Richard Barbrook

NEW YORK PROPHECIES

In the modern world, our understanding of the present is often shaped by sci-fi fantasies about what is to come. Ironically, the most influential of these visions of the future are already decades old. We are already living in the times when they were supposed to have come true. In his presentation, Richard Barbrook will analyse the origins and evolution of the imaginary future of artificial intelligence in the 1950s and 1960s. By showing that the future is what it used to be, he will argue that it is time for us to invent new futures…

BIO Dr. Richard Barbrook was educated at Cambridge, Essex and Kent universities. During the early-1980s, he was involved in pirate and community radio broadcasting. He helped to set up Spectrum Radio, a multi-lingual station operating in London, and published extensively on radio issues. In the late-1980s and early-1990s, Richard worked for a research institute at the University of Westminster on media regulation within the EU. Some of this research was later published in 'Media Freedom: the contradictions of communications in the age of modernity' (Pluto Press, London 1995). Since the mid-1990s, Richard has been coordinator of the Hypermedia Research Centre at the University of Westminster and is course leader of its MA in Hypermedia Studies. In collaboration with Andy Cameron, he wrote 'The Californian Ideology' which was a pioneering critique of the neo-liberal politics of 'Wired' magazine. In the last few years, Richard has written a series of articles exploring the impact of the sharing of information over the Net, including ‘The Hi-Tech Gift Economy’ and ‘Cyber-communism’. He is presently working on a book - ‘Imaginary Futures’ – which is about how ideas from the 1960s and 1970s shape our contemporary conception of the information society. A selection of Richard’s writings are available on the Hypermedia Research Centre's website: <www.hrc.wmin.ac.uk>.