The Tomorrow File--an essay assignment
The Future—An Argumentative Essay Assignment"I found the material of the actual 21st Century richer, stranger, more multiplex, than any imaginary 21st Century could ever have been. And it could be unpacked with the toolkit of science fiction. I don’t really see how it can be unpacked otherwise, as so much of it is so utterly akin to science fiction, complete with a workaday level of cognitive dissonance we now take utterly for granted.”—William Gibson
For this assignment, you will construct a carefully reasoned argument based on a small topic that concerns the future. It would help if you have had some direct experience with it. Select an issue, problem, or situation that interests you, research the topic at the library, and carefully present a case for your thesis. Include in your argument a plausible scenario as to what will happen several years in the future. Many of the essays will likely take the form of an investigation of a problem for which you will provide a solution.Possible topics (with related links): cloud computing, the hive mind, the rise of some aspect of social media, resource depletion such as peak oil, changes in smart phone technology, the future of apps, future job skills, stem cell research quandaries, viral culture, the future of internet search, product placement in the media, the ethics of Photoshopping images, future traffic, the future of information technology, extinction of species, data visualization, the overfishing of the oceans, supercities, Google’s vision of augmented humanity, climate change, data overload in the military (and in everyday life), the attention economy, robotics, the ageing population, overpopulation, the internet and privacy, special effects in movies, internet startups, the revolution in Egypt and cybersubversion, hackers, genetic engineering, surrogate parenting, zombies, the acceleration of change, visions of the apocalypse in the media, brain science, artificial intelligence, developments in mortuary science, WikiLeaks, organ transplants, superbugs, terraforming, cyborgs, coolhunters, future garbage, the cyberpunk movement, the digital footprint, surveillance technology, the culture of appropriation, internet piracy, the digital future, the die-off, cyber warfare, food scarcity, dead malls, and sustainability.