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SXSW Interactive 2014

Governance in the Anthropocene

Welcome to the Anthropocene, a geological epoch defined by humans and human activities. Humans are a global geological and evolutionary force, yet our economies, social formations, consumption patterns, and governments operate with intentional blindness to this enormous power and responsibility. The institutions that support human civilization, many of which have caused the global challenges we face today, do not appear capable of adapting successfully to 21st century realities. What is needed is a global movement to re-think and re-design governance for the Anthropocene epoch.

This panel will explore the science, technology, culture, and politics that will define life in the Anthropocene, and suggest directions society and institutions can take to thrive in the human-dominated age.

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  1. Which institutions are likely to be critical for the Anthropocene? Which institutions are we missing?
  2. If we are "as Gods," as Stewart Brand famously suggested, which ones are we? Are we more likely to be Gaea (the Earth goddess), Vulcan (the god of making), or Loki?
  3. How do we deal with "rogue actors," "rogue states," and superempowered individuals?
  4. What research, science, technology, and policy strategies are necessary? Should we garden the planet, or attempt to restore wilderness? How might geo-engineering be deployed in this world?
  5. What structures of participation are necessary to involve more people in the re-design of governance?



Jake Dunagan, Research Director, Institute for the Future

Meta Information:

  • Tags: politics, design
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Policy and Civic Engagement
  • Track 2
  • Level: Intermediate
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