Practical steps forwards

Dear Futurists,

1.) Re-energising the London Futurists Slack

What’s the best way for the ideas and enthusiasm generated by real-world London Futurists events to build online momentum between events?

And how can friends or supporters of our community participate in our discussions and projects, even if they presently live far away from London?

For 2020, I’m re-energising a resource we used in the past, but which became too unfocused after an initial flurry of adoption. It has now been trimmed and is ready to burst back into life.

It’s the London Futurists Slack, available at https://londonfuturists.slack.com.

LF RAFT Slack

I encourage you to take a look, and to start venturing your opinions there.

If you had an account before, you should find that’s still operational. (If you have forgotten your password, you can request the system to reset it.)

If you need a new invite, you can use this link (which will remain active until 26th Feb).

What you’ll find inside this slimmed down Slack workspace is:

  • A very few posts from a couple of years back
  • Some #advice on how to use Slack
  • An #hpluspedia channel, to plan and oversee improvements to the H+Pedia website
  • A #raft channel, to discuss projects arising from the book RAFT 2035 (see next news item)
  • A #tpuk channel for people interested in the UK’s Transhumanist Party to discuss the next steps for that organisation
  • An #intros channel where you can say “hello”!

2.) RAFT 2035 now available in both paperback and Kindle format

RAFT Cover 21

I’ve just heard from Amazon that both paperback and Kindle versions of my new book RAFT 2035 are now available for purchase (prices just £9.19 and £3.84 respectively). The links are included here.

The book has the following goals:

  1. Raised awareness of future technologies – and awareness of the sweeping new powers these technologies will place in human hands
  2. Raised appreciation of the fast transformations that can take place in human society in the wake of these new technological possibilities
  3. Raised anticipation of a forthcoming transcendence – a transcendence in which humanity can soar beyond the limits which have hitherto cruelly stunted human experience.

Importantly, the book sets out practical steps towards the hugely better world that emerging new technologies can help us to create. These steps involve:

  • 15 goals to be kept in mind, as potential accomplishments by 2035
  • For each of these 15 goals, two interim targets that can, and should, be achieved by 2025.

In this way, the book provides – as in the words of its subtitle:

  • Roadmap (‘R’) – not just a lofty aspiration, but specific steps and interim targets
  • towards Abundance (‘A’) for all – beyond a world of scarcity and conflict
  • enabling Flourishing (‘F’) as never before – with life containing not just possessions, but enriched experiences, creativity, and meaning
  • via Transcendence (‘T’) – since we won’t be able to make progress by staying as we are.

Many thanks are due to everyone who replied to previous London Futurists messages about earlier versions of the material that is now included in RAFT 2035. I received many thoughtful comments, which made the book much better. I’m sorry that I was not able to act on all the suggestions made.

I can forward a limited number of complimentary PDF or MOBI versions of the book to members of London Futurists who express an interest in reading it and writing a public review on Amazon and/or Goodreads.

For anyone who is inspired by what they read in RAFT 2035, the place to discuss potential joint projects is the #raft channel in the London Futurists Slack (see previous news item).

3.) The future of personal implantables – 22nd Feb

The London Futurists event on Sat 22nd features Anna Luisa Schaffgotsch, the Founder and CEO of Impli Limited.

The future of implantables

In the meeting, Anna will be sharing her vision for the future of implantables, and showcasing key market research. She will also be addressing questions such as:

  • Are the 2020s the decade in which interest in implantables extends beyond underground communities of biohackers towards mainstream adoption?
  • How do implantable devices compare to what can already be accomplished by wearable sensors?
  • What are the main issues and opportunities with the development of new products and solutions using implantables?
  • Are implantable devices just a fantasy from science fiction, or is wide adoption credible?
  • And in that case, is the outcome more likely to be dystopian or genuinely beneficial?

For more information about this event, and to register to attend, see here.

4.) Video of event on “Utopia and Automation”

In case you missed it, the video of our event from 11th January is now available on the London Futurists YouTube channel.

Many thanks are due to:

  • The speaker, John Danaher, for sharing so many important insights and provocations about possible future scenarios involving greater automation
  • Kiran Manam, for operating the camera
  • The audience members who contributed their own insights and provocations during the extended Q&A portion of the event.

5.) Video about prospects for increased healthspan

Another recent addition to the London Futurists video library is my online video discussion with James Clement. James, a former Executive Director of Humanity+, is President and CEO of Betterhumans, and author of the recent new book The Switch: Ignite Your Metabolism with Intermittent Fasting, Protein Cycling, and Keto.

