HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Science » Science (Group) » What do you think of a DU...

Wed May 8, 2013, 02:14 PM

What do you think of a DU 'Futures' forum?

There are already numerous posts on Democratic Underground on various views of the future; many, maybe most, are from an extreme pessimistic, even misanthropic, orientation ("We're doomed, and we deserve it!" "The planet will be better off without us!". There are a handful on the opposite end of the spectrum; people expecting a "technological singularity" within the next few decades.

What brought this on? I just received my copy of Eric Drexler's new book: Radical Abundance: How a Revolution in Nanotechnology Will Change Civilization. Drexler's book is definitely not of the pollyanish, technological-singulatarian variety. He recognizes the fact that we live on a very finite planet and that there may be downsides to nanotechnology; but, I'd still call it a hopeful vision of the future.

There are other authors on Amazon that will be on my 'must-read' list: Douglas Rushkoff and Jaron Lanier, among others. Rushkoff and Lanier are both addressing the downsides of the information revolution, and how we might avoid them.

Back to the question: Would a Futures forum be useful?
8 votes, 0 passes | Time left: Unlimited
Not interested
0 (0%)
I think the Science and Energy/Environment forums serve that purpose already
2 (25%)
I like the idea
0 (0%)
I like the idea and I would contribute to the forum
6 (75%)
Show usernames
Disclaimer: This is an Internet poll

13 replies, 2887 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 13 replies Author Time Post
Reply What do you think of a DU 'Futures' forum? (Original post)
LongTomH May 2013 OP
Posteritatis May 2013 #1
Warren DeMontague May 2013 #2
UnseenUndergrad May 2013 #3
Posteritatis May 2013 #8
UnseenUndergrad May 2013 #9
muriel_volestrangler May 2013 #4
Warren DeMontague May 2013 #5
Posteritatis May 2013 #7
LongTomH May 2013 #10
wet.hen88 May 2013 #6
Name removed May 2013 #11
Quantess May 2013 #12
cprise May 2013 #13

Response to LongTomH (Original post)

Wed May 8, 2013, 04:42 PM

1. I kind of like the idea, but there'd be a lot of overlap with the science forum

And this place is fairly low-traffic as is.

Part of me wouldn't mind an environment where people could discuss that sort of thing without every single thread getting bogged down by reflexive misanthropes and human extinctionists, but the rest of me doesn't like echo chambers much and any forum where that was the case would be a pretty quiet one, given the overall tone of DU.

I'd like seeing more threads on that kind of topic here in the science group, myself, if just for the sake of a little more activity here. Anything on the future would be utterly wasted in GD, sadly.

(Somewhat off topic, I'd be interested in what you think of the book - I read one of his earlier books years ago and have been meaning to track down the more recent ones.)

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to LongTomH (Original post)

Wed May 8, 2013, 05:14 PM

2. I would support such an idea, tentatively, and also echoing what Posteritatis said;

First off, like Buckminster Fuller, I am fundamentally an optimist.

Please note I said optimist, not idiot. And they are not synonymous, as much as some on DU may tirelessly argue that they are. I believe humanity faces huge- perhaps even, yes, insurmountable- problems... but I also look at the miracles around us that science and knowledge have brought, and I think the potential for the future is way wide-fucking-open.

And that makes me glad. That, among other things, makes me optimistic, even with the many problems and challenges we face.

Plus life is too short to spend the whole time grumbling "bleeehhh meehhhh warrrggglll but everything sucks blah" like Eeyore all the damn time.

As you can imagine, this is not always a terribly popular position to take on DU. Frankly, too much of DU these days seems absolutely obsessed with telling the rest of DU how much everything sucks, when we're not taking each others' moral inventory and lecturing our online "friends" about their seemingly endless myriad shortcomings.

People forget, I think, that this is a place we choose to be; very few of us are here by court order, I should think. That doesn't mean I need to be and be surrounded by Pollyanna Gladtidings all the time, but it sure as shit means I'm not going to waste the majority of my time with the humanity haters and negativity pushers.. Life is, again, far too short, and if we're really doomed, it doesn't make a difference either way.

So: Short answer (If I am capable of such a thing) I would support such a group and enthusiastically participate in it; however, no matter how hip or cool dystopian apocalypticism may have been made between 1970 and the 1990s, I do believe there can and should be room for optimism and positivity. I would hope this group would reflect that.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to LongTomH (Original post)

Wed May 8, 2013, 10:49 PM

3. Count me in.

To be honest, the E/E forum always seems stuffed to the gills with the latest news about how bad Global Climate Change is turning out to be or the latest petroleum/fracking/nuclear accident. The's not really enough emphasis on clean energy developments or (dare I say it) the mumerous fusion experiments going on, which is pretty much perceived as high-altitude pastry but is still cool to speculate about.

We had a poster named "A Geek Named Bob" with us for a few months... but then he blew up in one of the gun threads and... went away (to steal one of his favored anecdotes). Too bad, because his Space enthusiasm was pretty infectious.

Oh, and if you want some discussion on de-extincton stuff, I'll be good for that too.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to UnseenUndergrad (Reply #3)

Thu May 9, 2013, 05:53 PM

8. Ugh, that's what happened? Boo. I liked that guy. (nt)

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Posteritatis (Reply #8)

Thu May 9, 2013, 08:31 PM

9. He got PPR'd as well

It was the month after Sandy Hook, tempers were high, Bob had a certain libertarian streak and used certain explosive compounds in his rocketry.

It was a recipe for disaster.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to LongTomH (Original post)

Thu May 9, 2013, 06:13 AM

4. So far, the 3 replies all seem to think it would be an 'optimistic futures' group

though I can't see that the OP proposes that at all. I think this means you need to get clear about what the group would allow, before asking people what they think.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #4)

Thu May 9, 2013, 11:06 AM

5. My point wasn't to presuppose what it would or wouldn't be

only that basically all of DU is already free-for-all of folks who will gleefully tell you how COMPLETELY FUCKED EVERYTHING IS BECAUSE WE'RE DOOMED THAT'S WHY.

Given that daily reality here, I'm not really sure we need another "futures" group to cater to the people who are absolutely, resolutely, 100% convinced there IS NO FUTURE--- and moreover nothing pisses them off more, seemingly, than someone who suggests there might be.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #4)

Thu May 9, 2013, 05:51 PM

7. Precisely what Warren said

It's something I'd like to see some discussion of; it's just that - somewhat ironic given my leanings on the subject at hand - I don't really have much faith in the ability of DU-at-large to do so without running conga lines off the nearest dangerously elevated surface.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #4)

Thu May 9, 2013, 09:44 PM

10. I would hope that most of the replies to the proposed group would steer clear of either dangerous...

....extreme; either "we're doomed" or "there's nothing to worry about; the future's so bright I've got to wear shades."

I do think I needed to make that more clear, as well as develop what a futures forum might accomplish.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to LongTomH (Original post)

Thu May 9, 2013, 11:22 AM

6. hmm

That does seem to be the case. I think it wouldnt be a large forum but, if that doesn't matter, I'M in. In my area of interest, it might overlap with other forums, but those partular forums don't seem to be interested in "futuristic" conjectures/plans for sustainable ecology.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to LongTomH (Original post)


Response to Name removed (Reply #11)

Fri May 10, 2013, 06:39 PM

12. Look buddy- speak for yourself when you say "fat puffy idealisms".

There are more cynics here than you seem to realize. Some of us are skinny, too.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to LongTomH (Original post)

Mon May 13, 2013, 04:35 PM

13. 'Futurism' is more apt. n/t

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread