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SAN DIEGO 2049: Speculative Design for Policy Making

Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination

View the website for details on:

  • Schedule of Events
  • The Competition
  • Certificate in Speculative Design for Policy Making
  • Team Application

About:

The School of Global Policy and Strategy is celebrating its 30th anniversary by partnering with the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination to produce San Diego 2049, a series of programs through 2018–19 that will use the imagination and narrative tools of science fiction to stimulate complex thinking about the future and the ways we could shape it through policy, technology, innovation, culture, and social change.

The largest challenges facing life on earth—climate change; the possible emergence of new autonomous, intelligences; the decentralized ability to edit genetic material—are multi-generational, contingent, and uncertain. Choices taken today will have hard-to-foresee consequences; the pace of technological change means that policy choices may struggle to keep up.

If we are to leave the earth in better shape than we found it, successful social choices will require us to imagine distant alternate futures that reflect our best knowledge about how humans behave and evolve socially, politically, and cognitively. Science fiction gives us the needed space for long-range speculation and the complex interactions of technological, political, and social change.

Imagining the future helps us react to unanticipated situations—futures that we did not imagine. This competition and event series foster diverse visions for San Diego in 2049 from UC San Diego graduate students and draws on research by faculty across divisions. By bringing together students, science fiction writers, faculty, policy makers, and industry experts, we aim to foster the kind of multi-modal, boundary-crossing thinking that we need today to anticipate the potential shape of the world thirty years from now.

The San Diego 2049 student competition, open to graduate students from all disciplines at UC San Diego, provides hands-on experience in sophisticated futurist forecasting and science fictional thought experiments to develop robust scenarios, clarify problems, and develop policy solutions in an emergent near-future. Student teams will have the opportunity to learn from science fiction writers and futurists, and be paired with a GPS faculty member for guidance on policy implications. Through workshops and panels, teams will develop their worldbuilding skills. Mini-grants will be available to assist in the creation of their own interventions in these futures, empowering students to take ownership over the complex ways in which our actions in the present influence the shape of the world a generation from now.

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