TPFH Part 4: Living after the Future – Visions, Risks and Emerging Technologies

TPFH Part 4 | 11 April – 13 May: Living after the Future – Visions, Risks and Emerging Technologies

Part 4 of Technology, Power & the Future of Humanity (online distance course) deals with emerging technologies, risks but also visions for possible futures. We will explore the approaches for risk management, discuss the transformative potential of emerging technologies and explore (positive or negative) visions/narratives of the future by reading a science fiction novel.


Doreen Stabinsky, Climate change leadership on the road to Paris and beyond

Ulrich Beck, Living in and coping with world risk society

Pat Mooney: Nanotechnology/New Earth

Jim Thomas: Synthetic Biology/Designing New Life Forms

Anders Sandberg, What kind of humanity should we want to make?

Maggie Little, Introduction to Bioethics: Bioethics & the Human Body

Maggie Little, Introduction to Bioethics: Bioethics & Justice

Otto Cars, The cornerstones of modern medicine are crumbling

Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, A New Politics for a New Century

Course Goal from Syllabus for Part 4

On completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  • analyse different views on the role of technology in society, the relationship between technology and sustainable development, and how individual human beings influence and are influenced by different technologies;
  • apply conceptual, analytical and ethical tools to understand the role of technology in individual as well as collective meaning making processes;
  • critically review different technologies, the use and development of technology and its consequences from a power perspective, and methods for risk assessment and evaluation of these consequences.


Here is the individual task for part 4 (pdf file):

The online seminar for part 4 takes place on May 13th (or a date the same week that you agree upon within your group). Agenda for the seminar:



Course books

Nye, Technology Matters (course book): Not Just One Future

Hulme, Can Science Fix ClimateChange? (course book), chapters 4 and 5.

One science fiction novel or movie (choose from attached list or suggest your own):


Articles, web resources

Roberts, D.(2014) How can we get energy to the poor without frying the planet?

Roberts, D.(2014) What will it take to get electricity to the world’s poor?

Karlsson, R., 2013. Ambivalence, irony, and democracy in the Anthropocene. Futures, 46, pp.1–9.

Galaz, V., D. Galafassi, J. Tallberg, A. Boin, E. Hey, C. Ituarte-Lima, J. Dunagan, P. Olsson, R. Österbergh and F. Westley (2014). Connected Risks, Connected Solutions. Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, and the Global Challenges Foundation, Stockholm, chapter 1 (pp. 6-11) and chapter 3 (pp. 15-19)

Boström (2005). A History of Transhumanist Thought. Journal of Evolution and Technology, vol.14 (1), pp. 1-25.

Stirling (2013). Why the precautionary principle matters. The Guardian, july 2013.

Fuller (2013). Beyond the precautionary principle. The Guardian, july 2013.

Cascio (2006). The Open Future: The Reversibility Principle, Worldchanging, march 2006.