Reality Studies
Urgent Futures with Jesse Damiani
Emily Segal: Trend Forecasting, 'Normcore' Ten Years Later, & Not Being Scared of AI (Yet) | Urgent Futures Ep. 11

Emily Segal: Trend Forecasting, 'Normcore' Ten Years Later, & Not Being Scared of AI (Yet) | Urgent Futures Ep. 11

🎙️ Jesse chats trend forecasting, dissociative digital identities, indie book publishing, futures of AI and blockchain, and so much more with polymath writer/strategist Emily Segal.

Welcome to the Urgent Futures podcast, the show that finds signal in the noise. Each week, I sit down with leading thinkers whose research, concepts, and questions clarify the chaos, from culture to the cosmos.

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My guest this week is Emily Segal ().

Emily Segal is a writer, strategist, and trend forecaster based in Los Angeles. She is a founding partner of Nemesis ( a strategic consultancy and creative studio. She also co-founded the trend forecasting group K-HOLE. Her debut novel, Mercury Retrograde (Deluge Books, 2020) was a New York Times New and Noteworthy book. 

Emily is a hard person to quickly contextualize—and I mean that in the best way. Her work consistently lives in intersections that defy simple categorization. For example, she’s one of the founders of K-HOLE, which was part trend forecasting group, part artist collective, and through one of their reports they popularized the term “normcore,” which took the Internet by storm a decade ago. As you’ll hear in the episode, there’s a bit of drift in the meaning by the time it goes mainstream, with many journalists misunderstanding the conceptual statement.

That’s the thing, there’s always more going on, some deeper experiment or question that takes a nuanced read to understand. I’ve known her for many years now, and she’s always proven prescient, and moreover she just makes things happen. Through Nemesis, she co-authored a trend report with a large language model before ChatGPT existed. She funded a book project using NFTs. She also started her own indie book press. We get into all that and so much more in the episode. One little teaser that I can’t not share is this quote:

“In 2008 when the stock market was crashing, I remember looking at the New York Times website…and there were tons of typos.”

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CREDITS: This podcast is edited and produced by Adam Labrie and me, Jesse Damiani. Adam Labrie also directed, shot, and edited the video version of the podcast, which is available on YouTube. The podcast is presented by Reality Studies. If you appreciate the work I’m doing, please subscribe and share it with someone you think would enjoy it.

Find more episodes of Urgent Futures at: Past conversations include Taylor Lorenz, Lia Halloran & Kip Thorne, Legacy Russell, and more.

Reality Studies
Urgent Futures with Jesse Damiani
Welcome to the Urgent Futures Podcast, the show that finds signal in the noise. Each episode, I sit down with leading thinkers for dialogues that clarify the chaos, from culture to the cosmos.