This month’s podcast is quite a different one…
Manchester Futurists has done a great job in highlighting some of the emerging technologies coming over the horizon e.g. CRISPR, AI, VR, IoT, etc
As inspiring as that mission was, we feel that its time to move on and explore new and different boundaries with our audience.
Futurists will always be about future technology and its impact. Still, we would like to pivot and bring in unique perspectives and new thinking about technological developments and hear about the impact from people who are often unheard in technological rush.
There is a world of general discussions about new technology. We feel Futurists will thrive in a new space where we give a platform to those who rarely get one.
That’s our provocation…
Have a listen to the Manchester futurists team, Ahmed, Hannah, Ian, Caroline and Georgia discuss this new and important direction. (direct mp3)
7 thoughts on “The Future of Manchester Futurists?”
I’m 67, non-techy and I have attended MF several events where some have focused on how technology can solve problems, drive change, create new opportunities etc. I agree that an alternative approach is worth investigating as it is easy for a lay person to feel alienated by experts, new knowledge and jargon. . As you touch on in the podcast, perhaps futurism,
as an exploration of the possible, probable and desirable, should be less tech-centric and more human-centric. Therefore each event would not be tech-based (AI, AR, VR etc) but topic- based eg ‘The Future of….architecture, health, education, transport, shopping etc ‘ where both tech and non-tech inputs, processes, outputs feature and where all members of the audience are able to make contributions.
Hi Geoffrey, thanks for your comment. A more human-centric approach would definitely open the door to more topic-based talks and we hope that will also broaden the kind of conversations we have too. Tech is so pervasive it will always be a part of the conversation but with this new approach, we hope that discussions of the future will become more accessible and interesting to a wider audience.
Good luck with this; the podcast makes for a fascinating listen. My initial reaction is that there are lots of positive sentiments here.
If I were to offer a view it would be to set out really clearly what it is that you are interested in, perhaps in a few bullet points. I think what we have seen with recent public statements about inclusion and giving voices to the marginalised is that they can morph into ideas about destroying capitalism, promoting socialism, and other political ideas that can scare people off.
I might also suggest that ethical tech becomes a focus for the Group. Perhaps by inviting people like FairPhone or active Linux desktop developers to attend. I have been to a number of events where people decry the power of ‘Silicon Valley’ and big tech whilst using their Apple products and Google phones… There are very practical changes we can all make to change the World.
Hi David, thanks for your comment. Putting down a few bullet points to clarify our new direction is a very good idea and is something we are working on. Ethical tech is a huge area of interest for us and is definitely something we would like to explore more. I hope we won’t scare people off by including a greater variety of speakers and ideas but I suspect we will just have to trust our audience there!
Hmm. This is now a political left leaning group? Capitalism bad, socialist statism good? Really? I am pretty sure that 1930’s Germany, 1950’s China and USSR, 1960 – 70’s UK, 2000’s Myanmar, SA, 2010’s Venezuela etc etc wouldn’t support that view. This is rather a narrow perspective and I guess that it is rooted in the backgrounds on the people discussing the issues. I would maintain that Liberal capitalism has been the most effective way of reducing poverty ever invented (justified by FACTS not emotive talk!!, and BTW Marx agreed with that) The futurists are moving away from being a politic neutral discussion of the impacts of technology to yet another political left leaning forum then?
‘Getting a different perspective’ should keep it open, not close it down – not do a University ‘De platforming’ political selective thing.
Hi Russell, thanks for your comment. The future is political so political ideas and conversations are always going to be a part of the futurists in some way – even if that’s just in the bar afterwards. We have no intention of closing down conversations or ‘de platforming’. As you rightly say, getting a different perspective should open conversations and that is exactly what we would like to do!
I agree about the future being political (clearly) and that discussion could include political content but would suggest that the risk that the group becomes a homogenaic left leaning (say) echo chamber is real if the podcast is anything to go by. There is a sort of exclusive smug virtue in that quite often that stifles open investigation. If there were a way of discussing politics without tribalising the discussion that would be good. Some way of using Oxford debate rules to avoid a single view dominating maybe.
Tech is a pretty neutral thing to discuss compared to politics in the age of identity!
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