Bruce Sterling on Atemporality

People ask where did the future go? Where are these glamorous versions of the future? […] We’re moving into a situation with Generation-Xers in power, in a Depression. A Depression where people are afraid of the sky. That’s what the next decade actually looks like. And you’re going to live there.


One of my favourite interlocutors on design and technology recently introduced me to Bruce Sterling and his closing talk at Reboot — Life in the next decade. He takes you on a hysterically dark, but comical journey through four strategic forecasting quadrants (“crisis capitalism for aging baby boomers”, “B.R.I.C., Brazil, Russia, India, China” and top and low end of the “Reboot in power”) and illustrates a vision of what it’s going to feel like to live through the next ten years that only a futurist novelist can deliver. If nothing else it will enrich your vocabulary with amusing terms like “Dark Euphoria“, “Gothic High-Tech” and “Favela Chic”.

“It does not feel like progress. However, it does not feel like conservatism either. There’s neither progress nor conservatism, because there’s nothing left to conserve and no direction in which to progress. So what you get is transition. Transition to Nowhere, as they would call it in the Eastern Bloc.”

All this to tell you: “Stop acting dead.”

And if you really get sucked into this, I strongly recommend further geeking out on “How to Live Without Irony” and The New Aesthetic and The Framework of Culture for additional contemplation on contemporary culture.

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