Chapter 6
Illustration by Nina Miller

Degrees of Freedom

A looming environmental disaster in northern British Columbia threatens to destabilize relations between the government of Canada and First Nations indigenous groups. Activists seeking to increase First Nations autonomy and land rights use a set of Big Data visualizations and collaborative decision-making tools to make the political process more accessible and inclusive.

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Profile photo of Karl Schroeder
Karl Schroeder divides his time between writing fiction and analyzing the future impact of science and technology on society. He is the author of nine novels and has pioneered a new mode of writing that blends fiction and rigorous futures research: Crisis in Zefra (2005) and Crisis in Urlia (2011) were commissioned by the Canadian army as research tools. Karl holds a master’s degree in strategic foresight and innovation from OCAD University in Toronto.
  • Response to “Degrees of Freedom”

    Written by David Guston
    Co-Director, Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes; Director, Center for Nanotechnology in Society, Arizona State University

    As a scholar, the questions that this story raises, if this were a real technology, would be: “What exactly is going on in the software, in the intelligence that sits behind the system? How is it programmed such that we can read the Dorians with such subtlety and guide ourselves to a decision?”

  • The Future of Agriculture

    The question is what synergistic technologies can we deploy to halt and then reverse the effect of human agriculture on the land? And, what would Earth look like if agriculture were offloaded, either to vertical farms or, in Gerard K. O’Neill’s vision, to orbital farms?

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    Karl Schroeder
    Science Fiction author and foresight analyst
    Read the conversation >>

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