London Futurists news, 19 Sept 2017

Dear Futurists,

Here are a few news items about events and projects which will hopefully be of interest. Feel free to skip ahead to the ones most relevant to you.

1.) Radical improvements for the health industry?

Ascendance Biomedical Preview

Our event on “The future of healthcare, decentralized” is happening this Saturday (23rd Sept):

Healthcare is suffering from stagnation. Costly barriers to market entry have prevented promising therapies from reaching those who need them. Big Pharma has focused on costly, long-term treatments rather than affordable, cost-effective cures.

However, decentralization allows us to move past this paradigm.

In this talk, Aaron Traywick and Matt Johnstone of Ascendance Biomedical will share their vision for how cutting edge biomedical technologies can be made available to everyone – without hassle.

The speakers will draw on their experience with medical solutions in fields such as gene therapy transfection, senolytics, plasmid therapies that provide resistance to viruses, rejuvenation of ovaries, and a vaccine for lung cancer.

They will also outline the potential usage of cryptotokens and a D.A.O. (distributed autonomous organization) to accelerate the development and deployment of innovative new healthcare therapies.

For more details, and to RSVP to attend, click here.

2.) Devonshire Club Tech Mingle on the Singularity – 26 Sept

On the evening of Tuesday 26th Sept I’ll be the guest speaker at the Tech Mingle event held at the Devonshire Club, which is a short walk from Liverpool Street station.

Here’s an excerpt from the description of this event (not written by me, I hasten to add):

Tech Mingle Singularity

David Wood knows the future: at least, he’s got a better idea than most. As the Chair of London’s Futurists, David and is full of exciting ideas and knowledge…

Join him to hear more about The Singularity: the era when machines will become smarter than humans. Of course, it’s a lot more complicated than that, as David will tell you… We can’t wait to hear more.

3.) Quantum Computing algorithms – Wed 27 Sept

If you want to understand how quantum computers differ from classical computers, this talk looks very relevant:

London QC meetup

The third London Quantum Computing meetup will be a talk on quantum algorithms by Dr Ashley Montanaro from the University of Bristol. UCL have kindly agreed to host this in a 130 seat lecture hall on their central London campus. This talk should be accessible to most people as it does not require any previous knowledge or maths or quantum physics. Here is a description of the talk itself:-

Quantum computers are machines which are designed to use quantum mechanics to do things that are impossible for any standard computer based only on the laws of classical physics. Quantum computing promises to revolutionise the technology industry by allowing previously intractable problems to be solved efficiently. Areas where quantum computing could be applied include simulating quantum-mechanical systems, with applications to optimising chemical processes or finding novel materials; breaking cryptographic systems; and solving hard optimisation problems.

However, quantum computers do not outperform their classical counterparts for all possible applications. They can only achieve a performance enhancement for those problems where a quantum algorithm has been discovered to solve that problem efficiently. Quantum algorithms use fundamentally different techniques to their classical competitors. But just as with classical computing, the development of new quantum algorithms can be very challenging.

In this talk, Ashley will introduce quantum computing and some leading quantum algorithms, including recent developments in the field. He will discuss their applications and implications for technology, and give a flavour of the principles behind them. No knowledge of quantum mechanics, quantum computing or its underlying mathematics will be assumed, though an interest in mathematics or the theory of computing would be helpful.

Dr Ashley Montanaro is Lecturer in Applied Mathematics at the University of Bristol. He has over a decade of experience in the field of  quantum computing, specialising in the theory of quantum algorithms and quantum computational complexity, and has designed many quantum algorithms himself. In a previous existence he was a software engineer in the telecommunications industry.

For more information, click here.

4.) SingularityU London Chapter event – Thu 28 Sept

This event from the London Chapter of Singularity University caught my attention too:

SingU London Chapter

Disrupting Ourselves, Rethinking Leadership and Driving Compassion Exponentially

Thursday, September 28, 2017 – 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Our world today faces unprecedented challenges, rooted in multiple forms of disconnection. By losing connection to nature, we have created a systemic divide; by diluting connection with each other, we have manifested a social divide; and by ignoring connection with ourselves, we have deepened our spiritual divide. As these chasms widen at an alarming rate, everyone longs for reconnection.

How can technology help us reconnect? Today’s social networks connect loose ties, but it dramatically cheapens our deep friendships. Big data helps us make smart decisions but it discounts our intrinsic connection to deep data. Artificial intelligence is now helping us automate the status quo, but we don’t have any algorithm for inner transformation. And ultimately, if compassion isn’t something we need to acquire but rather something we need to discover within ourselves (as science tells us), how can we build next generation technologies with a foundation of kindness and service?

Our speaker, Nipun Mehta, will share insights around these edges and stories from his global experiments at the intersection of technology, volunteerism and gift economy.  He is the founder of ServiceSpace, a “labour of love” ecosystem of more than 500,000 members, whose projects range from DailyGood to KindSpring to Karma Kitchen. Nipun has received many awards like Dalai Lama’s Unsung Hero of Compassion award and in 2015, President Obama appointed him to a council on poverty and equality. His speeches on wide-ranging topics, underscoring a need for greater generosity, have reached millions world-wide. His mission statement in life simply reads: “Bring smiles in the world and stillness in my heart.”

