bruce sterling

bruce sterling bw

at start up berlin

from sci fi writer

fantasy prototypes and real disruption

Fantasy prototypes and real disruption via Fred Lakin.

near future lab.
arab forsite group
experiential futurism
art center college of design
arizona state univ – emerge
royal college of art – interaction design dept

maven of critical design – making up things and imagining what they would be as real disruptions
create dragons, let them loose, see if they disrupt

when is it something to watch and when is it something to do

has to do with technology life cycle – under global capitalism

between each phase are times of uncertainty – 

suggestion: keep more money yourself – but then use if for good – to create a global network

categorization for these techno-fantasies

we need a taxonomy of dragons…


his closing as SXSW 2013

In Bruce Sterling’s barn-burning closing keynote for SXSW 2013, he confronts the realities of disruption — that disruption leads to destruction. Our wonderful things destroy other wonderful things. The future composts the past. We roast the 20th century over our bonfire, let’s not shamefully pretend that we did it by accident. Let’s eat our kill.

Important stuff.

Bruce starts about 5 min in

what would austin look like without the stifling – boulder

the defeated austin – waaco

computers are dying – not me

personal computer – private, not connected, you can compute with it, no one will know, it’s personal, it computes, it sits on the desk, faithfully executes all your commands, today – no one wants it, even for free anymore

an alan kay – were computations is gone into the walls and ceiling

all these machines were somehow getting in the way of our experience

we don’t live in a way that novels can be important the way they used to be important

i would never understand what would go on in real life, if i only hung out with novelists

the digital revolution reduces everyone to the state it did to musicians

the world is extremely cyber-punk – but the writers – are casualties

i have more influence on tech development than i ever did… so why not fiction writers write about google glass.. but i’d rather just try one on .. than write/read about it

google glass is not a platform for literary expression

google glass is designed for – shared visual experience in near real time and verbal communications with a search engine that has voice recognition


i like that tumblr – full of expressive young people who aren’t exploited by the sinister privacy threats poised by fb, google, microsoft, apple, and amazon, they are not livestock trapped in the datamines

Sergey Brin is filling our hole left after Steve Jobs – imagine when he’s gone – like Jobs, we’ll talk of the amazing things hes’s already done – so cut him some slack now while he’s alive – he’s doing something extraordinary – it’s ok that it’s risky and threatening..

when are you going to own up to the cold wind blowing through the stone box

i could spend all day – naming the casualties

the world has a tragic dimension

technological solutionism – where’s the betterness

our value judgment of what is better are time-bound, temporary, you can’t measure it, test it, ..

every deployment of tech is not necessarily a betterness

if you’re fixated on betterness – you might lose hope when good goes to bad or bad goes to good

emerge 2 – event – the future of truth – people spent all their time making stuff up

declarations of principles.. from joi ito – mimi ito – 1 – resilience instead of strength 2. pull instead of push 3. take risk instead of safety 4. focus on system instead of objects 

problem – it intensifies the churn – how to make something emerge – well – rather than writing white papers about it, .. there should be more dancing, making objects, .. no phd in lazers – i’m just hands on with them

how can we get past the wow factor and treat this with moral seriousness

1. acknowledge that our hands aren’t clean – we kill – we killed the past – it died for our benefit – no one is historically innocent. to kill and pretent it was an accident is shameful. to kill and admit – allow it to take new form



2014 – afterglow conference keynote via transmediale:


july 2014 – smart city states:

14 min – smart has no loyal opposition – somebody will come up with an anti-smart activity because you’re eating somebodies lunch – (with all these disruptions)


closing sxsw 2014 –

who isn’t in the room

nostalgia is a vice

should be here:

natalie – nkm – running for mayor in paris

jon roberto casalegio – italy – m5s

barrett brown – the aaron swartz of texas – he’s like the extreme attitudes that most of you have – anonymous ness – texas

cody wilson – 3d prints weapons – texas

ross ulbricht – texas – running silk road’s narcotics operation

the texas cryptologic center… putting special nsa components into devices.. – what’s it like to be someone like then.. where do they think this is going… they’re our neighbors

people i can’t stand: j trig – british – Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group – Bruce to jtrig – you’re not going to do well by this… you’re going to regret it.. people in this room.. you would be excellent assets for a group like jtrig.. i’d like you to know as much about them as you can… just in case they come knocking some day.. don’t work for them.. don’t succumb

katrina refugees, sandy, … you may get a lot of californians guests in the future.. they’re looking pretty bad in water…

the future is about old people in big cities that are afraid of the sky…

what kind of life… would these people have.. time to try some prototypes… completely new.. bizarre… lab stuff.. i don’t hang out with fab labs for nothing… i’m gonna try and build some stuff.. hope to show you something amazing next year..


find/follow Bruce here:




3/7/16 6:19 AM
Copying and pasting from Stack Overflow…
Bruce at -SXSW 2016-
state of world grand theory (his intro – of what he’s offering us – about 2 min in):  – none of us have everything figured out.. even if you do.. most joy comes from pleasant surprises.. not inevitable…  renew you.. that is the wisdom – only wisdom we’re going to find.. will be uncommon wisdom… you have a lot of uncommon wisdom among you… i would look into that.. – (final words – 59 min)

Xeni Jardin (@xeni) tweeted at 5:18 AM – 14 Jun 2017 :

Bruce Sterling: Science fiction will not make the future better

There’s no possibly utopian arrangement which is better for everybody, since society is composed of radically disparate elements with orthogonal needs
unless there is..
a nother way
via Jon fb share – stop saying smart cities.. stupid cities
The term “smart city” is interesting yet not important, because nobody defines it.
When you bury fiber-optic under the curbs around the town, then you get internet. When you have towers and smartphones, then you get portable ubiquity. When you break up a smartphone into its separate sensors, switches, and little radios, then you get the internet of things.
Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent—these are the true industrial titans of our era. That’s how people make money, that’s how they make war, so of course, it will be how they make cities.
The “bad part of town” will be full of algorithms that shuffle you straight from high-school detention into the prison system. The rich part of town will get mirror-glassed limos that breeze through the smart red lights to seamlessly deliver the aristocracy from curb into penthouse.
These Big Tech players have certainly got enough cash to build a new, utopian town from scratch, entirely on their own software principles—a one-company Detroit for the Digital Initiative. But they won’t do that because they’re American. The United States hasn’t incorporated a major new city in almost 70 years.
let’s try a nother way.. w tech as it could be