Hello there, I’m Damien Patrick Williams, or @Wolven many places on the internet. I have a master’s degree in philosophy and comparative religious studies and I’m pursuing a doctorate in science and technology studies, exploring how philosophy, technology, religious traditions, public policy, and social implications all overlap.
So look, here’s the thing: For the past decade I’ve been making a go at writing, talking, thinking, teaching, and learning about philosophy, comparative religion, magic, artificial intelligence, biotechnological intervention into human and nonhuman bodyminds, pop culture, and how all of these things relate to each other. I want to think about, talk about, and work toward, a future worth living in, and I want to do all of that with you
I’m talking about a future where we have the option but not the expectation to self-cyborg. A future where, when we’re confronted with the new and unprecedentedly strange kinds of minds we’re likely to meet in this century, we can embrace the new and the strange, and use it to make ourselves even more than we already are. A future where everyone has the data, information, knowledge, and ability to conduct their lives in their communities, the best they know how.
There are many, many people working understanding and building these technologies, right now—people like Jamais Cascio, Dr. Joanna Bryson, Dr. David Gunkel, Emily Dare, Mikey Pryvt, Scott Midson, Tommaso Bertolotti, Colin Schmidt, Kate Crawford, Ingrid Burrington, Safiya Noble, Virginia Eubanks, Ashley Shew, Shannon Vallor, Timnit Gebru, and so many more than I can mention here, but please always check the tags on the posts. There will almost always be names there of people to follow.
I’m doing this in public, as best as I can, at AFutureWorthThinkingAbout.com, Technoccult.net, and the Technoccult News, because it’s my belief that, since we’re all affected by it, we All need to be doing this work. We need to take very seriously the changing pace, content, and tone of these conversation. We need to work toward a future where we’re not just running to catch up to the vastly changing pace of these realities, but are thinking ahead about their possibilities, and addressing their actualities As they arise. Not after.
Now if you find yourself interested in not just reading but also supporting the kinds of work I’m talking about doing, you can help by engaging the posts, spreading the word to your friends or newsletter readers or podcast listeners, or maybe even throwing a dollar or two per month in the bucket. That last is a pay-by-month campaign, so the amount you pledge will be the exact same, every month, regardless of whether I make 1 post or 16. That said, you can always adjust or cancel your donation amount, whenever you see fit. If that still doesn’t work for you, then you can always make a one-time donation, here.
As I’ve said, before:
Technology moves fast. The way in which we intersect with it, the way that we use it, the way that we make use of it total, we adapt but we are always responsively adapting. We make changes and then we then run to catch up with those changes. And so so much of what we do is reactive. We’re like, “holy crap, we created this massive, huge piece of tech. We made this thing that can do all kinds of things. How do we deal with the things that it can do that we didn’t think it could do? How do we deal with our unintended consequences? How do we deal with these implications that we didn’t foresee?”
The only way I know that we are going to be able to really survive and thrive over time is to get better and faster at thinking about those implications, ahead of time. To think, before, as much as possible, “Hey, what might this do once it’s out in the world? How do people use things? How do people live with things? How do we engage these things?”
There’s a quote from William Gibson, a science fiction writer. He says, “The street finds its own uses for things.” The idea being that once a piece of technology hits ground level, once it’s actually in use by the general populace, you’ll find that it does things that its designers never ever…ever intended it to do. Never even conceived that it might do.
And the process of learning how to do what it takes to anticipate that, my friends, is a future worth thinking about.