London Futurists news, 8 Nov 2017

Dear Futurists,

Please find below news of some forthcoming events that may interest you.

1.) The Great Debate – Sat 25th Nov

Great Debaters Competition 2017

London Futurists is happy to be a partner of the Great Debaters Club in support of the “Great Debaters Competition 2017” taking place on Saturday 25th November from 10am to 6.30pm:

The Great Debaters Competition is the annual showpiece of the Great Debaters Club, a social enterprise that trains its members to broaden their perspective by defending opinions other than their own.

The competition aims to offer a platform to organisations that are striving to change social attitudes towards an idea considered to be controversial, taboo, or simply ahead of its time by inviting them to decide the topics our members will debate, irrespective of their own personal opinions on them.

Each debate will be open to the public and decided by an audience vote, with a poll taken both before and after the debate to see how many minds the speakers were able to change with their arguments.

Guest speakers on cognitive bias and communication will also be invited to share their expertise on how our biases affect the way we make decisions and what we can do to hold ourselves to account for them.

Each partner of the debate has nominated one debate topic. London Futurists has nominated “This House would invest public funds to accelerate a cure for aging“. Other motions being debated on the day include “This House Believes compulsory voting should be introduced for under-25s” and “This House Supports taxing sugary drinks to improve public health“.

Tickets are available here. Note that early bird pricing ends on 10th November.

2.) Opportunity: Someone to represent London Futurists – Sat 25th Nov

The Great Debaters Club (see news item #1) have requested that someone from London Futurists attend the start of the debate “This House would invest public funds to accelerate a cure for aging” and say a few words to the audience:

  • About London Futurists
  • About the importance of the motion.

This will take place from 11:00-11:10. The debate itself will take place (the speakers are drawn from the membership of the Great Debaters Club), from 11:10 to 12:20. Judges will then offer their judgement on the performance of the debaters – and there will be an option at this time for the London Futurists representative to say a few closing words.

I won’t be able to attend myself (I have an overseas commitment that day), so I’m asking here if someone would like to volunteer for this role. I can help prepare ideas for the opening remarks.

The member of London Futurists who steps up to this task will receive a free ticket for the whole day.

Please let me know if you are interested in doing this. Ideally you’ll have been to several London Futurists meetups, and have a keen interest in the topic of significantly extending human healthspan.

3.) Aubrey de Grey speaking at Virtual Futures – Tues 28 Nov

On the subject of significantly extending human healthspan, I strongly recommend that you take the opportunity of listening to Aubrey de Grey when he is visiting London later this month.

On Tuesday 28th November, from 6.30pm to 9pm, Aubrey will be the guest at Virtual Futures Salon, in discussion with Luke Robert Mason (the Director of Virtual Futures).

Aubrey de Grey VF

Here’s the description of the event on the Virtual Futures website:

Virtual Futures presents Dr. Aubrey de Grey who claims to have drawn a roadmap to defeat biological aging, and proposes that that the first human beings who will live to 1,000 years old have already been born.

Dr Aubrey de Grey is the Chief Scientific Officer and Co-founder of the SENS Research Foundation, a charity that researches the application of regenerative medicine to age-related disease, with the intent of repairing underlying damage to the body’s tissues, cells, and molecules. Their goal is to help build the industry that will cure the diseases of aging.

For more information on tickets and venue, see here.

4.) Stephen Minger speaking at London Futurists – Sat 13 Jan

Another world-class speaker on the future of healthcare is Stephen Minger. Stephen has spoken at a couple of previous London Futurists events, with great feedback from audiences. He’ll be returning to speak to us on Saturday 13th January, on the subject “A Future Glimpse into Human Healthcare and Medicine”.

Minger pic1

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

Stem cell therapies, cancer immunotherapy, and 3D bioprinting are just three of the areas in which regenerative medicine seems to be making unprecedented progress. What is the reality behind these news stories? What treatment options might become available over the next 5-10 years? What factors could cause progress to accelerate, or to slow down?

In this talk, life sciences expert Stephen Minger gives his assessment of the potential future of healthcare and medicine. He’ll draw upon his extensive experience in both academia and industry, as a working scientist and as a consultant with healthcare connections around the globe.

Stephen retains a part-time role as Senior Consultant in Cellular Sciences and Regenerative Medicine for GE Healthcare Life Sciences. In addition, Stephen also serves as the Director of SLM Blue Skies Innovations Ltd, providing expert analysis in emerging healthcare technologies for the life sciences investment community.

5.) TransVision 2017 – 9th to 11th November

I’m writing this newsletter while en route from London to Brussels, where I’ll be taking part in TransVision 2017 over the next three days.

