It’s quite strange to think that Future Conscience has now been running for three years. Over 150,000 words through almost 200 posts, there’s a lot here that visitors to the site just won’t come across unless it happens to be through a specific search term. To recognise three years of writing the blog I thought I would highlight some of my favourite posts, the ones that I would hope everybody who visits would read (and share!) and that highlight the tone and purpose of the blog the best.
I’ve left out some of the most recent ones, which are easily found, and also those in the most popular posts list to the right (that Top 10 Futurist Films post has seen so many views I can’t see anything toppling it). Some posts that I’d like to include here I haven’t to keep the length manageable, so there’s still some hidden gems for you to find if you hunt through the archives (or the random links that pop up on the sidebar).
If there’s only one post that you share with your friends and followers – please do make it this one. Celebrate our third anniversary and help spread the word with these: the best of Future Conscience 2009 – 2012!
One of the first posts on the blog. The early posts show a far less nuanced writing style, and I think also are a bit too full of naivety. But with this one I think the groundwork was laid for what the blog was to become. Starting originally as a daily blog highlighting futurist news with an ethical slant, it was here that I started to show the social commentary and personal philosophy that would become the norm. For that reason alone it’s an important one to have on this list…even if I cringe every time I read posts from around this time.
I like this series of posts because it takes a look at one particular technology – augmented reality – and approaches it from multiple angles. All technology can be used in both positive and negative ways, and you should really do a post like this for every futurist projection. It’s also a post that I neglected to conclude for quite some time, so the final part shows quite a different writing style to the earlier two.
Ethical Blogging Series (2009)
One of the early topics covered was this ongoing series of posts on ethical blogging. What does it mean, how can you do it, why would you want to? Blogging is one of those mediums where people don’t really consider much how to respect intellectual property, their readership and the ethics of monetisation, and the role that a good ethical foundation can play not only in the topics that you write about but in the practical structure of the blog and how it’s put together.
Continuing with the themes of social commentary and longer posts, I’m quite proud of this post because it highlights an issue which has become increasingly important in the years following. It’s nice to feel somewhat ahead of the curve, and it wasn’t until a year or so later that editorials started cropping up regularly in the mainstream media on this very topic. By the way – how ugly are Google Ads? Bleh…glad I stopped using those.
If I had to choose a favourite post, most of the time I’m going to choose my initial review of Radio Free Albemuth. Primarily because of the absolutely surreal experience that I had on the day (given in full detail in the post), but also because it opened up a dialogue with the film’s director and producer which a year later meant that I was able to meet them in person to discuss the movie and also score an interview for the blog. Being such a huge fan of Philip K Dick, I felt priviliged and honoured to be part of the roll-out of this film in whatever small way. Here’s hoping it gets a wider release very soon!
The parable is the only piece of fiction on the blog, I really enjoyed writing it and I do feel it’s important for people to know that the blog comes from a place of personal contemplation and spiritual growth. The aphorisms were my attempt at conveying information in a symbolic manner, and the style is one that is being seen less and less these days. They give a direct view into the core of my psyche at the time of writing, which makes them the most personal post by far and is also why I present them without comment. The final piece of this spiritual trilogy is a misunderstood one, and one of those that were I to edit now I would change quite a bit to make a few things more clear, but for the record is a deeply theistic piece. These three represent the cornerstone of the blog and its ethos.
Another one of my favourite posts, mainly because of the paranoid noir-like world that it portrays. Alternate reality gaming is something that seemed poised to take off in a big way, and although to a certain extent it has simmered down recently I still think it’s an entertainment medium that has a lot to offer in merging gaming, social activity and the ‘real’ world into a wonderful cocktail that enables personal enjoyment, inspiration and growth. But there were aspects of the scene that were showing some very worrying tendencies, and the ability for this medium to be abused for violent or manipulative ends should not be overlooked.
Futurists are supposed to make predictions, it’s part of the genre and it forces us to put our necks on the line. Here are some prediction posts I’ve made over the last three years. In many ways I think I’m not a terribly imaginative futurist, but these attempts at least show that I’m willing to try! At the very least, if you make enough predictions then some of them are going to be right…
Your Life: The Videogame (2011)
Not everything on Future Conscience has to be so serious and sombre, and so I’m picking this post to highlight one of the more light-hearted explorations of future technology. The gamification of life is a prediction that I stand by strongly, and is also one that I’m quite looking forward to. We’ve only just begun to develop ways to incorporate our technology, our sense of entertainment and our daily lives; and it’s a sector that is going to see rapid growth over the next decade with some completely unexpected results.
Possibly the post that comes closest to being a pure rant, but this is another one that I’m very pleased with and also feel a certain degree of pride over. The disingenuous world of advertising is an issue that really upsets my sense of autonomy, as it is founded on a notion of manipulation, manufacture of desire and an underlying message that chips away at self-confidence. I’m proud of this post not because of its content, per se, but because it comes up so highly when searching for the product mentioned.
It still makes me chuckle to think that at some point there was likely a marketing meeting at one of the world’s largest cosmetics companies (L’Oreal) with people getting pissed off that this post was ranking so highly on Google searches for their latest product. Don’t fuck with the blogosphere, you agents of the corporatocracy. We bite.
There’s something about the world of hackers, cyberpunks and online activists that is so intriguing that it has always been a topic of great interest to me. Of course the reality rarely matches the myth, but I thought it was important to try and clear up some misconceptions that were going around in the press at the time whilst also highlighting why people of this persuasion – whether you agree with their methods or not – have a very important role to play in the 21st century.
This post doesn’t even cover half the story, as time progressed we learned of hidden arrests and FBI sting operations that only served to make this techno-thriller that much more compelling.
2011 was when I really began to hit my writing stride, and my response to the London riots written on the day they had concluded is one of my favourite pieces of work. I was shocked to see how quickly many of my previously liberal friends and peers were to call for martial law, swift punishment and harsh sentencing – and so this was my attempt to highlight why we must try and see beyond the surface and rise above our primal response mechanisms. We need to learn how to read the language of our cities and societies more effectively, particularly when they are screaming at us.
Part of what I love about writing the blog is that it encourages me to get out there and go to exhibitions or other events that are relevant and interesting. This post sees me playing around with ideas surrounding the anthropomorphic nature of our view of sentience, and I enjoy it because of its philosophical depth. Like many of the posts on the site, it’s basically a stream-of-consciousness piece…which means that it trades off a certain degree of structure and academic riguour in an attempt to access those areas of our minds that rest just on the edge of what we can grasp hold of.
These two posts bookend my experiences with the Occupy London movement, and in many ways show a transition from pure idealism to the pragmatics of social transformation. The first is a call to action, the second a sincere attempt to examine why the movement all but fell apart. Broad-based resistance to dominant and damaging social (and, particularly, commercial and economic) paradigms is important, and I hope to see it continue in other forms that can learn from the drawbacks of the Occupy movement and how it operated in practice. As an aside: if there’s one thing that I will take away from experiences with Occupy, it’s that there is no such thing as a large-scale horizontal movement. No matter how many times you say otherwise. At least, not yet…
So there you have it…some of the best posts that this blog has to offer. I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing how the blog has developed over the years (some of my earlier writing is so cringe!) and I look forward to writing more for you as we continue to look towards the future and ask ourselves the question: What do we want to be?