For more information, click here.

5.) A play about the Turing Test

If you’d prefer to watch theatre, rather than attending meetups every night of the week(!), consider “The Test”, which is being performed at the White Bear Theatre in Kennington Park Road, London SE11, from 19-30 September:

The Test

A reckless scientist and a computer hacker join forces to hijack the entire internet in an attempt to create the first truly conscious artificial intelligence.

They apply the ‘Turing Test’ to assess their creation but who is really being tested? Who will gain the upper hand? The future of humanity hangs in the balance…

For more details, and to purchase tickets, click here.

6.) Open Innovation Workshop: Drones in Construction – 29 Sept

The following was drawn to my attention by friends of London Futurists at COMIT:

Drones in Construction

UAV’s – commonly called drones – are already providing positive contributions to the construction industry.  But there are still major obstacles to the widespread adoption of the technology and even some potential setbacks if these are not overcome.

As part of the Co-Creation Program in partnership with Digital Construction week, this important workshop will provide the foundation to developing the core foundations of a working committee to promote and deliver solutions to overcome barriers to drone usage in the construction Industry.

Through a structured Open Innovation workshop, participants will share knowledge and experience to identify barriers to drone usage.

We are looking for passionate and skilled individuals to engage, shake up, challenge and revisit the status quo. The group will then bounce ideas around to formulate a vision of the future that eradicates the most pressing barriers to drone usage in construction.

Places are very limited. If interested, you need to fill in an online form, explaining why you would be particularly suited to attend.

7.) Future Consciousness: The Path to Purposeful Evolution – Sat 7 Oct

Future Consciousness

The speaker at the London Futurists event on “Future Consciousness” on Saturday 7th October is coming all the way from Phoenix, Arizona:

How do we create a good future? This deceptively simple question is the central challenge of human life. Indeed, the question brings to centre stage the most distinctive and empowering capacity of the human mind: to be able to consciously imagine, think about, and intentionally pursue preferable futures.

Tom Lombardo, the Director of the Center for Future Consciousness, refers to this multi-faceted psychological capacity within all of us as “future consciousness.” Our unique conscious minds, reflecting and amplifying nature’s vast and pervasive evolutionary process, have achieved an evolution in evolution—a jump to purposeful evolution—through future consciousness.

In his new book, “Future Consciousness”, Tom outlines a “path to purposeful evolution”: through the heightening of future consciousness, we can flourish in the flow of evolution and create a good future for ourselves, human society, and the planet.

In this London Futurists event, Tom will be sharing some highlights from his analysis, and responding to questions and suggestions from the audience.

For more details, click here.

8.) Videos from the recent event “Agenda for the Future”

The video and audio recordings from our recent event “Agenda for the Future” are gradually being processed and published online. At time of writing, videos for six of the eleven sessions have been released.

They’re being added to this event page as they become available.

If you subscribe to the YouTube channel for London Futurists, you’ll be automatically notified whenever new videos are released.

I’ve found lots to ponder in the material, as I’ve been reviewing it while preparing to release it. Hopefully you’ll find the recordings useful and provocative too!

9.) TransVision 2017 – Brussels, 9-11 Nov

TransVision Eventbrite

This last news item is for people who consider themselves members, or friends, of the extended transhumanist community worldwide.

A three day event is being held in Brussels, 9-11 November, with the themes

  • The future of transhumanism
  • The politics of emerging technologies.

The event has the name “TransVision”, and as such, is the latest in a series extending all the way back to 1998.

(The first which I attended was TransVision 06, in Helsinki. Some grainy footage exists of the talk I gave there.)

Here’s a note about TransVision 2017 from one of its organisers, Didier Coeurnelle, Spokesperson of the AFT-Technoprog and Co-president of Heales:


In two months, Transvision 2017 will happen in Brussels. See .

We will organize three days of conference, discussions, workshops, propositions, contacts with the press and … fun.

First day, Thursday November 9

Assessment: an account of the situation and the evolution of the movement and transhumanist thought in various countries of Europe and the World

Second day, Friday November 10

Prospects: working time on what we think to do, together or separately

Third day, Saturday November 11

Syntheses, External analysis of the movement. Activities also for non-transhumanists (press, people interested…).

Places are quite limited. You have until September 26 to register. After that, we will open to a larger public (for the last day).

Register via Eventbrite.

We decided to keep a very low price: 30 € if you have no job or are a student, 60 € for the normal price, 100 or more for the “solidarity price”.

100 € is the price covering the expenses and making it possible to pay expenses for transhumanists from far countries with a limited budget. On the other side, if you are on a very low budget, you can contact us for cheap housing (youth hostels are also cheap in Brussels).

Please forward this email to other transhumanists if you think they don’t know yet about the link for registration.

If you want to speak and you were not contacted yet, please let us know (with some information about you and your affiliation(s)). Normally, most speakers will intervene the first day (the other days are for collective discussions).

// David W. Wood
Chair, London Futurists

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