1.) The Future of Human Healthcare and Medicine – Sat 17th Feb
I’ll start with a quick reminder to anyone who may have missed previous messages about this change in date.
London Futurists is delighted to be hosting life sciences expert Stephen Minger speaking on the subject “A Future Glimpse into Human Healthcare and Medicine”:
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, 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.
The previous occasions when Stephen has spoken to London Futurists have proven to be particular hits with audience members. In this talk, he’ll be sharing his latest insights.
This event was originally scheduled for Sat 13th January (that is, today), but was rescheduled six weeks ago to the new date of Sat 17th February, due to an unanticipated clash in the speaker’s schedule.
As stated on the meetup page for the event, all RSVPs for the original date were automatically carried forward to the new date. Anyone who changes their RSVP to No will receive a full refund of their ticket cost.
2.) Grand futures and existential risk – Sat 3rd Feb
On Sat 3rd February, we’ll be welcoming back another favourite speaker with our audiences, Anders Sandberg of the Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford University. His topic is “Grand Futures and Existential Risk”:
How should we organise our thinking and our activities, in the face of the range of opportunities and risks facing humanity? Where should we prioritise our resources? How can we best keep in mind the set of “grand futures” which potentially lie ahead of us, as humanity is poised to transcend current circumstances and venture into the wider cosmos?
This talk by Anders Sandberg, Senior Research Fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford University, explores what can be done to enhance the probability of humanity having a grand future, rather than civilisation being inadvertently destroyed. Questions Anders will consider include:
- Just how much can be achieved in the long run?
- How many future generations can there be?
- What is known about the limits of advanced civilizations, our ability to colonize the universe, and the constraints the astrophysics of the far future pose for life and intelligence?
- And what existential risks do we most need to address in the shorter term, so we can access this grander future?
For more details about this event, and to RSVP to attend, click here.
3.) Hangout On Air – Technological Resurrection – Sun 21 Jan
Before either of the two events just mentioned, we’ll be having a meeting of a different kind – an online “Hangout On Air” (HOA) video conference.
There’s no location for a Hangout On Air event – you watch it on YouTube, on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone, wherever you happen to be in the world (so long as you have live internet connectivity).
London Futurists held 11 of these HAO events between 2013-2014, as recorded for posterity here. Due to popular demand, I’m restarting this series again.
The first of these new HAOs, happening on Sunday 21st January, has assembled a fascinating panel of speakers. The topic is a subject from cutting-edge futurism:
Like it or not, humans are becoming as gods. Where will this trend lead?
How about the ability to bring back to life people who died years, decades, or even centuries ago, and whose bodies have long since disintegrated?
That’s the concept of “Technological Resurrection” which features in the recent book of the same name by Jonathan A. Jones.
In this London Futurists online video conference, the book’s author will be joined by a number of other panellists to explore:
- How credible is this concept?
- What are the possible implications (both positive and negative)?
Here are a few details about the panellists:
- Jonathan Jones is the author of “Technological Resurrection”. A science fiction writer and “self-proclaimed futurist”, Jonathan is based in Dallas, Texas. One of Jonathan’s previous books, “Gods of the Singularity”, was described as follows by a reviewer: “How would I describe this book? It’s got it all. Like Mad Max meets Elysium meets Bladerunner. Emerging technologies relevant in futurism + transhumanism. Elements that will entice conspiracy theorists. Mixed realities – “base reality” and VR. Humanoid robots. I can’t wait to see the movie one day.”
- Giulio Prisco is from Naples, Italy, but now lives in Budapest, Hungary. A board member of the IEET and a former board member of Humanity+, Giulio manages the Turing Church, https://turingchurch.net/, whose website declares: “Hacking religion, enlightening science, awakening technology – Turing Church is a new cosmic, transhumanist religion”
- Miss Metaverse (Katie Aquino), http://futuristmm.com/, is based on Long Island, New York. Katie is founder of Futurista, a forward-thinking marketing agency and creative network, and is also resident futurist at Humai, a company with the ambition “to transplant your brain into an elegantly designed bionic body, where it will use a brain-computer interface to communicate with the sensory organs and limbs of your new body”.
- Alexey Turchin, http://immortality-roadmap.com/, creates roadmaps on life extension and the prevention of existential risk. He is based in Moscow, Russia. Since 2010, he has worked at the Science for Longer Life Foundation. In 2012 he was a co-founder of the Longevity Party, in Russia – which can be seen as the world’s first transhumanist political party.
The start time is 6pm UK time on Sunday 21st January. To find that time in another timezone, see this online time-and-date converter.
For details about how to watch this event live – and how to raise questions that will be addressed by the panellists – click here.
4.) New Transpolitica book – pre-publication reviews underway
One reason there’s been less London Futurists activity than usual over the last few months is because I’ve been focusing on completing a forthcoming new book, “Transcending Politics: A Technoprogressive Roadmap to a Comprehensively Better Future”.
Pre-publication drafts of all 13 chapters of this book are now available for London Futurists to browse, via the links on this site.
Over the next two weeks, I’ll be updating several of the chapters – tidying the text, thinning out the material in places, bringing examples up-to-date, checking for consistency, and emphasising various key messages more strongly. I’ll also be attending to feedback from reviewers. Thanks again to everyone who has already made comments at various times on earlier draft Google Doc files!
