London Futurists news, 18th Jun 2014

Dear Futurists,

1.) Slides from the meeting “Three keys to a better society”

It was great to see so many people in the Elixir Bar for the event yesterday evening “Technology, Transhumanism, and TZM: Three keys to a radically better society?”

I’ve uploaded to Slideshare a copy of the slides I presented. A copy is available here.

All sets of slides lose something when viewed in isolation, without the intended accompanying oral discussion. If you prefer a longer, written explanation, read on. That’s because a book is now available that covers many of the ideas covered in these slides…

2.) Availability of the book “Anticipating 2025”

I’m pleased to share the news that the London Futurists book Anticipating 2025 is now available for purchase and download from Amazon. Click here for the US site, here for the UK site, or search your local favourite Amazon site for “Anticipating 2025”.

The full title of the book is “Anticipating 2025: A guide to the radical changes that may lie ahead, whether or not we’re ready”. It contains 22 chapters plus two appendices – see below for an outline table of contents. Here’s a brief excerpt from the preview:

The authors of the chapters in Anticipating 2025 share the broad view that remarkable changes could be taking place in human lifestyles and in social structures by 2025 – or that if such changes have not yet transpired by that time, the popular mindset could be much more open towards the likelihood and desirability of such changes. The magnitude of these impending changes far exceeds the typical thinking of most of our present-day leaders in the fields of politics, business, and academia – leaders who are “caught in the present”, or who are too accustomed to thinking in linear rather than in exponential terms.

In the chapters ahead, the authors give their diverse views as to which future scenarios are technically feasible and which are desirable. They also highlight the best steps to take to bring these desirable visions into reality, despite the many and varied roadblocks that are likely to be encountered en route.

As befits a critically important discussion, the authors expound a variety of viewpoints, via a range of different writing styles. Readers are urged to explore these chapters widely, leaving aside their comfort zones and briefly suspending their familiar thought patterns. That’s the best way to prepare for the possible roller-coaster transformations and tumults of the years ahead.

The book has been published two weeks ahead of schedule. Currently it’s only available as a Kindle download. Note that even if you don’t have a Kindle, you can easily obtain a free Kindle reading app for your PC, Mac, tablet, or smartphone.

I’m biased, but it’s my strong view that the chapters in Anticipating 2025 contain lots of fascinating material – including a number of breakthrough essays with comprehensive surveys of cutting edge material. There’s much more brainfood in the book than you’d normally expect to receive in a book priced at just US$9.99.

The book was only possible because of a huge collaborative effort. The Afterword in the book contains a full set of acknowledgements. I’m extremely grateful for this team effort 🙂

3.) Reviews for the book Anticipating 2025

If you like some of the content of Anticipating 2025, please consider leaving a positive review on the Amazon website. Amazon takes account of these reviews in deciding how widely to promote books to potential readers.

I’ll include a selection of review comments and other feedback in a lightly revised update to the book in a few weeks time. (People who purchase the original version will be notified about the chance to freely update to the newer version.)

The website here has been created as an online home-page for the book. One thing it contains is a list of “Recommended sources for further information”. That list is only lightly populated at the moment. I’m open to suggestions for additions, changes, or explanatory notes that I should add.

4.) Outline table of contents for the book Anticipating 2025

From the home-page for the book:

  • Preview

Part I: Setting the scene

  • 1. Roadblocks en route to 2025, by David Wood
  • 2. The Big Shift – Citizenship in 2025, by Mark Stevenson
  • 3. The Path to 2025: Driving forces, global challenges, potential disruptions, and business scenarios, by Rohit Talwar & Iva Lazorova

Part II: Re-designing medicine and healthcare

  • 4. Will advancing technology make doctors unemployed? by Maneesh Juneja
  • 5. The convergence of nano and bio, and the future of medicine, by Sonia Contera
  • 6. Aubrey de Grey’s Rejuvenation Biotechnology programme, by Peter Morgan

Part III: Re-designing Artificial Intelligence

  • 7. Six important questions about Artificial Intelligence, by Calum Chace
  • 8. On human-machine merger by and after 2025, by Martin Dinov & Elias Rut

Part IV: Re-designing society

  • 9. (Em)powering Africa, by Freemavens
  • 10. Smarter policymaking through improved collective cognition? by Anders Sandberg
  • 11. Convergent Risk, Social Futurism, and the Wave of Change, by M Amon Twyman
  • 12. Updating Technical Values and Hacking Culture-Lag, by Ben McLeish

Part V: Re-designing humanity

  • 13. High-Tech Jainism, by David Pearce
  • 14. Cryonics, Special Needs People, and the Coming Transhumanist Future, by Zoltan Istvan
  • 15. Transhumanism: an iterative design challenge, by Natasha Vita-More
  • 16. Love and sex with robots, by David Levy
  • 17. The future of accessible neurostimulation, by Andrew Vladimirov

