London Futurists news, 29th March 2016

Dear Futurists,

I believe you’ll find some of the following news items useful.

1.) Futurist Summit, 5G World, Wed 29th June

5GWorld Futurists Summit

5G is the name given to the forthcoming next generation of cellular wireless technology – supeseding the present 4G networks (which are also known as LTE). 5G is expected to be undergoing serious trials from around 2020 and to be in wide commercial deployment from around 2022.

To help businesses, governments, educators, and others to prepare for 5G, Informa are hosting an event “5G World” at Kensington Olympia, London, on 28-30 June. This event is a mix of free exhibitions, demos, and summits, and paid-for content.

One of the free events happening at 5G World is a Futurist Summit, on Wed 29th June, from 11am to 5.30pm. I will be acting as chair and moderator for this summit, throughout the day. The summit is designed to look at the trends between now and 2022 which will coexist with and may disrupt the evolution of wireless systems to 5G.

The details are available at Sessions will include the following:

Introduction to the Futurist Summit
David Wood, Chair, London Futurists & Principal, Delta Wisdom

Education 2022 – MOOCs in full use, augmented by AIs doing marking and assessment-setting
Julia Begbie, Deputy Director of Studies, KLC School of Design

Healthcare 2022 – Digital healthcare systems finally fulfilling the promise that has long been expected of them
Avi Roy, Biomedical Scientist & Research Fellow at the Centre for Advancing Sustainable Medical Innovation (CASMI), Oxford University

Finance 2022 – Anticipating a world without physical cash, and in many cases operating without centralised banks
Speaker to be confirmed

Reinventing urban mobility for new business strategies…self-driving cars and beyond
Stephane Barbier , CEO, Transpolis

The Future of Smart Cities
Paul Copping, Smart City Advisor, Digital Greenwich, Royal Borough of Greenwich

Security for IoT
Craig Heath, Director, Franklin Heath

“What happens when virtual reality experiences become more engaging than those in the real world?”
Steve Dann, Founder & CEO, Amplified Robot

To register to attend 5G World – either just the free parts (including the Futurist Summit), or some of the more exclusive content and services – please visit

Members of London Futurists can obtain a 15% discount on the stated prices for the paid-for content by using the code ‘partner15’.

2.) Making the Circular Economy Happen, Sat 9th April

In preparing for the London Futurists event on 9th April, “From Tipping Site to Tipping Point: Making the Circular Economy Happen”, a couple of news stories have caught my attention.

First, in Fast Company, “Google Is Planning For A Zero-Waste, Circular Economy” (extract follows)


The current economy is built on waste—dig up some materials, turn that into a product, ship it to an “end user” who eventually tosses it in the trash. But that’s starting to change.

Google is one of the latest mega-corporations to commit to the principles of a circular economy—one that keeps “technical nutrients” like plastic and silicon out of the landfill, and trims out wasted water, energy, food, and land.

“Our goal is to embed circular economic principles into the fabric of Google’s infrastructure, operations, and culture,” says Kate Brandt, Google’s sustainability lead. “What that means is that we’ll be focusing on opportunities wherever possible to eradicate waste through smart design—at our data centers, in our kitchens, on our campuses, in all we do around the world.”…

“The technology revolution is a key enabler of the shift towards a regenerative circular economy,” says Ellen MacArthur. “Google’s commitment to circular economy innovation represents an immensely important opportunity to scale up the transition, at a global level—to achieve the system transformation needed for our economy to work in the long term.”

Google is not alone. Cisco, Unilever, Philips, Renault, and Kingfisher are all “global partners” in the Ellen MacArthur Foundation project. Dell also recently started working with the foundation to expand efforts like the world’s first closed-loop plastics supply chain.

Shifting to a circular economy—everything from cutting out food waste to upcycling materials to eliminating wasted resources like cars or offices that often sit empty—could save over $2 trillion in Europe alone.

Second, the House of Lords held a short debate on the 3rd March on the topic of “Circular Economy”. The debate is recorded on Hansard and is worth reading.

