Design fiction, politicized: the wearable face projector

In 2017, a group of Dutch design students created some fictional anonymity "products" that they displayed under the name "Group Anonymous" at Milan Design Week. Read the rest

Join me today at 12PM Pacific/3PM Eastern for a New York Times/Periscope livestream about my "op-ed from the future"

Yesterday, the New York Times published my "op-ed from the future," an essay entitled "I Shouldn’t Have to Publish This in The New York Times," which tried to imagine what would happen to public discourse if the Big Tech platforms were forced to use algorithms to police their users' speech in order to fight extremism, trolling, copyright infringement, harassment, and so on. Read the rest

"A Message From the Future": short film about the "Green New Deal Decade," narrated by AOC, drawn by Molly Crabapple, presented by Naomi Klein

The Intercept has just released "A Message From the Future," a short science fiction movie narrated by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and drawn by Molly Crabapple, describing the coming "Green New Deal Decade," when Americans pulled together and found prosperity, stability, solidarity and full employment through a massive, nationwide effort to refit the country to be resilient to climate shocks and stem the tide of global climate change. Read the rest

How the patent office's lax standards gave Elizabeth Holmes the BS patents she needed to defraud investors and patients

When legendary grifter Elizabeth Holmes was 19 years old, she conceived of a medical device that could perform extensive diagnostics in an eyeblink from only a single drop of blood; she had no idea how such a device would work or whether it was even possible, but that didn't stop her from drawing up a patent application for her "invention" and repeatedly submitting to the patent office until, eventually, she was awarded a patent for what amounted to a piece of uninspiring design fiction. Read the rest

An audacious design for a sysadmin-centered subnotebook computer where function is everything

Sukhe's plan for an "adminbook" is an audacious, well-developed plan for a laptop tailored to the needs of network administrators: small, intended for use in dark, cramped places, convertible into an external drive or display for headless systems or those needing their ROMs flashed, multilingual, with many options for I/O and power. Read the rest

Conducting "evil" computer research, in the name of good

The next CHI (computer-human interaction) conference is being held on May 5 in Glasgow, and will include a workshop called CHI4Evil, "Creative Speculation on the Negative Effects of HCI Research," in which scholars, researchers and practitioners are invited to "anticipate and reflect on the potential downsides of our technology design, research, and implementation" through design fiction, speculative design, and other tools. Read the rest

Design fiction, speculative design, and "creepiness"

In "design fiction" and "speculative design," designers and science fiction writers create fictional products and services, which go on to inform real engineering and product design processes. Read the rest

Futuristic designs for products the EU's stupid new copyright law would kill

The Polish thinktank Centrum Cyfrowe commissioned designers to come up with "speculative designs" for products that could be enabled by a European approach to copyright reforms that favored a more equitable balance tilted towards creators and the public and away from large corporations -- even as the EU is preparing to kill this future by passing an extreme, corporate-aligned copyright regime that runs on censorship and mass surveillance. Read the rest

FanFlick Editor: an entry in EFF's Catalog of Missing Devices

Wonderful EFF supporters keep on coming up with great new entries for EFF's Catalog of Missing Devices, which lists fictional devices that should exist, but don't, because to achieve their legal, legitimate goals, the manufacturer would have to break some Digital Rights Management and risk retaliation under Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Now, EFF supporter Rico Robbins has sent us the "FanFlick Editor," a welcome addition to the Catalog, alongside of Dustin Rodriguez's excellent list of missing devices like the Software Scalpel and MovieMoxie; and Benjamin MacLean's Mashup Maker.

If you have your own great ideas for additions, send them to me and maybe you'll see them on EFF's Deeplinks!

Meet the FanFlick Editor. With this revolutionary video editor, you can directly rip your favorite movies from DVDs or Blu-rays or even digital copies from iTunes, Google Play, and any other service. Edit the film to your heart's content and then distribute the edit decision list (EDL) -- a file that contains instructions that other people can use to edit their own copies during playback while they watch, so they can experience your vision for the movies you both love (or even the ones you hate!).

Used your own footage, graphics, or audio? No problem! FanFlick Editor keeps track of what you made and what you ripped, and packages up your other content with your FanFlick EDL. That way, you only distribute material whose copyright you control, or that is in the public domain, or that fair use permits.

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Three artificial pancreases: a special trio of Catalog of Missing Devices entries

EFF has just published an update to its Catalog of Missing Devices (a catalog of things that don’t exist thanks to the chilling effects of Section 1201 of the DMCA): a trio of ads for future artificial pancreas firmwares that illustrate the way that control over devices can magnify or correct power imbalances.

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Announcing the Catalog of Missing Devices: the amazing stuff the DMCA has strangled in its cradle

For a couple years now, I've been collaborating with EFF to produce a Catalog of Missing Devices: products that do something legal and useful and desirable, but don't exist because to make them, you'd have to break DRM, something US law bans. Read the rest

Liartown: the First Four Years, a tour-de-force of killer shooping and acerbic wit

Sean Tejaratchi's amazing Liartown, USA (previously) is a bottomless well of astoundingly good photoshops from a parallel universe of bitter, ha-ha-only-serious sight gags, minutely detailed, lovingly crafted and often NSFW; Tejaratchi's new 248-page color, 8.5"x11" anthology, LiarTown: The First Four Years 2013-2017 is a powerful dose of creepypasta in its purest form.

Strange Beasts:short, inspiring/disturbing science fiction movie about augmented reality toys

Magali Barbé's short film Strange Beasts depicts a futuristic augmented reality product for kids and parents -- a piece of design fiction with a serious sting it its tail. (via Beyond the Beyond) Read the rest

Bruce Sterling: science fiction won't make the future better

Bruce Sterling is one of the foremost advocates of design fiction and the use of science fiction as a tool for understanding and influencing the world, but despite yesterday's long, positive article praising many of the projects he's involved with, he's skeptical of the idea that science fiction makes the future better. Read the rest

How science fiction writers' "design fiction" is playing a greater role in policy debates

Science fiction writers have a long history of intervening/meddling in policy, but historically this has been in the form of right-wing science fiction writers spinning fanciful superweapon ideas like Ronald Reagan's Star Wars system, or the writers who pitched in with the GW Bush team after 9/11 to design the brutal, endless "War on Terror" we're currently mired in. Read the rest

"Artisanal" Nintendo console cartridge hacker creates impossible alternate history games

Josh Jacobson is a Nintendo cartridge hacker who makes homebrew cartridges for games that were never released for NES/SNES, complete with label art and colored plastic cases that makes them look like they came from an alternate universe where (for example), there was a Nintendo version of Sonic the Hedgehog. Read the rest

A potential college course on detecting and combating bullshit in all its forms

University of Washington profs Carl T. Bergstrom (Biology) and Jevin West (Information School) have proposed a course called "Calling Bullshit in the Age of Big Data" that characterizes "the majority of administrative activity" as "sophisticated exercise(s) in the combinatorial reassembly of bullshit" and aims to train students to "navigate the bullshit-rich modern environment by identifying bullshit, seeing through it, and combatting it with effective analysis and argument." Read the rest

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