London Futurists news, 18th Mar 2014

Dear Futurist,

1.) Forthcoming new London Futurists events

A number of you have asked about plans for forthcoming London Futurists events, either on Saturday afternoons, or Hangout On Air events. I’ve been de-prioritising these plans for the last few weeks, in order to concentrate on ensuring the success of the Anticipating 2025 event taking place this weekend, 22-23 March.

However, preparations are now underway for a return to our more regular events. You should receive notifications about some of these new events shortly. Thanks for your patience!

2.) Reduced entry charge for people able to assist at Anticipating 2025

With three days to go, attendance figures for Anticipating 2025 have now reached 200 people for Saturday, and 180 people for Sunday.

I’m looking to find a small number of additional volunteers who would be willing to join the team that help at the check-in table for the event, which is in the reception area outside the lecture room. The task is to cross-check people arriving for the conference against the list of people who have pre-registered, to welcome them, and to hand out namebadges.

Because this task involves sitting outside the lecture room, and missing perhaps 1-2 hours per day of the lecture content (depending on how many people volunteer), we will offer a reduced entrance fee to people willing to undertake this role. Instead of the normal fee of £50 per person for both days, the entry fee will be just £20 per person (covering both days), in return for a commitment to join the rota of registration desk volunteers.

This role is particularly suited to students or other people with a constrained budget, who might otherwise be unable to afford attending the event.

Please contact me directly if you (or someone you know) are interested in taking up this option.

3.) 2030: A Writing Competition – top prize $1000 AUD

Thanks to PlanetTechNews for drawing my attention to this writing contest which they’re supporting.

You can read full details of the contest here. The contest is supported by PlanetTechNews, The Expert Editor, and Ideapod.

The competition organisers are offering a top prize of 1000 Australian dollars to the best “idea” created on Ideapod related to the theme “2030″. In 200 words or less entrants must outline their vision for the world in the year 2030. The team of judges who will evaluate the ideas include futurists Gerd Leonhard, Katherine KeatingAmir Dossal, and Glen Hiemstra. This contest closes on 16 May 2014.

Note: Ideapod is a new social media platform based on ideas. It recently launched in beta version and seems to generating considerable buzz. Users create and share ideas of 1000 characters or less; so it’s a bit like Facebook but (Ideapod claim) with more substance. Ideapod is said to be a great place to hold a writing competition, as “it’s a dynamic platform that encourages interaction”.

As for the contest, the organisers have the following to say about it:

The theme is “2030″. This is a broad topic and the ideas you can write about are endless. Questions you may want to answer include what will the world be like? What are you most excited about? What dangers does the world face? What are the opportunities? You can explore a range of topics, including technological and scientific developments, the state of humanity, the environment, politics and many more. You’re only limited by your imagination and ability to creatively peer into the future.

4.) “20 Crucial Terms Every 21st Century Futurist Should Know”

Coincidentally, George Dvorsky has just published a fine article on io9 called “20 Crucial Terms Every 21st Century Futurist Should Know”.

The 20 terms George reviews are:

  1. Co-veillance
  2. Multiplex Parenting
  3. Technological Unemployment
  4. Substrate-Autonomous Person
  5. Intelligence Explosion
  6. Longevity Dividend
  7. Repressive Desublimation
  8. Intelligence Amplification
  9. Effective Altruism
  10. Moral Enhancement
  11. Proactionary Principle
  12. Mules
  13. Anthropocene
  14. Eroom’s Law
  15. Evolvability Risk
  16. Artificial Wombs
  17. Whole Brain Emulations
  18. Weak AI
  19. Neural Coupling
  20. Computational Overhang

Before taking a look at the article, why not ask yourself how many of the twenty you could describe in your own words. Then check your answers against George’s. Anyone who scores more than 10 correct answers is doing well. We live and learn…

5.) Global Warming – Where Do We Go From Here? Event in Conway Hall

On Saturday 12th April, from 10.30 to 15.45, Centre for Inquiry UK and Conway Hall are holding a conference on radical suggestions and solutions on how to respond to the threat of global warming.

For more details, see this webpage.

Here’s the schedule for this event:

  • 10.30 Registration
  • 11am Dr Mayer Hillman. Senior Fellow Emeritus, Policy Studies Institute, London. “What do we do now that society is demonstrating all too clearly its strong preference for downplaying the significance and implications of climate change?”
  • 12.00 Dr Rupert Read. Philosopher and Green activist. Rupert will speak about global over-heat, the end of denialism, and the self-destruction of libertarianism in relation to this issue – and a possible way forward, in terms of guardians for future people.
  • (Lunch)
  • 1.45 Dr Vicky Pope. The Met Office. Vicky was a founding member of the Met Office Hadley Centre and is a member of the Advisory Board on the UNEP early warning project on climate related hazards. She will present an overview of the latest science from the IPCC report and talk about its relevance for the UK. Vicky will give some idea of weather extremes we might expect.
  • 2.45 Saci Lloyd is an Ecological activist and writer.
  • 3.45 End

6.) Namebadges for Anticipating 2025

I’m still waiting to hear back from several people who have registered “+1” or “+2” (etc) guests for Anticipating 2025, but who haven’t yet told me the names of their guests. If this applies to you, please do let me know – so we can prepare the namebadges and smooth the check-in process at the venue this weekend!

Part of the value in futurist conferences is in the discussion that strikes up between attendees during the refreshment breaks. In my experience, namebadges are one of the things that can help get these discussions started 🙂

// David W. Wood
Chair, London Futurists

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