The future of food… and lots more

Dear Futurists,

1.) Soylent and the future of food

One of the draft Abundance goals for the UK for 2035 concerns the future of food.

The goal: Consumption of meat from slaughtered animals will be cut by at least 90%

The rationale: Compared to meat from slaughtered animals, alternatives, including meat that is lab-grown, will be healthier, better for the environment (freeing up land for other purposes), and avoid the current situation of mass slaughter.

The solutions: Accelerate development and deployment of next generation alternatives to meat. Synthetic biology and genetic engineering. Find ways to replace present reliance on materials taken from animals, e.g. foetal bovine serum.

Interim goals (by 2025): Clarify significant health benefits from alternatives to meat. Demonstrate full “taste parity” of alternatives to meat.

As I was editing my slides for the meeting on Monday (1st July) about these draft goals – slides from which the above text is extracted – I heard word that Soylent was interested in making some of their product available at a forthcoming London Futurists meetup.

Three bottles

Soylent describe their product as follows:

The on-the-go meal you’ve been waiting for.

Soylent is a high protein, meal-on-the-go with added vitamins and minerals. Available in bottles and easy-to-mix powder.

Soylent started as a Silicon Valley sensation and is now in the UK. When you’re on the go, grab Soylent in ready-to-drink bottles or our customizable powders.

So here’s the opportunity. At the event this Monday, 1st July, 50 sets of two bottles of Soylent drink (two different flavours) will be available, free of charge, to the first 50 attendees who are interested to try them. Depending on whether you’ve already eaten dinner, you might drink one of the bottles immediately, and take the other one away to drink later.

Note that doors will be opening at 6pm, ahead of the event itself starting at 6.30pm sharp. The bottles will be given out starting at 6pm, until there’s none left (or 6.30pm, whichever is sooner).

That’s it! There are no other conditions. Though you might want to post a comment afterwards on social media (or meetup) to share your assessment of the product – and of whether you might be likely to use it to replace more of your own meals in the future.

2.) The launch of the European Biostasis Foundation

Looking down the list of registered attendees for TransVision 2019 on 6th and 7th July, I am struck by the wide variety of knowledgeable people who are attending – including entrepreneurs, academics, networkers, engineers, artists, activists, and designers.

One person who will be attending is Emil Kendziorra from Berlin. Emil has been selected as the President of the newly created European Biostasis Foundation (EBF), which will be a provider of cryonics services.

As a reminder, the idea of cryonics is to provide people on the point of death with a kind of “ambulance to the future” via ultra low temperature storage – a future in which (thanks to advances in science in the meantime) their bodies can be repaired or even reconstructed, allowing them a fresh new lease of life beyond the existing capabilities of medicine.

Here’s a note I received from Emil about the EBF:

A new biostasis provider was recently founded as a non-profit foundation in Switzerland. With the first million euros raised, the European Biostasis Foundation (EBF) will focus on research, stand by capacity, underground storage, and, with a digital-first approach, growing member numbers in Europe.

If you’re interested to get involved as a donor/investor, supporter, or advisor, please contact or meet up directly with Emil Kendziorra at TransVision.

One opportunity to talk with Emil will be at the dinner on the evening of the first day of TransVision (Sat 6th July). Which brings me to another important announcement…

3.) Closing date to register for the TransVision dinner

The hotel hosting the dinner with the TransVision speakers on Saturday 6th July need to know the numbers for catering by this Monday (1st July).


So if you are thinking of joining that dinner, please purchase your tickets by that date at the latest.

Note: you’ll be sent details of the dinner, and a link to purchase tickets (cost £30), once you register for TransVision itself. In case you have registered for TransVision but haven’t seen this extra information, please get in touch.

4.) Sky News video on the abolition of aging

Back in April, a camera team from the Sky News “Off Limits” series arranged to meet me in Wandsworth cemetery, and filmed me answering questions about the potential forthcoming abolition of aging.

The result was a ten minute film that appeared a few days ago on the Sky News YouTube channel:

I also had the pleasure to appear live on Sky News talking to presenter Colin Brazier about the themes from the film.

The film crew did a good job of joining together footage from several interviewees, as well as various graphical animations.

