London Futurists news, 20 Nov 2016

Dear Futurists,

Raise your hand, if you’re wearied of politics.

Yes, I suspected as much. Many of us have grown apprehensive of political discussions. Whether the topic under debate is Donald Trump, Brexit, Jeremy Corbyn, or something else, these discussions too often end up in rancour and mistrust.

We’ve found ourselves poleaxed by clashes with former close friends. Our relationships have been ruptured by bad-tempered disagreements over political questions. How could you think like that? we ask, in bewilderment. You’re stuck in denial, we continue. And our fingers hover over the “Block” or “Unfriend” buttons on social media.

But this is no reason for us to isolate ourselves from politics. If we try to put our heads into the sands, bad-tempered politics will have a way of trampling on top of us, regardless that we hoped it would ignore us.

Rather than despairing over politics, we have to fix it. That’s the thought behind the “Transpolitica 2016” event which is happening on Saturday 3rd December – the event which is covered in news item #1 below. Read on for more information about Transpolitica 2016 and other events and projects which fall under the radical futurist umbrella.

1.) Preview of Transpolitica 2016

I’ve just published a short video that previews Transpolitica 2016. It’s on the London Futurists YouTube channel:

It’s less than four minutes long, but it covers all fifteen of the speakers who are lined up to give TED-style talks over the course of the day. Hopefully after you take the time to watch the video, you’ll consider registering to attend the event. Click here for the meetup page.

2.) Pre-Transpolitica get-together for professional futurists

A number of professional futurists are travelling from abroad to attend Transpolitica 2016 – including futurists from Spain and Iceland. It’s been suggested that a number of UK-based professional futurists will meet with these overseas visitors at 5pm on the Friday evening (2nd December). It will be a chance to compare notes on experiences working with clients in the corporate and public sectors.

Numbers will be limited, but if you’d like to take part, please drop me an email.

Note: that 5pm timeslot has been chosen to allow participants to move on afterwards, if they wish, to the Brainplay meetup on “The Right to Communicate, The Right to Privacy” which is starting at 7pm – a meetup which is organised in conjunction with the APF (Association of Professional Futurists) London Gatherings.

3.) Recording of Bloomberg event “Ask Me Anything About the Future”

Those of you who attended the event at Bloomberg on the 1st of November, “Ask me anything about the future”, will know that panel members were on sparkling form. I had the pleasure to pose questions to:

  • 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
  • Oli Gaymond, Product Lead, Android Wear for China
  • 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.

The event was organised by the technology investment company Force over Mass with support from London Futurists.

For those who missed the event – and for those who wish to relive it – the good news is that Bloomberg have made available a video recording of the entire discussion:

4.) Premier of a movie about the Singularity University

This Monday (21st November) sees the UK’s first private screening of the film “The University”, the long-awaited documentary about Singularity University.

The film was commissioned by Singularity University to follow the organisation’s progress from 2009 up to the present. As you’ll see in the film, there’s been lots of impressive progress. The various startups birthed at Singularity University cover a wide range of different applications of exponentially changing technology. The university has also helped educate and inform policy makers in many countries about the urgent need to solve humanity’s grand challenges.

An early trailer of the film is available here:

For more details of the private screening, and to obtain tickets, click here. Be aware that numbers are restricted.

As you can see from the film description on IMDb, people who make appearances in it include Buzz Aldrin, Chris Anderson, Dan Barry, Peter Diamandis, Stephen Hawking, Michio Kaku, Dean Kamen, Ray Kurzweil, Ashton Kutcher, Shimon Peres, Martin Rees, and Ken Robinson. (Did someone say the word “eclectic”?)

5.) The Oxford Longevity Society

Anyone who’s in or near Oxford on Thursday 24th November may be interested in a talk I’ll be giving, from 5pm to 6pm, to the Oxford Longevity Society that day.

Here’s an extract from the Facebook page for the event:

Former smartphone industry executive David Wood, who has been chairing London Futurists since 2008, will set out the argument why the abolition of biological aging by 2040 is both feasible and desirable. He will outline four potential scenarios for the future of healthy aging – “optimistic”, “realistic”, “pessimistic”, and “abolitionist” – and explain what individuals can do to influence the probabilities for different scenarios. His talk will draw on insights from the philosophy of science, the field of foresight studies, examples from high-tech industries, and his own perspective as secretary of Humanity+ (the international transhumanist movement).

6.) Beyond the human body?

beyond-the-human-body-2

The Imperial College Beyond Society are holding an event on Monday the 28th of November, entitled “Transhumanism: Beyond the human body”.

The speakers at that event are Chris Monteiro and myself. Here’s an extract from the Facebook page for the event:

A mutant, a cyborg and a floating disembodied consciousness walk into a bar. Sounds like science fiction? Maybe not: technology is blurring the lines between fact and fiction.

Join us in an interactive forum on transhumanism: learn about the potential in upgrading of the human body, and question the fundamentals of what it really means to be human!

We have Mr David Wood (chair, London Futurists) and Mr Chris Monteiro (principal contributor to Hpluspedia.org) coming down to share with us, so do take the opportunity to ask as many relevant questions as you need! ENTRY IS FREE!

The event is open to students from other universities as well, so do invite your friends if you think they might be interested!

Points to be raised include:

  • What qualifies as a “transhuman” change?
  • Different types of “upgrades” (e.g. mechanical aids, cognitive aids, gene therapy, reversal of aging)
  • When will these technologies arrive?
  • Societal implications (e.g. potential overpopulation, creation of a super-elite minority, resistance from conservative groups)
  • Philosophical implications: should we do it?

David Wood is the chair of London Futurists…

Chris Monteiro is the main contributor to H+Pedia, an online repository of information about transhumanism. He does part time political activism, consultancy and research on other topics such as cyber crime, digital rights and technology.

Small print: The title for this event suggests that transhumanists all look forward to leaving their bodies behind – perhaps via a migration from a carbon-based brain to a silicon-based cloud. But many transhumanists are instead looking forward to overcoming the present-day constraints of the human body, by improving and enhancing it rather than escaping from it. That’s a point I’ll be aiming to clarify during my remarks at the event.

7.) H+Pedia news

News about H+Pedia, the collaboratively-edited encyclopaedia covering transhumanism, life extension, and radical futurism, is posted online on (where else?) a page inside H+Pedia.

Recent H+Pedia news items include:

  • The results of the contest for new material on the subject of healthy longevity
  • The appointment of H+Pedia contributors to “Section Editor” roles
  • The imminent conclusion of the process to select a new logo for the wiki.

The four short-listed candidates for the new logo are shown below. If you’d like your preference to count towards the final decision, please visit the Logo Redesign page, click on the Discussion tab, log into H+Pedia (create an account for yourself first, if need be), and add a line containing your vote. Please sign your contribution.

final-four-shortlist

Voting will be kept open until midnight Pacific Time on Friday evening (25th November).

By the way, while you logged into your H+Pedia account, please consider adding to the weight of collective futurist intelligence that is accumulating in this resource. For example, create a short article about yourself (or if one already exists, improve it or update it). Or add a link to a recent news story that is relevant to the theme of a page that catches your eye.

(Unlike Wikipedia, H+Pedia at present has no prohibition on people editing material about themselves. We want to enable the community to become more informed about itself.)

// David W. Wood
Chair, London Futurists

 

 

 

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