London Futurists news, 19th August 2016

Covering website woes, as well as the usual roundup of interesting events and projects…

1.) Apologies regarding difficulties in RSVPing

Over the last couple of days many of you have contacted me in various ways, reporting that you were having difficulties in RSVPing to the London Futurists events which required payment at the same time as RSVPing.

The short (semi-serious) explanation is that robots at messed up a software change, and a human at London Futurists has taken advantage of a different set of robots at to put in place some temporary workarounds.

All of the events on our meetup site now enable RSVPing without prepayment, avoiding this new glitch. As you’ll see on the various pages, I’ve made available direct PayPal links where you can pay the relevant entrance fee (usually £7):

Four events

For attendees, the good reasons to pay in advance are that:

  • It’s cheaper that way: £7, as opposed to £10 if you pay at the door
  • It guarantees entry, whereas if the event becomes fully booked, the room may be too full to accept other attendees.

For London Futurists, payment in advance helps:

  • Avoid lengthy queues of people at the door
  • Give us more confidence about the numbers of people actually attending (rather than us hiring an over-large and therefore over-expensive room).

So don’t delay 🙂

Sorry for this boring admin stuff! Back to more interesting material…

2.) Bonus event, 10 September

Gerd Leonhard is a widely-known top-rated futurist, with over 1500 engagements in 50+ countries since 2004 and a combined audience of over 1 million people.

Gerd’s new book has a provocative title: “Technology vs. Human: The coming clash between man and machine”. It covers some very important material:

This book brings together mankind’s urge to upgrade and automate everything – including human biology itself – with our timeless quest for freedom and happiness. Before it’s too late, we must stop and ask the big questions: How do we embrace technology without becoming it? When it happens – gradually, then suddenly – the machine era will create the greatest watershed in human life on Earth. Technology vs. Humanity is one of the last moral maps we’ll get as humanity enters the Jurassic Park of Big Tech.


Gerd will be visiting London in early September. The best place to hear him talk about the themes of his new book is at the Future Scapes meetup taking place on the evening of Thursday 8th September. You can find the details of that event here.

For people unable to attend on Thursday – and for people who simply want to join another discussion of this fascinating subject – London Futurists has arranged a bonus event on the second part of the afternoon of Saturday 10th September. You can find more details of that event here. Please note that:

  • This event is happening on the same day and in the same room as another London Futurists event – “The End of Banking? with Jonathan McMillan” – and will start after that one has finished
  • Specifically, this event will start at 4.15pm, after a short comfort break following the previous event, and will finish by 5pm
  • There is no charge to attend this event, but in case of too many people wanting to attend it, priority will be given to London Futurists members who are also signed up for the preceding event.

3.) Ask Me Anything About the Future – event at Bloomberg

The following details have just been released of a panel event at Bloomberg’s London premises in Finsbury Square on the evening of Tuesday 1st November. It’s organised by the technology investment company Force over Mass with support from London Futurists:

Force Over Mass continues its series of talks, this time partnering with Bloomberg and London Futurists. By bringing together leading experts in their respective fields we will take you on a journey into what the future will entail.

Themes covered during the event programme will include: Driverless Vehicles, Quantum Computing, Psychedelic Drugs, HealthTech, FinTech, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual & Augmented Reality, Cybersecurity, Molecular Manufacturing, Nano Technologies, Crypto Currencies and more…



  • Rt Hon George Osborne CH MP, Chancellor of The Exchequer 2010-2016
  • Calum Chace, Author of “The Economic Singularity: Artificial intelligence and the death of capitalism” and “Surviving AI: The promise and peril of artificial intelligence”
  • Steve Dann, Founder & CEO, Amplified Robot – pioneering the use of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality in medical training, education, and beyond
  • David Singleton, Engineering VP leading the Android Wear, Google Fit, Android Essentials Apps & Google Store Teams
  • Anne Lise Kjaer, Founder & CEO, Kjaer Global, Author of the Trend Management Toolkit – helping organisations navigate the future and capitalise on change
  • Anders Sandberg, Senior Research Fellow, Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford University – studies cognitive enhancement, collective intelligence, neuroethics, and global catastrophic risk
  • David Wood, Chair of London Futurists, former smartphone industry pioneer, editor of “Anticipating 2025” and author of “The Abolition of Aging”

For more details, and to register, see the Bloomberg website.

4.) Free comedy in Hammersmith – The joys of technology

And now for something different. This event has caught my attention – though I have no direct experience of the performers. It’s taking place on the evening of Tuesday 27th September. From the Eventbrite page:

Free comedy in Hammersmith – The joys of technology

Stand up comedy at the London authentic, award-winning, modern Mediterranean restaurant. It is just a short walk from Hammersmith tube station and the Apollo. Comedy night starts at 7:30pm and finishes at the latest 10:15pm. We have two professional comedians and a hilarious host. We have the amazing Marvin Alan hosting a wide range of weird and wonderful acts: and Oli Bettesworth headlining:

5.) Nootropics approaching the mainstream (slowly…)

What are nootropics? Here’s the “short answer” from a recently launched website,

Nootropics are synthetic compounds that improve the cognitive abilities of healthy individuals. In their basic state they’re powders, but we sell them in capsule form. Nootropics are not medicines: medicines bring you back to health when you’re sick, whilst nootropics help you improve when you’re healthy.

Given the unique effect profile of each nootropic compound, and given the variation in people’s brain chemistry, individuals can use different nootropics for different purposes and outcomes. The most commonly sought-after effects are enhanced cognition, motivation and concentration.

That site has a “long answer” too, as well as answers to other FAQs, such as:

  • Why do people use nootropics? (productivity, study, socialising, exercise, general well-being…)
  • What quantities, frequency, and cycling of nootropics should be considered?
  • How can people get the most from nootropics?
  • What are the common misconceptions about nootropics?


The site also provides a nootropics shop, offering a range of “premium nootropics, cognitive enhancers and smart supplements”, under the headline of

“Your brain and self, beautifully enriched”

For legal reasons, the site restricts the countries to which it provides goods. At the present, the UK is in the excluded zone, though we can hope that more enlightened political thinking will prevail here in due course.

Indeed, I share the vision stated by the site:

We at believe that nootropics are a powerful tool for the future of productivity and wellbeing. We see cognitive enhancement as part of a tentative next step in the ongoing process of human improvement. It’s our goal to create a healthy culture of nootropics usage, in which cognitive health is not taboo but recognised as an essential aspect of human capability. For the first time in history, we’re able to improve our intellectual abilities at the chemical level, and we’re proud to facilitate that change.

// David W. Wood
Chair, London Futurists

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