Human Futures

  • Possible Human Futures — from the class — Six-Word-Stories
  • “The six-word story, as originated by Hemingway: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” What about you? Can you come up with one? Not a motto or a wry observation, but a story. Six words that send the reader off to filling in the backstory and the spaces between the words.”
  • Wired Magazine’s Very Short Stories (6 words)
  • Get Smarter Pandemics. Global warming. Food shortages. No more fossil fuels. What are humans to do? The same thing the species has done before: evolve to meet the challenge. But this time we don’t have to rely on natural evolution to make us smart enough to survive. We can do it ourselves, right now, by harnessing technology and pharmacology to boost our intelligence. Is Google actually making us smarter?
  • Futurist Top Ten Forcasts for 2009 and Beyond
  • Must read by Ray Kurzweil Cheer Up World – We Are on the Verge of Great Things!
  • The Dawning Age of Mindreading MachinesImagine controlling  machines, typing text, or juggling balls using nothing but the power of thought.
  • Check out Vernor Vinge here on the concept of Singularity
  • Poetry/Human Futures Memo to the 21st Century

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

“Butler’s work is both fascinating and highly unusual,” Rosemary Stevenson writes; “character development, human relationships, and social concerns predominate over intergalactic hardware” (208).

“I’m not writing for some noble purpose, I just like telling a good story. If what I write about helps others understand this world we live in, so much the better for all of us,” Octavia Butler told Robert McTyre. “Every story I write adds to me a little, changes me a little, forces me to reexamine an attitude or belief, causes me to research and learn, helps me to understand people and grow … Every story I create, creates me. I write to create myself” (Stevenson 210).

Mending Walls
Robert Frost, 1930

Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.

Frost’s lines from his poem signal a tension between the individual and society, but today the idea of the piece seems an almost quaint concern given the modern practices of city building.  The individual in Frost’s poem has given way to whole groups of individuals who collectively wall themselves off from society in private enclaves.  Who or what are Americans seeking to wall out?  Why are Americans increasingly resorting to walls and gates as a solution to perceived social problem?  — from Gated Communities in America:  Walling Out the World? by Robert E. Lang and Karen Danielsen

Children of Men directed by Alfonso Cuaron — Children of Men written by P.D. James


Poetry choices for Parable of the Sower/Children of Men are “The Waking” by Theodore Roethke (excerpt – first six lines), “The Hollow Man by T.S. Eliot, “Epitaph on a Tyrant” by W.H. Auden, “Fire and Ice” by Robert Frost, “For a Coming Extinction” by W.S. Merwin, “Finisterre” by Sylvia Plath, “Truth Is…”by Marc Robinson, My Butterfly by Robert Frost

2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick -the film

2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke – the novelization

Science fiction’s 2012

Twenty-five years ago, a group of scientists and writers offered their visions of today’s world. Were they close? Check it out!