London Futurists news, 10th August 2015

Dear London Futurists,

I’ve got a few items of news to share:

1.) New venue for occasional London Futurists events:

Birkbeck College is a fine event for the London Futurists meetups on Saturday afternoons. However, it’s not so easy to book for evening weekday events. The good news is that we have a chance to hold occasional meetups in the main hall of Conway Hall, in Red Lion Square (near Holborn). The first event in this new series is on Tuesday 1st September,

FB meeting imageThese events are a joint production between London Futurists and London Thinks. London Thinks is a project within the Conway Hall Ethical Society with the following stated goal:

London Thinks events bring world-class speakers to London. Each event is unique and is an intellectual highlight for all those who attend.

The registration process is different for these events from the Saturday afternoon Birkbeck meetups. Attendees need to register in advance via an Eventbrite page. That provides a choice of ways to attend, depending on whether:

  • You are already a member of the Conway Hall Ethical Society
  • You are waged or unwaged.

Whether we have more joint events in this series depends, frankly, on the number of people who attend the initial events. If you’d like to show your interest for this series, please do register in advance.

The speaker for this event is Professor Steve Keen:

Mainstream economists failed to anticipated the great financial crash of 2007-8. In this talk, Professor Steve Keen will share his view on the bigger picture – including recent financial developments around the world. He will review options for the future of economics, highlight the little-understood importance of debt, and argue that significant debt write-downs are needed in order to limit future financial crashes.

Steve Keen is a Professor of Economics & Head of the School of Economics, History & Politics at Kingston University. He was one of the handful of economists to realise that a serious economic crisis was imminent, and to publicly warn of it, from as early as December 2005.

A staunch critic of mainstream economics, his book Debunking Economics is now in its 2nd edition and has been translated into Chinese, French and Spanish.

I saw the speaker give an earlier version of this talk at the FT Alphaville conference last month. It was thought-provoking. I look forward to chairing this event, and to asking him questions after he finishes his talk. Then there will be Q&A from the audience.

After the event, we’ll continue the discussion, informally, in a nearby pub. There will also be a cash bar inside Conway Hall, open both before and after the talk.

2.) The Future of Education – 5th Sept

In parallel with experiments with new venues (watch this space for further announcements), we’re continuing with our long tradition of Saturday afternoon events in rooms at Birkbeck College. The next of these is taking place on the 5th of September,

FB Meeting Image

What lies in the future of education? How will digital technologies, including MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), transform the educational landscape? How should educators respond?

In this talk, Julia Begbie, Director of KLC School of Design, will discuss the impact of digital technologies on global education, and the challenges teachers must overcome to deliver the promise of dramatically better learning opportunities.

3.) The future of the construction industry

I’ve had a number of fascinating discussions recently with people from COMIT – motto “Bringing construction & technology together since 2003”. They have a couple of events coming up which may interest some London Futurists:

  • On Nov 10-11th, they’re holding a two-day event that “focuses on current & emerging digital technologies that are revolutionising the construction industry & the delivery of capital projects throughout the world”
  • This Thursday, 13th August, they have a free-to-attend event for graduates (and recent graduates): “The COMIT graduate day event is a chance for the next generation to understand some of the issues facing construction and put forward ideas on how new technologies and innovations could be the solution. Engineering is all about communication, coordination, collaboration and cooperation. This event is a chance to do all four whilst networking with other forward thinking graduates from our industry.”

For more information about these events, and to register in advance to attend, follow the links above. (You’ll see that I’m one of the speakers at the COMIT Graduate Day.)


4.) Deep Learning Summit with Re.Work, 24-25 Sept

London Futurists partner Re.Work is holding a summit on Deep Learning in London on 24-25 September.

Deep Learning Summit London reworkdl 1024x293 Sept 2015If you use the discount code LONDONFUTURISTS on the registration site, you’ll receive a 20% discount off all ticket prices.

Here are some more details of the event:

Artificially intelligent computers are now using neural networks to analyse huge amounts of data with an unprecedented level of success.

The Deep Learning Summit is a great opportunity to meet influential data scientists, technologists, world-leading researchers, entrepreneurs and data engineers all in the same room. Discover how advanced deep learning will impact your business and prepare for the smart artificial intelligence world.

