Touching the future

Stories of systems, serendipity and grace

Featured in

  • Published 20210202
  • ISBN: 978-1-922212-56-6
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

THE FUTURE IS not a destination. We build it every day in the present. This is, perhaps, a wild paraphrasing of the acclaimed author and futurist William Gibson who, when asked what a distant future might hold, replied that the future was already here, it was just unevenly distributed. I often ponder this Gibson provocation, wondering where around me the future might be lurking. Catching glimpses of the future in the present would be helpful. But then, I think, rather than hoping to see a glimpse of the future, we could instead actively build one. Or at the very least tell stories about what it might be. Stories that unfold a world or worlds in which we might want to live – neither dystopian nor utopian, but ours. I know we can still shape those worlds and make them into somewhere that reflects our humanity, our different cultures and our cares.

Of course, it is not enough to tell stories about some distant or unevenly distributed future; we need to find ways of disrupting the present too. It might be less important to have a compelling and coherent vision of the future than an active and considered approach to building possible futures. It is as much about critical doing as critical thinking. One approach to the future might be to focus less on the instruments of technologies per se and more on the broader systems that will be necessary to bring those futures into existence.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

If you are an educator or student wishing to access content for study purposes please contact us at griffithreview@griffith.edu.au

Share article

About the author

Genevieve Bell

Distinguished Professor Genevieve Bell AO FTSE is the inaugural Florence Violet McKenzie Chair in the College of Engineering and Computer Science at the Australian...

More from this edition

Gifts across space and time

EssayA speak/listen trade will always include things that have never been thought or said before as well as the word gifts I wish to give. When things like this appear in a trade, don’t worry – it doesn’t mean I am making things up or holding information back. I’m not ripping you off! It is a sign there is respect in the speak/listen relationship. It is proof the relationship is alive, growing, and we are learning together. This happens a lot when people meet to talk about culture and cultural things.

A recombinant history of Australian camels

GR OnlineThe image of the camel is consistently drawn from Australian archives (consistency, like visibility, is one of Calvino’s ‘six memos’ or values he deemed crucial to literature as it moved into our millennium).

Stay up to date with the latest, news, articles and special offers from Griffith Review.