Recent videos and forthcoming events

Dear Futurists,

You may be interested in one or more of the three videos that have been added to the London Futurists channel over the last week:

1.) The Future of Education: 42 and beyond

This video features David Giron, Managing Director of Codam in Amsterdam, and previously a core member of the founding team at Ecole 42 in Paris.

Whether or not you have already heard about the remarkable accomplishments of the 42 family of colleges, you’ll find some fascinating ideas in this discussion.

Among the topics covered are: How might wider adoption of the methods pioneered in Codam and 42 impact the future of education? And what’s holding up faster adoption?

PS There’s a chance to join an online conference call about the technoprogressive perspective on the future of education at 9pm UK this Sunday. Click on the following image for more information.

TPzoom 2

2.) Towards a cyborg utopia?

Is the answer to the question, how will humans cope with the rise of robots and automation, to say that there’s nothing to worry about, since humans will merge with robots? In other words, to say that we humans, as cyborgs, will be the robots that we might have feared?

That’s one of the questions that featured in a recent discussion with John Danaher about his recent book Automation and Utopia: Human Flourishing in a World Without Work.

The book defends four big propositions:

  1. The automation of work is both possible and desirable;
  2. The automation of life more generally poses a threat to human well-being, meaning, and flourishing;
  3. One way to mitigate this threat would be to build a Cyborg Utopia, but it’s not clear how practical or utopian this would really be;
  4. Another way to mitigate this threat would be to build a Virtual Utopia: instead of integrating ourselves with machines in an effort to maintain our relevance in the “real” world, we could retreat to “virtual” worlds that are created and sustained by the technological infrastructure that we have built.

You’ll find discussion of all four of these points in the video.

For a longer discussion of these ideas and their implications, I recommend that you attend the London Futurists event on 11th January. Click on the following image for more details.

Automation and Utopia

3.) Recording of the Past, Present, and Future of Quantum Computing

Here are selected online comments about this video:

Gripping update on what’s going in labs, and will really change our world, and soon, while mainstream headlines are all about Boris and Jeremy.

Great presentation Peter. I am enjoying this video… Conversational and easy to follow.

Some high quality content right here!

Thanks again to the speaker at this event, Peter Morgan of Deep Learning Partnership, for helping us all see more clearly the past, present, and possible future of quantum computing!

PS If your interest has been raised about rapid real-world progress with radical technological possibilities, you should check out the next London Futurists event (see the following news item).

4.) The Future of Nanotechnology – Sat 7th December

The future of nanotechnology

Over the last few days, I’ve been listening to the audio version of Nano Comes to Life, by Oxford Professor Sonia Contera. The subtitle is “How Nanotechnology Is Transforming Medicine and the Future of Biology”.

The book speaks at several levels. At one level, it brings readers and listeners up to date with remarkable recent breakthroughs at laboratories around the world, in techniques such as DNA nanoengineering, protein nanotechnology, nanomaterials and transmaterials, and nanomedicine.

At another level, the book challenges a prevailing orthodoxy regarding how progress will be made in science. The author, with considerable justification, challenges some of the tenets of reductionism.

I am reminded of the saying often attributed to Albert Einstein:

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.

At yet another level, the book provides fascinating insight into the history and practice of cutting-edge laboratory science.

London Futurists is very fortunate that the author, Sonia Contera, will be the speaker at our event on Sat 7th December. For more information, and to register before the entry price rises (see next news item), click here.

5.) Sorry, the price of entry to London Futurists events will rise

You have no doubt seen lots of adverts recently talking about temporary price cuts to do with “black Friday” (or similar terminology).

Sadly, I need to share news of a different kind. Checking the London Futurists finances, it seems we’ve been making a steady financial loss for events over the last year.

The cause is simple: the current entry fee for an event in our usual venue, Birkbeck College, has been £7 per person since June 2016. In the intervening three and a half years, Birkbeck have increased their room hire charges on an annual basis.

Accordingly, from 1st December, the entry fee for all our standard Birkbeck events will be increased to £8 per person. (If you turn up at the door unregistered, and there are still seats available in the room, the last-minute entry fee will be £10, as at present.)

In case you’re wondering, London Futurists aims to run as cash neutral.

Given the rich insight that typically features in these events, I believe this will be one of the best £8s that you spend in the entire month!

// David W. Wood
Chair, London Futurists

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2 Responses to Recent videos and forthcoming events

  1. Graham McNally says:

    Comments. Item 1) Interesting. Having worked in education bfor a while. Item 2) Fo we really need our body to live? We are moving ever closer to the ‘soul’ of our existence. The interface of science and ‘religion(s). The answer may ‘appear’ from a surprising direction. Item 3) Item 4) I do need to listen to this. Item 5) inevitable. And, I totally agree.

    God Bless And keep up the good work “Woody”

    • David Wood says:

      Hi Graham,

      >”Do we really need our body to live?”

      What John Danaher reviews is the idea that humans will choose to spend more and more of their time in virtual worlds. In these virtual worlds, people could have all kinds of different virtual bodies. It is indeed somewhat similar to various ideas with a religious tinge.

      >”keep up the good work”

      You seem to have travelled far too – from Aberdeenshire/Banffshire to Papua New Guinea. It’s a shrinking world!

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