Visions of a regenerative future

Dear Futurists,

1.) Damon Gameau’s 2040, showing in London

Hollywood has a love affair with dystopia. Movies about the future generally highlight dire ways that things could go wrong. There are fewer films that paint credible pictures of a regenerative, positive future. We have lots of “black mirror” projections, but fewer visions of what can happen if humanity takes wise advantage of the solutions available.

That’s not a healthy situation!

Damon Gameau’s film 2040 is one example of the small number of films that envision a regenerative future – a future worth looking forward to, and worth making a real effort to bring about.

2040 regeneration

Here’s the description of the film from IMDb:

2040 is an innovative feature documentary that looks to the future, but is vitally important NOW. Award-winning director Damon Gameau embarks on journey to explore what the future would look like by the year 2040 if we simply embraced the best solutions already available to us to improve our planet and shifted them into the mainstream. Structured as a visual letter to his 4-year-old daughter, Damon blends traditional documentary footage with dramatized sequences and high-end visual effects to create a vision board for his daughter and the planet.

2040 is currently showing in the UK, though it’s restricted to a number of independent cinemas. There’s a listing here. It includes two performances in London:

  • At the Castle Cinema in Hackney this Sunday afternoon (16th)
  • At the Lexi Cinema in Kensal Rise on the evening of Wednesday 26th Feb.

As you’ll see, there are also screenings elsewhere in the UK.

Hyesoon and I have tickets to the showing in Castle Cinema, and will be there, unless Storm Dennis this weekend gives too vivid a foretaste of a dystopian future rather than a regenerative one!

2.) Edinburgh Futurists – the next ten years

Edinburgh Futurists

In or near Edinburgh on 29th February? Interested in what the five trends are that might have the biggest impact on the decade ahead?

Futurist Stephen Aguilar-Millan, a long-time friend of London Futurists, will be speaking at the inaugural meeting of Edinburgh Futurists. His topic is “A History of the Next Ten Years”. For more details, see here.

3.) Leeds International Festival – the future of death and dying

To briefly continue a quick tour of events happening elsewhere in the UK, let me mention “The New Death Symposium” which is happening on 9th May as part of Leeds International Festival.

New Death Symposium

Six different speakers (including me) will be addressing various related questions:

Are technology and the digital age changing how we talk about, and think about, death? Is the internet changing how we grieve? How can we prepare our social media accounts for our death? Could technology really one day make us immortal?

The topics I’ll be covering in my slot in this symposium include technological resurrection, the abolition of aging, cryonic suspension, and the philosophy that makes sense of all these possibilities, namely, transhumanism.

For more details, click here.

4.) Towards a Technoprogressive New Deal – Thu 5th March

TaTND

The Technoprogressive New Deal (TND) builds on various ideas known as “Green New Deals” by additionally emphasising the possibility and desirability of greater liberation from the constraints of what is known as “human nature”.

In this way, the TND draws on insights from the worldwide transhumanist and technoprogressive communities about the radical potential of emerging technologies.

The TND is a work in progress. An event at Newspeak House on the evening of 5th March provides a chance to shape and improve this initiative. At a time when most political discussion is being blindsided by the accelerating pace of technological innovation, the Technoprogressive New Deal draws attention to eight important topics:

  1. A technoprogressive social contract: How should society be structured for a world in which many fewer people earn money by working? What preparations are needed as we move towards a “post work society”?
  2. A technoprogressive scorecard: What metrics should be put in place as a replacement for the GDP index as the guiding light for evaluating the success of the economy?
  3. The technoprogressive dividend: How will investments in measures to address inherited flaws in human nature (body, mind, spirit, and social relations) have strong and equitable economic benefits as well as strong and equitable humanitarian benefits?
  4. A technoprogressive regulatory framework: How should Big Tech be constrained and regulated? And what regulations should govern individual freedom of choice regarding new drugs, therapies, and treatments?
  5. Technoprogressive approaches to environmental crises: Green technologies offer considerable promise to address environmental risks. However, major questions remain.
  6. Technoprogressive approaches to international conflict: As technology raises worrying new possibilities for warfare and terrorism, how can technology be used in parallel to help establish greater peace and safety?
  7. Technoprogressive fundamentals: How should decisions be made, regarding which parts of human nature should be cherished and protected at all costs, which should be enhanced, and which should be overcome (transcended)?
  8. Building a technoprogressive alliance: Changing the world involves alliances as well as ideals. It involves compromises as well as principles. Which alliances and partnerships should the technoprogressive movement cultivate?

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

For more details, click here.

5.) Augmenting the human mind with today’s tools and data – Sat 14th March

Augmenting the human mind

The state of the world depends on the state of the human mind. What scope is there to use technology to improve mental wellbeing and augment the human mind, and thereby improve the state of the world?

At the London Futurists event on 14th March, brain-computer interface expert Martin Dinov will be reviewing recent progress with technology that monitors the user’s mental state and provides real-time personalised feedback.

