Where the Heck is My Flying Car?
This seminar will survey futurism from the late 19th century through the
current day. Many people have described the future they believe will come—
and pretty much all of them have been wrong. The course will look at
specific “futures,” for instance the vision of Mechanistic Socialism in Russia
in the 1920s, the Nazi eugenic nightmare, the atomic-apocalyptic views
after WWII, the computer-as-oppressor from the 1960s, the computeras-
liberator of the 1980s, and more. The course will seek to discover what
sort of futurism might actually work. Students will be expected to join in
the debate of what cultural, scientific, philosophical, technical, political,
economic, artistic, and other factors have influenced views of the future,
and how that has evolved over time (so some knowledge of aspects of
relatively recent history will need to be learned). Students will be required
to present an end-of-class project that will entail students picking a future
time (50, 100, etc. years ahead), and describing what they think that future
will be like, and why.