London Futurists news, 17 June 2019

Dear Futurists,

1.) Full schedule for TransVision 2019 released

It’s just 18 days until TransVision 2019, Humanity+ @ London.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been talking to the 22 speakers about the ideas they’ll each be sharing at the event.

Forget any idea of “replaying our greatest hits”. That may work for various aging rock bands, but not for TransVision. Instead, the TransVision speakers are preparing a great deal of brand new material for this occasion. Here’s the full agenda for the two days:

Saturday 6th July

09:30-09:50: Arrival and registration

09:50-10:00: Chair’s opening remarks

  • Includes video and comments by Charlie Kam, media entrepreneur

10.00-12.00: Transhumanism and the future of AI

  • Calum Chace, author of five books on Artificial Intelligence:
    • “The Two Singularities”
  • Hugh Shields, Thought leader in capital market reform
    • “Man, Machine and The Professions”
  • Nell Watson, Tech philosopher
    • “Humanizing Machines”
  • Ben Goertzel, Founder and CEO, SingularityNET
    • “Grand Theft Singularity: How Big Tech and Big Government Are Moving
      to Control the Rise of AI, and How to Regain Agency for the Rest of
      Humanity”

12:00-13:00: Break for lunch (lunch not provided)

13:00-13:30: Networking over drinks

13.30-15.00: Open questions about transhumanism

  • Max More, CEO of Alcor Life Extension Foundation
    • Age-Appropriate Transhumanism: How Much and How Hard at Your Age?”
  • Steve Fuller, Professor in Social Epistemology, Warwick Univ
    • “Does it matter whether you call yourself ‘trans-‘ or ‘post-‘ humanist?”
  • Robert Frodeman, author of ‘Transhumanism, Nature, and the Ends of Science’
    • Life in the Transition”

15:00-15:30: Networking over drinks

15.30-17.00: Transhumanism and the future of education

  • Natasha Vita-More, Executive Director, Humanity+
    • “Know Your Facts: Resources to Successfully Navigate Transhumanism and Its Entrepreneurial Projects”
  • Marc Roux, President of the French Transhumanist Association
    • “Education in transhumanist questioning and thinking”
  • David Orban, Founder, Network Society:
    • “Learning 21st Century Life Design Skills”

17.00-17.30: Reflections on issues raised during the day

  • All speakers from the day return

17:30-17:35: Closing video and comment by Charlie Kam

18:00 onwards: Optional off-site networking continues

  • Includes option to join the speakers at dinner (separate registration)
  • Conference attendees will receive separate information about this dinner

Sunday 7th July

09:30-09:55: Arrival and registration

09:55-10:00: Chair’s opening remarks

10:00-12:00: Open questions about transhumanism (cont)

  • Rohit Talwar, CEO Fast Future
    • “A very human future: Enriching Humanity in a Digitized World”
  • Kate Levchuk, Kate Goes Tech:
    • “Transhumanism Vs. Dataism: A Battle for Our Future”
  • Micah Redding, Executive Director, Christian Transhumanist Association
    • “Why Environmentalism is the future of Transhumanism”
  • Giulio Prisco, Founder and senior editor, Turing Church
    • “More things in heaven and earth, Gods by any other name”

12:00-13:00: Break for lunch (lunch not provided)

13:00-13:30: Networking over drinks

13.30-15.00: Transhumanism and the future of health

  • Prelude video by Charlie Kam
  • José Cordeiro, Vice Chair, Humanity+
    • “Between the last mortal generation and the first immortal generation”
  • Hannes Sjoblad, Biohacker, co-founder of DSruptive
    • “Biohacking: transhumanism in practice”
  • David Pearce, Co-Founder, Humanity+ (as WTA)
    • “Superbabies: designing post-Darwinian life”

15:00-15:30: Networking over drinks

15.30-17.00: Transhumanism and the future of health (cont)

  • Paul Spiegel, Principal Counsel, Eclectic Law
    • “The California Healthy Aging Initiative: Ballot-Box Funding for Longevity Research”
  • Amy Li, Founder, Dance4Healing & Stage IV {Wicked Wisdom} Network
    • “Hacking Health with Creative Arts and AI”
  • Didier Coeurnelle, Co-chair of Heales (Healthy Life Extension Society)
    • “Generating Urgency in Scientific Research and Social Activism for Longevity”
  • Denisa Rensen, CEO, blissDesigned
    • “The physicality and metaphysicality of the future human”

17.00-17.30: Reflections on issues raised during the conference

  • All speakers from the day return

For more information about the speakers and the event, see this event page.

To register to attend TransVision, you’ll be directed to this meetup page, where you can purchase a ticket while places remain.

In case anyone is experiencing difficulties with the sign-up procedure, please get in contact, and I’ll help you through.

2.) Dialog with the speakers at TransVision

To help ensure that the most pertinent and interesting questions receive sufficient attention at TransVision, we’ll be using the online question crowdsourcing tool Slido.

While listening to the presentations and discussion, audience members can submit questions, and upvote questions submitted by others. The idea is to prioritise the questions that will shed extra light on the key strengths and/or weaknesses of the ideas shared by the speakers.

Slido can be accessed via any web browser, including on your smartphone or tablet. Just visit slido.com and enter the event code #TV19.

You can ask questions anonymously, or give your name. In some cases, depending on timing, the chair may ask the person who submitted a top-voted question if they have any follow-up comment to add.

