Neil's Noodlemaps

Review: Future Histories

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There's a lot to chew on in Future Histories. Thematically it is right up my street, in that it is linking leftist ideas from history to modern issues around digital technology and technology capitalism. It is ultimately about how technology should be liberatory, while warning against techno-utopianism.

As the planet slides further toward a potential future of catastrophic climate change, and as society glorifies billionaires while billions languish in poverty, digital technology could be a tool for arresting capitalism’s death drive and radically transforming the prospects of humanity. But this requires that we politically organize to demand something different.

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Fanon and his work on colonialism are used as a frame for digital self-determination. The historial commons is linked to the digital commons. Thomas Paine is a jumping off point for universal basic income and services. And lots of other interesting juxtapositions.

It's full of ideas and statements that I agree with. It's so choc full of stuff that I'm not sure that I've come away from it with a coherent idea of what is to be done - it's more of a manifesto than a handbook. Each chapter does have broad strokes of ideas, just more long-term legislative or policy demands than immediate opportunities for praxis. But definitely good jumping off points. For example, decentralisation, libre software and IndieWeb adjacent ideas (e.g. Solid) are mentioned for digital self-determination, although you'll be left to your own devices as to how you do something practical with those ideas.

Anyway, it's something I will definitely return to when I circle round to particular ideas again.

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