Results by Title
24 books about Future Studies
Results by Title
24 books about Future Studies
BiblioVault ® 2001 - 2023
The University of Chicago Press
Original voices from across the solarpunk movement, which positions ingenuity, generativity, and community as ways to resist hopelessness in response to the climate crisis.
Almanac for the Anthropocene collects original voices from across the solarpunk movement, which positions ingenuity, generativity, and community as beacons of resistance to the hopelessness often inspired by the climate crisis. To point toward practical implementation of the movement’s ideas, it gathers usable blueprints that bring together theory and practice. The result is a collection of interviews, recipes, exercises, DIY instructions, and more—all of it amounting to a call to create hope through action.
Inspired by a commitment to the idea that there can be no environmental justice without decolonial and racial justice, Almanac for the Anthropocene unites in a single volume both academic and practical responses to environmental crisis.
What are the implications of how we talk about apocalypse?
A new philosophical field has emerged. “Existential risk” studies any real or hypothetical human extinction event in the near or distant future. This movement examines catastrophes ranging from runaway global warming to nuclear warfare to malevolent artificial intelligence, deploying a curious mix of utilitarian ethics, statistical risk analysis, and, controversially, a transhuman advocacy that would aim to supersede almost all extinction scenarios. The proponents of existential risk thinking, led by Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom, have seen their work gain immense popularity, attracting endorsement from Bill Gates and Elon Musk, millions of dollars, and millions of views.
Calamity Theory is the first book to examine the rise of this thinking and its failures to acknowledge the ways some communities and lifeways are more at risk than others and what it implies about human extinction.
Forerunners: Ideas First is a thought-in-process series of breakthrough digital publications. Written between fresh ideas and finished books, Forerunners draws on scholarly work initiated in notable blogs, social media, conference plenaries, journal articles, and the synergy of academic exchange. This is gray literature publishing: where intense thinking, change, and speculation take place in scholarship.
“A brilliant travel guide to the coming world of AI.”
What does it mean to be creative? Can creativity be trained? Is it uniquely human, or could AI be considered creative?
Mathematical genius and exuberant polymath Marcus du Sautoy plunges us into the world of artificial intelligence and algorithmic learning in this essential guide to the future of creativity. He considers the role of pattern and imitation in the creative process and sets out to investigate the programs and programmers—from Deep Mind and the Flow Machine to Botnik and WHIM—who are seeking to rival or surpass human innovation in gaming, music, art, and language. A thrilling tour of the landscape of invention, The Creativity Code explores the new face of creativity and the mysteries of the human code.
“As machines outsmart us in ever more domains, we can at least comfort ourselves that one area will remain sacrosanct and uncomputable: human creativity. Or can we?…In his fascinating exploration of the nature of creativity, Marcus du Sautoy questions many of those assumptions.”
“Fascinating…If all the experiences, hopes, dreams, visions, lusts, loves, and hatreds that shape the human imagination amount to nothing more than a ‘code,’ then sooner or later a machine will crack it. Indeed, du Sautoy assembles an eclectic array of evidence to show how that’s happening even now.”
The first English-language collection to establish curiosity studies as a unique field
From science and technology to business and education, curiosity is often taken for granted as an unquestioned good. And yet, few people can define curiosity. Curiosity Studies marshals scholars from more than a dozen fields not only to define curiosity but also to grapple with its ethics as well as its role in technological advancement and global citizenship. While intriguing research on curiosity has occurred in numerous disciplines for decades, no rigorously cross-disciplinary study has existed—until now.
Curiosity Studies stages an interdisciplinary conversation about what curiosity is and what resources it holds for human and ecological flourishing. These engaging essays are integrated into four clusters: scientific inquiry, educational practice, social relations, and transformative power. By exploring curiosity through the practice of scientific inquiry, the contours of human learning, the stakes of social difference, and the potential of radical imagination, these clusters focus and reinvigorate the study of this universal but slippery phenomenon: the desire to know.
Against the assumption that curiosity is neutral, this volume insists that curiosity has a history and a political import and requires precision to define and operationalize. As various fields deepen its analysis, a new ecosystem for knowledge production can flourish, driven by real-world problems and a commitment to solve them in collaboration. By paying particular attention to pedagogy throughout, Curiosity Studies equips us to live critically and creatively in what might be called our new Age of Curiosity.