If you do take the time to review any of the chapters, the kind of comments I’m mainly interested are:
- If you couldn’t understand parts of what I’ve written
- If you particularly liked specific parts
- If you think I’ve missed out some important lines of reasoning
- If you think there are sections that should be omitted
- If I’ve made some mistakes in the factual content
You can make comments directly in the Google Docs (accessible from here for the time being).
5.) Looking for endorsements for Transcending Politics
If you like what you read in the pre-publication versions of Transcending Politics, kindly consider writing a short endorsement of it, which I can include inside the book when it is actually published, and on online marketing material that draws attention to the book.
Thanks in advance!
If you like the overall goals of Transpolitica, and would like to support Transpolitica projects in other ways, please see this list of suggestions.
6.) New book by London Futurists speaker – discounted price
Tom Levitt, who was MP for High Peak from the 1997 to 2010, and who now runs the consultancy Sector 4 Focus, gave an excellent talk on the subject “Why Business Doing Good is Doing Good Business” at the London Futurists event “Agenda for the Future” last September:
Tom has now published a book that develops and extends themes from his talk. The book, “The Company Citizen: Good for Business, Planet, Nation and Community” is available from Routledge.
Members of London Futurists can enter the promotional code TCC230, in the check-out page, to ensure a 15% discount on the recommended price. (Note that the publisher may already be offering a temporarily discounted price when you reach the website, in which case this promotional code may not have any extra effect.)
As a reminder, another of the speakers from that same event has also published a book that develops and extends themes from the event. This is the book “Agenda for the Future” by Derek Bates – someone who helped a great deal with the design and planning of the event.
7.) Further afield – meetups in Edinburgh, Manchester, and beyond
If you’re interested in the topics covered by London Futurists, but you’re located too far away to attend our physical meetups, here are some other meetups that have a broadly similar focus, in different geographical regions:
- Edinburgh Futurists
- Manchester Futurists
- South West Futurists (Bristol)
- Dublin Futurists/Transhumanists
- Dutch Future Society
- Singapore Futurists
- Futurists of Shanghai
- Canada Futurists, Vancouver
- Canada Futurists, Toronto
- Bay Area Futurists
- Brooklyn Futurist
- Minnesota Futurists
- World Future Society, Arizona Chapter
- Boston Futurology & Transhumanism.
Regardless of where you are based, don’t forget you can join the HOA events of London Futurists (see item #3 above).
8.) Further afield – events in Boston and Berlin
This event, “Grappling with the Futures”, taking place in Boston, MA, 29-30 April, caught my eye:
It’s co-hosted at Harvard and Boston Universities, and is co-sponsored by the Millennium Project.
On a different subject, the “Undoing Aging” event taking place in Berlin, 15-17 March, is also well worth exploring.
The 2018 Undoing Aging Conference is focused on the cellular and molecular repair of age-related damage as the basis of therapies to bring aging under full medical control.
The conference provides a platform for the existing science community that already works on damage repair and at the same time offers interested scientists and students a first-hand understanding of the current state of this exciting new field of biomedical research.
Speakers will include leading researchers from around the world focused on topics including stem cells, senescent cells, immunotherapies, biomarkers and drug discovery.
Undoing Aging is not only open to the scientific community but also welcomes all interested members of the broader Life Extension community.
The Undoing Aging conference is a joint effort of the SENS Research Foundation and Michael Greve’s Forever Healthy Foundation.
Note that Early Bird pricing for Undoing Aging ends on January 15th.
9.) Longevity Accelerator
A number of initiatives in the area of “Undoing aging” / “Healthspan extension” struggle to meet their goals, not because of technical problems, but because of business-related issues – including funding, partnerships, marketing, focus, and regulatory hurdles. Even with the best of intentions, it’s hazardous to navigate over lots of thin slippery ice on route to real-world impact.
For that reason, I was pleased to see the recent launch of “Longevity Accelerator”. Here’s an excerpt from their website:
Our mission is to support efforts to tackle degenerative diseases and to extend healthy life span.
Age-related diseases such as most cancers, cardiovascular and neuro-degenerative diseases are some of the biggest killers today.
We aim to help the people involved in combatting these diseases to achieve their goals by providing targeted consultancy services…
What we do:
- Helping companies and organisations to identify potential sources of funding and to present themselves in the best light to investors.
- Supporting companies in their business development, by helping them with building business plans, marketing or growth strategies, and forming successful collaborations with others in the same or related fields.
- In the area of policy and regulation, providing insight, advice and lobbying on specific issues faced by companies and others in the field, as well as general advocacy aimed at fostering a more benign environment for the research and therapies relevant for extending healthy life span.
10.) My forthcoming Funzing talks – London and Manchester
As some of you know, I’ve been asked by events organisation company Funzing to be the speaker at a number of their events.
Due to the strong positive feedback that audiences have given, Funzing have organised several more occasions for me to speak. If you’re interested in either of these topics, and haven’t seen these talks from me before, check out the following opportunities:
- Dirty Harry’s Soho, London, Mon 12th Feb – Can Technology Stop Us Aging?
- Texture, Lever St, Manchester, Sun 18th Feb and Tues 6th Mar – Assessing the risks from superintelligent AI (this talk is also taking place at the same venue on 30th Jan, but it’s already fully sold out on that date)
- Cafe 1001, Brick Lane, London, Tues 27th Feb – Assessing the risks from superintelligent AI
- More to be announced…
Best wishes for positive futures in 2018!
// David W. Wood
Chair, London Futurists