TransVision header

The organisers have asked me to help find out if any journalists would be interested in attending the final day (Saturday 11th November). If you have acquaintances who may fit this description, here’s a copy of a note (also available here) you can forward to them:

Brussels | Thursday November 9, Friday November 10, Saturday November 11

Representatives of the major European transhumanist associations will be meeting at the TransVision 2017 symposium held at the Grand Café Muntpunt, right in the centre of Brussels:

  • Day 1 = Reports on the situation and the evolution of transhumanist thought and transhumanist organisations
  • Day 2 = Working groups exploring proposals for future projects
  • Day 3 = Conclusions: the future of transhumanism and the politics of emerging technologies

Journalists are welcome to contact in order to attend the symposium.

Journalists can meet and interview the following speakers and participants (among others):

  • Anders Sandberg – Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford University
  • Angel Marchev – University for National and World Economy, Sofia
  • Chris Moneteiro – H+Pedia manager, TPUK official, and cybercrime researcher
  • David Pearce ­– Co-founder of Humanity+ (originally the World Transhumanist Association)
  • David Wood – Chair of London Futurists, and Executive Director of Transpolitica
  • Didier Coeurnelle – Co-chair of Heales Healthy Life Extension Society
  • James Hughes – Executive Director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies
  • Jose Cordeiro –Founding faculty of the Singularity University, and Director of Humanity+
  • Marc Roux – French Association Française Transhumaniste – Technoprog
  • Marcel A. Mayr – Futurist, Transhuman Party Germany
  • Riccardo Campa – Associazione Transumanisti Italiani
  • Valeryia Udalova (Pride) ­– Russian Transhumanist Movement, and CEO of CryoRus
  • Waldemar Ingdahl ­– Spokesperson for Humanity+ Sweden

Please feel free to forward this announcement to any journalist you think might be interested in this event.

For more information about the event, see  For information about previous TransVision conferences (dating back to 1998), see

6.) An apology – and a change of policy regarding

On Monday evening (6th November), and again yesterday evening (7th November), I had the pleasure to speak to large audiences on the subject “Assessing the risks from superintelligence”. Both events were organised by Funzing. The full complement of 125 tickets were sold in each case.

Attendees have been kind enough to post a number of positive reviews online. Here is a selection:

Brilliant eye opening talk which I feel very effectively conveyed the gravity of these important issues. Felt completely engaged throughout and would highly recommend. David was an excellent speaker.

Very informative and versatile content. Also easy to follow if you didn’t know much about AI yet, and still very insightful. Excellent Q&A. And the PowerPoint presentation was of great quality and attention was spent on detail putting together visuals and explanations…

Best Funzing talk I have been to so far. The lecture was very insightful. I did was constantly tuned in.

Brilliant weighing up of the dangers and opportunities of AI – I’m buzzing

I thought it was a superb talk that really covered the main arguments relating to artificial intelligence and its future improvement. Would certainly recommend it to a friend.

However, a number of London Futurists members had a very bad experience on the Tuesday evening, for which I need to fully apologise. These members clicked the RSVP=Yes button on the meetup page where I had publicised the event for that evening, but they didn’t notice the instructions on that page that it was also necessary to register via Funzing. As a result, they had no ticket, but there weren’t enough chairs for that number of extra attendees. The Funzing admin team turned them all away. Oops.

To cut a long story short, I’ve decided I’ll stop using a page to advertise events for which an additional non-Meetup registration is needed (because the event is being organised by some other group, e.g. Funzing).

That should avoid any repetition of this kind of misunderstanding and disappointment.

I’ll keep mentioning these kind of meetings in London Futurists newsletters, but I’ll stop creating mirror pages for them.

New date 11th Dec

For those who are still interested to hear me speak on the subject “Assessing the risks from superintelligence”, you’ll have a chance on 11th December, when I’ll be in a larger venue. The link for these tickets is here.

7.) AI-Europe – 20-21 Nov: London Futurists partnership and discount


As a reminder, London Futurists is pleased to partner with the event AI Europe 2017 which will be taking place at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster, London, on 20-21 November.

The goal of this event is to help companies to benefit from the recent unprecedented progress in AI technologies, and sort out the AI reality from the AI hype.

As you can see from the conference website, topics covered at the event include:

  • Virtual Agents: how companies can deploy Natural Language Processing Systems to improve communications with customers and partners
  • Digital Transformation: practical steps in the implementation of Cognitive Solutions and Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
  • How companies can use Big Data today, in conjunction with Machine and Deep Learning to make Predictions and improve Decision Making.

There’s an impressive range of speakers, as well as workshops, technology showcases, and exhibitions. There will also be the opportunity to network with around 2,000 attendees, including leading business strategists, decision-makers, leading practitioners, IT providers and start-up entrepreneurs.

