Chapter 12 of Films from the Future: The Technology and Morality of Sci-Fi movies, read by author Andrew Maynard
In this episode: The Day After Tomorrow
Our Changing Climate | Fragile States | A Planetary “Microbiome” | The Rise of the Anthropocene | Building Resiliency | Geoengineering the Future
The 2004 movie The Day After Tomorrow isn’t perhaps the ideal film to explore the topic of climate change through. But then there aren’t a whole lot of climate-related movies that are much better. And so, when looking for a climate-forward film to include in the book Films from the Future, I ended up going for one that’s at least entertaining to watch.
That said, for all it’s confusing storylines and implausible scenarios, The Day After Tomorrow does open up an opportunity to move beyond conventional narratives around climate change — not because there’s anything wrong with these, but because sometimes it’s good to think a little differently.
This is exactly what I was looking for when writing Films from the Future. I felt that I couldn’t complete a book on technology and responsible innovation without addressing human action-driven climate change in some way. At the same time, it seemed pointless repeating material that has been well covered elsewhere. And The Day After Tomorrow allowed me to do that.
The result is a chapter (and now this podcast episode) that explores topics ranging from environmental dynamism and human fragility to complex and integrated planetary systems, resiliency, and the Anthropocene. I also managed to squeeze in geoengineering, although this was a bit of a cheeky move as The Day After Tomorrow doesn’t really have much to say about this!
The end result is a chapter/episode that I’m quite pleased with, and one that compliments and even extends broader discussions around the state of the Planet and it’s future.
About Films from the Future: I started writing Films from the Future in 2017. The intent was to explore the deeply complex landscape around emerging technologies, the future, and socially responsible innovation, in a way that would be accessible to most readers, and at the same time provide nuanced and important insights that weren’t available anywhere else.
One of the challenges with most books about tech and the future is that they take a polarized stance — we’re either all going to die unless we do something different, or technology is going to save the world. These sell — people love reading about extremes. But they’re not that helpful when it comes to navigating a deeply complex tech innovation landscape where there few right and wrong answers, where it’s important to weave together insights from many different areas of expertise — including the arts and humanities, and where dialogue and discussion are far more important than preaching.
And so I set out to write about emerging and converging technologies in as inclusive and accessible a way as I knew how, with the aim of taking readers on a compelling journey into the future where their thoughts and ideas were just as important as mine.
The result was a book that uses movies as a way to open up conversations about what responsible innovation means in a world that’s changing faster than ever before, and where new technologies are transforming how we think about the future and what it holds.
Of course some of the technologies it covers have moved on since I started writing the book. But at the end of the day this is not a book about science fiction movies, or about specific technologies, but about how all of us can think differently about our roles in ensuring the future we’re building is better than the past we leave behind.
I hope you enjoy these recordings of me narrating it — this is a book that reflects my voice quite deeply in the writing, and so it only made sense for me to one day actually read it aloud!
For more information on the book, visit https://andrewmaynard.net/films-from-the-future/