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Public lecture by Dr Sun-ha Hong: Predictions Without Futures

14 August 2023 @ 5:30 pm - 15 August 2023 @ 7:30 pm AEST

Join this public lecture on 14 August, featuring guest speaker Dr Sun-ha Hong, Assistant Professor in Communication at Simon Fraser University.

Predictions without Futures explores how our dominant technological futures help maintain decrepit horizons of the social. As Brecht once observed: “I stood on a hill and I saw the Old approaching, but it came as the New.” Prediction supplies a powerful conceptual model for this dynamic of stasis through disruption by connecting technical and mythological attitudes of probabilistic control. I trace some throughlines between the technical conceit of predictivity (that criminality or emotion can be anticipated through data-driven modeling) and the mythological use of prediction (where history is an extrapolation of known technological advancements). Drawing from theories of ritual and experiment, I examine the demonstrative, belief-building work that prediction does – from 18th century automata to Amazon warehouses, from Marvin Minsky to the Year 10,000. What we call “tech” today serves as a legitimising function for capital, and crucial to this function is the active foreclosure of any political future other than more of the same.

• 5:30pm – Reception
• 6:00pm – Lecture 


Dr Sun-ha Hong

Dr Sun-ha Hong
Sun-ha Hong examines forms of uncertainty, doubt and belief around surveillance, smart machines & AI. He is Assistant Professor in Communication at Simon Fraser University, Canada, and was previously Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at MIT. Sun-ha is the author of Technologies of Speculation: The Limits of Knowledge in a Data-Driven Society (2020), and is working on his next book, Predictions Without Futures.


14 August 2023 @ 5:30 pm AEST
15 August 2023 @ 7:30 pm AEST
Event Category:


Melbourne Law School
Common Room, Level 9, Melbourne Law School 185 Pelham Street Carlton
Melbourne, VIC 3053