Against Prediction – The Power of Imagination in the Age of Codes and Numbers

grafitti on wall "never be afraid to reinvent"

Prediction obtains our ability to imagine. Binaries, numbers and algorithms foresee our futures – based on the past. They take over the space of imagination and consequently the vision for political change. Prediction simplifies, rationalises and boils down the complexities of the societies we live in. Prediction puts imagination at risk. Feminism welcomes complexities, it does not reduce them to relations. Hence, it inherently opposes prediction and functions as a basis for imagination. The internet is a space structured by patriarchal, capitalist practices. However, it is also a space in which imagination can rapidly develop subversive potential. We need to advocate for free, imaginative spaces on the internet. We need more occasions in which we can practice and re-learn our ability to imagine. These spaces should not necessarily require knowledge on codes or numbers but should emphasise the irrational, the new, the unthought. They should not be bound to the technologically possible but to the socially desirable. Those who develop technologies have the power to shape them and determine their usage. Yet, technologies are products of cultures and contexts. They can be hacked through imagination. Every citizen has the ability to imagine and thus should have the right to co-create the digital world. Technological processes are political processes, and imagination can function as a powerful feminist and collective tool for social change. It releases citizens from the dangerous assumption that there is a technological will. It enables them to envision and to actively shape the future they want to live in.

This article was first published (12th November 2019) online via and is part of the publication "Critical Voices, Visions and Vectors for Internet Governance".