UAT's Foresight Development Course (TCH110) Recommended Videos List
Top recommended videos for this course. We will watch up to 15 of these during Futures Movie Nights, roughly one per week. You need to join us for any seven of these during the course, and join in the in-class discussion and critique of them afterward.
Week 1 - Futures Studies
The Future We Will Create: Inside the World of TED, 2007
Future Living 2025, Discovery Channel, 2007
Pandora's Box (Six Episodes), Adam Curtis, 1992. We may watch two of these.
Week 2 - Science
Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution, Episode 4: Where Are the Aliens?, NOVA, 2004
Evolution (8 Episode Series): Episode 2 - Great Transformations, PBS, 2001
Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial, NOVA, 2007
Week 3 - Tech, Part I
Beyond Human, Episode 2: Living Machines, Thomas Lucas, PBS, 2001
2057: The Body, The City, The World (3 Episodes), Discovery Channel
Future Cars: Episode 1 - Extreme Cars (4 Episodes), Discovery Channel, 2007
Future Weapons: Smart Weapons, (Season 1, Episode 4), Discovery Channel, 2006
Tokyo's Sky City and Transatlantic Tunnel, Extreme Engrg (S1, Ep 1), Discovery Channel, 2006
Week 4 - Tech, Part II
Computers - Modern Marvels, History Channel, 2005
Pirates of Silicon Valley, Martyn Burke, 1999
Amazing story of the birth of the personal computer, the first great chapter in the democratization of computing. The Internet/Web 1.0 was the second. Is Web 2.0 the third?
Startup.com, Chris Hegedus, 2001
Tech startups can be abysmal in new industries, where foresight is lacking. These Web 1.0 guys burn through 60 million in 18 months, leaving nada to show for it. Incredibly instructive.
Revolution OS, J.T.S. Moore, 2002
Video Game Invasion: The History of a Global Obsession, David Comtois, 2004
Week 5 - Global, Part I
World in the Balance: The Population Paradox and China Revs Up, NOVA, 2004 (2 Episodes)
Planet in Peril: A CNN Worldwide Investigation (2 Episodes), CNN, 2007
Energy Crossroads, Chris Fauchere, 2007
Solar Energy: Saved by the Sun, NOVA, 2007
The 11th Hour, Leila Conners Petersen and Nadia Conners, 2008
Sensational but well-argued call for a pervasive mindset change for our species to live sustainably in coming generations. See also their 11th Hour Action Network for a solutions community.
Week 6 - Global, Part II
Commanding Heights, Episode 1: The Battle of Ideas, Daniel Yergin, 2003
Commanding Heights, Episode 3: The New Rules of the Game, Daniel Yergin, 2003
Utopia, Paragon, 2005
The worst mass crimes of the 20th century were created by "top-down" utopian futurists with grand visions and power, and no sufficiently organized opposition, or pluralistic checks and balances. Lenin, Hitler, Mao are all chillingly portrayed as utopians in this compelling film.
People's Century (Award-winning 26 episode series on the 20th Century) Great Leap: 1943-1976, PBS, 1999
Incredible story of the heartbreaking, dysfunctional impact of Mao Tse Tung, one of the most powerful utopian futurists of the 20th century, up to and during the Cultural Revolution in China.
Confronting the Truth,
The growth of truth commissions. They address the pain of the past, restore human rights and due process, create institutional memory, and ensure social horrors will not be repeated.
Uganda Rising, Pete McCormack, 2006
Great story about Ugandan politics and the youth-soldiers in the Lords Resistance Army. Social engineering (amnesty & reconciliation) can address complex issues of civil violence.
City of God (dramatization) and News from a Personal War (doc), 2002
Incredible dramatization of the violence, drugs, and lack of opportunity in Rio's favelas. Makes all the Tarantino movies look tame and stupid by comparison. Only education, social services, political leadership, and population reduction can deal with these issues, and it will take generations. Meanwhile there beauty, love, and community spirit thrive amid the deprivation. News From a Personal War is particularly hard hitting and raw.
Week 7 - Economics
Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, Robert Greenwald, 2005
Learn about the largest, wealthiest company in the world. Clearly unfair US government subsidies, substandard wages and health care, exploitation of Chinese workers, aggressively antiunion policies allowing substandard working conditions to persist. Strong social democracies like Germany hold Wal-Mart to a significantly higher set of social standards. When will we?
The Corporation (2 Disc Special Edition), Mark Achbar, 2004
Overly histrionic and sloppy, yet still a reasonably useful exploration of the excesses of the corporate entity in the 20th century, which have become less extreme in individual instance, yet more pervasive as corporate wealth has grown to exceed national wealth the world over. Briefly considers the unrealized possibilities for corporate charter revocation and reform.
Sicko (Special Edition), Michael Moore, 2007
One of Moore's more balanced works, while still biased infotainment. Special features on the DVD include this 8 minute piece on Norway's health care and penal system. Moore highlights Norwegian outliers in the prison bit, without telling you, as is typical of his propagandism. Nevertheless, the lesson sinks in: these countries, with oil and without, are well ahead of us in development of their social democracies, for a host of reasons Moore ignores. When will citizens here have the power to restructure the laws so we have a health care system that is required to put universal care ahead of profits? We shall see.