Contributors: Danielle S. Bassett, U of Pennsylvania; Barbara M. Benedict, Trinity College; Susan Engel, Williams College; Ellen K. Feder, American U; Kristina T. Johnson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Narendra Keval; Christina León, Princeton U; Tyson Lewis, U of North Texas; Amy Marvin, U of Oregon; Hilary M. Schor, U of Southern California; Seeta Sistla, Hampshire College; Heather Anne Swanson, Aarhus U.
In tightly linked studies, the contributors excavate forgotten and emergent futures of art, religion, technology, economics, and politics. They trace hidden histories of science fiction, futurism, and millennialism and break down barriers between far-flung cultural spheres. From the boardrooms of Silicon Valley to the forests of Java and from the literary salons of Tokyo to the roadside cafés of the Nevada desert, the authors stitch together the disparate images and stories of futures past and present. Histories of the Future is further punctuated by three interludes: a thought-provoking game that invites players to fashion future narratives of their own, a metafiction by renowned novelist Jonathan Lethem, and a remarkable graphic research tool: a timeline of timelines.
Contributors. Sasha Archibald, Susan Harding, Jamer Hunt, Pamela Jackson, Susan Lepselter, Jonathan Lethem, Joseph Masco, Christopher Newfield, Elizabeth Pollman, Vicente Rafael, Daniel Rosenberg, Miryam Sas, Kathleen Stewart, Anna Tsing
In the field of history, the Web and other technologies have become important tools in research and teaching of the past. Yet the use of these tools is limited—many historians and history educators have resisted adopting them because they fail to see how digital tools supplement and even improve upon conventional tools (such as books). In Pastplay, a collection of essays by leading history and humanities researchers and teachers, editor Kevin Kee works to address these concerns head-on. How should we use technology? Playfully, Kee contends. Why? Because doing so helps us think about the past in new ways; through the act of creating technologies, our understanding of the past is re-imagined and developed. From the insights of numerous scholars and teachers, Pastplay argues that we should play with technology in history because doing so enables us to see the past in new ways by helping us understand how history is created; honoring the roots of research, teaching, and technology development; requiring us to model our thoughts; and then allowing us to build our own understanding.
Several essays in this collection focus on an area of Ellison’s thinking that has yet to be adequately scrutinized—his study of, and writing about, music, specifically jazz and the blues. Although not a systematic philosopher of music, Ellison exhibited the seriousness and rigor associated with the critical musical writings of Theodor Adorno and Edward Said. Other essays in this special issue examine salient questions raised by Ellison’s work, including the nature of the connection between the novel and the democratic mind, Vietnam and the crisis of liberal society, and the problematic of modernism and freedom. Ralph Ellison addresses the ways in which Ellison’s writings about art were also efforts to think about and discuss political agency.
Contributors. Jonathan Arac, Kevin Bell, Adam Gussow, Ronald A. T. Judy, Robert O’Meally, Donald E. Pease, Barry Shank, Hortense Spillers, Kenneth Warren, Alexander G. Weheliye, John Wright
A collective engages and mirrors the critical need for energy justice and transformation
Solarities considers the possibilities of organizing societies and economies around solar energy, and the challenges of a just and equitable transition away from fossil fuels. Far from presenting solarity as a utopian solution to the climate crisis, it critically examines the ambiguous potentials of solarities: plural, situated, and often contradictory.
Here, a diverse collective of activists, scholars, and practitioners critically engage a wide range of relationships and orientations to the sun. They consider the material and infrastructural dimensions of solar power, the decolonial and feminist promises of decentralized energy, solarian relations with more-than-human kin, and the problem of oppressive and weaponized solarities. Solarities imagines—and demands— possibilities for energy justice in this transition.
A Telegraph Best Science Book of the Year
“A witty yet in-depth exploration of the prospects for human habitation beyond Earth…Spacefarers is accessible, authoritative, and in the end, inspiring.”
—Richard Panek, author of The Trouble with Gravity
It’s been over fifty years since Apollo 11 landed on the moon. So why is there so little human presence in space? Will we ever reach Mars? And what will it take to become a multiplanet species? While many books have speculated on the possibility of living beyond the Earth, few have delved into the practical challenges.
