Category Archives: dystopia

The Metaphysical War For The Metaverse We’re Already Losing

Virtual worlds should be as much of an expression of the people designing and living in them as possible. With the creator tools we already have and semi-open platforms like Roblox or Minecraft we can build pretty much anything within them. You could argue that even Minecraft obeys a little too much to the laws of the physical world but it wasn’t built as a metaverse platform so you can forgive it a little.

https://medium.com/@theo/the-metaphysical-war-for-the-metaverse-were-already-losing-ba576339a3e2

The Dark Side Of Nostalgia Culture

We are living in a time of global uncertainty. The world has changed irrevocably since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and current news cycles detail the effects of climate change, the cost-of-living crisis, energy shortages, the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the Russo-Ukrainian warFashion trends respond to our environment and consequently runways in recent years have been awash with bright waves of nostalgia, reflected in the recent resurgence of the Y2K aesthetic. In an age of social unrest, the allure of a more carefree time is understandable. Low-rise jeans, Von Dutch caps, bandanna crop tops and micro skirts have made a comeback. Gen-Z have heralded the return of ‘indie sleaze’, a chaotic, dishevelled era which developed in reaction to the slick celebrity culture of the early 2000s, when American Apparel disco pants, rosary beads, backcombed hair and smudged eyeliner were the norm.

https://www.elle.com/uk/life-and-culture/culture/a41209755/nostalgia-culture-dark-side/

Down with the rich! Class rage fuels new wave of ‘us v them’ films and plays

In the wake of Parasite, the bloody South Korean Oscar-winner, and of the Emmy successes last week for the television dramas Squid Game and White Lotus, which is set in a luxury resort, there is a clear global appetite for exposing and satirising the huge gaps in wealth and status. Both series focused on the desperation of the serving classes.

The ill-fated yacht in Triangle of Sadness is laden with people who represent the moneyed private jet-owners of the modern world. Among them are a grizzled Russian oligarch, who sails alongside both his wife and his mistress, and an elderly British arms manufacturer and his wife. The reluctant captain of the ship is Woody Harrelson, ultimately the accidental agent of destruction in Ruben Östlund’s film. The Swedish director, who is best known for his alpine drama Force Majeure and artworld satire The Square, ultimately hands power over to one of the yacht’s cleaners, Abigail, played by Dolly De Leon, in a storyline that echoes a long history of cautionary tales in which the downtrodden rise up to wreak revenge on their masters.

https://amp-theguardian-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/amp.theguardian.com/film/2022/sep/17/down-with-the-rich-class-rage-fuels-new-wave-of-us-v-them-films-and-plays

The super-rich ‘preppers’ planning to save themselves from the apocalypse

Taking their cue from Tesla founder Elon Musk colonising MarsPalantir’s Peter Thiel reversing the ageing process, or artificial intelligence developers Sam Altman and Ray Kurzweil uploading their minds into supercomputers, they were preparing for a digital future that had less to do with making the world a better place than it did with transcending the human condition altogether. Their extreme wealth and privilege served only to make them obsessed with insulating themselves from the very real and present danger of climate change, rising sea levels, mass migrations, global pandemics, nativist panic and resource depletion. For them, the future of technology is about only one thing: escape from the rest of us.

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2022/sep/04/super-rich-prepper-bunkers-apocalypse-survival-richest-rushkoff

Will advertising destroy everything?

The problem with advertising is that it’s easy to produce. A great idea completely separated from the reality of delivering on its promise becomes misleading tokenism. For things to really change takes years and sustained investment. If media awareness created change, Greta Thunberg’s coverage would have single-handedly ended global warming. Plugging into a zeitgeist for an award makes brands feel like they are doing “good things” and gives them a false sense of achievement instead of realising that they have real work to do. Awards let brands off the hook of doing something.

https://www-businesslive-co-za.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.businesslive.co.za/amp/redzone/news-insights/2022-08-29-will-advertising-destroy-everything/

Why do we crave the awful futures of apocalyptic fiction?

In the first two decades of the new millennium, stories of the post-apocalypse have permeated pop culture, from books such as Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (2006), Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl (2009) and Emily St John Mandel’s Station Eleven (2014) to films and TV programmes such as The Walking Dead (2010-), the Hunger Games series (2012-15) and Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). While post-apocalyptic fictions of previous eras largely served as cautionary tales – against nuclear brinksmanship in On the Beach (1959) or weaponised biology in The Stand (1978) – today’s versions of these tales depict less alterable, more oblique and diffuse visions of our doom. So why can’t we seem to get enough of humanity’s unavoidable collapse and its bleak aftermath?

https://aeon.co/videos/why-do-we-crave-the-awful-futures-of-apocalyptic-fiction

The Rise of Lonely, Single Men

Younger and middle-aged men are the loneliest they’ve been in generations, and it’s probably going to get worse. This is not my typical rosy view of relationships but a reality nonetheless. Over the last 30 years, men have become a larger portion of that growing group of long-term single people. And while you don’t actually need to be in a relationship to be happy, men typically are happier and healthier when partnered.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-state-our-unions/202208/the-rise-lonely-single-men

The AI startup erasing call center worker accents: is it fighting bias – or perpetuating it?

The danger, Aneesh said, was that artificially neutralizing accents represented a kind of “indifference to difference”, which diminishes the humanity of the person on the other end of the phone. “It allows us to avoid social reality, which is that you are two human beings on the same planet, that you have obligations to each other. It’s pointing to a lonelier future.”

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/aug/23/voice-accent-technology-call-center-white-american