London Futurists news, 27th Feb 2015

Dear London Futurists,

There are several forthcoming events that you may want to consider attending:

1.) A masterclass on climate change issues – Sat 7th March

Our session in Birkbeck on Sat 7th March features a writer and practical activist on climate change issues – Jeremy Leggett. In effect, he’ll be leading us through a masterclass on the changing public landscape on climate change questions, by drawing on his own observations of developments in the last couple of years.

The event is entitled “The Winning of The Carbon War”. I expect the key messages from the speaker to be both realistic and positive:

  • Realistic, in that there won’t be any wishful thinking, nor any denial of the magnitude of the threat posed by escalating emissions of greenhouse gases
  • Positive, in that clear trends will be pointed out, which can be supported and accelerated, to increase the chance of patterns of energy usage that are profoundly good for humanity as well as being profoundly good for the environment.

As usual at our events, there will be plenty of chance to raise questions, and to challenge the viewpoint raised by the speaker. We’ll be in room 541, on the 5th floor of Birkbeck. If you plan to attend, please RSVP in advance on this meetup page.

2.) Wearable Technology Show – 40% discount code, 10-11 March

The Wearable Technology Show is taking place in the London ExCeL conference centre on 10th and 11th March. To quote from http://www.wearabletechnologyshow.net/:

The Wearable Technology Show is the BIGGEST event for wearables, augmented reality & IOT. Our conference programme has 7 different tracks, offering delegates a unique opportunity to hear from some of the leading experts in wearable technology, view the latest product demonstrations from around the world and network with the industry.

For 2015, we have expanded the SHOW and moved to London’s Excel on the 10 and 11 March. Hear from over 200 speakers and visit over 100 innovative wearable companies on the trade floor. It’s guaranteed to be a great 2 days of networking and business opportunities!

The speakers in the Augmented Reality track of this event include me, at 2.30pm on the 10th of March:

Ensuring a positive reception for Augmented Reality

The rapid spread of high-powered mobile cameras, coupled to smart computer vision software, could lead to any of a number of different scenarios in the 2020-2024 timescale. In some of these scenarios, there will be hostile public reaction to augmented reality. People will fear an unprecedented invasion of their privacy, and may organise widespread resistance to new systems. This presentation will consider the extent to which such fears might be justified, and will explore options to avoid any such “dark side of AR” scenarios. Topics covered include the rate of change, similarities and dissimilarities with the reception of previous waves of technology, the development of social norms, and options for smart tech to prevent misuse of AR systems.

Speaker: David Wood, Chair, London Futurists.

Note: for a short while, you can use the discount code wearables15 when you register for this event, to obtain a 40% discount off the stated prices.

3.) Three online events to mark Future Day – Sun 1st March

To quote from http://futureday.org/:

Holidays provide a fantastic way of channeling peoples’ attention and energy.

Most of our holidays are focused on past events or individuals, or on the rhythms of nature. History and nature are wonderful and should be honored — but the amazing future we are building together should be honored as well.

Future Day is a way of focusing and celebrating the energy that more and more people around the world are directing toward creating a radically better future.

This is a brand new holiday — the first Future Day was in 2012. This year on March 1st Future Day will be even better! Let us all work together to continue to make Future Day a great success!

A number of very interesting online events are scheduled to be taking place this Sunday, 1st March, in connection with Future Day.

For example, from https://plus.google.com/u/0/events/cdlioq680jhm1roog202jks97es:

Prominent futurists Aubrey de Grey, Ben Goertzel and James Hughes will be joining chair Adam Ford for an online miniconf on Future Day (March 1st) starting at 3pm PST (11pm UK time)

You can also read more about that Hangout-On-Air on this Facebook page.

Earlier on the same day, the India Future Society are hosting a four-hour long Hangout-On-Air. From https://plus.google.com/events/cg470aa5p52r14p84vssnte9h74, the list of speakers will include:

  • Jose Cordeiro, PhD (MIT), Faculty at Singularity University, USA
  • Elena Milova, Coordinator of Anti-Ageing Research and International Longevity Alliance
  • Clyde Christopher, Author of “Think in 3D”, “Memories with Maya” and Tech Evangelist, UAE
  • Harish Shah, The Singapore Futurist and Founder of Stratserv Consultancy, Singapore
  • Nigel Ackland, First Advance Artificial Bionic Arm Man, UK
  • Sandeep Gautam, Writer at Psychology Today and Times of India, India
  • Ilia Stambler, PhD, Author and Outreach Coordinator at ISOAD, Israel
  • M.V. Priyank, Trainer and Technology Evangelist, India
  • Avinash Kumar Singh, Founder at India Future Society, India

This event starts at 10.30am UK time, which is 4pm Indian time. You can also find out about this event on Facebook, here.