Part VI: Next steps

  • 18. Personal Financial Implications of Future Trends, by Michael Nuschke
  • 19. Extend productive longevity – or perish, by Alex Zhavoronkov
  • 20. The Future Doesn’t Care About Your Start-Up, by Riva-Melissa Tez
  • 21. Ecology & Technology: colliding or combining? by Victor Anderson
  • 22. The Millennium Project and the State of the Future, by Jerome Glenn
  • Afterword, by David Wood

Appendices

  • A1. Driving Forces: 100 Trends and Developments Shaping the Path to 2025, by Rohit Talwar & Iva Lazorova
  • A2. Distant Thunder: 50 Emerging Concepts that could Rewrite the Future, by Rohit Talwar & Iva Lazorova

5.) Nick Bostrom speaking in London, Thursday 3rd July

Professor Nick Bostrom from the Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford, will be speaking at lunchtime on Thursday 3rd July in the RSA in Central London. He’ll be talking about his long-awaited new book Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies.

To quote from the RSA web-page for the event:

Join Professor Nick Bostrom for a journey that takes us to the frontiers of thinking about the human condition and the future of intelligent life.

The human brain has capabilities that the brains of other animals lack. It is to these distinctive capabilities that our species owes its dominant position.

If machine brains were to surpass humans in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could become extremely powerful – possibly beyond our control. But we have one advantage: we get to make the first move.

Professor Nick Bostrom is a founding director of the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford. His wide-ranging research interests stem from a central philosophical quest to understand the big picture for humanity so that we can more wisely choose what to aim for, and what to do.

Even if all tickets for this event have been taken by the time you look at the site, it can be worth adding yourself to the waitlist, in case other tickets become available nearer the time.

5.) “Beyond the Now”: Cambridge Technology Ventures conference

One event for which tickets still are available is TVC 2014, taking place in Cambridge on Monday 23rd June.

Here’s an excerpt from the event website:

Beyond the Now

The 11th annual Technology Ventures Conference titled “Beyond the Now” aims to showcase moon-shot thinking and technology innovation for long horizons. Surrounded by over eight centuries of history, the University of Cambridge is a wonderful setting from which to cast an eye for  humanity’s next technological frontiers.

Date: June 23, 2014 Time: 8am-6.30pm Location: West Road Concert Hall, West Road, Cambridge

To mark the 11th TVC we invite you to examine how moonshot thinking can re-shape the way we tackle worldwide problems. The day is divided into four speaker sessions: Moonshot thinking, the Future of Health, the Future of Population, and the Future of Economies where we will highlight examples of how entrepreneurs are using technology to systematically disrupt industries and pave the way for new sectors to emerge. What are the implications of these technologies to our economy, businesses, and everyday lives?

As you can see, speakers include Naveen Jain, Eric Drexler, Hazel Henderson, Rachel Armstrong, Aubrey de Grey, and me.

6.) Art project needs contributions about the future

I’m forwarding the following very interesting note on behalf of a member of London Futurists, Lisa James:

What are your dark fantasies for the Future?

We are looking for people with really creative imaginations, to come up with a short text based on their imaginations of what their fantasies of the future life will be like both positive or negative. This is for a wall based text in an art gallery that will be in collaboration with an international award winning artist. The eventual text will be anywhere between two to 3 A4 pages in length. A strong and creative imagination is a must, as well as bringing something of yourself to the text, your beliefs, thoughts, imagination etc.  Those chosen will be paid for their texts, for now we are just looking for a couple of lines to give us an idea of what you would imagine for the future. Contributors must be over 20 years old.

For more details please contact and send a couple of lines of text to Lisa at:  lisajames759@gmail.com

7.) Mezzanine, new collaboration technology

I’ll close with a launch event that has caught my eye – and I think it will interest some of you too. It’s happening from 5pm-9pm on Thursday 26th June. If you RSVP in advance, you can book a 20 minute product demo.

From the Oblong website:

You’re invited.

Join Oblong at our new London office for drinks and a tour of Mezzanine, a collaboration technology used by firms like IBM, Boeing, and Beats Music to conduct more efficient, productive, and compelling meetings.

Opening Reception

Thursday, June 26th
5-9pm BST

Oblong London
1st Floor
131 Shoreditch High Street
London, E1 6JE

Oblong was founded by TED presenter John Underkoffler, who envisioned the future of workplaces for films such as Minority Report and Iron Man. That sci-fi technology is now a reality in Mezzanine™—a collaborative conference room solution that seamlessly blends physical and digital environments across distributed locations.

MEZZANINE ENABLES:

  • Decisions Informed by Data
  • Presentations that Captivate Your Audience
  • Concurrent Collaboration without Constraints

Come see how Mezzanine can make your team more efficient, your meetings and videoconferences more productive, and your presentations more compelling.

This is a open house reception with technology demonstrations starting every 20 minutes, so do drop in. We look forward to seeing you there!
Please RSVP by June 24, 2014.

// David W. Wood
Chair, London Futurists

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