Anticipating The Unknown

I’m speaking at this thing in London called “Anticipating The Unknown” on July 18  – eventbrite link – part of the Virtual Futures programme.

“Anticipating The Unknown” is something I find myself having to talk about in public, for some reason.  Did a whole talk around it at How The Lights Get In a couple of years ago, thought that would be the last of it, and then had to resurrect it several times afterwards.

There’s a thing I say: as writers of fiction, we speculate on the available information and test out futures from the broad weatherfront of possibilities in front of us, acting as early warning stations for the culture.

Of course, we can’t make anyone listen to us.  And, in the famous phrase, there are always unknown unknowns that nobody sees coming.

There are some points in time where that all sounds a little too hopeful and a little too weak – when things feel like they’re accelerating and everything’s just a little bit nuts, events a little too unexpected.  It feels a little bit reactionary to hold on to that aphorism above when everything feels like it’s going bugfuck.

If you follow that all the way down, of course, you end up believing that you’re living in a set of special circumstances and the Great Attractor at the end of history is spinning up to enact the Singularity.

Keep checking your weather vane and your barometer. Always be questioning the method and testing the air.  But always remember that sometimes it’s just a weird patch, and not the final acceleration into a zone where physics stop working.


Reading: 300 ARGUMENTS, Sarah Manguso (UK) (US)