The outcome should be a constructive dialog, in which the speakers in each group will also be able to offer comments on what other speakers have said. Think of it as group intelligence for futurists and transhumanists!

3.) Opportunity to attend dinner on 6th July with the TransVision speakers

Everyone who signs up to attend TransVision is being sent information on an opportunity to join the speakers at a dinner on the evening of Saturday 6th July.

It’s a sit down self-service buffet (cost £30 per head), and attendees will be encouraged to switch between tables as the evening proceeds. Menu options include vegan and vegetarian. There’s also a bar reserved for our use nearby, where additional conversations can take place.

In case you’ve RSVP’ed Yes to TransVision, but haven’t seen the info about the dinner, please check your Meetup messages. If you still draw a blank, please get in touch.

Note that seats are limited for the dinner, so if you are thinking of joining us, I recommend you book your dinner ticket sooner rather than later.

4.) Future Abundance: Goals for 2035?

Here’s news of a different London Futurists event, taking place at Newspeak House on the evening of Monday 1st July.

The meeting is entitled “Roadmapping the UK’s future, 2019-2025-2035”. This is an excerpt from the description of the event:

Thanks to breakthroughs in science and technology, the future could be profoundly better than the present – provided we recognise this opportunity, and take appropriate actions.

In this vision, there will be an abundance of all-round human flourishing. Everyone will have the means to live better than well – healthier and fitter than ever before; nourished emotionally and spiritually as well as physically; and living at peace with ourselves, the environment, and our neighbours both near and far.

That’s the vision of the Transhumanist Party UK. The Party is developing a set of bold top level targets for the UK to seek to achieve by 2035. These goals are intended to be memorable, clear, and inspiring.

A number of these goals have already been publicised, http://transhumanistparty.org.uk/post/goals-for-the-uk-by-2035, and are generating a rich set of feedback.

This meeting is a chance to join members, supporters, friends, and critics of the Transhumanist Party UK to take this discussion further forward:

  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the Party’s current set of goals for 2035?
  • What are the most important steps to take to significantly enhance all-round human flourishing by 2035?
  • And bearing in mind both the potential and constraints of both technology and politics, what transformations would need to be well advanced by 2025?

The event will involve a short presentation followed by an extended discussion of roadmap options and priorities.

This meeting is free to attend, but numbers will be restricted, so please RSVP in advance, here.

5.) Fully Automated Luxury Communism?

At London Futurists, we’re ready to examine topics that are edgy or controversial. One such topic is transhumanism, a recurring theme at TransVision. Another such topic is communism. I know this ‘c’ word can trigger some hasty reactions, but I believe any serious discussion of future scenarios needs to be aware of the growing interest in what’s been called FALC – short for Fully Automated Luxury Communism.

(If you can cope with two more adjectives in the same mix, consider Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Communism…)

Novara Media Co-Founder and Senior Editor Aaron Bastani has just released a book with the same title, Fully Automated Luxury Communism. Personally I found many engaging and provocative thoughts in it.

Bastani is the guest speaker at a Virtual Futures gathering on the evening of Tuesday 25th June. Coincidentally, it’s another event (like the one in item #4) hosted by Newspeak House (also known as The London College of Political Technologists). The event is described as follows:

Virtual Futures presents Aaron Bastani in conversation on his new book, ‘Fully Automated Luxury Communism: A Manifesto’ (Verso, 2019).

Will new technologies liberate us from work and provide us the opportunity to build a society beyond both capitalism and scarcity? Bastani argues that automation, rather than undermining an economy built on full employment, might instead be the path to a world of liberty, luxury and happiness – for everyone.

Discover how improvements in renewable energies will make fossil fuels a thing of the past, how asteroids will be mined for essential minerals, and how genetic editing and synthetic biology will prolong life, virtually eliminate disease and provide meat without animals. Rather than a final destination, such a society might herald the real beginning of history.

In conversation with Richard Barbrook, Senior Lecturer at University of Westminster.

Moderated by Luke Robert Mason, Director of Virtual Futures.

For more details, and to obtain a ticket, see this Eventbrite page.

I’ll be attending, and will be looking forward to exploring convergences and divergences between the FALC vision of the future, and broadly similar ideas I’ve written about in my own books Transcending Politics and Sustainable Superabundance.

For my own review of FALC, see my recent personal blogpost.

6.) The Abolition of Aging by 2040: Why? How? And Who?

Funzing have hosted me a number of times in the past 24 months speaking on the subject “The Abolition of Aging”. They’ve asked me to present on that topic again, at the Sway Bar in Holborn, London, on Wednesday 17th July.

I never like repeating the same presentation twice. I’ve therefore brought some of my slides up to date, with newer examples, and learning from feedback from earlier events. For this event, I’ve chosen the title “Abolishing aging by 2040 – why, how, and who”.

You can read more about this event on this meetup page. Here’s a brief excerpt:

What could be more natural than aging? We seem to see it everywhere we look.

Except… that there are many creatures in nature that don’t actually age.

And… even if something is “natural”, that doesn’t mean we should accept it. Indeed, it’s a hallmark of human nature that we seek to find ways to transcend our human nature.

Important note: as the meetup page emphasises, if you want to attend that talk, you’ll need to pre-register and purchase a ticket (£12) directly from Funzing, here.

// David W. Wood
Chair, London Futurists

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