Christian Pentzold

Digital media, networked services, and aggregate data are beacons of the future. These incessantly emerging tools and infrastructures project new ways of communication, bring unknown kinds of information, and open up untrodden paths of interaction. They are instrumental for the articulation of future visions and their interface with concrete design choices. More than just being material conveyors of future-oriented ideas, these technologies are deeply intertwined with conceptions about their impact on how we will live, how we will interact, and how we will learn and communicate. Thus, digital networked devices and services are not only technical innovations as they stay in constant interplay with the sociotechnical imaginaries that inspire and guide their production and diffusion. When examining the future-making capacity of networked services and digital data, a couple of overarching themes emerge. In this article, we would like to highlight three of them as they pertain to future times that are digitally imagined and enabled. These are the uneven spatial distribution of future opportunities, the conservatism of data-driven projections, and the preemptive presencing of anticipated futures. The full article can be read here.