London Futurists news, 4th November 2015

Dear Futurists

1.) Forthcoming new meetings

One new event has recently been added to the London Futurists meetup calendar. It’s happening on the evening of Monday 14th December and is taking place in the Crucible Building of University College London (UCL), which is on Gower Street. The main speaker is Dr Jack Stilgoe from the Science and Technology Studies department at UCL.


Dr Stilgoe will be talking on the subject “Experiment Earth: Responsible innovation in geoengineering”. You can read more details on our meetup site. Here’s a brief extract:

Experiments in geoengineering – intentionally manipulating the Earth’s climate to reduce global warming – have become the focus of a vital debate about responsible science and innovation. This talk brings the audience up to date with this debate.

Drawing on three years of sociological research working with scientists on one of the world’s first major geoengineering projects, this talk considers the politics of experimentation. Geoengineering provides a test case for rethinking the responsibilities of scientists and asking how science can take better care of the futures that it helps bring about.

To register to attend, please RSVP on the meetup page. On this occasion, thanks to support from UCL, there’s no charge to attend.

Other new London Futurists events are in the process of being planned. They’ll be announced via Meetup as soon as details are confirmed.

2.) Registration is about to close for “The State of the Future” event

If you’re planning to attend our “The State of the Future” event on Friday 13th November, please note that registration will close for this event at midnight at the end of Thursday 4th November.

This meeting is free to attend, but advance registration via EventBrite is essential. For security reasons, no-one will be admitted to this building without being registered via EventBrite.

We already have a bumper audience lined up for this event. Our hosts on this occasion, Bloomberg, require names of all attendees to be provided to them a week in advance of the meetup.

As a reminder, the speakers at this event are as follows:

  • Report from the Millennium Project: “2015-16 State of the Future” – David Wood, chair of London Futurists
  • The future of regenerative medicine – Stephen Minger, former Chief Scientist, GE Healthcare
  • The future of decision-making systems – Anders Sandberg, James Martin Research Fellow, Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford University
  • The future of artificial intelligence – Murray Shanahan, Professor of Cognitive Robotics, Imperial College

3.) Update on H+Pedia

Members of London Futurists are gradually adding more information to H+Pedia, which is a wiki covering all angles of futurism, written from a transhumanist perspective.

H+Pedia pages that have been added or significantly improved recently include:

  • Superforecasting – a brief summary of the 2015 book by Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner that describes a set of methods to improve forecasting abilities
  • Transpolitica – including descriptions of the ten ‘regenerative initiatives’ proposed by Transpolitica (a political think tank)
  • Transhumanist political organisations – a description of the organisations which comprise a small but growing global transhumanist political movement.

Additionally, the wiki now supports the uploading and inclusion of graphic images.

Over the next few months, many of the “red links” in H+Pedia (links to pages which don’t yet exist) should be converted into normal links, that is, as the indicated pages are drafted and then extended. If you notice anything where you think you can make a positive difference, don’t hesitate to become involved.

The basic principles of the wiki are described here.


4.) Video recordings of past London Futurists events

The processing of videos from Anticipating 2040 have been delayed for a number of practical reasons. They’ll be uploaded in due course (well before the year 2040…)

In the meantime, anyone wanting to watch recordings of past London Futurists events can find some rich pickings at

Incidentally, one goal for London Futurists in 2016 is to become better at selecting and highlighting short extracts from our video recordings which work as standalone introductions to important futurist topics. That way, key ideas from our events can spread more quickly to wider audiences.

5.) ThinkNation event, Canterbury, 5th December

London Futurists is pleased to offer support to the new “ThinkNation” initiative. On their website, ThinkNation pose the following invitation:

Join young people, artists & thought leaders to tackle how technology is impacting everyday life & shaping our futures…

Join us at The Gulbenkian, University of Kent, Canterbury on 5th Dec, 2015 for #TN2015. Get inspired, learn and share your ideas alongside young people, artists and thought leaders when we tackle five BIG questions on how technology is impacting everyday life and shaping our futures.

The five BIG questions include:

  • Will Artificial Intelligence enhance or diminish our humanity?” – with one of the speakers being Calum Chace
  • “Should technology help humans live forever?” – with one of the speakers being me, David Wood.

6.) Social implications of artificial intelligence – Seoul, 6th-7th November

I’m writing this newsletter from South Korea, where I’m in the midst of a combination of business (providing futurist consulting to some clients) and pleasure. My visit coincides with an event at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies on the 6th and 7th of November, “Social implications of artificial intelligence”. Visiting speakers from overseas include David Pearce, David Orban, Stuart Armstrong, and myself.


My own topic at this event will be “What smartphone industry successes & failures suggest about AI’s future social impact”. If any friends of London Futurists happen to be in or near Seoul over the next few days, it will be a pleasure to meet up.

// David W. Wood
Chair, London Futurists

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