In our own cultural memory New Zealand used to have the best farming system in the world. No more, according to some. Two recent articles about the Netherlands illustrate how we are falling behind in some ways, and can provide a stimulus for how we can do better. National Geographic highlights the Netherland’s sustainable agricultural system in … Read More

Crafted bots

Robert Hickson Aug 31, 2017

We are getting used to seeing sleek, industrial robots. (I’m looking at you Air NZ). And previously I’ve noted some animal-inspired machines. From these and other technological developments we can tend to expect the future to be shiny, hard-edged and efficient. A different approach is being explored with “Blossom” (and others), a DIY soft robot … Read More

Hopeful futures

Robert Hickson Jul 15, 2017

A few weeks ago I gave a conference talk about using stories to look at the future. I focused on the need to pay more attention to creating stronger story lines and characters. That’s because it is more important to stimulate the audience to explore a range of possible futures than to try and predict what you think may happen. Read More

NZTech suggest a Ministry of the Future

Robert Hickson May 24, 2017

NZTech have promoted the creation of a Ministry of the Future in their 2017 Manifesto “New Zealand’s Digital Future“. As a country, we need to wholeheartedly embrace this change, installing a dedicated Ministry of the Future, and Chief Technology Officer, to consider the implications of change across social, economic, educational and all other areas of policy.   … Read More

The autonomous state

Robert Hickson May 01, 2017

The biggest fear of artificial intelligence is usually it getting smart enough to get rid of humans. But what if one of the biggest threats is regulating us to death, or at least to subservience? “Efficiency and effectiveness” is a common refrain from those advocating the use of artificial intelligence in government. There is certainly plenty of … Read More

The flying car, nearly here?

Robert Hickson Apr 21, 2017

A small German-based company, Lilium, has announced that they have successfully tested an electric “flying car”. A ducted fan mini-plane really.   Others are also looking at developing small air-borne taxis. But Lilium is the first to have a working prototype. Initially piloted, but Lilium hopes it can become autonomous and able to be summoned using a smart … Read More

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