Last week I opened the door to a tree surgeon who asked to speak with my dad about the bay tree in the garden. I informed this gentleman that I owned the house and instead of apologising (or at the very least recovering with a bashful statement about my youthful glow), he looked me up and down and asked to speak with the person that made the decisions.
In 2022 this feels outrageous. In March 2022 with the world’s attention focused on Ukraine, it feels unworthy of wasting even a microsecond of my attention. Between the crises in Ukraine, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Yemen and countless others that get less Western media attention, thinking or writing about anything else feels trivial.
And yet somehow we cannot lose sight of the undercurrents that, without attention or intervention, could gather unstoppable momentum carving out new or exacerbated hardships for the future. Not least Climate Change, the impact of technology and the role women play in securing our future.
I recently finished reading Exponential View by Azeem Azhar, The Raging 2020s by Alec Ross and The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson. Exponential View offers a thorough exploration of coalescing technologies, The Raging 2020s a fascinating reflection on how the past few decades have made our present society, whilst cli-fi book Ministry of the Future imagines a near future in which a UN department of the same name serves to protect future generations from the biggest threats to humankind — in this case, Climate Change.
These books all examine future technology — not in a ‘new scientist’ or ‘nature’ magazine way, but through an examination of the seismic waves of societal, political, economic and environmental change that single technologies or related policies can spark and feel totally imperceptible until they’ve landed us discombobulated in unrecognisable territories.
Imagine telling yourself in 2001 that your resume would be screened by a robot, or that Jeff could bring you literally anything to your door in under 24 hours, or blockchain wasn’t an X Factor Contestant, or that commercial space travel is a thing, and…