Week 8 - Politics + Security
Why We Fight, Eugene Jarecki, 2006
No End In Sight, Charles Ferguson, 2007
Our Brand is Crisis, Rachel Boynton, 2005
The Fog of War, Errol Morris, 2003
Well-Founded Fear: Gaining Political Asylum in America, Shari Robertson, 2001
Week 9 - Media, Education, Culture
Orwell Rolls in His Grave, Robert Kane Pappas, 2004
Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism, Robert Greenwald, 2004
News War (4 Episode Series: Episode 3 - What's Happening to the News, Lowell Bergman, Frontline, 2007
News War (4 Episode Series: Episode 4 - Stories from a Small Planet, Lowell Bergman, Frontline, 2007
Declining By Degrees: Higher Education at Risk, John Merrow, PBS, 2005
2 Million Minutes: A Documentary Calculating the Educational Divide, Chad Heeter, 2007
Revealing, hard-hitting documentary financed by multimillionaire venture capitalist Bob Compton. It demonstrates just how far behind the United States education in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) has fallen, and just how comfortable we are with this situation. The modern global marketplace is highly competitive, and the leading innovations and companies of the future are going to come from countries that have strong STEM education and an innnovative culture. Will we recognize how vulnerable we are, and reform our educational system and start immigrating the best and the brightest again, or will we continue to slide into social narcissism and global irrelevancy? Fortunately each of us has the choice, for ourselves at least, even as US culture and educational systems have increasingly failed us in this regard in the last 50 years. Can we turn them around? What pressures can be brought to bear on the current hugely inertial system in order to do so? What individual freedoms do students really need?
Waiting for "Superman," Davis Guggenheim, 2009 (Participant Media)
"For a nation that proudly declared it would leave no child behind, America continues to do so at alarming rates. Despite increased spending and politicians’ promises, our buckling public-education system, once the best in the world, routinely forsakes the education of millions of children. Guggenheim follows a handful of promising kids through a system that inhibits, rather than encourages, academic growth. He undertakes an exhaustive review of public education, surveying “drop-out factories” and “academic sinkholes,” methodically dissecting the system and its seemingly intractable problems. The film embraces the belief that good teachers make good schools, and questions the role of unions in maintaining the status quo. It also offers hope by exploring innovative approaches taken by education reformers and charter schools that have reshaped local cultures by refusing to leave their students behind." A courageous film surfacing a major sociopolitical issue, teacher's unions, and the way they block progress in education. Ask your students: how would you address the massive problem that teacher's unions have become in the U.S.? Outlaw collective bargaining for new teachers, and replace it with a new system of contract, merit-based teaching for the next generation? Mandate the ability for new merit-rewarding unions to emerge in competition with existing ones? Do nothing and watch US education continue to stagnate? Read The Teacher's Unions, Lieberman, 1997, Conflicting Missions?, Loveless, 2000, The Worm in the Apple, Brimelow, 2004, and The War Against Hope, Paige, 2009, for more on the broad scope of this systemic problem.
Week 10 - Biz-Org, Part I
Who Killed the Electric Car?, Chris Paine, 2006
We Built this City - Paris, Discovery Channel, 2005
Week 11 - Biz-Org, Part II
Merchants of Cool, Barak Goodman, Frontline, PBS, 2005
The Persuaders, Rachel Dretzin, Frontline, PBS, 2005
Architecture to Zucchini: People, Co’s, and Orgs Pioneering Sustainability, 2006
Week 12 - Personal-Career, Part I
A Whole New Mind, Daniel Pink, 2006
The Up Series, Michael Apted (Three 20 min pieces, 7 up, 21 up, and 42 up)
Mr. Personality (Intvw w/ Forensic Psychologist Michael Stone) on The Thin Blue Line, Errol Morris, 2005
Week 13 - Personal-Career, Part II
Maxed Out, James Scurlock, 2005
Secret History of the Credit Card, Frontline, David Rummel, 2004
Week 14 - Personal-Career, Part III
Bringing Down a Dictator, Steve York, 2002
A Force More Powerful: Episode 2, Steve York, 2000 (2 episodes)
Street Fight, Marshall Curry, 2005
Modern politics and racial stereotyping in the 2002 Newark, NJ Mayoral campaign. The corruption and dishonesty are incredible, the electorate is hoodwinked, yet there is still hope.
Week 15 - Personal-Career, Part IV
Legacy, Tod Lending, 2006
The Bridge, Eric Steel, 2006
The Business of Being Born, Abby Epstein, 2007
Shows the way Americans, as the world's most convenience-oriented culture, have allowed the business of medicine to turn childbirth into a profit center, and an experts-only affair. The low number of parents who use midwives (8% in US vs. 70% in Europe) illustrates our convenience culture. Combine this with overparenting/attachment parenting and we have a disempowering culture for kids. Fortunately we can rise above the limitations of our quick fix and attachment/dependence oriented culture and make childbirth, parenting, funeral arrangements, insurance, and other big life choices something that we control, ourselves. Read Bringing Up Bebe, 2012 for a refreshing example of French parenting, which stresses child independence. The french approach is the anomaly in the developed world, for now, but hopefully not for the future.