London Futurists news, 14 Oct 2016

Dear Futurists,

I’m compiling this newsletter during a short break in the far-off city of New Delhi. It’s a city with a lot of history – as well as lots of aspiration for a better future.

There’s plenty happening in London too! Read on for some suggestions.

1.) Eight technologies that are driving change at an exponential rate

Ahead of the London Futurists event on 5th November, “Masters of the Exponential Age: An immersive leadership development experience”, I’ve been chatting to the speakers about their plans for the afternoon.


Here’s an update from Warrick Harniess:

We will focus, as a starting point, on eight technologies that are key driving forces of change and debate in the exponential age:

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Robotics
  • Unmanned autonomous vehicles
  • Internet of Things
  • Blockchain
  • 3D Printing
  • Virtual Reality
  • Augmented Reality

At the London Futurists event, we will share examples of the briefing packs that delegates at the full two-day event will receive, that focus on these eight technologies. We will also give participants the opportunity to debate and explore:

  • Which of these technologies are most important for specific industries
  • How technological progress is expected to influence the zeitgeist, policy and regulation – and vice versa.

For more details of this event, and to RSVP, click here.

2.) Your chance to influence the topics for forthcoming events

On the subject of selecting priorities, all members of London Futurists are invited to cast their votes in a new survey.

The survey is a follow-up to the first joint meetup between GlobalNet21 and London Futurists, which took place on the 4th of October at Newspeak House. As an experiment, the event was live-streamed. You can view the recording at

That meetup ended with the audience making a host of interesting suggestions for the topics to be covered in future joint meetups between the two groups – these being planned to happen four times a year, with the next one in January (date still to be agreed).

Francis Sealey of GlobalNet21 has gathered these suggestions into a Survey Monkey form. That survey asks respondents to pick up to six topics from the list, and to prioritise them, as the topics they would most like to see addressed in future joint meetups. I won’t replicate the entire list here, but here are some of the choices to consider:

  • In the digital age, do we need a new code of progressive ethics?
  • In the age of genetic manipulation, do we need to redefine what is a human?
  • Can capitalism survive the digital age?
  • Can democracy in the digital age empower citizens rather than politicians?
  • Will privacy will be relegated to history in the age of “big data”?
  • Humans have developed consciousness. Will Artificial Intelligence develop a consciousness of its own and will that threaten us?
  • How can we get across to those entrenched in conventional politics of both right and left that the digital age will change everything?
  • Can Virtual Reality provide a major impetus towards greater global empathy and understanding?
  • Will AI make warfare more or less likely? More or less dangerous?
  • Can technology enhance or augment human brains sufficiently that we can keep abreast of fast-improving AI?

If you would like your vote to count, click on the survey link.


3.) A gathering of “Digital Direct Democracy activists”, Tues 18th Oct

On Tuesday evening next week there’s another event happening at Newspeak House. This time the organiser is Cybersalon, long-time friends of London Futurists. The event has the provocative title “Give people a vote and they will come”.


It’s described as a gathering of “digital direct democracy activists”:

A discussion of the tools for Direct Digital Democracy, inspired by the accomplishments in Taiwan and Spain as well as tools that could help the grass-root movement Momentum UK.

The speakers will be

  • Colin Megill (CEO & co-founder
  • Dr Paolo Gerbaudo (Director Digital Culture Research Centre at Kings College London)
  • Alena Ivanova (Momentum Tower Hamlets: Organiser for the New Economy Network)

and the chair will be Dr Richard Barbrook (Centre for Study of Democracy, Westminster University).

4.) Opportunities with Fast Future

I’d like to pass on news of three opportunities with Fast Future Publishing:

(4A) 50:50 – Scenarios for the Next 50 Years – Call for Proposals

This year marks the 50th birthday of the World Future Society. To commemorate 50 years of public discourse about the future, Fast Future Publishing will be launching a new book looking ahead to the next 50.

The book –  50:50 – Scenarios for the Next 50 Years – will be published on Future Day – March 1st, 2017.  The intention is to publish 50 views on the next 50 years from 50 different future thinkers around the world.

Each chapter will be a maximum of 1500 words. To learn more about the book, the contributor benefits, and how to submit a 500-word proposal, please visit the book’s website. The proposal deadline is October 24th.

(4B) Survey – a Very Human Future

Fast Future Publishing are currently conducting a survey on the science and technology developments that could shape the next 10-20 years and how we can harness them to ensure positive well-being, a sustainable society, personal fulfilment, and a very human future. The results will be presented by Fast Future CEO Rohit Talwar at an invite-only Brink Institute event with Richard Branson at his Necker Island Resort from December 1st-5th. They will also appear in Fast Future’s forthcoming book, “A Very Human Future.
You can complete the survey here.

As a token of appreciation for helping in this way, everyone who completes the full survey can receive a summary report on the results and a 50% reduction on the list price of all books published by Fast Future Publishing for the next 12 months.

Click here to find out more about this Brink Institute event, and use password FastFuture2016 to enter the secure site.

(4C) Job Opportunities at Fast Future Publishing

Fast Future is an innovative young publishing company which specialises in books exploring the forces, trends, developments, and ideas that could shape the future. The company is now looking for two individuals to join the team to focus on a wide range of marketing, PR, social media, web, research, business development, editorial support, and event management activities. The right candidates will have a passion for exploring the future, possess a high tolerance of uncertainty, be a fast learner, and be willing to work on literally every aspect of the business from developing marketing campaigns to reviewing manuscripts. To find out more about the company and the roles, please contact

5.) Student societies worth attending


Last Tuesday, 11th October, I was pleased to be the speaker at the inaugural event of the newly created “Imperial College Beyond Society” (“IC Beyond“) – whose cover image from their Facebook page is shown above. We had a fascinating discussion on the subject of Technological Unemployment.


Feedback I received afterwards included the following:

The feedback has been wonderful; quite a few people have told me that they found your talk fascinating and thought-provoking in terms of the implications for society and the direction we’re moving in.

IC Beyond are planning to hold regular follow-up events, with a session on Basic Income scheduled for 1st November. Students of all ages are welcome to attend. Keep your eye on the IC Beyond Facebook page for more details.

Another new student group that is worth checking is “Oxford Longevity Society”.


They’ve already featured:

And on Thursday 20th October their speaker will be:

6.) Other events that have caught my eye


Depending on your areas of interest – and on where you live – the following may be something you want to consider:

7.) Progress with audio-visual

Thanks to everyone who has provided constructive feedback about progress with the quality of audio-visual recordings of London Futurists events. We continue to experiment with different equipment and different setups.

For example, the recording of last Saturday’s event, “The Economic Singularity (Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the AI)“, featuring Calum Chace, is available here.

The recording of our 4th October event at Newspeak House is available in news item 2 above. As you can see, the camera we used on that occasion struggled from time to time to auto-focus properly. Hence my question: what camera would people recommend that we use, the next time that we live-stream an event?

(Note that the Panasonic HC-V750EB-K camera which we use to record the event in Birkbeck College cannot be used, so far as I can tell, to copy its content in real time to an attached laptop from where it can be live streamed.)

One final note about audio-visual spectaculars: I need to finish writing this newsletter now, since I have a date at dawn tomorrow morning in Agra with one of the most spectacular buildings in the world:


It should be a spectacular way to spend a wedding anniversary 🙂

// 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.