Landing 30 July, 2020

The Future of Society with Jamais Cascio

Should we be worried about surveillance technology? Is Big Brother really watching us?

How will we define privacy in the future?

These are the questions Californian-based author and futurist Jamais Cascio will have you contemplating.

Mike met Jamais back in March 2018 (time flies) at the Institute for the Future in Silicon Valley, where Jamais works as a research fellow.

‘I love that this institute even exists’, Mike reflected. ‘It’s a place to cast your mind into the future on a horizon of 10 or more years. This founding principle really resonates with me, particularly today as we face some of the greatest challenges of the century. I find looking forward gives me more hope than dwelling on the present or looking back to the past’.

This is a sentiment that Jamais summarised beautifully when Mike asked him, ‘What gives you hope?’

Jamais’ response?

‘People born after the year 2000 – young people – that gives me hope’.

To this, Mike says, ‘Here, here’.

If you’re not familiar with Jamais, then this intriguing interview will have you seeking out more of his work. Thankfully there’s lots to find.

Selected by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the top 100 Global Thinkers, Jamais has written four books, including Hacking the Earth: Understanding the Consequences of Geoengineering, and has spoken on everything from emerging technologies to environmental dilemmas.

His ideas for building a more resilient society have been published in the Atlantic Monthly, the Wall Street Journal and Metropolis among others.

While Jamais predicts the future will get worse before it gets better, he is ultimately an optimist.

So, what could the future of society look like? And how might we steer towards the futures we want?

In this hopeful conversation, James and Mike discuss everything from the Y2K myth to inspiring comic books.

Watch the interview in full here or head to Futurists.World podcast for the extended audio edition.

In this episode Mike asks:
01:29 What is a futurist?
01:52 Why is this important? What benefit does society get out of thinking about the future?
02:35 So we’re talking about the future of society today. When you think about the current trends in the world, what are some of the greatest challenges?
04:10 What gives you hope today?
05:15 So we’re here in Silicon Valley, so let’s just touch on technology in society. Things like, once we get quantum computing happening.
06:02 Quantum computing is like the Millennium Bug all over again. Is the sky falling?
06:45 All of this surveillance technology that hangs around our society now, it really seems to have eroded our individual autonomy to some extent. Is that something we should be worried about?
08:09 Is privacy an outdated concept?
09:02 Are you inspired by any Sci-fi movies, books, TV, novels in this space?
09:51 When we’re thinking about the future of society, where are you at? Optimistic or pessimistic?

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Thanks for listening and remember … the future is out there!

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The purpose of this series is to move humanity forward, think bigger and cast our minds into the future.

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