YGL-NTU Executive Education Module

Imagining Technological Futures - 15 – 19 Nov 2021

We are all often asked to imagine various futures for our communities, our cities, and our societies. We are asked to imagine the benefits of “smart cities” or the problems arising from widespread use of artificial intelligence. We are asked to imagine how green technologies will produce more sustainable ways of living and how biomedicine will transform our bodies and our health. Such visions are produced by governments, companies, and individuals for various purposes.

But how should we go about imagining the future with and through technology? What does a plausible vision of the future look like? And how can we make sure our ideas are not blinkered by our present-day views? How can we imagine not only technologies themselves but also think about their broader effects?

This module is aimed at fostering creative and plural thinking about the future. Our concepts and ideas about the future are closely tied to our imaginations of science and technology – science and technology will no doubt have a profound effect on the ways in which we live, work, and play.

But what will that future look like? Such imaginings are critical if we hope both to avoid the worst consequences of technology and in order to harness technologies for good. Simply: if we can’t imagine it, then we can’t do it.

Science fiction, in all its various formats, has long played a central role in shaping our expectations and hopes for the future. Technologies such as virtual reality were explicitly inspired by science fiction, but the ways we think about biotech, nanotech, AI and other world-changing technologies are shaped by how people write about and portray them. Science fiction imaginaries can therefore be powerful ways in which to imagine and re-imagines our technological futures.

In this practice-based on-line module we will learn about how to think imaginatively about science and technology by thinking with and through science fiction. Not only will we explore what science fiction has to say about technology, but we will also learn how to do the kind of “world building” that science fiction authors engage in.

Who is taking part?
This module is designed for 30 YGLs who are curious about technology and how technology will shape the future of humankind. We are seeking a diverse class with participants from different regions, sectors and backgrounds across the globe.

Programme Logistics
This virtual module will take place over 5 days with approximately 3 hours of commitment per day. The content consists of lectures (asynchronous), workshops (synchronous), meetings in small groups with a faculty mentor (synchronous), and presentations. The virtual platform will be Zoom.

 Programme Schedule

YGL Prog

If you have any questions for the module, please contact:

Miao Sun (YGL Team) 
Hallam Stevens (NISTH, NTU) 
Shiran Yee (NISTH, NTU)