Máriusz Bari, a guest lecturer at IBS

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Máriusz Bari is an iconic figure of the “net underground” in Hungary, he was a guest lecturer at IBS for an exciting series of 3 lectures on 4 and 18 November 2014.


You define yourself as a “freelancer creative, writer, futurist”. The first two terms are more or less clear. In what sense do you consider yourself a futurist? What does a futurist do?

Oh, being a futur(olog)ist is quite the ungrateful thing. At its early stage, it's pretty much like being a journalist: you take a good look around you and tell others what you see. Extrapolating current and emerging technologies and trends with a good measure of social psychology and cultural anthropology thrown in to be able to foretell how people will use them. Which is pretty easy at this point, because people mostly tweak tech until they can use it for porn or sex. Or they eat it. Or all these, maybe in the very wrong order, too. And then people endlessly bash you when they don't have talking sex dolls or flying cars or edible hoverboards or monsters like that under their Xmas trees the next year. But to be more serious, the future-fetish bunch surrounds themselves with all the toys and then tell everyone how the future will (or might) look like. Prognosis timelines for the near future are quite okay to look at but anything that's more than five years down the line and under the umbrella of policymaking (such as the energy sector) are just... too hard to pinpoint. Consumer tech evaluations are pretty solid, though, just look at the British Telecom timeline (which was one of the things I based my book Damage Report` on). And as for more futurist stuff, they go to meet-ups, drink designer coffee, get involved in institutes or projects that will make them have brighter eyes when giving speeches about the future of anything, they write more books about how the future will do anything or they might just write science fiction. And read Boing Boing, which is a must for you, too. As for me, I've been geeking out on emerging & far-out tech ever since I read Neuromancer by William Gibson, which is one of the very best SF novels I've ever come across. Wrote my thesis in postmodern science fiction about how bodies can look like and perceived in the future, based on the works of Gibson. (Which is pretty much in line with our present concepts. His works are full of body implants, artificial intelligences, nano stuff, and chemically induced pattern recognition skills for market research evaluations with an amazing style.) And then the internet came and I've been researching pop culture, technology and how communities evolve, fragment and change under the influence of new tech ever since. So for me it's always funny to see how future predictions get it right or totally wrong and how people react to new technologies or how they get manipulated into ever more superficial patterns, it's brilliant. And very, very sad at the same time. And I write and talk about it a lot and meet people who are a lot damn smarter than me and we discuss about "future stuff" a lot.


Your pen-name is Damage? Why did you choose it?

Oooh, that was a long time ago... early high school. I was into making music (with something called FastTracker, google it up, you can really geek out on this stuff) and I needed a nickname/handle, so I picked a completely random name that I can't seem to get rid of after 20 years. There might be a bit of a nomen est omen involved, but it might just be the coffee talking. See more here.

What are you up to at the moment?

Listening to The Future Sound of London's classic "Lifeforms" album because it's one of the best soundtracks that doesn't break your concentration. As for future-related stuff, I'm working on a new SF novel that takes place in a weird, very mental world that could be something that's happening in 20 years... and I'm getting involved in a number of lectures and keynote speeches about the future. Apart from that, it's all a devilish concoction, in other words: a sordid mess - finished a book on infographics, doing infographic commissions, writing music again and also desperately looking for an agent who would sell my book ideas and movie scripts and everything else that's on the corner of my office table and it's so big you could miketyson a mammoth with it. Just another normal day in the life of!

You can download Damage Report in Hungarian here! >>