The summit will take place in London on 24-25 September, with 40+ experts discussing Neural Networks, Image Recognition, Language Processing, Advanced Deep Learning Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Big Data and Computing Systems.

See a video from the last Deep Learning Summit featuring Google, eBay, and Yahoo here.

5.) Martin Ford speaking in London, 23rd Sept


Martin Ford is the author of probably the best book to date on the subject of technological unemployment (also known as humans losing jobs to robots and automation).

He’s speaking in London on Wednesday 23rd Sept, at Kings Place, in conversation with Lord Skidelsky. If you’re able to attend, I strongly recommend it. The details are here:

The loss of blue-collar jobs to machines has been well-documented. But artificial intelligence is already well on its way to making other, more unexpected jobs obsolete: many paralegals, doctors, journalists and ironically even computer programmers are poised to be replaced by robots. As technology continues to accelerate and machines begin taking care of themselves, fewer jobs will be necessary. In terms of societal and economic upheaval, this is most important technological shift since the industrial revolution.

Martin Ford is the author of The Rise of the Robots, and a Silicon Valley-based software entrepreneur with over twenty-five years of experience in computer design and software development. In this eye-opening and compelling talk, he will offer both an exploration of this new technology and a call to arms to face its implications. The robots are coming, and we must decide – now – whether the future will see prosperity or catastrophe.

Lord Skidelsky is Emeritus Professor of Political Economy at the University of Warwick. He is the chairman of the Centre for Global Studies and has joined the advisory Board of the Institute of New Economic Thinking. He is the author of a prize-winning three volume biography of John Maynard Keynes. His much recent book is How Much is Enough? Money and the Good Life co-written with his son, the historian Edward Skidelsky.

6.) The Future of Augmented and Virtual Reality, 26th Aug

Steve Dann of Amplified Robot runs an excellent “Augmenting Reality” meetup,

steve dann

In my experience, all the events in that meetup have been well worth attending. The next one in the series may be even more interesting than usual. It’s taking place on Wednesday 26th August, and is entitled “The future of augmented and virtual reality”. For more details, see

At this months Augmenting Reality Meetup we will be gazing into our virtual crystal ball to look into the future, and see what it holds for Augmented and Virtual Reality in the next 2, 5 & 10 years.

We have taken a sneak peek already and the future looks amazing! So don’t miss this event.

7.) The Technology Expo, 5-6 Oct

Steve Dann and I are two of the speakers – along with many others – at the Technology Expo event happening at Vinopolis, London, on 5-6 October.

Technology Expo

Here’s the description of the keynote I’ll be giving:

“Contextual Technology – Shock and Awe”

Context-relevant advertising is just the tip of the iceberg. If we’re not careful with Context Tech, we’ll manipulate ourselves almost out of our minds. But with sufficient foresight we can collectively design a future with profoundly better human experiences.

  • Reasons to be both excited and frightened.
  • The Ecosystem Context of Contextual Technologies

For more details of this event, see

8.) Anticipating 2040 speakers – 3rd Oct

The full set of speakers for Anticipating 2040 has now been announced.

FB meeting image

See for biographical details, and for what each speaker will be covering.

Note that early bird pricing (£25) to attend this conference expires on 15th August. After that time, registration will cost £35. See

9.) Recordings of previous London Futurists events

Don’t forget that you can view video recordings of many previous London Futurists events by following the links from this page,

10.) Computational Intelligence Unconference

I’ll finish this newsletter by mentioning an event that is already fully booked. It’s the Computational Intelligence Unconference, organised by Daniel Lewis, taking place this Saturday, the 15th August,


I’ve two reasons to mention this event:

  • The organisers are looking for additional sponsors. If you’d like to have your company or organisation promoted at this event, please contact the organisers
  • One panel still has room for one or two more speakers.

The panel is one I’m chairing at 3.15pm that afternoon, on approaches by different political parties towards the challenges of new technology. The panel already has representatives from the Green, Pirate, and Transhumanist parties. If you’re in touch with anyone who can represent e.g. Labour, the LibDems, or the Conservatives on this panel, please let me know.

// David W. Wood
Chair, London Futurists

This entry was posted in Newsletter and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.