The Grounds for Hope, FSCONS 2017, Oslo

In the English language, we speak about hope in a way that suggests foundations, the starting point for whatever you are going to build. I want to say that there are two stories about hope going around. You can choose which of these to build on – and that choice has implications, for what you build, and maybe for the kind of world we end up in…

In 2013, I was invited to speak at FSCONS, a convention of hackers from across the Nordic states and beyond. I used that first talk to invite them to question the deep cultural logic which so often frames the way we talk about technology – not least, the cultural logic of progress. To my surprise, they kept asking me back, and this year the invitation took me to Oslo.

The organisers asked me to speak about hope and so I took this opportunity to lay out a question that seems central to any attempt to make sense of the mess the world is in. Should we put our hopes on more and smarter measurement, pricing and contracts (as with the promises being made right now by evangelists for the blockchain) – or might it be wiser to put our hopes on those aspects of reality which elude measurement, pricing and contract?

I’ll be writing up these thoughts in the months ahead, but meanwhile I’m open to invitations that would provide the opportunity to think further about this, whether as a speaker or a participant.

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