Long-time readers may remember that as well as maps I have a thing for cards. I’ve previously helped to create a set of cards for PWC to help CFOs discuss the distant future and I also created a set, along with Oliver Freeman, for Public Libraries New South Wales in Australia. I also have a set of Oblique Strategies cards from Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt along with various vintage playing game games.
My latest collaboration is with Tech Foresight at Imperial College with whom I’ve created a set of conversation cards aimed at people in R&D, horizon scanners and people engaged in foresight activities. In this instance there are 64 cards from four categories – cities, resources, data and workforce – along with five wildcards or jokers. The point of the pack is again to stimulate discussion about alternative futures. The cards are still in beta and there aren’t may sets around currently, but if you’d like a set they are available at cost, which is £30 plus postage.
A few years ago someone came up to me after I’d given a speach at a risk conference and said that I was missing a wildcard risk. He proceeded to tell me that the world would change if we gained the ability to communicate with animals. The risk would be that they might not be happy with what we were doing to our (their) planet.I thought it was a good wildcard/risk, but not one we need worry about too much.
So a few years on and I’ve just picked up a book called Pulphead by the American writer Jeremiah Sullivan and randomly opened it at page 309. The chapter is titled Violence of the Lambs and it’s about how animal behaviour is possibly changing, possibly in reaction to climate change or the continued encroachment of the human species. In short, what might the biological endgame be for some of the more evolved animal species?
What we are talking about here is essentially animals attacking humans. Like Hitchcock’s The Bird’s, but with bears, wild dogs, chimps, elephants and killer whales as well as crazed seagulls. If you remember what happened to Steve (Croc-hunter) Irwin with a ray you might get the idea. The chapter, indeed the whole book, is worth a read.