We all have theories about what the future might look like. But what did the future look like in the past? And how have the advent of new technologies altered how people viewed the future? We talked with curator of modern sciences and historian of Victorian science Dr Johnua Nall, professor of Digital Humanities and director of Cambridge Digital Humanities Professor Caroline Bassett, and Junior Research Fellow in the history of artificial intelligence Dr Jonnie Penn in our attempt to understand how the future was thought of in the past. Along the way we discussed utopias and dystopias, the long history of science fiction, and how the future might come back to haunt us!
This episode was produced by Nick Saffell, James Dolan and Naomi Clements-Brod. Annie Thwaite and Charlotte Zemmel provide crucial research and production support for Series 2.
Professor Caroline Bassett is Professor of Digital Humanities and Director of Cambridge Digital Humanities (@CamDigHum). Caroline’s research explores digital technologies in relation to questions of knowledge production and epistemology (how does 'the digital' change scholarship, transform understanding, produce new scales or perspectives?) and in relation to cultural forms, practices, and ways of being (how can we understand the stakes of informational capitalism, what are its symptoms, how can we understand its temporalities, the forms of life it enables, and those it forecloses?).
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein
Dreamscapes of Modernity: Sociotechnical imaginaries and the fabrication of power, edited by Sheila Jasanoff and Sang-Hyun Kim
The next episode: What is the future of mental wellbeing?
Our wellbeing is essential to our overall quality of life. But what is wellbeing? Why is it so hard to pin down? How is it different to mental health, and what can we do to understand, measure and improve it? We talked with psychologist and neuroscientist Dr Amy Orben, psychiatrist Dr Tamsin Ford, and welfare economist Dr Mark Fabian to try and get to grips with wellbeing.