A wry and compelling take on the who, how, and why of near-future colonies in space, Spacefarers introduces us to the engineers, scientists, planners, dreamers, and entrepreneurs who are striving right now to make life in space a reality. While private companies such as SpaceX are taking the lead and earning profits from human space activity, Christopher Wanjek is convinced this is only the beginning. From bone-whittling microgravity to eye-popping profits, the risks and rewards of space settlement have never been so close at hand. He predicts we will have hotels in low-earth orbit, mining and tourism on the Moon, and science bases on Mars—possibly followed (gravity permitting) by full blown settlements.
“Nerdily engaging (and often funny)…Technology and science fiction enthusiasts will find much here to delight them, as Wanjek goes into rich detail on rocketry and propulsion methods, including skyhooks and railguns to fling things into orbit…He is a sensible skeptic, yet also convinced that, in the long run, our destiny is among the stars.”
“If the events of this year have had you daydreaming about abandoning the planet entirely, [Spacefarers] is a geekily pleasurable survey of the practicalities and challenges.”
“The best book I’ve read on space exploration since Isaac Asimov.”
—Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic
Transhumanism posits that humanity is on the verge of rapid evolutionary change as a result of emerging technologies and increased global consciousness. However, this insight is dismissed as a naive and controversial reframing of posthumanist thought, having also been vilified as “the most dangerous idea in the world” by Francis Fukuyama. In this book, Andrew Pilsch counters these critiques, arguing instead that transhumanism’s utopian rhetoric actively imagines radical new futures for the species and its habitat.
Pilsch situates contemporary transhumanism within the longer history of a rhetorical mode he calls “evolutionary futurism” that unifies diverse texts, philosophies, and theories of science and technology that anticipate a radical explosion in humanity’s cognitive, physical, and cultural potentialities. By conceptualizing transhumanism as a rhetoric, as opposed to an obscure group of fringe figures, he explores the intersection of three major paradigms shaping contemporary Western intellectual life: cybernetics, evolutionary biology, and spiritualism. In analyzing this collision, his work traces the belief in a digital, evolutionary, and collective future through a broad range of texts written by theologians and mystics, biologists and computer scientists, political philosophers and economic thinkers, conceptual artists and Golden Age science fiction writers. Unearthing the long history of evolutionary futurism, Pilsch concludes, allows us to more clearly see the novel contributions that transhumanism offers for escaping our current geopolitical bind by inspiring radical utopian thought.
Drawing up alternate ways to “make a living” beyond capitalism
To live in this world is to be conditioned by capital. Once paired with Western democracy, unfettered capitalism has led to a shrinking economic system that squeezes out billions of people—creating a planet of surplus populations. Wageless Life is a manifesto for building a future beyond the toxic failures of late-stage capitalism. Daring to imagine new social relations, new modes of economic existence, and new collective worlds, the authors provide skills and tools for perceiving—and living in— a post-capitalist future.
Forerunners: Ideas First
Short books of thought-in-process scholarship, where intense analysis, questioning, and speculation take the lead
An imagination of possibilities, of miscalculations, of futures off-kilter
“Probability is a chimera, its head is true, its tail a suggestion. Futurologists attempt to compel the head to eat the tail (ouroboros). Here, though, we will try to wag the tail.” —Vilém Flusser
Two years after his Vampyroteuthis Infernalis, the philosopher Vilém Flusser engaged in another thought experiment: a collection of twenty-two “scenarios for the future” to be produced as computer-generated media, or technical images, that would break the imaginative logjam in conceiving the social, political, and economic future of the universe. What If? is not just an “impossible journey” to which Flusser invites us in the first scenario; it functions also as a distorting mirror held up to humanity.
Flusser’s disarming scenarios of an Anthropocene fraught with nightmares offer new visions that range from the scientific to the fantastic to the playful and whimsical. Each essay reflects our present sense of understanding the world, considering the exploitation of nature and the dangers of global warming, overpopulation, and blind reliance on the promises of scientific knowledge and invention. What If? offers insight into the radical futures of a slipstream Anthropocene that have much to do with speculative fiction, with Flusser’s concept of design as “crafty” or slippery, and with art and the immense creative potential of failure versus reasonable, “good” computing or calculability. As such, the book is both a warning and a nudge to imagine what we may yet become and be.
BiblioVault ® 2001 - 2023
The University of Chicago Press