On 9th April, we have the privilege of hearing from three deeply thoughtful participants in the wider Circular Economy debate. For more details and to RSVP to attend this debate, see here.

Three speakers

3.) Z-Day 2016 London, Sat 2nd April

The topic of switching to a more rational, sustainable global system will also be in strong focus at an event this coming Saturday, 2nd April: ZDay London: The path to post-scarcity.

Z-Day 2016 banner

This event will be held in lecture room B34 on the basement floor of the main building of Birkbeck College.

Here’s the schedule for the day:

10.00 – Open doors
10.30 – “A Vision of Post-Scarcity” by James Phillips – TZM UK
11.00 – “Ask for Evidence” by Max Goldman – Sense about Science
11.30 – “Does Money Really Grow on Trees?” by Frank Van Lerven – Positive Money
12.00 – “Overcoming the Obstacles on the Path to Post-Scarcity” by David Wood – London Futurists
12.30 – “Basic Income, a Step Towards a Resource Based Economy?” by Barb Jacobson – Basic Income UK
13.00 – Break
14.00 – “What does transition look like in South London? – A Transition Town in action” by Joe Duggan
14.30 – “An Opportunity Within The Crisis and How we might get there” by Peter Andersen – VocalEyes
15.00 – “Noomap: A Tool for Change” by Chris Larc ombe – Noomap
15.30 – “The Psychology of Changing Minds and Behaviour” by Mel Marley – TZM UK
16.00 – Q&A (All Speakers)
17.00 – End

The remaining tickets are apparently selling quickly – see here to secure yours.

4.) Creative Capital: Digital Disruption, Mon 4th April

Digital Disruption

Calum Chace and I are speaking on the subject of “Digital Disruption” at a “Creative Capital” event on the evening of Monday 4th April. The venue will be the Hospital Club, 24 Endell Steet, WC2H 9HQ London. Calum will be covering the Technological Singularity (superintelligence) and the Economic Singularity (automation). I will be covering the impact of digital disruption on healthcare and rejuveneering.

To apply for tickets for this event, send an email to

Here’s the description of the event from Creative Capital:

Creative Capital: Digital Disruption – Monday 4 April 2016 @ 19:00 @ The Hospital Club

Technological advance is fast and keeps accelerating.This means that businesses are getting disrupted. But do we really understand why? Do we know how long it will carry on for, and where it is headed? And most important, do we know when our own business will be disrupted?

Airbnb is poised to become the world’s largest hotel company by number of rooms provided. It owns no hotels and employs a tiny staff. Its market cap is $14bn on revenues of $250m, compared with $8bn on $4bn revenues for the Hyatt group. This is not simply some kind of re-run of the market insanity of the dotcom bubble of 1999. This is classic digital disruption, and we should all try to understand it.

Join us on Monday, April 4th, 2016 @ 19:00 at the Hospital Club for an stimulating evening with speakers, Calum Chace and David Wood, who have thought long and hard about the digital revolution and disruption.

Calum Chace writes fiction and non-fiction books about artificial intelligence. “Pandora’s Brain” is a thriller about the arrival of the first superintelligence, and “Surviving AI” is a non-fiction review of the promise and peril of AI. He became a full-time writer and speaker about AI in 2012 after a 30-year career in journalism, marketing, strategy consulting, and running entrepreneurial businesses.

David Wood is the founder and chair of the London Futurists. Previously he was a senior executive at Psion, Symbian and Nokia. He then became CTO of Accenture Mobility. He is a sought-after speaker on future trends in business and politics.

Doors open at 18:30

5.) The Singularity Controversies (3 years later), Sat 14 May

London Futurists will be returning to the topic of the Technological Singularity on Sat 14th May, with a presentation from Amnon Eden.


Full details of this event are available here. Extract:

Three years have passed since the publication of the volume of essays “The Singularity Hypotheses” – a publication that was marked at the time by a London Futurists discussion event. During these three years, public awareness of the concepts of an intelligence explosion has grown sharply – fuelled, in part, by statements from luminaries such as Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk.

