“Why Aren’t There More Women Futurists?”


The Sexist World of Tomorrow

Progressives are asserting a need to control Futurism to bring correct feminist and progressive thought into it.

My opinion: a study recently showed women go into scientific fields in roughly the proportion you’d expect, if you first take out everyone who didn’t study much qualifying mathematics. I expect there is a natural aggregate difference in how interested each sex is in planning for the future, preparing for hazards, etc., with men vigilant while women tend to be more focused on immediate needs and alleviating suffering — the Mommy vs Daddy differences. And so you would expect futurists to skew male simply because they are interested (sometimes obsessed) by the topic.

None of this means there aren’t women who are interested and good at futurism (e.g., Virginia Postrel.) But an effort to force more women into futurism means less good futurism and more feelz as guides to policy and planning. Which means a less dynamic future for everyone.

Rose Eveleth (of “Shirtstorm” fame) has an article in the Atlantic: “Why Aren’t There More Women Futurists?”

There are all sorts of firms and companies working to build robotic servants. Chrome butlers, chefs, and housekeepers. But the fantasy of having an indentured servant is a peculiar one to some. “That whole idea of creating robots that are in service to us has always bothered me,” says Nnedi Okorafor, a science fiction author. “I’ve always sided with the robots. That whole idea of creating these creatures that are human-like and then have them be in servitude to us, that is not my fantasy and I find it highly problematic that it would be anyone’s.”

Or take longevity, for example. The idea that people could, or even should, push to lengthen lifespans as far as possible is popular. The life-extension movement, with Aubrey de Gray as one (very bearded) spokesman, has raised millions of dollars to investigate how to extend the lifespan of humans. But this is arguably only an ideal future if you’re in as a comfortable position as his. “Living forever only works if you’re a rich vampire from an Anne Rice novel, which is to say that you have compound interest,” jokes Ashby. “It really only works if you have significant real-estate investments and fast money and slow money.” (Time travel, as the comedian Louis C.K. has pointed out, is another thing that is a distinctly white male preoccupation—going back in time, for marginalized groups, means giving up more of their rights.)

So, let’s see — she thinks we need to keep human beings indentured to jobs taking care of the helpless old, for example, rather than have robotic assistants. Of course in her mind it’s the obligation of some government to pay all those human assistants, as much as necessary to eliminate all suffering and pain. Robotic assistants are simply Not Needed in the social welfare world of the future, where we can all help each other 24×7 and someone else provides all our needs.

It’s also, apparently, desirable that we all die sooner than necessary. We should return to the golden past, where life was short and disease and hunger stalked almost everyone. 25 is old enough!

Of course it’s harder to predict what social attitudes will be in the future — and many futurists fail to imagine what’s to come on that area, while more easily projecting trends in technology. But that doesn’t mean an infusion of women will make such predictions any better.

Science fiction has become more pessimistic about the future, and people like this are a big reason:

In order to understand what those who have never really felt welcome in the field of futurism think, I called someone who writes and talks about the future, but who doesn’t call themselves a futurist: Monica Byrne. Byrne is a science-fiction author and opinion writer who often tackles questions of how we see the future, and what kinds of futures we deem preferable. But when she thinks about “futurism” as a field, she doesn’t see herself. “I think the term futurist is itself is something I see white men claiming for themselves, and isn’t something that would occur to me to call myself even though I functionally am one,” she says.

Okorafor says that she too has never really called herself a futurist, even though much of what she does is use her writing to explore what’s possible. “When you sent me your email and you mentioned futurism I think that’s really the first time I started thinking about that label for myself. And it fits. It feels comfortable.”

When Byrne thinks about the term futurists, she thinks about a power struggle. “What I see is a bid for control over what the future will look like. And it is a future that is, that to me doesn’t look much different from Asimov science fiction covers. Which is not a future I’m interested in.”

The futurism that involves glass houses and 400-year-old men doesn’t interest her. “When I think about the kind of future I want to build, it’s very soft and human, it’s very erotic, and I feel like so much of what I identify as futurism is very glossy, chrome painted science fiction covers, they’re sterile.” She laughs. “Who cares about your jetpack? How does technology enable us to keep loving each other?”

And how does not having technology help us love each other? Fights to the death for food and resources are what love is all about! Kill off a few billion people, return to warm and loving matriarchal villages, and enjoy true humanity… there’s no reason we can’t have both higher tech, longer lifespans, and love, Ma’am. It’s only the current ease of life due to technology and specialization that allows you to believe such ridiculous things.

Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples OrganizationsDeath by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations,  available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. Here’s the condensed version; view the entire review here.

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.


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