FUTURE FOSSILS #54 – Maya Zuckerman (Feminine Futurism & Techno-Religion vs. Introspective Technology)


This week’s guest is futurist and mythographer Maya Zuckerman, member of IEEE and author of the young adult science fiction series
Ems Theory.
We Discuss:
• What it’s like to be a woman futurist in the Bay Area;
• Futurism as a pastime of privilege;
• Marginalized (third-world) futures and science fiction;
• Is Singularity University the church of a new techno-religion?;
• Ethical AI design;
• The need for more introspection in technology design;
• http://ieee.org
• Conscious AI and mind-uploading (hype?);
• The decay of consensus facts and what it means for our ability to agree on history and reality;
• The role of mindfulness in our acceleratingly crazy technological environments;
• Do we have to retreat out of our ego minds to even LIVE in an ultra high-frequency automated machine economy?
• What is the ultimate purpose of our devotion to technology?
• Neuromarketing & being responsible/accountable for our suddenly-public thoughts;
• What happens when we’re all so technologically empowered that we live in a community of magicians and superhumans?
• Masculine and Feminine magic as two approaches to tech;
• Critiquing the Rapture of the Nerds & techno-immortalism;
• Most women and archaic spiritual leaders were women…so why does our mythological hero’s journey not include everyone else who was a part of the tribe?
• The importance of inviting as many perspectives as possible (including women, minorities, non-human persons, and potentially nature itself) into a conversation about the future;
• The spectrum of potential futures on display in her sci-fi novel series, from utopian to dystopian;
• The ethics of “animal uplift” (Do we have an ethical responsibility to give any nonhuman animals sentience?)
• Are we losing our humanity to the limitations of our engineered software environments?
• Yuval Noah Harari’s nonfiction book Homo Deus
• Kevin Kelly’s nonfiction book The Inevitable
• Greg Egan’s sci-fi book Diaspora
• Barbara Tedlock’s nonfiction book The Woman in the Shaman’s Body
Maya Quotes:
“There’s a hubris here [in Silicon Valley] that’s really dangerous, and you see it everywhere. And when you call it out, people are like, ‘Oh, you can’t stop technology. You can’t talk about that.’ I’m like, ‘Yes you can, and you should. That’s what adults do. KIDS run forward and don’t take any kind of consequence. And if we want to ever become mature adults – which we’re not –mature adults pick up after ourselves, we think a little about the future, we plan our budget, we take five when we get excited and we sit down. We don’t have to rush about it.’”
“The Wild West is what happens when there’s not a lot of land, and not a lot of structure. And then you let guys do whatever they want, and they start shooting each other.”
“All of these truly amazing technologies…what is the purpose of them? Is it to become god-men? Or is it to become what we are supposed to be?”
“It’s not about ageism; it’s about being stuck in an ancient story, not being able to progress with the times.”
“The collective journey is not collectivism. It’s not one idea in a kind of borg-like mentality of thinking as one. And it’s not a Singularity. I don’t have a better word than ‘solidarity,’ and it IS a kind of problematic word…but everybody’s appreciated for showing up.”
“My worst nightmare is, I can’t switch off the media.”
“Utopia’s problematic, just as much as dystopia.”
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