To register to attend the workshops and exhibitions, free of charge, click here.

To sign up for the full experience, you can use the discount code AIE17-LONDON-FUTURISTS. Or click here. Either way, you’ll receive 30% off the standard price.

I look forward to seeing many of you there!

8.) Opportunities with Fast Future

I’m happy to forward news of a couple of opportunities with Fast Future.

First, an opening for members of London Futurists interested in marketing:

Fast Future specialises in publishing, speaking and consulting on the emerging future. We are currently looking to recruit an inspired and inspiring individual who wants to work with us and take responsibility for all aspects of our marketing including marketing planning, managing the website redevelopment,  content management, social media, PR, research, sales and marketing campaigns and working closely with the team on all aspects of our work.

If you are interested please email Steve Wells with a few paragraphs explaining why the role appeals to you and your initial thoughts on how you’d approach it.


Second, a call for contributors and guest co-editors of a new Fast Future book series:

A new Fast Future series of short, ‘easy read’ books is being launched by Fast Future Publishing. The aim is to provide readers with fast insights into the emerging future and the possible scenarios that might arise – covering topics ranging from Bioeconomy to Relationships.

This is a call for future thinkers who are interested in either contributing an article (1000-2000 words) to a future edition or guest editing a book. The series will have both specifically themed books on single topics (e.g. economy, health), and broader collections of perspectives on different aspects of the future.

If you have a chapter idea you’d like to contribute, please email with a short synopsis (max 100 words) of your idea.

If you have an idea for a book you’d like to guest edit, please email Rohit with your thoughts and the types of topics you’d have writers cover within it. The guest editor would source and co-edit the chapters and would receive a profit share on sales of the books. Authors of individual chapters will be profiled in the book, on our website and through our marketing efforts.

9.) Free workshop on the future of civil society in London – Thu 16 Nov

Network Ourselves

A number of different organisations are cooperating at a free workshop taking place on the afternoon of Thursday 16 November at London Metropolitan University.

Here’s an extract from the description of the event:

We invite you to co-design ways we can share knowledge and support each other to achieve a socially just and sustainable London for the future.

We’ll bring together starter ideas from several sources: our exploration into Connecting Londoners, expertise from the Our Way Ahead network of networks, and the results of consultation by the Greater London Council on their civil society strategy.

We’ll build on proposals for a London Hub that resulted from The Way Ahead initiative, supported by London funders…

We believe that action and support should be owned and developed at all levels: from citizens and community groups, through borough-level agencies, to London-wide networks.

Achieving this requires a well-supported collaborative process, as recommended in the official reports. So far that hasn’t happened, so we are going to simulate what’s needed with a workshop game that prototypes a bigger exercise.

We’ll play through how to connect Londoners using maps of assets and connections, a blend of digital and other communications, new ways of organising, and stories about what works, and what doesn’t.

For additional background information, see this blogpost by David Wilcox.

10.) Supranational democracy

From local civil society to the topic of improved supranational democracy…


The following caught my eye from Supranational Democracy:

Starting With Why

The global challenges and concerns we face today are well known: the peaceful coexistence of states and the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the climate change and the need for sustainable development, the threats to financial stability, the tragic inequalities across the planet in wealth and democracy.

We need to do something. And, first of all, we need to reflect on what to do.

To face such challenges and to guarantee global public goods, the international community has created after world war II a number of international organizations responsible for the pursuit of specific goals, which have been given more or less adequate competences and tools.

Are these organizations democratic? Are they efficient? if the answer is no (or not enough) how could they be improved?

This is the topic to be explored here.

Answers will be offered, comments and contributions will be welcome. The aim is starting a fruitful dialogue because – as history teaches us – democracy is the result of a social pact: we are all involved.

Democracy nowadays cannot just be national as problems and challenges are getting more and more global.  It’s globalization, baby…

Let me know if you dip further into that site and find anything really interesting there.

11.) The Coming of the Singularity Era – Seoul, South Korea

I’ll finish with a brief note about an event where I’ll be speaking next week, in Seoul, South Korea.

The event, hosted by TV Chosun, is entitled “Global Leaders Forum”, and has the stated theme “Singularity Era is Coming”. In this way, Seoul is living up to its reputation as being the world’s most singularity-ready capital city.

In case any London Futurists happen to be in or near Seoul next week, I’ll mention that there’s a distinguished set of speakers.

I’ll be speaking twice: on the future of currency and financial systems, and on “three scenarios for the arrival of the singularity era”.

DW GLF Fintech Key Open Questions

DW GLF Singularity Era Arrival v4

I’m sure I’ll be learning a lot from the other speakers there. I’ll aim to bring back the key insights into London Futurists events in the months ahead.


// David W. Wood
Chair, London Futurists

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