Martin, who is the Founder and CEO of Maaind, will also be sharing his vision for how new products can help people understand themselves and their behaviours better, in order to raise performance and enable better decision making.

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

6.) The future of personal implantables – Sat 22nd Feb

The future of implantables

Implantable devices have been transforming medicine and healthcare since the first heart pacemakers in the 1950s. Professor Kevin Warwick brought more attention to future possibilities by becoming the first person to have a device with RFID capabilities implanted in his body, back in 1998. But how much progress has taken place since then? And what lies ahead for implantables?

Once these devices include biosensors, could people gain early notification of important changes in their physiology? With widespread distribution of smartphones with NFC readers that can access and analyse the data from these sensors, are we on the threshold of significant improvements in physical and mental wellbeing?

The London Futurists event on 22nd February features Anna Luisa Schaffgotsch, the Founder and CEO of Impli Limited. Anna will be sharing her vision for the future of implantables, and showcasing key market research.

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

7.) Artificial Intelligence for beginners – Mon 24th Feb

DW AI for beginners Slide 1

I recently gave a talk on “Artificial Intelligence for Beginners” at an event hosted by Feverup London. The organisers liked it so much that they have asked me to repeat it, this time on Monday 24th February.

But every day brings fresh news about Artificial Intelligence: news about various AI systems working better than expected, or in other cases worse than expected, as well as new steps in a number of public arguments about what we should (or should not) expect from AI in the next 5-10 years.

I’ve therefore updated many aspects of my talk. As always, it’s hard to know what to leave out, in order to include new material. But I’ll do my best to ensure it is engaging, up-to-date, relevant, and accurate.

For more details about this talk, and to register to attend, click here.

8.) Transhumanist Party news

The UK’s Transhumanist Party has a couple of new blogs:

  • Party News – about initiatives organised and supported by the Party
  • Press Releases – comments by the Party about current affairs.

To keep informed about new posts on either of these blogs, click the “Join” button on the front page of the Party’s website, and follow the procedure to add your email address to the list to be notified.

Dystopiautopia2

9.) The chemical future of relationships? – Sun 15th Mar

The Chemical Future of Relationships

A talk at the London Philosophy Club meetup has caught my eye. It’s happening at Conway Hall on the evening of Sunday 15th March. The speaker is Brian Earp, the co-author of a recent book “Love is the drug: The chemical future of our relationships”.

Here’s how the talk is described:

Is there a pill for love? What about an ‘anti-love drug’, to help us get over an ex?

In this talk, Yale bioethicist Brian Earp will argue that certain psychoactive substances, including MDMA – the active ingredient in Ecstasy – may help couples work through relationship difficulties and strengthen their bond. Other substances might help sever an emotional connection during a breakup. Such substances already exist and have transformative implications for how we think about love. Earp will build a case for conducting research into ‘love drugs’ and ‘anti-love drugs’ and explores their ethical implications for individuals and society.

The idea of drugs that intervene in our love lives might sound like one of the truly bad ones – a sinister-sounding ploy to subject yet more of our lives to the medical gaze. Once the door is pushed open, will drug companies dream up new love-related mental disorders that only they have the products to cure? Will the complexities of love be boiled down to localised neuronal firings, targetable with the right medication?

Whether this makes you feel horror – or a glimmer of hope in the despair of a love gone wrong – come along and find out if your fears for the future of our relationships are warranted!

Earp will arm us with the latest scientific knowledge and a suggest a set of ethical tools that might help us to decide if these sorts of medications should be a part of our society. Or whether a chemical romance will be right for us.

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

10.) Transformative Technology Community London – Tues 25th Feb

Transtech Community

Finally, news about an event organised by friends of London Futurists, namely the Transtech Transformative Technology Community. Here’s a copy of some info about their event on Tuesday 25th February:

Are you working on or leveraging technology to raise mental health, emotional well-being or human thriving?

Transformative Technology (TT) community is the largest global community of entrepreneurs and innovators leveraging tech to raise mental health, emotional well-being and human thriving. We gather, connect, and inspire our global community in order to stimulate the development of scalable transformative technologies.

Our first community meeting of 2020 (and the new decade!) is set for Tuesday 25th February, 2020 and we are delighted to be joined by Lorena Puica, CEO and founder of award winning Ai driven personalised preventative healthcare platform iamYiam. Named as one of Top 30 Women Ai Leaders in drug discovery and healthcare, Lorena will be sharing her journey, learnings and observations about the digital health space.

As usual there will be plenty of audience participation. We’re not into one way presentations or thinly veiled pitches, this is an interactive event where you will have the chance to ask questions and meet fellow transformative technology entrepreneurs and innovators working with a number of different technologies, at various stages of the entrepreneurial journey.

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

// David W. Wood
Chair, London Futurists

 

 

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