In this event, Amnon Eden, lead editor of Singularity Hypotheses, returns to London Futurists to provide an update on the controversies about the Singularity. Topics to be covered will include:

  • Luddites, Philistines, and Starry-Eyed: The War over Killer Robots
  • AI (Artificial Intelligence) vs. IA (Intelligence Augmentation)
  • “Technological Singularity”: A Definition, Sufficient and Necessary Conditions
  • Perennial Fallacies, Debunked and Re-debunked
  • Learning from the media storm.

6.) A quick note on registering for London Futurists events – change

Some of you have noticed a change in the way operates. Previously, London Futurists took advantage of an available setting in in which pre-payment to attend our events was “recommended, but not required”. That allowed people to RSVP Yes for events, and then to come back to the site at a later time to use PayPal to pay the entrance fee (usually £5 for our events).

However, for reasons they haven’t fully explained, have withdrawn support for that option. From now on, any events that have an entrance fee have to operate under the setting of “payment is required to RSVP”. Sorry!

This means that pre-registrations for future events are now coming in more slowly than before. It will also mean, I expect, that a larger proportion of people who RSVP Yes will actually come to the meeting.

(Note: we set entrance charges for our events so as to, on average, cover our costs in hiring the meeting rooms. London Futurists aims to operate at zero net cost.)

7.) The future of cryopreservation, Sat 16 April

It seems that 2016 will be the year in which discussion on cryonics will burst back into the mainstream. I see three signs why this is happening:

First, Tim Urban of “Wait but why” has published an excellent article “Why cryonics makes sense”. It has already been described as going “Straight to the top of best essay on the subject ever”. You ought to read the whole article for yourself. I’ll just quote the opening paragraphs:

You’re on an airplane when you hear a loud sound and things start violently shaking. A minute later, the captain comes on the speaker and says:

There’s been an explosion in the engine, and the plane is going to crash in 15 minutes. There’s no chance of survival. There is a potential way out—the plane happens to be transferring a shipment of parachutes, and anyone who would like to use one to escape the plane may do so. But I must warn you—the parachutes are experimental and completely untested, with no guarantee to work. We also have no idea what the terrain will be like down below. Please line up in the aisle if you’d like a parachute, and the flight attendants will give you one, show you how to use it and usher you to the emergency exit where you can jump. Those who choose not to take that option, please remain in your seat—this will be over soon, and you will feel no pain.

What would you do?…

Second, a subset of members of the Effective Altruism community are seriously looking into the possibility of a transformation of the scale of support for cryonics. There are large benefits that could be realised from switching from only a few people to many more people being cryopreserved. This is being discussed in the (brand new) Facebook group “Effective Altruism and Cryonics”, which in turn references the essay “How to Cryopreserve Everyone: A Big Hairy Audacious Goal for Cryonics” by Ralph Merkle on the Alcor website, as well as essays on Less Wrong and elsewhere.

Third, international researchers from the field of cryopreservation are making interesting progress in different techniques, and are forming new networks to improve their collaborations. One example is the UK Cryonics and Cryopreservation Research Network. From their website:

Although we are a small group, we hope to promote academic and industrial activity on cryopreservation, and discuss its potential applications, including the idea of cryopreserving whole humans, commonly known as cryonics.

We acknowledge that cryonics is a controversial topic, but like any unprovable approach we think its scientific discussion is necessary to permit its understanding by the public and by the wider scientific community, and it allows us to address many of the misunderstandings surrounding cryonics. We also think that cryopreservation, cryogenics and cryonics are fields with a huge potential impact on human medicine whose societal implications should be considered and debated.

We hope to attract and excite students and other researchers about cryobiology, contribute to knowledge exchange and help attract interest and funding to the field.

The founder and network coordinator of the UK Cryonics and Cryopreservation Research Network, Dr João Pedro de Magalhães, is visiting London Futurists on Saturday 16th April. You can find more details of this event, and RSVP to attend, here.


