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What are the odds?

The future is uncertain. With every passing week it feels like the range of possibilities for what it may hold has expanded, a deep sea fish’s jaw distending and opening to reveal a great divergence. We witness in each moment enough predictive evidence to make the case for impending utopia and unavoidable collapse, enough datasets and stories and demonstrations to incontrovertibly prove whatever mutually exclusive outcome you’d like to vindicate. Better, perhaps, to admit that we don’t know what the future holds.

Acknowledging uncertainty does not mean admitting defeat. The uncertain nature of the future is not a flaw to be corrected or calculated away, but its saving grace. We need the future to not be fixed―to remain tenuous and underdetermined, wrapped in clouds. It is only through this cloud of uncertainty that we can have hope―the hope that the problems of the past are not preordained to recreate themselves in the future, the hope that we can “beat the odds”....

Making a magazine is an inherently lucky thing. There are so many little points of chance and serendipity that had to align just so for any of this to exist at all, let alone in the form that it has taken to reach you. The same is true for nearly every ambitious, uncertain endeavor―be it a startup, a union, or a work of art. This is all to say that when we ask “What are the odds?” we are not asking as dispassionate observers but as actors on constantly shifting ground, trying always to grab onto those points of chance and run with them.

Read the full Editor’s Note →


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a bid, adieu

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For D—my love, my best friend, my closest reader, and the remarkable family that made him. With gratitude to K and B, in w...

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Chaos Theory

by Tina Mai

Or: On Modern Serendipity, Tech Twitter, and Luck as Agency In another universe, sunlight drips through an open window. I am...

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Dating Your (Potential) Executioner

by Shira Abramovich

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There is no organization. There is no manifesto. In order to optimize your content for the algorithm, or “algorithmax,” the c...

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by Zora Che

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by Tessie Waithira

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by Jacky Alcine

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Poetry Editor’s Note

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by Summer Farah

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by Dana Chiueh

Experimental & Multimedia

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Or let us suggest something...

Past Issues

Kernel cover for 2020
Issue 1

Where do we go from here?

In a landscape dominated by either fatalistic views of technology or by optimism weaponized as hype, Kernel Magazine articulates an alternate vision: a critical analysis of technological progress and regress while still charting a path forward.

Kernel cover for 2021
Issue 2

How do we get there?

Change requires an orchestra of players, instruments, and movements. We cannot achieve this alone. This issue of Kernel Magazine is filled with the people, tools, and ideas that together create movements that drive material change.

Kernel cover for 2023
Issue 3

Are we there yet?

...and can we keep it going? In our third issue, themed SUSTAIN, we ask about this question of agency. This issue of Kernel Magazine is about how we live together, about how we decide to participate in the world around us.