I found the conversation to be fascinating. Here’s part of the description of the video:

What can be learned from the supercentenarians who live in good health well past the age of 100, without experiencing the “diseases of civilisation”? What lessons arise from the various communities around the world in which, again, cancer, diabetes, dementia, and heart disease, are remarkably rare? And what are the prospects for applying these insights to help significantly increase the healthspan of people around the world?

6.) New Longevity meetup

If you’re interested in the theme of healthy longevity, check out a new meetup that has recently been announced: Longevity Meetup Group.

Longevity Meetup

So far, the group has one event in its calendar, taking place in or near Moorgate on 23rd April. This is from the event description:

Longevity: It’s big and it’s happening.

Insights, experts, start-ups, investors, drinks and networking: Longevity is gonna’ be big and we’re all living longer: but whoa, what is Longevity anyway?

Join other first-movers in the next big investment category, have some fun, hear from experts and innovators and get ahead of the pack.

New and accelerating technologies such as Senolytics, Stem-Cells, AI, CRISPR, Bioprinting and Gene-therapy are already combining. Longevity is coming, and so are the challenges and rewards.

Remember when every financial software company suddenly became a fintech? Fast-forward two years from now and it will be the same with Longevity – this sector will transition, merge, redefine and explode!

If you’re an: Investor; founder; researcher; lecturer; programmer; physician; student; hacker; expert; or just curious … come and join us.

7.) Undoing Aging, 21-23 May, Berlin

If you’re really interested in healthy longevity, I encourage you to check out the Undoing Aging 2020 conference which is taking place in Berlin, 21-23 May.

Undoing Aging 2020

This is from the conference website:

After the incredible success of the 2019 Undoing Aging Conference with nearly 500 participants from over 30 countries, Forever Healthy Foundation and SENS Research Foundation are pleased to announce Undoing Aging 2020, which will take place from May 21 – 23 at the Radialsystem Berlin.

The 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. Undoing Aging 2020 will once again bring together scientists and startups from around the globe, all pioneers in their respective fields, who are leading the charge in maintaining and restoring full health in old age.

To accommodate the exciting growth of the emerging rejuvenation biotechnology industry, Undoing Aging 2020 will host a dedicated forum and exhibition space for rejuvenation biotech companies to present themselves to prospective investors and industry partners.

Additionally, the 2020 conference will feature a special “Rejuvenation Now” session highlighting the first generation of human rejuvenation therapies that are either currently in clinical trials or are available today.

Undoing Aging 2020 is not only open to the scientific community, but also welcomes startups, investors, the general media, and all interested members of the broader rejuvenation movement. The conference will feature a student poster session showing the work of innovative undergraduate and graduate students in the field of damage repair.

Scientific Organizer: Dr. Aubrey de Grey

8.) Artificial Intelligence for Beginners – 24th Feb, London

When it comes to AI (Artificial Intelligence), in a way, we’re all beginners.

First, the subject is changing particularly quickly. Second, more and more fields of human life are poised to be disrupted by innovations within AI, in ways we didn’t fully anticipate beforehand. Third, even the people you might think should be experts in AI – including highly paid consultants and prominent professors – all too frequently get stuck in a mental rut (at least, that’s how I see things).

So the talk I gave on 20th January at Juju’s Bar in Shoreditch, hosted by Feverup, was actually addressed at everyone, despite the title “Artificial Intelligence for Beginners”.

DW AI for beginners Slide 1

The audience gave it an average rating of 4.7 stars out of 5. The organisers were sufficiently impressed by the talk, and by the size of the audience (nearly 200 people), that they have scheduled a repeat performance for the 24th February. For more details, and to obtain an early bird ticket whilst they are still available, click here.

In reality, it won’t be a complete “repeat”. I already have changes in mind to the presentation, bringing it even more up-to-date in some areas, and focusing more time on the truly most important questions about AI.

It’s as I wrote at the end of the 15th chapter of RAFT 2035:

We can hardly expect to obtain the best results from the machine intelligence of advanced software systems unless we figure out to obtain the best results from the different kind of “machine intelligence” that is displayed by the market system of profit-seeking corporations. Unless we know how to anticipate and remedy potential huge market failures, then what lies ahead will be huge AI failures – AI that serves, not the best aspects of humanity, but the worst aspects of humanity.

In other words, true progress is unlikely to be made with the question of “ethical AI” unless true progress is also made with the question of “ethical humanity”.

// David W. Wood
Chair, London Futurists

 

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