Finally in this section, from 10pm UK time, David Orban is hosting a Hangout-On-Air to introduce the themes of the Network Society. From https://plus.google.com/events/c4rm0ubh93rro7psq1a8jm4pqv4:

A set of simultaneous technologies is growing exponentially, with the common feature of being decentralized, and organized in a network. This contrasts with the centralized and hierarchical organization of today’s traditional society and its basic functions. The shift from the old to the new structure will subject the Nation State to an unprecedented pressure. The Network Society project creates a vision and analytical tools to allow individuals, enterprises and the society at large to deal positively with this unstoppable change.

In this first Network Society public Hangout introducing its fundamental thesis and discussing the meaning and opportunity of technology based socio-economic empowerment.

Future hangouts in this series will concentrate on the eight pillars of energy, manufacturing, food, health, learning, finance, security and governance.

The Facebook event page for that one is here.

With so many things happening that day, I’m glad I didn’t try to squeeze in a London Futurists Hangout-On-Air on the same date. However, I did release the following short video, with an eye to Future Day: The Transpolitica Manifesto, for Future Day.

4.) A conversation with Eric Ries, author of the Lean Startup, Fri 6th March

This event at the London School of Economics looks potentially very interesting:

A Conversation with Eric Ries

Date: Friday 6 March 2015, Time: 6.30-8pm
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building

Eric Ries (@ericries) is an entrepreneur and author of the New York Times bestseller The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses. He graduated in 2001 from Yale University with a B.S. in Computer Science. While an undergraduate, he co-founded Catalyst Recruiting. Ries continued his entrepreneurial career as a Senior Software Engineer at There.com, leading efforts in agile software development and user-generated content. He later co-founded and served as CTO of IMVU, his third startup. In 2007, BusinessWeek named Ries one of the Best Young Entrepreneurs of Tech. In 2008 he served as a venture advisor at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers before moving on to advise startups independently. Today he serves on the advisory board of a number of technology startups and venture capital firms. In 2009, Ries was honored with a TechFellow award in the category of Engineering Leadership. In 2010, he was named entrepreneur-in-residence at Harvard Business School and is currently an IDEO Fellow. The Lean Startup methodology has been written about in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Inc., Wired, Fast Company, and countless blogs. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, son, and golden retriever.

This event is free and open to all with no ticket or pre-registration required. Entry is on a first come, first served basis.

5.) London Thinks: How to topple a dictator, Wed 8th April

Conway Hall are holding another of their fascinating “London Thinks” series on Wed 8th April. From http://www.conwayhall.org.uk/srdja-popovic:

London Thinks: How to Topple a Dictator

Tipped for a Nobel Peace Prize and hailed as a world-changer by everyone from the World Economic Forum to Wired magazine, fifteen years ago Srdja Popovic was more interested in Punk Rock than political protest.

In conversation with Nick Cohen he will explain how he became one of the leaders of Otpor! — the movement which overthrew dictator Slobodan Milosevic — and has since gone on to train the pro-democracy activists behind the Arab Spring, Occupy, and many other movements. Drawing on his new book, Blueprint for Revolution, he will tell the stories of ‘ordinary revolutionaries’ he has been inspired by along the way, many of whom  have created social change by avoiding violence and opting for something far more powerful: a sense of humour.

6.) The future of robot ethics, with Joanna Bryson – Sat 18th April

One new London Futurists event has appeared on our Meetup page in the last few days. From http://www.meetup.com/London-Futurists/events/220702572/:

What will it mean for robots with AI (artificial intelligence) to become conscious, have emotions, and gain social responsibilities? Will they become moral subjects, with ethical obligations and rights?

In this presentation, Dr Joanna Bryson, Reader in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Bath, will review a number of key questions about the present and future relationship between humans and robots:

  • Setting aside Hollywood hype, what is the reality of the current state of development of intelligent robots, and artificial intelligence more generally?

  • Do we understand enough about the science of consciousness and ethics to predict or prescribe how the relationship between humans and robots is likely to evolve?

  • Which scenarios for the future of robots should worry us most, and which might we seek to accelerate?

To find out more, and to RSVP, click here.

And… keep your eye on the meetup site for more events that are likely to be announced soon!

// David W. Wood
Chair, London Futurists

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