London Futurists news, 17 May 2017

Dear Futurists,

There are a few things I’d like to draw to your attention…

1.) Radicals – this Saturday, featuring Jamie Bartlett

I had the pleasure a couple of evenings ago to watch Jamie Bartlett of Demos give a talk covering some of the material in his new book Radicals: Outsiders changing the world. The talk was great fun but also thought-provoking.

Society is badly served, Jamie argued, by the limited set of ideas which occupy our cultural mainstream. To cope with the increasing pace of change, we need big new ideas. Where might these ideas come from? And how might new ideas transition from comparative obscurity to have a greater influence?

To illustrate his case, Jamie’s book examines a number of “radical” outsiders. The talk I saw focused on three of these, including Zoltan Istvan of the US Transhumanist Party, and Vít Jedlička, the founder of the self-declared libertarian micronation Liberland.

Jamie is giving a variant of that talk to London Futurists this Saturday. It will contain more material, and we’ll have longer for group discussion. I’m looking forward to it!

Radicals event preview v2

For more details, and to RSVP whilst there are still some seats left, click here.

2.) A chance to join the Y Combinator founders dining group

I’m passing on the following note from Sam Knightsbridge of the seed accelerator Y Combinator.  It’s about an opportunity for anyone involved with a startup – or seriously thinking about creating a startup – to join some of the activities of the Y Combinator’s London Startup School (a number of vacancies have opened up in that programme). The School involves watching videos released on a regular basis here, and then meeting with other School participants to discuss the application of the concepts in the videos. The two most recent videos are by Xerox Parc legend Alan Kay – famous for (among many other reasons) commenting that “The best way to predict the future is to invent it”.

Here’s the message from Sam:

Y Combinator’s London Startup School is back this week with a Startup School Dinner, meeting at 7pm tomorrow (Thursday) evening. Alan Kay is a genuine legend of Futurism. Y Combinator has been fortunate this week to have Alan give two lectures on How To Invent The Future. David Wood is kindly coming to the dinner as our guest speaker to address this same topic. As a pioneer of the smartphone industry, David built a vision of the future that few thought possible, so having him give us a private talk on How To Invent The Future is an awesome opportunity.

It’s all free of charge; before and after the talk you’ll be able to grab dinner and chat with others about all things tech: topics surrounding how to invent the future, what technology you’re building or interested in, the challenges faced by the space etc.

Time & Date: 7pm-9pm, Thursday 18th May. Location is in Streatham (SW16).

We have 10 places available for the event, so please contact me here ASAP if you’re interested in attending:

Alternatively, if you’d just like to know more about our upcoming events and what we’re up to, please feel free to get in contact too.

3.) 5G World Futurist Summit, 15th June

Plans are coming along nicely for the 5G World Futurist Summit, taking place on Thursday 15th June as part of TechXLR8 at London’s ExCeL centre.

10 speakers

I’ll be chairing this summit, introducing ten futurists and industry experts, who will share their insights about important transformation opportunities that deserve greater attention in the industries of healthcare, education, construction, agriculture, and finance. These opportunities involve the forthcoming improved wireless networks of 5G, and much more in parallel.

This summit is free to attend, but attendees do need to register in advance on the 5G World website.

If you sign up early, you’ll get to hear about other workshops and presentations taking place over the three days of TechXLR8. There’s a great deal going on!

For more details, see here.

4.) How is UBI going to be paid for? Or are there better responses to automation?

There are still two weeks left to submit material for the “New Social Contract Prize Challenge” taking place on H+Pedia, sponsored by the Transhumanist Party (UK).

Since the competition was first announced, pages on H+Pedia covering Technological Unemployment, Universal Basic Income (UBI), Robot Tax, and related topics, have improved significantly. But there is still scope for new participants to make an impact, and to earn a share of the £500 prize fund on offer.

The contest runs up to the end of May.

5.) Better Politics Via Exponential Technology & Digital Transformation?

As an experiment, I’m presenting some of my ideas about the future of politics in a webinar organised by GlobalNet21. This webinar will be broadcast live from 7pm on Tuesday next week (23rd May). Here’s an extract from the description of the webinar:

Many fields of life have been positively transformed by application of technological innovations. What prevents politics from benefiting in a similar way from “politech” (technology for a better politics)? Can technology help us move from present-day “Politics 1.0” to a “Politics 2.0” that is more collaborative and more constructive? Or might accelerating technology precipitate instead a decline towards a poorer, more divisive form of politics?

We’ll be using the Zoom online conferencing tool for this webinar. To register to take part, click on You can read more details about the event here.

If all goes well, the tool should be able to allow audience members to participate in a multi-way real-time text discussion, in response to the points raised by the event chair (Francis Sealey of GlobalNet21) and the main speaker (me).

Despite the proximity of the UK General Election, this webinar won’t be an occasion to discuss the pros and cons of the various parties standing candidates for Parliament. Instead, it will be a discussion about the overall framework and priorities of political activity. In 2017, surely we can do better!


// David W. Wood
Chair, London Futurists



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