About “The Future of Being Human”
We are living in one of the most transformative, promise-filled, potentially catastrophic, and utterly amazing, times in human history. As increasingly powerful and complex technologies touch and challenge every corner of our present and future lives, The Future of Being Human provides a candid and personal perspective on navigating the this brave new world of technologies that change everything.
Drawing on over 20 years of working at the cutting edge of technology innovation and it’s convoluted intersections with people’s lives and the futures we aspire to, I’ll be posting regularly on the opportunities, challenges, and issues that myself and others are grappling with around emerging technologies and the future. And of course, as Director of the Future of Being Human initiative at Arizona State University, this Substack be deeply connected with the work we’re doing there.
I can’t promise to have all the answers to the future of being human — in fact in the uncertain world of advanced technologies, I’d be deeply suspicious of anyone who claims to have answers to what the future holds. But I can promise intriguing ideas, serendipitous insights, and stimulating conversation starters — because at the end of the day, the only way we can make sense of the future is by working on it together.
I’d love to have you subscribe if you haven’t yet done so. As well as receiving regular updates straight your email in-box, it makes a massive difference to me to know that someone’s interested enough in my work and thinking to read about it!
Why here, why now?
After writing for many years now on tech innovation and society across different platforms, I’ve decided to go back to my blogging roots. This is in part because I miss the discipline of writing regular posts, and the freedom of the informality of a blog. But it’s also because the relationship between emerging technologies and the future is changing so rapidly that I felt I needed something that’s far more responsive and agile than academic papers or even news articles to capture my thinking.
I first started writing a blog back in 2007 when I was science advisor to the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington DC. For those of you who’ve been following my work for some time, that became the longstanding personal blog 2020 Science.
Since then I’ve expanded my public writing considerably and published across many different platforms. I’ve even written a coupe of books. But I miss the informality and immediacy of a more “blog” like environment.
I’ve been eyeing up Substack for a while. But what finally pushed me to commit was the maelstrom of hope, worries, speculation, and sheer uncertainty, around the development of large language models like ChatGPT, and AI more generally.
I’ve been thinking around, talking about, and exploring the intersection between AI and society for a few years now. But I was shocked to discover that precious little of this is reflected in my public writing. Clearly, I needed to start writing more!
I’m also in the process of developing a new initiative at Arizona State University that explores what it might mean to be human in a technologically complex future, and how this in turn impacts our ideas and actions in the present. As this initiative is all about exploring new ideas and serendipitous connections within a broad community, I was looking for a platform where I can simultaneously develop my thinking and share what emerges.
And to be frank, I wanted somewhere where I could write in a way that allows me more opportunities to be part of a larger evolving conversation around increasingly powerful technologies and how they potentially transform the future — including the future of being human. Because, believe me, we need those conversations!
A little more about me
By way of background, I’m a scientist, author, professor of advanced technology transitions at Arizona State University, and founder of ASU’s Future of Being Human initiative. I’m especially interested in the future and how our actions influence it. Along with a bunch of other stuff (you can read about the academic side of my life here), I’m the author of the books Films from the Future: The Technology and Morality of Sci-Fi Movies, and Future Rising: A Journey from the Past to the Edge of Tomorrow.
And a final “Why Subscribe?”
Subscribing to The Future of Being Human is the fastest way to get the latest posts directly into your email in-box. It’s also a way to support me intellectually as I invest time thinking about and exploring advanced technology transitions and the future of being human. Plus (and this is the more important bit), by subscribing you become part of a growing community who are actively interested in engaging around the rapidly shifting relationship between the technologies we are developing and the futures we are creating together.