Futures: Past & Present

Oxford Technology in Society Forum

For further information about OTIS, visit the website here

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Contact: Daniel McAteer - daniel.mcateer@history.ox.ac.uk 

OTIS, the Oxford Technology in Society Forum, is an interdisciplinary research network, supported by TORCH, the Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities. Our goal is to bring researchers from across the University’s divisions together to discuss technology’s impact on societies past, present, and future, with a particular focus on PGRs and ECRs. Through dialogue and conceptual cross-fertilisation, we believe that a broader and deeper understanding of our own areas of expertise will be achieved.

Especially in the 20th and 21st centuries, conceptions of the future are tightly intertwoven with technology. Today, AI and automation are in the spotlight, as forecasters anxiously predict technological unemployment. Possible futures on Mars or the moon capture the popular imagination, as Silicon Valley billionaires pursue their private space colonisation projects. More gloomily, climate predictions from the IPCC and others sit like a storm cloud on our temporal horizons, signalling the need for vast investment in renewable technologies to avert disaster.

We are therefore delighted to welcome four speakers to Oxford to speak with us on 15 June. We will first hear from Drs Lise Butler and Maria Christou, who have been working on a podcasting project, “The Art & Artifice of Prediction,” which explores the histories of futuristic forecasting, art, and technology in the Cold War, supported by the British Academy.  This will be followed by Luke Wintour and Alex Rugman, who have recently produced an acclaimed show, “Move Fast And Break Things,”  a ‘sinister and surprising excavation of the internet as we know it today.’ Brief presentations will be followed by a moderated discussion and Q&A with OTIS attendees.

Drinks and refreshments will be served.