If you’re interested in any of the topics covered in that film, you may want to sign up for the Funzing talk I’ll be giving at the Sway Bar on Great Queen Street on 17th July.

TAoA by 2040

5.) Ending Age-Related Diseases 2019, New York, 11-12 July

If you would like to hear from a wider range of experts on the subject of “ending age-related diseases”, the place to be on 11-12 July is the Cooper Union in New York.

That’s the venue for this year’s “Ending Age-Related Diseases” conference, hosted by the excellent Life Extension Advocacy Foundation (LEAF).

This short video gives a good introduction to what will be covered at this conference:

For more information, see this link. Here’s a brief excerpt:

July 2019 will see us return to the Frederick P. Rose Auditorium at the Cooper Union in New York City for our second annual conference focusing on aging research, biotech business, and investment.

Developing therapies from initial concepts, through clinical testing, and ultimately to market takes a pipeline, and right now, that pipeline is being built to support the next step in medicine: rejuvenation biotechnology.

We will be bringing the leading experts in both aging research and biotech investment together to share their insights with you for a two-day conference that you won’t want to miss! We have an action-packed two days of talks and panels from some of the leading experts in the field.

The talks will help you better understand how the most promising anti-aging therapies work, including:

  • Fisetin and other senolytics that aim to keep the population of harmful senescent cells under control.
  • Interventions that affect NAD+ metabolism, including NMN and NR.
  • Gene therapies that target the genes involved in cancer and other age-related diseases, including the genes involved in telomere attrition and extension along with DNA damage and repair.
  • Small molecules and cell reprogramming that can assist tissue and organ regeneration.

6.) Transhumanism in Cheltenham?

If you’re in or near Cheltenham on the evening of Sunday 18th August, you’ll have a chance to join a session of the Cheltenham Debate Society meetup, in which I’ll be the lead speaker.

Cheltenham Debate Society

The event is described as follows:

The 2020’s – The decade of Transhumanism?

Can a significantly better society be built, whilst human nature remains essentially unchanged?

Broadly speaking, there are three answers to that question. First, a conservative answer: Human nature can’t change much (or shouldn’t change much), so social policy needs to take full account of human weaknesses.

Second, a more progressive answer: Human nature can and will improve as society becomes less unfair and less focused on superficial goods.

Third, the answer given by the transhumanist community: To ensure a better society can arise, human nature can and must change, with the assistance of 21st century science and technology. (Note: the word “assistance” here is critical. Transhumanists see a fundamental role for human wisdom, alongside new technology, to steer this coming transformation.)

In this debate, David Wood will be sharing his reasons for why transhumanism will become much more influential during the 2020s. Topics likely to be discussed include gene editing, synthetic biology, artificial intelligence, cognitive enhancement, the future of healthcare, the future of education, the future of politics, the future of religion, and the future of human values…

For more information, and to register to attend, click here.

7.) Crises – of British Democracy, and of British Universities

Let me draw your attention to two very interesting events hosted by GlobalNet21 – a meetup that often cooperates closely with London Futurists.

In each case, you can find more information, and register to attend, via the above links. I’ve already registered for both of them, and expect to learn a lot from each of them.

Crisis in British democracy

8.) Research and Applied AI Summit, London, Fri 28th June

Finally, a word about how I’ll be spending my time tomorrow, Friday 28th June. From 9am onwards, I’ll be watching the live stream from this years RAAIS – the Research and Applied AI Summit.

I attend lots of different talks about AI and I have to admit that I am frequently disappointed by the content. However, the talks I’ve seen at previous RAAIS events have been an exception. That’s why I’ll be keeping a close eye on this live stream:

Here’s an indication of some of the speakers:

RAAIS 2019 speakers 1

RAAIS 2019 speakers 2

My only reservation about past RAAIS events is that they don’t pay enough attention to AGI (Artificial General Intelligence). Maybe this year will be better in that regard!

Another way for you to learn more about AGI is to listen to the technologist most closely associated with that term. His name is Ben Goertzel and he happens to be one of the speakers at TransVision 2019 (mentioned earlier in this newsletter). Here’s the title Ben has given for the talk he’ll be presenting at TransVision:

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.

That talk alone surely makes it worth the effort to attend TransVision. Right?

// David W. Wood
Chair, London Futurists

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