@joyatlarge

2016

Meetup Review | Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and A World Without Work

[NB: Viz and Audio below.]

[Edited]

Politics and political theory has never been of interest, but even that statement reveals how little I know in lacking a base level awareness. 

How I ended up in meetup featuring a leftist charged view of the Future of Work (or no Work) was a deliberate exercise. Charged with finding panel discussions to visually capture, I was on the hunt for a combination of something interesting, related but new. As an unassuming observer, today's meet up hit the sweet spot. The discussion springboards from a book written by Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams who have, someone aptly put, a "capi-ultimatism" view of future, heavily contextualised by Marxist views, vilify profit-seeking corporates that require "enlightened government" participation to make a utopian balance between inevitable automation with adoption of universal basic income. 

I will save my thoughts on the content for another day to give it time to mature - I am a novice after all. What I do know is how unhelpfully ignorant it is to stay away from understanding politics. Especially where thinking about the future is concerned. 

Part of what kept me away from political theory was the crowd I saw it self selects. It seemed to draw a bunch of highly persistent people who enjoyed being drawn into conflict with each other with no clear outcome: a lot of noise with no movement. Also, the technical complexity of the subject makes an apparently high intellectual barrier to entry which read like snobbery. This is my summary from personal experience - the encounters were most dense in college (LSEPolitical Science) then petered out as soon as I could avoid getting stuck in crossfire.

However, all which we think and do is baselined by some philosophy or worldview that inextricably links to our views of politics and the role it plays in creating the future. Philosophy, I was aware about, but for the most part was ignorant of its cousinship to politics. Even if I claim to be apathetic about politics, my worldview still defines a type of relationship with government, and serves to underpin as an assumption on which my version of whatever future is build. Enough of that for now. 
 

Viz. On the graphical capture, some thoughts: 

  • I seem to have a fear of blank spaces
  • The content was fairly digestible and the sketch was a learning tool for myself, not purposed for an audience
  • If done on the whiteboard, easily the thing to do was create larger anchors for Automation and Universal Basic Income themes
  • Capturing the discussion post-talk was difficult: the issues raised were eclectic, and working on another page instead of reconnecting items to existing themes required a whiteboard
  • The follow on discussion started on a new page later than it should have; if whiteboarded would have been terrific to build on Page 1, and if not, the exercise would have been to find certain recurring relationships between the topics brought up by the audience.

 

Page 1 | Notes in the little clouds were from the post-talk Q&A session. There were a few spatial issues and will need to develop better intuition for what's important as it comes, or otherwise be patience and summarise in 10-minute delays.

Page 1 | Notes in the little clouds were from the post-talk Q&A session. There were a few spatial issues and will need to develop better intuition for what's important as it comes, or otherwise be patience and summarise in 10-minute delays.

Page 2 | Unfinished and fairly scattered. As you can see, the last couple of thematic responses were hurried through leaving little content to capture in comparison to previous discussion points. Speech squares on the right are notable from the talk, dotted bubbles on the left are mine; they were notable enough not to tether to themes running down the centre of the page.

Page 2 | Unfinished and fairly scattered. As you can see, the last couple of thematic responses were hurried through leaving little content to capture in comparison to previous discussion points. Speech squares on the right are notable from the talk, dotted bubbles on the left are mine; they were notable enough not to tether to themes running down the centre of the page.

General Observations

  • The caliber of the audience was not clear and seemed to be a mix of professors and fellows in academia to laypersons, right to left, and most everything in and around; a diverse crowd. I did not know quickly enough what sort of shape and density the feedback session would take
  • Of the two speakers, one offered disciplined thought process whilst the other was quite abstract in his ideas, which was harder to follow graphically
  • The feedback session threw up an eclectic mix of angles, all which were full topics in themselves as seen in the capture.


Stats

  • Approx. 70 people in a lecture room
  • 2 presenters, taking turns
  • 4 rounds of 3-4 audience members giving feedback and questions
  • About 15 different issues covered by one or both speakers


Audio. Partial audio recordings (Part 1 and 2) of the meetup are saved to my notebook for reference.