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Productive Procrastination – CW 50/2017


Productive Procrastination

December 17 · Issue #29 · View online

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Well, okay, welcome back, I guess.
It just dawned on me that naming this newsletter Productive Procrastination was a smart move as it allows me to have an excuse whenever I disappear for half a year: I didn’t have time to procrastinate.
Which is mostly correct. I had some lovely weeks off over the summer and then jumped right into the master’s program in October. And as it is always the case according to my experience: whenever momentum picks up in one area of life, it all of a sudden goes crazy in others, too. So it was a great autumn, full of work and studying.
Thankfully, the combination worked out even better than I anticipated. At one point, I wrote a proposal for a new client project on weak signals, trying to come up with a model for it and then getting the exact model I needed on the next morning from a professor.
Turns out, studying again is the perfect way to learn to live with my FOMO as every lecturer comes with a long list of reading recommendations and there’s just no way to read all of them (which doesn’t mean I can’t buy ALL OF THE BOOKS).
Anyway, lots of stories to come about running a foresight company and studying futures research at the same time. After a couple of months of absorbing lots of material, the need to put out stuff is back. And as I’m paying Revue each month for you all to be in a database, I might as well send you some links that come my way. If this new format is not to your liking, always feel free to unsubscribe. I won’t take it personally. Also, if you have anything that might be interesting to me, please assume I haven’t seen it and send it over.

What I'm reading
  • I read Harari’s Homo Deus over the summer. Boy, that guy can write. And he’s the king of punchlines. I enjoyed Homo Deus as a terrific piece of scenario work as he framed it. But once, he got to technology and the possible futures; I think I’ve never scribbled “WTF?” on the margins of a book of often before. What is it with these kinds of writers these days that whenever it comes to technology, they take whatever a startup says as fact? All the critical thinking seems to be left behind, once a tech company paints a picture of the(/a) future. Anyway, currently reading his first book Sapiens, just to enjoy his writing a bit more.
  • I recently finished The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin, which was fantastic. Let Annalee Newitz tell you why you should pick it up, too.
What I'm listening to
When Buzzfeed wrote about Podfasters – people who listen to podcasts on double or triple speed – I wondered how fast I could listen to them. I was surprised to learn that I have no problem to listen at least at 2x to most podcasts, but only when I have them on headphones. As the article mentions, our brains can adapt to a certain speed up quite well. Yeah, yeah, I can hear your comments about acceleration and mindfulness, etc. pp., already. Well, I walk about 80 mins each day and right now, I enjoy using them for this.
Current favorites in English:
Current favorites in German:
What I'm watching
Due to studying, I couldn’t make it to Utrecht for the fantastic Impakt Festival, curated by Natalie Kane and Tobias Revell of Haunted Machines fame. Thankfully, it was all recorded and makes for some very inspirational watching.
Some highlights (aka friends)
Impakt Festival 2017 - Panel discussion: EXORCISING THE DATABASE. HQ - YouTube
Impakt Festival 2017 - Panel discussion: SPECULATIVE REALITIES. HQ - YouTube
Impakt Festival 2017 - Keynote WARREN ELLIS: MYTH & THE RIVER OF TIME. HQ - YouTube
What I'm thinking about
I was at an event the other day where the Head of Moonshot Ideation who runs a Moonshot Factory in Barcelona gave a keynote. Listening to him (of course it was a him), I thought about my observation from my trip to San Francisco that AI seems to be not so much a trend but a desperate plea to the gods of technology to help with all the massive problems that technology has created. Thus I wondered:
What if when they talk about Moonshots, they actually mean Hail Marys
Thank you
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