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Category: Futurism

This year, talk about the future you want.

This year, talk about the future you want.

This is very sound. If I had one piece of 2018 advice for literally everyone, it would be to talk, loudly and frequently and in detail, about the future you want. You can’t manifest what you don’t share. https://t.co/SeDwRqErnv — Madeline Ashby (@MadelineAshby) December 31, 2017

Our Gothic Future

Our Gothic Future

The other day, after watching Crimson Peak for the first time, I woke up with a fully-fleshed idea for a Gothic horror story about experience design. And while the story would take place in the past, it would really be about the future. Why? Because the future itself is Gothic.

New fiction!

New fiction!

Due to a quirk of deadlines and contracts, I have four new pieces of fiction out this month. Here they are: “A Stopped Clock” in The Atlantic Council’s War Stories from the Future. This is about smart cities and the future of urban warfare, as narrated by a middle-aged street vendor in Korea with an unspoken crush on her co-worker. This story will also appear in Gardner Dozois’ Year’s Best 33, which is very flattering. “Be Seeing You” in Pwning…

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The Privilege of the Future (SweCon 2015 GoH Speech)

The Privilege of the Future (SweCon 2015 GoH Speech)

A note: I wrote these remarks after having watched the reception to my interview in The Atlantic about the need for women in futurism. A relevant snippet: Ashby says that any time she speaks in front of a crowd, and offers a grim view of the future, someone (almost always a man) invariably asks why she can’t be more positive. “Why is this so depressing, why is this so dystopian,” they ask. “Because when you talk about the future you…

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Want to write convincing futures? Work retail.

Want to write convincing futures? Work retail.

A while ago, I tweeted something based on this piece in VICE UK, called “Things You Only Know When You’ve Worked in Retail.” I don’t really care for the clickbaity title, but the content of the piece isn’t wrong. Here’s what I said: People ask me how I do gritty, lived-in SF and futures work and I basically always answer: “I used to work retail.” https://t.co/P2ugdAlf8m — Madeline Ashby (@MadelineAshby) July 3, 2015 That got retweeted around, and I heard…

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No one cares about your jetpack: on optimism in futurism

No one cares about your jetpack: on optimism in futurism

This review of Disney’s Tomorrowland (and others like it that I have read) got me thinking about something I was asked at the Design In Action summit last week in Edinburgh. I was there participating in the “Once Upon a Future” event, where I read a story called “The Dreams in the Bitch House.” It’s about a tech sorority at a small New England university. And programmable matter. After I did my keynote and read my story, I did a…

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How can the platforms fight harassment?

How can the platforms fight harassment?

One thing that becomes eminently clear in this piece about the online stalking, harassment, and threatening of Zoe Quinn is that the police (and the justice system at large) know absolutely fuck-all about online harassment. Which makes sense. The Internet is the thing they use to send reports. It’s not a place where they live. It’s not a thing they police. (Policing the Internet is for the poor damned souls who work Special Victims. And maybe the Fraud Squad people….

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The Jeeps Look Up: on driverless vs. drones

The Jeeps Look Up: on driverless vs. drones

I don’t drive. I hate driving. In high school, my driving instructor waited until I was trying to make a left turn in an intersection to start screaming “You’re trying to kill us!” Then I pulled over to the side of the road and said: “You will never speak to me that way ever again,” and quit the class. (What I should have done, instead of quitting, was gotten really great at driving, and then used those skills to scare…

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Immigration is an information design problem.

Immigration is an information design problem.

While writing this column for the Ottawa Citizen on proposed changes to Canada’s immigration policy, an idea occurred to me that had taken years to crystallize. It emerged, strange but sharp, like a thorn buried under the skin that slowly eases free of the body’s confines. Immigration is an information design problem.