Catastrophic futures? 2050 and beyond


InConversation with Professors John Urry & Deborah Lupton

Wednesday 25 March 2015



Podcast available HERE (22 MB mp3 format)

Robotics and the end of employment as we know it; big data and the surveillance society; artificial intelligence and the overtaking of human thinking; Global inequalities and the obscene power of the superrich: the world abounds with multiple catastrophic futures.  But working from existing social trends, what futures are the most likely? What kind of world can we anticipate by the middle of this century?

This panel discussion led by the Hawke Research Institute's Director Anthony Elliott, and comprising experts on the social, cultural, political and ecological consequences of possible social futures, will consider these and related dilemmas facing the 21st century.  The discussion will focus on various scenarios of future societies that might feasibly exist by 2050, and the very complex choices which these scenarios will entail.


John UrryProfessor John Urry

Professor Urry is widely acknowledged as one of Europe's most important social theorists.  He is a Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Lancaster University (UK), and Director of the Lancaster Centre for Mobilities Research. In this role he helped to develop the ‘new mobilities paradigm' for social science research. 

His recent books include: Mobile Lives (with Anthony Elliott, 2010), The Tourist Gaze 3.0 (2011), Climate Change and Society (2011) and Societies Beyond Oil (2013). 



Deborah LuptonProfessor Deborah Lupton

Professor Lupton is a Centenary Research Professor, at the University of Canberra. Her current research focuses on digital sociology, including: critical digital health studies, the critical sociology of big data, and the digitisation of children.

She has authored 14 books, edited two others and published around 130 academic journal articles and book chapters. Recent titles include: Digital Sociology (2015), The Social Worlds of the Unborn (2013), and Risk (2013).

Full profile Follow @DALupton

Hawke Research Institute logo

Co-presented by The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre and the Hawke Research Institute, as part of the InConversation series.


While the views presented by speakers within the Hawke Centre public program are their own and are not necessarily those of either the University of South Australia or The Hawke Centre, they are presented in the interest of open debate and discussion in the community and reflect our themes of: strengthening our democracy - valuing our diversity - and building our future.

The copying and reproduction of any transcripts within the Hawke Centre public program is strictly forbidden without prior arrangements.