Drawing on lessons from oral historians like Studs Terkel and science fiction writers like Adrienne Maree Brown and Octavia Butler, we interview people in 2020 about their work and ask them what they think everyday life will be like in 2050.
Those conversations, along with patterns in systems, history, and science, model one possible future, presented as fictional interviews with workers in the year 2050.
Working 2050 is a speculative oral history about the future of work.
We interview people in 2020 about what they think everyday life will be like in 2050, and turn those interviews into science fiction.
This fiction episode is called Quality Assurance.
Theme: (under Creative Commons license) Monsanto Fields/ code transistors and intermodal transport facilities up chicago way to oversized flatlands building advertisements, nostalgia from these bits and pieces of ohio by The Fucked Up Beat
Outro from Fields, Ohio -- Wolf Dreams: https://fieldsofohio.bandcamp.com/album/h-i-n-t-e-r-l-a-n-d
Thank you Bettina Johnson + partner for doing the voiceover, and @marshunfocused for the narration on the 2035 reality show "Biome Fraud."
This Working 2050 episode is based on @recomposelife, a death care system and burial method that sequesters carbon and improves soil health. Mara Lazer did the voiceover and rocks, thank you for the time. https://buff.ly/3a3I5Aw
Elmer has a large beard and an even larger thermos of coffee, which seems appropriate for a 6:30 AM meeting. The building where we meet is all glass and plants, a giant garden with 7 massive green cylinders on one side.
Elmer runs one of the City of Chicago’s main decomposition sites and memorial gardens for human remains. I couldn’t figure out what made them so full of energy until I realized we were meeting 4 hours into their work day: Elmer wakes up at 4:30 AM.
More here: https://www.aytchkappklote.com/post/working-2050-recomposition-technician
Working 2050 is a speculative oral history about workers of the future.
"It's nice to make boxes. But... it's a niche, not my passion."
Thanks to Molly Pease for providing the voiceover. Show Notes and Transcript: NK Guin lives in a cooperative outside of Oak Lawn. She’s lived in the short term dormitory for 4 years: “I guess I just like bunk beds.” We met in the dorm’s kitchen:
“I don’t really know why I became an artist.
When I was 10 my dad put my art capstone for 4th grade on all of his social channels.
It was an artisan project: a really big deal for me, I’d spent months working on it, but nothing special, a 3D printed reclaimed mahogany box inlaid with silver. Special for a kid artist, not special for an artist artist.
I was a cute kid and the box was pretty nice, so I viraled for a minute, like anything with a cute kid with an out of the ordinary talent does.
I was reaching 2, maybe 3 million people at one point -- so my dad helped me set up my own channel -- an editorial calendar, microniches, keywords, a shop with sales items. There was a high demand for more wooden boxes like the type I made for my project, it didn’t matter to the buyers if they were 3D printer or not. So I started mass producing those, managing my own channel, taking art and marketing courses, and… here I am today.
What is your typical day like?
It’s pretty much the same every day. Wake up, read through all the comments on my channels from the night before. Answer all the shopping and community comments. Schedule some posts for the next few days. Make some videos, answer some questions about the boxes on live video.
Make boxes. Go to bed.
What do you like to do for fun?
Every now and then I’ll have some free hours, I’ll walk around outside. Be in nature. I like to write poetry, when I have time for that.
Do you ever think about switching over to that? Making more nature or poetry oriented work?
It’s not really my niche, you know? A lot of other producers are doing that, it’s a pretty competitive track. It would be hard to shift gears.
I mean, I made a box with a tree on it a couple of months ago. Check it out.
[he projected an image of the box onto their projected home screen].
I mean… it’s cool, right? It’s a beech tree. For a while they weren’t sure if they were going to be any of these left in Illinois.
Oh… That’s all I know about it.
Is the box made of beech?
Oh… no. It’s way cheaper to buy red pine. And people don’t care what kind of wood the box is made out of, as long as it’s wood.
Do you like what you do all day?
I mean… who does? I’m not trying to save the world or anything. It’s not my passion -- it’s my niche. We all have different niches. My niche isn’t about teaching people how to build better sanitation systems, or stopping pandemics. My niche is that I build boxes. “
The Passion Economy, Instructables.com,
Working 2050: “You don’t have to be the best person to play. You just have to play.”
This month is a little different -- a 2020 interview about the future of work.
Katie In is a songwriter, musician, + producer in Iowa. She writes + performs as @PinkNeighbor & @katiesinmusic
Hear more of her music here: https://www.katiesin.com/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aI48mlGbcus
“If you’re not on the Voice, you’re not a real musician”
Prioritizing things for other people v. own creative work
“Music in 2050 will sound like everything -- more people are being musicians. That is a beautiful, cool thing for music.”
What makes good music?
Working 2050: is a speculative fiction oral history about workers of the future.
Octavia Robinson’s practice is based on self actualization entertainment: media, including video games, television, and music, created specifically to help people improve particular personality traits or clusters of behavior.
For international listeners: The Horrors refers to the massive wave of political and ecological crises across the American Union throughout the 2020s (often broadly discussed by survivors as “The Horrors”). For more: https://www.aytchkappklote.com/blog
(Octavia Robinson is voiced by storyteller, researcher, actress, and badass dungeon master Olivia Blocker).
Working 2050 is a speculative fiction oral history project. In an homage to Studs Terkel’s Working, these are conversations with workers of the future.
Episode 1: Beekeeper
“My mother always wanted me to be something practical, like an artist. Every time she visits she spends the whole visit following me at a distance. She waits until I’m totally geared up and starting morning chores, and then I realize she’s standing in the yard with her hands on her hips.”