Posts Tagged ‘future’

What is the point of time capsules?

Friday, January 1st, 2021

Jason Feifer recorded an interesting podcast on “How to Communicate With the Future” (45 min). Feifer is sceptical about time capsules and other such endeavours to send messages to the future. Among others, the podcast contains an interview with Jon Lomberg, designer of the Voyager Golden Record launched in 1977. 

Feifer argues that time capsules are not much good for what they purport to achieve and mostly a way of helping ourselves finding meaning and patterns in our own present. What we should do instead of constructing time capsules and other messages to the future is to build a better world today so that future generations do not need to receive any additional information because they already have what they need from us.

Wow! The Future is calling!

Tuesday, December 29th, 2020

After years of thinking, drawing, writing, editing and re-editing, illustrator Pernilla Frid and archaeologist Cornelius Holtorf published a unique children’s book (which is really for adults).

Wow! The Future is calling! is a picture book coming out of Cornelius Holtorf’s longstanding research at the interface of heritage and the future. When illustrator Pernilla Frid was invited to apply her skills, she was immediately attracted to work in this context and with innovative concepts. The point is to convey the variety and richness in which we can engage with the future. The book gives many examples, both in the way the main characters act, representing three different ways of relating to the future, and in the many details, which surround them.

Copyright © 2021. Text & illustrations: Pernilla Frid & Cornelius Holtorf. All rights reserved. Contact: pernillafrid926@gmail.com, cornelius.holtorf@lnu.se

The need to remember COVID-19

Saturday, May 2nd, 2020

Neuroscientist and futurist Anders Sandberg has published an interesting argument about our moral duty to remember the lesson of COVID-19 for the benefit of future generations:

The Covid-19 pandemic … is a wake-up call. … [H]istorically we have adapted to trauma rather well. Maybe too well – we have a moral reason to ensure that we do not forget the harsh lessons we are learning now. 

What kind of lessons do we need to learn? The basic ones are what strategies work and do not work, whether in epidemiological strategy, social life or how to handle the experience personally. 

According to Sandberg, part of the solution may be the construction of monumental memorials:

In the end, we better build some hard-to-ignore monuments to the people who died or performed heroically, to shore up our collective memory. Li Wenliang may be a good symbolic martyr to remember (especially the key lesson about openness being necessary for a rapid response).

It is to a large degree a real moral choice whether Covid-19 becomes a warning shot that teaches us useful things for the time when a truly dangerous pathogen emerges (or is made) or just a massive distraction that is soon conveniently forgotten… until it is too late. Given the stakes, it matters to remember well.

But what does it matter “to remember well”, I would ask? No detailed message remains understandable and meaningful across generations, unless it is regularly being updated and translated into a new context.

The best message to transmit to the future may therefore be a meta-message:

  1. Keep the experts on essential issues!
  2. Listen to them!
  3. Vote for politicians who put human wellbeing first! 

I wonder who may be the right martyr to be memorialised for that message to be carried forward…