8.) The future of work – If humans were free…

Back in November I gave an introduction to the work of the Millennium Project and their ongoing project into the future of work. A video of that presentation is available here.

Their project is continuing, and has already collaboratively evaluated a couple of important scenarios about the future of work. They’re now looking for feedback about a third scenario. Here’s a copy of the invitation from their Executive Director, Jerome Glenn, to take part in this feedback process:

On behalf of The Millennium Project, I have the pleasure to invite you to add your judgements, from now until April 22, 2016, in a global study on the future dynamics of work and technology.

Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates are warning the world about the potential dangers of artificial intelligence growing beyond human control. Whether AI does or does not, it is certain that it and other future technologies will have fundamental impacts on the nature of work and economics over the next 34 years. The world needs a serious long-term global exploration about these matters and we seek to include your thinking in this exploration.

The Millennium Project conducted an international Real-Time Delphi questionnaire on these issues and are available in PDF format. The results are being used to create three alternative global work/tech 2050 scenarios:

Scenario 1: It’s Complicated – A Mixed Bag
Scenario 2: Political/Economic Turmoil – Future Despair
Scenario 3: If Humans Were Free – The Self-Actualizing Economy

You are invited to review scenario 3 and share your views here.

When you go to this link, you will be asked to sign in with your email address. If you have not signed in before, you will then get a message saying: “No user exists with the email address: <your email address> would you like to create an account?” Select yes (so that you can see your answers when you come back). You will then be asked several demographic questions on your first visit only. Then you will have access to the Real-Time Delphi questionnaire. At the end of the draft scenario, please answer only those questions you feel comfortable answering.

You do not have to complete this questionnaire on one visit. To record your answers, please click “Submit” after each question you answer; this will also open a text box where you are invited to provide reasoning for your answers.

You can (and are encouraged to) revisit the questionnaire (signing in with your same email address) as many times as you like, to see how other participants have responded. You are welcome to change your answers based on what you have read from other participants or based on your further reflection and research. You can edit your responses in any way you wish at any time. No attributions will be made; your answers will be anonymous, unless you put your name with the comments entered.

The results of this global assessment will be used to improve scenario 3. Respondents to this Real-Time Delphi will be invited to participate in the next activities and receive all the results.


The Millennium Project is a global participatory think tank connecting 58 Nodes around the world that identify long-range challenges and strategies, and initiate and conduct foresight studies, workshops, symposiums, and advanced training. It produces the annual State of the Future reports, the Futures Research Methodology series, the Global Futures Intelligence System, and special studies such as this one.

Note: you may find it challenging to provide answers to this scenario feedback process. That’s intentional! It’s intended to prompt participants to think hard, rather than just to offer top-of-mind comments.

9.) Invitation to write about yourself in H+Pedia

The material in H+Pedia continues to expand. H+Pedia is a project to spread accurate, accessible, non-sensational information about transhumanism and futurism among the general public.

H+Pedia aims to follow the general principles of Wikipedia. At the same time, the H+Pedia editorial team seek to demonstrate greater awareness and appreciation of transhumanism and radical futurism. This is reflected by the inclusion in H+Pedia of material which might not pass the Wikipedia tests for notability, as currently applied by Wikipedia editors.

(The guiding principles of H+Pedia are described in more detail here.)


One Wikipedia rule which H+Pedia is setting aside, for the time being, is the rule that people aren’t allowed to edit entries about themselves. Wikipedia has good reasons behind that rule, but at present, H+Pedia is encouraging anyone who can describe themself as a futurist or transhumanist to create or edit an H+Pedia entry for themself. This is one way of helping the content to grow more quickly and achieve a desired critical mass. It also helps the futurist community to understand itself better.

So please plunge in 🙂

(The H+Pedia team ask that you show good judgement in what you write about yourself. Instead of duplicating lots of content which is already available elsewhere online, provide some links. And once you’ve written one article, hopefully you’ll be inspired to write more!)

// 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 )

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.